Today I Lived.


“Today I lived.
It wasn’t my first response.
But I share the same heartbeat with two precious souls.
And that’s enough to get me through the day.”
– Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama

Actually, today I was a grumpy sod who yelled far too often and felt angry and resentful more than happy and light.

It’s been a challenging, full, and occasionally stressful few weeks, topped off by my daughter’s school fete today. My wife, in her usual Super Mum, Wife-of-the-Year mode, raised her hand for more than a bit of responsibility in making this day a success for my daughter’s class and, more broadly, the school.

Our house has been filled with various items to make up the chocolate wheel prize draw, and our conversations have been regularly littered with commentary about how frustrating it can be when some people pull their weight to support our kids’ school, and others do nothing to help.

Frankly, I was over it. I’ve been over it for a while, and I despaired when it was raining heavily this morning and there was the prospect of the fete being postponed by two weeks. (How could I survive another two weeks of “stuff” in our house?! I’ve had enough, woe is me, etc, etc.)

Unfortunately, this feeling was far stronger than I realised. Unfortunately, I let it shape my day today, and I let it interfere with my role as a Dad and Husband, and my intention of being an awesome one of each.

Note: I am only slightly beating up on myself here. Mostly, I’m just observing. Also, I’m actually remarkably proud of what my wife does for our daughter’s school and the effort she makes. I just get frustrated sometimes, when Bel’s effort isn’t matched by others, and it feels like there is an insurmountable wall of work to get through and not enough time/resources/people to get it done.

Today’s quote is taken from this article, by Hands Free Mama (and online friend/hero) Rachel Macy Stafford. Her ability to turn life experiences into into honest, vulnerable, heart-rending stories is something to behold. I strongly suggest you check out her blog, subscribe, or like her Facebook page, or something. Rachel’s writing is brilliant, and her approach is one I wholeheartedly align with.

Today’s quote particularly resonates, as it describes the centre of peace that I strive to find within myself, during each challenging day. My two kids are my precious souls who, along with their amazing mother, are my raison d’être.

I learned something else about myself today, by its absence. My calm, peaceful demeanour had disappeared, and my ability to find that centre of peace was really quite wobbly.

I wrote a few days ago about doing all things with love, and how my self-care routine has saved my mental state.

In the latter stages of this week, I reflected that I’d let my yoga practice lapse quite badly, as I visited my chiropractor and needed more adjustments and clunking-around than I thought. I had thought my surfing could take the place of yoga, so I’ve let it slide for the past month or so. Coupled with a huge up-tick in work volume and time on the computer, and my back simply wasn’t playing the game.

(Anyone with back strain/pain can attest to how much it messes with your inner peace. I’ve been like a bear with a sore head, because I can’t bend at the waist properly, and picking up my camera bag has been hurting me.)

If I compare my body to a car*, I realise now that my yoga practice is kinda like a regular maintenance service every day, whereas surfing is like taking the car for a long spin on the freeway. Blasting down the freeway (or vigorously exercising) is great for a “clear out the cobwebs”-style workout, and great for short, sharp bursts of adrenaline and endorphins. But the regular maintenance makes sure that in the idle times, the car still drives smoothly, the engine is supple and well lubricated, and nothign breaks down.

I learned today that my yoga practice needs to become a daily practice, so my back stays strong, and my mind and body stay aligned.

Drawing in another influence to my thinking today, I read a piece recently by Leo Babauta (Zen Habits) about learning new song lyrics. It is a beautiful analogy to learning new habits in life. (Please read the article – I don’t have time/space to do it justice… and Leo‘s thrift with words rivals Seth‘s.)

I feel great for this discovery about yoga, and how essential it must be for my physical and mental health. I will work on this habit to become a daily practice (just like these IQs). I will work on being a better father and husband day by day (just like my yoga practice).

Perhaps a better quote would be: “Today I learned.”


Before I depart, I simply have to share some words from the most beautiful email I received last week, from a dear friend who has known me more than 12 years, since my old IT days before I became a photographer:

“Israel, I feel that I’m receiving a daily gift from you for which I don’t make any monetary payment.  But in the spirit of Karma, I believe that your Australian adventure will find a way forward and I admire you, your ethos, and the value you place on family. I feel that my life is better for your daily email and I thank you.”

Thank YOU, Keryn, and all of you who have taken a moment to write back. Your emails matter to me more than you know. (Special shout outs to Elle, Monique, Gordo, Keryn, Ria, Gill, Pete, Holley, Paul, Brett, Sarah, Steve, Louise, Laura, Suzanne, Johannes, Kylie, Aaron, David, Rachel, Tracy, Thom, Jenni, Dimi, Bob, and anyone else who has written back to me. I love you all and the amazing connection you’ve shared with me. Thankyou.)

With love and SOOO much gratitude,
Israel. xo