Parenting is quite the journey. Seemingly endless the experience itself differs depending on each separate set of existing circumstances, all of which are random and imposed. All of us as parents however share one common experience. The inner journey. Each of us stare bewilderingly at our own precious collection of memories, beliefs and ethics as we cradle our children. We all seek guidance on our own internal journey whether from our families, our faith or indeed ourselves. Sometimes the only clear decision maker can be you.
In this interview with Alice Grist, author of three books with Soul Rocks Books (John Hunt Publishing), I take some time to talk to her about her new book Dear Poppyseed. Intelligent, fierce and beautifully written Alice explores her journey throughout her pregnancy right through to the birth of her little girl. I reviewed the title here but I thought it would be illuminating to hear from Alice exactly what empowered her to write about her pregnancy and what she learned from her experiences.
What happens when you take a spiritually enlightened girl, add a rock ‘n’ roll boy and a pinch of magic in the form of Poppyseed? The answer is a soulfully honest, humorous and insightful glimpse at the authors’ journey to becoming a mummy.
Alice Grist wrote her first two soul inspiring books and found herself asking, ‘so I’m spiritual… what next?’ That question is now answered. It seems, that what is next, is she is pregnant. Indeed she and her husband have nine months to embrace a transformation more powerful than any spiritual awakening she ever dreamed of! Whilst simultaneously straddling real life, coping with attacks of hormones and finding a path forward as parents after a decade of doing what they please!
Alice reveals the tricks and trials of a soulful pregnancy, whilst also admitting to and fully illustrating the all too human moments that can befall any momma to be. Whilst bridging the very human and the super soulful Alice takes on her pregnancy with gusto, blazing an inspirational, hilarious and emotional trail.
Since becoming a mother have you encountered any changes to your spiritual outlook on life?
Just a bit. I no longer have time for it! So it’s rather handy that in my last book The High Heeled guide to Spiritual Living I concluded that all life is spiritual, even the parts where you forget to be spiritual. Spirituality is not just for the seeker, it is, to me, a basic part of our human make up. There is a reason we are in a human skin with all it’s complications. We are simply not here to float off into the ether quite yet. I don’t want to spend my life trying to reach a state I believe I will access quite easily when I die! That is for later, it is inevitable. I want to be here now.
Life is always a trip towards something more spiritual, consciously or otherwise. Being a mother, and the all consuming nature of that, is entirely spiritual in it’s own way. It is the greatest experience of my life. It comes prepackaged in unconditional love, and that sits at the heart of my soul. My life is a poem dedicated to my new little family. It all sounds very romantic, but changing nappies at 3 am and working to entertain a toddler in a heat-wave, when I’m exhausted, is not romantic. It’s all very swings and roundabouts. But it’s inherently my favorite thing ever, and because of that spirituality now exudes from living in the moment. I sweat it, rather than intellectualise it.
Looking back on your pregnancy and the birth of your daughter would you change anything in hindsight?
Lately I have been thinking about that alot. My birth did not go to plan. And I accept that. I personally blame Kate Middleton, and my brother for this rash of retrospect. They are both having babies (Kate in labour as I type), it’s making me think what could I have done differently? But anyone who reads Dear Poppyseed will see how hard I fought for a natural birth. I wanted it so, so much. But my attempts to control that failed. I know that I did all I could and therefore, I couldn’t change anything. Clearly it happened for a reason. So even if I had a magic wand that would grant me the perfect hypnobirth in a pool of water, essential oils and chanting. Nope I wouldn’t take it. My birth, medicalised as it was, was perfect in it’s own ways, and it makes for a relatable, real story in Poppyseed. The chanting and mantras will wait for a future birth, in this life or another!
What is your ultimate spiritual goal?
Now there is a question Mr Coleman! Geez! I don’t have one. Life tends to turn and twist. A couple of years ago I may have said that I’d like to become as enlightened as possible. But that can wait till I pop off this planet. I’m here to get gritty and down with the details. Right now my goal is to create a lovely life for me and my family, and to be here, in this human body as long as I possibly can. Enjoying every second of it, moment by moment.
As a new mother what lessons, spiritual or otherwise, do you hope to pass on to your daughter?
I am sure she has her own lessons to experience, far apart from what I may schedule for her! In essence I would like to be a living example for her. To show her how to be calm, loving, strong. I’d like her to have a good clear mind and not get lost in overthinking, or in an idealised view of herself and femininity as set out by our mainstream culture. I’d like to show her alternative ways to be and to think. The power of thought is so important. They don’t teach it in school (I plan to homeschool her). So many people get lost in their worldviews, confused by the examples around them. If I give her anything I’d like it to be a crystal clear sight, unburdened by drama, angst, violence, abuse, general life confusion. I see people so often stuck in their little ruts, stuck in a perception of how the world is, unable to move past it. In general I want my baby to see clearly, believe in miracles and understand her connection to all things.
What did you set out to achieve with the publication of “Dear Poppyseed”?
Nothing. It’s the true life diary of my pregnancy and birth. As such I have no plans for it, no expectations. I hope people enjoy it. I hope they relate to it. I hope it brings something a little special into their lives. That’s all.
When do you find time to write?
These days… I don’t really. That’s cool though. I’m 34 and I wrote three books already. I’m going easy on myself for a bit. I’m way ahead of myself!
Define yourself in five words
Loving, a-bit-daft, peaceful, momma, friend
You can find Alice on the web here. You can find her on Twitter at @AliceGrist. Please see this little trailer to get a taste for the book, and if you require any more information about Alice, her publisher Soul Rocks Books (John Hunt Publishing) or the book go here…