Hot chocolate and connection
I want to just start with a little bit of a story or a share. Stick with me because it’ll come back around and it’ll end up making sense. I am a hot chocolate drinker. I am very particular about the type of milk, about the type of hot chocolate mix that it is. I’ve learned that I am a creature of habit and hot chocolate is one of those things that I have a very particular habit with. I have run out of my hot chocolate mix and I’m really struggling the last couple of weeks in not having it. I’ve had to, or chosen to, resort to finding a local cafe where I can go in each morning after I’ve dropped the boys off at school and grab my hot chocolate.
Working for myself and having my studio space from home, being a creative….. I can have the habit, particularly when I’m in creative mode, of ending up down really deep rabbit holes and when I end up down those deep rabbit hole things. I can go days without seeing or speaking to people, other than obviously my boys, but I can go days. When you work for yourself and when you work from home, what I have come to learn and realise, is how easy it is to slip into or fall into habits where you’re not connecting with other people. Because it’s not something that’s in your environment every day, it’s really easy to fall into the habit of not having people contact and not realise that it’s actually happening. So the gift of having run out of my hot chocolate mix has been that I’ve not only discovered a local cafe who makes a nice hot chocolate, the gift has been in my realising that it’s been an opportunity for connection. I’m loving going in the mornings. I’ve gotten to know the staff in there, I’m loving the conversations we’re getting to have with each other. Some mornings they are conversations and some mornings it’s something as simple as a smile. Being able to give a smile and receive a smile in return, that’s my gift for the day. That’s a really beautiful thing to be able to experience. Sometimes it’s noticing the people within the cafe. They’re sitting there and they’re reading the newspaper or snippets of conversations that they’re having. Sometimes it ends up being a joint conversation, because I’ll have a bit of a giggle and they’ll turn around and we’ll start speaking.
So I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve been thinking a lot more the last couple of weeks around connection and around the different things that we can do to support connecting with other people. And not just other people, but also connection with ourselves, because the reminder of the last couple of weeks is with my hot chocolate has been….. my hot chocolate is part of a bigger picture. It’s part of a routine and a habit that I have set up for myself that has to do with connecting and grounding each day with myself.
Habits attatched to visual triggers
To explain that a little bit further. Normally in the mornings, I will do school runs. I’ll drop the boys off at school, come home, walk in the door, handbag down, make myself a hot chocolate, come into my studio space. That’s the trigger for me, the hot chocolate is the trigger for me. In the mornings of an hour of me connecting with my day, me connecting with myself and me grounding my energies. I have a whole ritual that is set up and it begins with my hot chocolate. So I will come into my studio space, I will light my incense, I will take my shoes off, because I have this thing about having shoes in my office space, leave my shoes at the door and I will sit down on my other meditation cushion in my office space, sit down, music on, incense going, hot chocolate and I meditate. Some days that can be for five minutes, sometimes it can be for a lot longer than that. After I’ve meditated, I will then journal and again, depending on the particular day, it can be for five minutes, it can be for sometimes 30 minutes to be honest. It’s a habit and it’s a routine that I have established that allows me to connect with myself and allows me to connect with my day. So that I start my day with intentionality and I start my day grounded.
I am a visual person and so I’m able to support myself with that habit and that routine of connecting with myself through the visual cues and the visual triggers that I have around my home. For me, in the mornings, as I said, it’s having the stuff set up in the kitchen for my hot chocolate so that when I walk back in the door, and the laundry is directly connected to the kitchen, I walk through the laundry and the kitchen, the hot chocolate stuff is set up ready to go. That’s my visual trigger. Okay, bang, making my hot chocolate. From there it’s a natural progression into my studio space.
My studio space, is set up in a particular way. It’s set up with the visual of, my meditation cushion, my incense, my journal. I’m a visual person and I’ve got the visual cues set up within my home that support me in that habit of how I start my day.
I’m a single mum with two gorgeous boys. So picking up the boys of an evening and coming home, again, I’ve been thinking about this …… there are certain routines and habits that we now naturally have in place that our home supports. It supports the connection and the conversations that I get to have with my boys.
To give you a bit more of an example of that, when we get home, the laundry is connected to the kitchen, so we’re walking in, it’s a natural thing that the boys will obviously take shoes off, go put their school bags away and then we all end up gathering in the kitchen. Because they’ve had a full day, they’re always really hungry and so we will spend anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes in the kitchen. Our kitchen, dining room and living room are all connected, it’s all open space, it’s all connected. I will be in the kitchen, my eldest son will end up grabbing something to eat and he’ll plonk himself on the couch, my youngest will, end up wherever. My point to all of this is, because of the way that our home is set up, it supports particular habits and particular routines. They are habits and routines that are linked in to the value of connection.
Over the years I’ve learned with co-parenting and raising our two boys, that with boys in particular, conversation is had and the gold nuggets and the things that are openly shared with me, that half the time I don’t even think they realise that they’re sharing, are when it’s in a natural environment. For example, if I were to sit down across the dinner table from my boys and ask specific questions, I’ll receive answers, but it’s not really going to be through. Yes I’ll receive an answer, but they’re not going to go into a lot of detail. It will literally be yes, no. Maybe a little bit more than that, but not much more. If we’re in the kitchen after school and we’re all doing something, and this is the thing that I’ve learned with boys, it’s in the doing. So if we’re each doing something and then I will share something about my day and then that will will be an invitation for them to join the conversation. Before you know it, we’re all having this big conversation, that happens because of the way that our home is designed and set up. It happens because they walk in the door, it’s really easy of where they placed their school bags and shoes. The next natural progression in terms of rooms and how we move through the space is that they we walk into the kitchen. When we’re in the kitchen, it’s food to growing boys after school, it’s all about food. And so I take full advantage of that. So we’re in the kitchen where we’re doing different things and that’s where the conversation happens.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that the last couple of weeks. It’s so funny that it’s come up from me having run out of my hot chocolate. I’ve been reflecting and thinking a lot over the last couple of weeks around how much I value connection. How much it’s a conscious and it’s an intentional thing to have a particular relationship with my boys. How I’m always looking at new ways of how I can strengthen that bond with them. Realising that the environment that we’re in, the home that we’re in, the habits and the routines that we have set up, really go towards strengthening that bond and strengthening that connection.
As I said earlier, it’s the same with the connection with myself. I know that the only way that I’m able to show up as the best version of myself, whether it be that as a mum, as a Building or Interior Designer, as a friend….. is when my cup is full.
AND in order for my cup to be full, I need to prioritise, it’s important that I’m prioritising connection with myself, it’s important that I’m making sure that my cup is filled up. It’s through those little things that I was talking about, of having those habits and routines, which for me happens to be my morning routine of meditating, journaling, connecting with myself, connecting with the day. Add in all the different visual cues that I have that remind me of that. Because it would be so easy in the mornings to jump straight into work. It would be so easy to jump into having the call, answering the voice messages, all of that stuff. Knowing that I’m a visual person, having the visual cues and the visual triggers around my home support me in having those habits and routines that allow me to show up as the best version of myself from a place of overflow.
I’m then able to connect with the people that matter the most to me. That’s non negotiable. That’s really important to me. It’s one of my core values personally and professionally. And it’s an insight into how our homes, when they’re designed in a particular way, are actually able to support;
-who we are
-who we desire to be
-how are we wanting to show up in life
-who we’re wanting to connect with
-how we’re wanting to connect
They are such little things, but damn, they make such an enormous difference.
I am beyond grateful that you joined me for this conversation. It would mean so much to me to be able to feel you through what landed, what you love, or even if you have any shared experiences. Please connect with me because I would genuinely love to hear from you. Show me that you enjoyed this episode by subscribing, leaving a review, sharing this episode with a friend and on social. If you do share it on socials, please tag me @emilynair_design and that way I can say hi and send you some love. We should this again next fortnight with a fresh cup of tea and maybe a glass of wine with a new topic. So until then, I’m wishing you a fabulous fortnight ahead and I’m so looking forward to connecting again soon.