A spiritual path

Eight years ago I made the decision to dedicate my life to living a new way. To walk a more ulturistic path. It was a spiritual experience which brought with it the expulsion of my obsession to drink that triggered the change in me.

A life as an alcoholic wasn’t all bad. There were good times and terrible times. The problem was that I was consumed by me. By my fears and anxieties. I was driven by a spirit of resentment. One that took me to suicidal thinking on many occasions. It was no way to live a long and happy life. I also became very unpredictable with alcohol in me.

From the spiritual experience came faith. One that wasn’t reached through reading books or joining a religion. It came as a direct result of hitting a rock bottom, one like I had never reached before. A supernatural power of love did for me the impossible and relieved me of my alcoholism in a single moment. One that shocked me to the core of my being.

From that moment my life inexplicably changed. No longer consumed with myself I took more of an interest with others wellbeing. I wanted to give instead of take. It was at two month’s sobriety that I met Stacey who would become wife.

Nothing has contributed to my wellbeing and growth more than non contemplative meditation and ongoing concious awareness. I have overcome anger and outgrown my fears with a daily practice. It has allowed me to be the father I have always wanted to be. I have broken the cycles of abuse in my family by practicing patience and tolerance. By putting the principle of love at the centre of my home.

Life is full of stress and the temptation to resent my situation rises often, especially as a dad of multiples. Add a chronic nerve pain condition into the mix and some days are tougher than others. But the one thing that is certain is that I will always do my best to move forward. To grow on the spiritual path I have chosen.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

Life as dad

I thought that the first year of parenting was the toughest gig I have ever experienced in my life. I struggled badly with exhaustion, verging on depression from simply adjusting to life as a new dad with three newborn’s.

I spent a lot of time waiting for it to get easier. And it didn’t. All that happened was I got used to my new role. After the initial battering of sleep deprivation I placed my focus on being a present dad. Supporting my wife so she was less stressed whilst I worked. Taking care of the girls when I was at home and making sure I was pulling my weight.

In some ways they were easier to deal with when they were babies. For one they stayed where you put them and didn’t answer back. Now they are toddlers we are dealing with the tantrums and sass. The only man in the house I’m mostly referred to now as ‘silly daddy’. I’m outnumbered by females 5 to 1. I got my work cut out for me if I am going to remain sane.

It’s not all bad though. The triplets are great fun at this age. Everything is new to them and it’s wonderful to watch them learn and grow. There’s nothing like a triplet cuddle, they are a tight little unit that stick together and play together.

The one thing I am learning is that the more I practice patience and tolerance with them, the more confident they are growing. I rarely need to raise my voice and am mindful of my reactions around them, especially when they are playing up. It’s a test of endurance at times and a relentless way of life but it’s now our normal. I feel blessed beyond words to have the family I am now raising. My wife is an absolute legend of a mother to our daughters. She too approaches life at home with love and a sense of humour.

If you are a new father struggling to find your role. Become a man of love, patience and authority. Be a support for your partner and gradually you will find your feet. Just love your family and make them your priority. It’s a tough ride without a doubt but with the right attitude you can be the difference your family needs.

Loving being dad

There was a time that I never pictured myself as being a dad. I was a train wreck waiting to happen. I feared the responsibility and my own damage being passed on.

It took getting sober before I had the conversation about the possibility of being a biological father and even then I was unsure. I still feared the idea of raising a child from birth.

In getting sober I found faith and a new perspective on life. An altruistic spirit replaced on of anger and fear and the more I enjoyed being a step dad to Frankie the more the idea of having a child with Stacey grew on me.

There were several false positive tests before the triplets came along and each time I felt excitement and purpose.

Now, as a dad to four daughters my life has taken on a new meaning. It’s a job I love and wouldn’t change my situation for anything. I love being a dad, it’s a tough job but with patience and tolerance and the love of a good woman it’s a path I am proud to be walking.

Without the damaging effects of alcohol and with meditation as a way of life my priorities are clear. To raise my daughters in a spirit of love. They are growing into confident little girls with the absence of anger under our roof.

It’s an amazing experience to discover a purpose in life. No matter what happens I will always be a parent. With the responsibility of raising my family the best I can. I love the hugs, their little moments of triumph and the love I see in all of them.

I’m a blessed man. And with God’s grace at the centre of my life I have all I need to grow spiritually as a father and husband. And there is no other path I would want to be walking.

Frankie

It would have been foolish to believe that life would continue as normal after the triplets arrived. Thankfully I didn’t have much of a social life and my only real commitment was to my band. Other than a few cancelled gigs not much changed in that respect.

The triplets were like a vacuum that consumed us. And the one most affected in our house was Frankie. She went from being an only child with all the focus on her to being a big sister to three screaming babies. And as a result of having to adjust to life with three newborns our relationship began to change.

I could no longer give her all my attention, for obvious reasons. I felt guilty for not having the time to spend together as we used to. Even though we got her as involved as she wanted to be there was a distance forming between us as I struggled with impatience and exhaustion.

Every night, I used to carry Frankie upstairs to bed with a fireman’s lift. We would have a little conversation about her day before we prayed and gave thanks and she went to sleep. Almost overnight that little routine stopped. I was either pacifying babies or bathing them or past out asleep, suffering badly from sleep deprivation.

All of a sudden Frankie had to grow up and start taking care of herself in little ways. It was hard on her to get nudged out of the top spot and adjust, as we all had to.

Frankie lost her biological dad to suicide when she was three years old and is now asking questions and dealing with her emotions around that. It’s a difficult time for her, and as step dad I need to allow her the space she needs to work her way through what she’s experiencing. And support as much as I can.

She is also now a teenager and has naturally gravitated towards her mum. She is experiencing raging hormones and other issues that teenage girls experience. I’m sure over time our relationship will strengthen again.

I knew there were times that being a step dad could be difficult. I guess I’m going through that now. I need to remind myself that as a parent there are ups and downs. And it’s my job to just be emotionally consistent and available for the times she does come to me for advice or to talk about her problems.

She is still my number one daughter and I love her as much as the triplets. It’s tough to see her going through so much. But time, patience, love and consistency can be a great healers.

Reflection

I have been blessed to have two chances at life. My past holds no resemblance to the present. I don’t take mind altering drugs anymore and I have been sober for almost 8 years. I am no longer plagued with anger and fear and in my life of sobriety I have remarried and become a parent. Now instead of a heart starter drink in the morning I meditate in preparation for my day.

My past life wasn’t a bad one. I travelled a good chunk of the world and moved to Australia to start a new life. One that was cut short because of my drinking. But I made the most out of my situation. I loved drinking and loved Melbourne. I made some great freinds and enjoyed the lifestyle before it all went down the toilet and I got the boot.

My past life was hectic. My mental health was on a roundabout of deterioration. There were stays in police cells, detoxes and psychiatric wards. Pain was at the centre of my life. My anger driven by an abusive father and alcoholism. I had good luck on my side but things were never good for very long and drink and drugs were the only constant in my life. I sabotaged all that was good.

I was driven by resentment

When I look back at my life compared to the one I have now it’s like looking at a different person. Like it’s the memories of someone else. A young man filled with resentment and fear who failed to commit to anything and hated the cards he had been dealt. Plauged with mental health problems and unable to forgive his father and himself. He was on a path of destruction that would end in suicide unless he found a new way to live.

Now, I am a peaceful man with purpose. A spirit of love replaced one of resentment and I found joy in giving of myself to make others lives easier. I now work with others who are lost in anger and destructive obsessions to show them also, that there is a way out.

As a husband and a father I practice patience and tolerance at home. I raise my family in the principles of love so that they can all grow in confidence, without fear. I want my daughters to begin life in a way that they will have no reason to seek out destructive behaviours as a way of coping.

I wouldn’t change my life for anything now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not without It’s challenges but in finding a new way to live I discovered myself. In faith I no longer run on anger. And that’s a good deal for everyone.

#Fatherhood

This year on the 4th of July, Ava Lacey and Blakely will be 4 years old. It feels like only yesterday I was sleep deprived and struggling to adapt to new fatherhood.

In that time I have made mistakes, questioned my sanity and also got a lot of it right. It has been as much a journey of self discovery as it has one of parenting. My patience has been tested as I found my way to being a father and I only have to look at the confidence in my daughters to know I’ve done okay up to this point.

It’s been the toughest challenge of my life to date. And if you know my history that’s saying something! Becoming a dad has also brought new challenges within my marriage. Our life was turned upside-down with the pregnancy and the arrival of our girls. Our relationship changed as a result. We were forced into dealing with a highly stressful situation together. We lost our freedoms and had to find a way to work as a team.

With all this change came the temptation to resent the cards I had been dealt with. But I kept afloat with meditation which in turn gave me the faith and clarity to step into my new role with confidence.

I followed my intuition and stayed focused on the job at hand.

It was frightening at times to have so much responsibility under my roof. Becoming a father has been all consuming. It’s left little time for anything else, the commitment to living by the spiritual principles of love and tolerance has got me through. My faith has allowed me to overcome my fears and be a loving father and also helped me deal with the new pressures that affected my marriage.

I have to have the willingness to adapt to the constant challenges that arise as my daughters grow and develop. It’s crazy how fast the time has gone bye. I often worry I haven’t done enough, I think that’s normal for any new parent but I don’t wallow in doubt. I made the decision to step up to the plate of fatherhood from the day of the positive pregnancy test. I now have a family who rely on my emotional stability and strength. I owe them that.

I love my family and love fatherhood. It has been the making of me in so man ways. I have been given a massive responsibility in becoming a dad and it’s my number one priority to be the man my family needs.

Accepting the here and now

Living in the present moment can be difficult. Especially if we are facing a problem that is hard to accept.

We may be dealing with rocky personal relationships, financial difficulties, disabilities or any number of stressful events that keep our minds racing and cause us to distract from the internal pressures these life events bring.

When I was active in alcoholism I was constantly seeking relief from the stress of daily life. I was unable to mentally deal with my problems so my solution was to always hit the bottle. It was my way of coping. And it worked. The problem was that my obsessive need to seek relief from my inner conflicts was incredibly destructive. For me and those around me.

In getting sober the first time around I was forced to to learn to live with the problems life threw at me. I quickly found other unhealthy distractions that kept me out of dealing with the here and now. Porn addiction for one, I also sought out unhealthy relationships that were nothing but ways to keep my ego fed as I tried to survive daily life.

Feel good distractions kept me temporarily sober but did me no good. I always ended up back at the bottle, wracked with guilt and resentment at my inability to cope with life.

When I eventually found permanent sobriety I also discovered non contemplative meditation. And in doing so I found a way to sit still, to practice living in the present moment, free from anger and fear. It was sometimes a difficult practice. My ego still tried to convince me that meditation was a waist of time, that there were other ways to feel better without getting better. I became aware of the destructive nature I had within me and became willing to be freed from it.

I stuck with the meditation despite the constant internal pull away from it. I have now been practicing it daily for over 7 years and what I have discovered is that the present moment is a life changing metaphysical plane of existence. Where acceptance of the pressure’s of life is possible, without fearing them or running from them.

Through separating from the whirlpool of negative thinking I have been placed in a position to observe what passes through my mind and can remain unaffected by it. Therefore there is no internal conflict to seek relief from which isn’t easy sometimes with chronic pain.

Acceptance isn’t approval. Much of what life has thrown at me, from triplets to chronic pain have been stressful events that have almost pulled me under at times. But I have learned to sit with the discomfort and pressure I have felt. I no longer run away or seek to distract. I face life on life’s terms and in doing so I am less inclined to resent or fear my situation.

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https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

New day’s are dawning

The last year has been a test of patience. The days have just blurred into one another. It’s been a case of dealing with work and home-life and nothing else. No trips out and nowhere to go under the guidelines of a national lockdown here in the UK.

But it seems now that restrictions are slowly lifting that we are getting our lives back. Last weekend we took the triplets swimming and followed it with a picnic in the park. It was nothing special but to us it was a step back into normality and personal freedom. And my daughters loved it. We all did.

Staying in has taken it’s toll on us

We are now looking forward to trips out as the warmer weather settles in. Up until now the park has been their only real freedom. Bordem has caused tension and tantrums and it’s a relief to know that we can now do the little thing’s that we used to take for granted.

It’s taken a mental toll on all of us as a family. Imagine the stress of dealing with three toddler’s day in day out. Frankie has also felt the tension of not being able to go out and visit her friends. It’s a crucial time for all of them to be socialising. And now freedom is returning to our lives. And it feels good.

We have had to learn to get along in a stressful situation. All families have been put to the test over the last months of lockdown. Sadly many families have split up under the pressure of isolation but also families have strengthened as a result of being forced to survive under pressure.

I feel blessed to have the family I have. We have worked together to stay together through a difficult time. I hope you have managed to survive lockdown and are now emerging stronger for the experience of this pandemic.

Love has kept us together. Patience and tolerance has been the glue.

Spiritual health

We talk a lot about physical and mental health. Both are equally important to me as a father and a husband. My physical health so I can provide for my family and my mental health to deal with the pressures of fatherhood.

But there is an element to our wellbeing that men and women rarely discuss. And that is spiritual health.

I have my work cut out for me as a triplet dad with a chronic pain condition, and the pressure’s of daily life have got to me over the last few years. But I have had one consistent practice through the ups and downs I have faced. Meditation.

I have discovered in my years of practicing non contemplative meditation that my spiritual health is in direct proportion to my mental health. The way I respond to stress and pressure has to come from a place of conscious awareness.

The solution to a crushed spirit is light

When I am lost in thoughts and reacting emotionally I become prone to deppresion. I can get overwhelmed with negative thinking and my spirit gets crushed. My natural ability to discern gets clouded, and when this happens wrong becomes right and up becomes down. I lose sight of my purpose in life and as a result my mental health takes a hit.

No man can continue successfully on a path of resentment and anxiety. We have families to support and relationships under our roofs that require us to be stable and present. If we don’t take care of our spiritual health we suffer. It’s that simple. And it’s just as simple to resolve

Just 15 minutes, first thing in the morning and last thing at night is enough for this powerful meditation exercise to work. It expels resentment energy and replaces it with light. It’s a life changing metaphysical practice that renews the spirit and clears the body of negative debris. It brings the practitioner to a new place of conscious awareness, and as a result provides a real protection against the stress and pressures of life.

Once we take care of our spiritual health we straighten out mentally. Without suppressed negative energy wreaking havoc under the surface we discover a freedom that allows us to be present and awake from moment to moment. Life renews and we become the men and women our families need.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

Triplets, tantrums and thank God for bedtime

Firstly I hope you all had a good Easter weekend. Ours was fun and we even managed to get out of the house on Easter Sunday.

The girls are growing up fast. I mean the time is flying by. It seems only a short time ago they were in nappies and Stacey was breastfeeding. Now they are almost 4 and will be starting school full time in September.

Our house has become ever more hectic as the girls have grown and have endless energy. Between them and the teenager our stress levels are tested to the max. Some days it’s a real struggle. Other days it’s just hard work but Stacey and I work together to stay on top of thing’s.

Stacey and I both love the run down to the end of the day and when bath time comes around. We often high 5 out of relief that the day with them is done. Don’t get me wrong we have a lot of fun with them (but also we really can’t wait for them to start school full time).

Last week Stacey, Frankie and two of the girls went shopping. Lacey wanted to stay home with me. I had the opportunity to experience what it was like to just have 1 toddler. It was a breeze. I could give her my full attention and we had a lovely quiet couple of hours. The chaos was instant as soon as everyone arrived back at the house.

They are never too young to do chores

This post may sound like a bit of a grumble but it’s just where we are right now. Dealing with irrational, tantrum throwing and hormonal triplets and teenager. I’m told this all gets easier when the kids hit 45. So at least we have something to look forward to.