The Delights of Distraction No.83: 5 lessons from our Moms we wish we learnt earlier

It’s Mother’s day today. It’s the only time of the year in which we, at The Wishing Chair, hold a sale. We rarely ever go on sale otherwise; as we believe in offering the best prices we can throughout the year with products that we stand by, so there is rarely the opportunity to exploit a large margin for discounts or off-loading dead stock. While it’s too late for Mother’s Day prezzies (unless you can visit our physical stores) - you might still want to take advantage of our sale prices while you can, they’re on till midnight today.

Ok - That’s it for the self-promotion plug! 

On the subject of mothers: we were both reflecting on how neither of us had conventional mothers. The kind of moms whose identity revolved around motherhood, who held us to their bosoms and whispered to us secrets of their survival in the world. As children we didn’t discuss boys with them, or mimic their (non-existent) beauty regimen. However, our mothers were strong, wilful and admirable women in their own right. They went through periods of immense trauma in circumstances more brutal for women than they are now. Through a renewed respect and acceptance, we have gleaned a few bits of wisdom from them from observation as opposed to a verbal exchange. While we don’t have a face-pack recipe to share, we have 5 lessons we nicked from watching our mothers: 

  1. Sometimes life presents us with a situation or set of circumstances we don’t see coming, never asked for, and don’t particularly want. Eventually it comes down to a decision: we can change our perspective, see it as an opportunity, and embrace a new direction in our lives, or we can choose to resent it, and throw a very long, drawn out, temper tantrum. You may think you need to make up for what you lost, but surprisingly, you don’t. We don’t. Humans adapt quite organically, once we finally stop trying to fix things that can never be fixed. You will be far happier when you accept that incredibly unfair things happen to people, and the best way to heal is to accept that this happened, but never accept that it should happen.
  2. Never believe you can save anyone. (Though this was not applicable when it came to their daughters!) It’s not our job, and it is arrogant to assume it is. But do everything in your power to support principles that promote resilience, self reliance, self sufficiency, and compassion. 
  3. Our mothers were extremely practical women who had no time for wallowing in self pity, Their opinion on the trap of self-pity, is best summed up by author Cheryl Strayed: “Nobody's going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you're rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things befall you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It's up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.”
  4. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Never give permission for anyone to wield the reins on your self worth. No matter what Mrs. Sharma next door says about you, nothing she can say can touch you or define you. 
  5. The words, “I love you”, can take many forms. Many of them aren’t instantly recognizable to an agitated child. And appreciated (like most things wasted on youth), only in retrospect. There are other ways to say I love you: 

- Have you eaten yet? What would you like to eat? 
- I made your favourite meal. I made this gluten-free for you. 
- I organized your clothes. I packed your suitcase. I sent you mangoes. - Call me when you reach. Call me when you’re home. Call me sometime. 

​​Happy Mother’s day! And here’s our fave links of the week from our meanderings across the internet: 

To ponder: Here’s an article on 50 Very Short Rules for a Good Life From the Stoics - the best pieces of wisdom gathered from a body of work that spans 2,000 years. The philosophy is essentially to define your rules and live by them. Here’s a sample of some of the ones that resonated with us, and we hope to embody as many of them as is possible within our human limitations! 

  • You are the product of your habits. 
  • Remember you have the power to have no opinion. 
  • Focus on process, not outcomes. 
  • Every person is an opportunity for kindness. 
  • Look for the poetry in ordinary things. 
  • Value time more than money and possessions. 
  • Meditate on your mortality every day.

To read: Heartfelt musings on the unraveling of our personas in mid-life, by the researcher and bravery and vulnerability paragon - Brene Brown.  “Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: “I’m not screwing around. All of this pretending and performing—these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt—has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.” 

To watch: Young people pay good money to get tattoos removed that teenagers paid good money to get. Middle-aged people rush to divorce people who young adults rush to marry. Why do we make decisions that our future selves so often regret? Dan Gilbert in this 6-minute video explores that. We think we are works in progress that mistakenly think we are finished. The bottom line is - time is a powerful force. It transforms our preferences. It reshapes our values. It alters our personalities. Only when we look backwards do we realize how much change happens in a decade. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you've ever been. The one constant in our life is change. 

To joy scroll: There’s the old adage that “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure,” and that couldn’t be truer in the case of William KW. The Swedish artist uses found, thrifted, and recycled materials as the basis for his abstract artwork that highlights the beauty to be found in what we discard. 

To listen: The Museum Of Endangered Sounds is an interesting endeavour by Brendan Chilcutt to preserve the sounds made famous by old technologies and electronics equipment, that are likely never to be heard by any of us again. Sounds such as the rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a VCR, or the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. And When the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, we will probably never again hear the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads. Some weird ol’ nostalgia here!

To lexicon: Weltschmerz: n: (literally) World Pain (from German). 

The feeling of sadness at the suffering that surrounds you in the world. The pain of being an empath and sensitive to all despair and distress in the world. An ill-defined weariness at the burdens carried universally by all of humankind. 

To life hack:  The 2:1 breathing technique that can help soothe your parasympathetic response to potential risk and reduce your stress levels. Learning to navigate breathe is one of those life hacks that is simple yet has huge benefits. 

To end: Time to be the fine line of light 

by Carrie Fountain 

between the blind and the sill, nothing 
really. There are so many things 
that destroy. To think solely of them 
is as foolish and expedient as not 
thinking of them at all. All I want 
is to be the river though I return 
again and again to the clouds. 
All I want is to stop beginning sentences 
with All I want. No—no really all 
I want is this morning: my daughter 
and my son saying “Da!” back and forth 
over breakfast, cracking each other up 
while eating peanut butter toast 
and raspberries, making a place for 
the two of them I will, eventually, 
no longer be allowed to enter. Time to be 
the fine line. Time to practice being 
the line. And then maybe the darkness. 

Hope your weekend was happy and warm and filled with laughter and connection,

Viv and Ami

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