Not So Easy Lessons Learned

09 Jul Not So Easy Lessons Learned

Perhaps it’s the fact that mid-year is suddenly here (seriously, how the hell did that happen?), the change in seasons or the winter solstice but the past month for me has brought with it a lot of soul searching, digging deep to rediscover values and a bunch of different revelations. All of course in the wee hours of the morning, the only real time and space for solitude for us Mamas.

As I reflected on the promises I made to myself at the beginning of the year (if you missed it, you can read it here), I began to realise that I had become so caught up in what I was doing (across all aspects of my life) that I had completely lost sense of why. I was spending so much time thinking, over analysing and intellectualising (one of my many flaws) all the things I was supposed to be doing in order to achieve my goals and live my life with purpose that I had in fact, forgotten to actually just live it. I write this in total irony, as I pride myself on being someone who adamantly rebels against doing things because we’re supposed to. I have become a total sucker, as difficult and embarrassing as it is to admit, for buying into lifestyles.

If I go to yoga in an aesthically pleasing studio, drink amazing looking green-juice in extraordinarily well designed and branded drinking vessels, ate super healthy food (which I generally don’t enjoy), meditated, bought crystals and read a new breed of inspirational magazines, I would in fact become zen and float around daily looking and feeling amazing, enlightened and whole (all whilst taking photographic evidence of doing these things thereby literally never being able to actually enjoy the moment). Boy, oh boy. Even writing that makes me feel like a total idiot. And worse still, my moment of total reckoning came when I realised, that not only was I buying into it, I was actually promoting it. To you.

So here is the thing. Firstly, all of the above in and of themselves are completely amazing things to do for yourself and your overall health + wellbeing. But only for the right reasons. Because it’s what you are passionate about, what resonates with your true values and vibe, what makes you feel happy, fitter and stronger and what you actually want to do at the time.  And sometimes those things are exactly what I feel like doing, drinking, reading. But to complement my mindset not to make me feel fulfilled.

On my personal journey to what really makes me happy, relaxed and creates space for me to think, over a few weeks and a couple of revelations, I actually realised it was my connection to mother nature and the outdoors (as bizarre as that may sound!).  I grew up in a small town, surrounded by small villages in Croatia. It was a very different childhood to the one my son has now, in a simpler, slower, quieter time and place. We moved to Australia when I was 7 and even though we’ve always lived in the city, I spent over 20 years riding horses and thus, the overwhelming majority of my time in the bush, on farms and trails with a huge connection to the animals and the land. If you’d asked me then, that’s how I would have defined who I was.  It’s been 10 years since I stopped riding and I’m sad to say it’s taken far too long to realise that’s the missing link – as in nature, not riding. I always thought that if I could find a substitute sport to replace riding, that would be the key, but it turns out I was looking at it all the wrong way. Throughout this year, I have felt an overwhelming and insatiable urge to “get away” from the city – be in to the ocean or the bush and just be. In particular, on the days I have with Luka. I find an enormous sense of calm from being in nature and alone (or with L) – I can think clearly, be truly mindful and totally stress-free. And so slowly I’ve realised that is my meditation, my zen and my exercise so now we’re outside when possible, even if it’s just on a local trail … walking, breathing and enjoying, collecting, foraging. It calms us both and gives us freedom in ourselves.

I’ve also revisted my core values and then in turn, those of my businesses. I quickly realised, when I was honest with myself, that the way I spend my time and my days is incongruent to the things that are really important to me. I have become to caught up in creating the perfect life, career, home, wardrobe that there was no room to just be and pursue passion projects. That didn’t serve a purpose other than because I like to do them. Have you ever thought about that? I find everything I do these days has to lead to a particular outcome, otherwise it feels pointless. That mindset is sooooo exhausting. And unfulfilling. Our mental load is SO high, we literally don’t know how to be.  Our expectations and the pace at which we live is relentless and I have no doubt we are raising (even if we don’t want to) high strung, over-stimulated kids who will sadly, never be bored or have time to explore, because we are literally filling their lives with stuff. When I really thought about it, and in keeping with my love for nature, I realised I have not been placing enough focus, in life or work, into sustainability and environmental impact. Interestingly, I have been planning a big Sustainable Style project for Sneakers later this year and the conversations just kind of sparked a bit of a venture.  I also asked our lovely friend Issy from Seriously Milestones recently to pen a blog post about why she only buys second hand or organic and it really challenged my thinking (will share this amazing read with you soon). When I shared this with Hubby, it turns out, he was also really interested so we’ve spent the last few weeks watching documentaries (start with The True Cost and War On Waste), talking and making really positive changes in our house-hold. It’s really re-connected us on a passion project. It’s soooo easy to get caught up in parenting, cooking, cleaning, working, life and end up co-existing on the couch with your phone despite best intentions.

Lastly, I have carved out time to be creative. I was so caught up in the hustle that I felt I never had time to actually create or think.

So, for the second half of this year, here is to mindfulness. In life, parenting, work, spending, wellbeing, friendships and just all round. My focus will be on living my life based on my core values of wellbeing, balance, passion and adventure. I will be implementing this philosophy in my work life also, with some changes coming to Sneakers + Soul, which I will share with you in my next blog post.

I would love to hear from you about your own revelations, check-ins and what you’ve discovered so comment below or drop me a note x

  • Jasmin Ilic

    Love this Ina! Here’s to taking the time to reconnect with our ‘why’ and also our ‘how’

  • Amy Minichiello

    Thanks so much for sharing, Ina, your words seemed like they had been lifted from my mind as I have been doing a lot of thinking about these things also. It’s so important to live our lives the way we want with that passion and purpose. Sometimes we can become disconnected, but the important thing is that we realise this before it’s too late!
    Loved reading this. Xx

  • Rebecca Caldwell

    Thank you for being so raw and honest! I have been thinking about how we live and the impact on our kids too

  • Jessica Haley

    Love this!!!! I am going through a similar soul searching with how busy life is getting and how to learn to be in the moment and focusing on my values. And how good was War On Waste!!!!! amazing inside into the waist we are producing and how we can help. I am launching a kids clothing label this year and one of my core value is that its quality and you will be able to pass these clothing down to siblings and they will still be in good condition. keep up your amazing work and I will be watching this space for you sustainable project