Back in the early days of being a parent I suffered with postnatal depression. I believe I might have mentioned it before. If you’ve followed the blog for a while you might be thinking “no shit” right about now. But part of my attempts to get better was meditation through visualisation. Every day I would take ten minutes and paint a picture in my head.
This picture would always be the same. It was a single large tree in the middle of a golden field encircled by a forest. Last Saturday, roughly 50km into the Wye Valley Challenge that I was doing. I saw that tree. Here it is:
Obviously the picture I painted looked a little bit better than the one above. It was always bloody sunny for a start. But in my mind I would be sat against the tree watching on at my new family playing amongst the grass. Rachel would be there, sat down on a picnic blanket preparing some sort of food. Then there would be Isabelle. For some reason I pictured her much older, probably around the age she is now. She would be chasing after the dogs and the rabbits as they all ran freely through the grass.
It was a happy picture. The whole idea of it was to try and cultivate a feeling of happiness towards Isabelle, and try to cement her as part of this little family. If I remember correctly, I think I had to imagine a ball of light growing in size and trying to feel the warmth of it during the visualisation. The idea being that if things weren’t going well I could imagine this image and those warm feeling would come flooding back.
Of course, in the end, things turned out rather well with me and Isabelle. Was it all to do with some tree inside my head? No. But like many things in life, it played its part.
I regret not taking 5 minutes to sit against this tree
I learned quite a lot after attempting an ultra challenge. And one thing I learned was to take five minutes in the midst of struggle to just relax. Instead of stopping to enjoy this tree and all the symbolism that came with it, I carried on going, rushing to try and get to the finish as fast as I could.
I kept trying to pull myself away from the challenge and just take five minutes to sit there. But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to fall behind and I just wanted to get the challenge done as quickly as possible. I knew that I would regret that choice, and I still do.
This tree meant something to me. I had forgotten all about it until I turned a corner and saw it. Suddenly I was taken back to that happy moment inside my head. I was reminded of where I was when we first had Isabelle and where I am now. That image I was painting in my head was a dream I hoped would come true. And these days it very much is. We are that happy little family who love spending time together.
Although we’d ever take both the bunnies and the dogs and let them roam in a random meadow whilst Isabelle chases them. I don’t think that would actually be a very happy picture.
Having a Crack at Editing it into something very different
You might notice from most of the photos I post on the blog or Instagram that I don’t massively edit my photos. Obviously I touch them up and mess about with the odd setting and generally just make them look a bit better. But I don’t dive in deep with any pro editing software. Part of that is down to the fact that I never want to lose the realism with the photos. Since a parenting blog is often about capturing real life, I’ve always found it disconnecting when I see overly edited photos.
Recently, however, I bought a new phone – the Huawei P20 Pro – which so far has been pretty good. I’ll be honest, I still prefer an iPhone, but I’ve made my choice and I’m sticking with it.
But on this phone I downloaded some mirror photo editing app and started messing about with it. So I used that, and another free app called Snapseed, to make the following photo. It’s a rather edited version of the exact same photo shown above. Only I’ve managed to turn it into something rather different.
Now I’m not saying this is actually any good. I dare say there are some glaring imperfections to it, but it was still fun just messing about at something I don’t really do. Maybe in the future I’ll find an actual purpose to having a mirroring app, but I know I’m mostly going to use it to make Isabelle look stupid.
If you want to see a bunch of photos that are far better than the ones you can see above, then feel free to head to them by clicking the below photo.