Sunday, May 29, 2011

walking through colours

I'd like to say a big, big thank you to those who commented on my last post.
Your words meant so much to me. 
And you didn't write teensy weensy comments—
you shared so much, and you were so kind; 
you lifted me up with every word. 
Thank you.

I think I'm doing better. 
No more mucus!
I passed it on to my husband. 
He looks terrible.

I'm better in other ways too.

I took these last days
to really think.
To process,
to disassemble 
and reassemble
all the things I want and value most.

I jiggled them around, and

began to put them back into their 
clearest, truest form.

Your words helped me so much with that.
They gave me so much strength.

I realised an awful lot.

I had
actual epiphanies!

Like, page after page of epiphanies in my journal
and thought after thought of epiphanies 
shared with my husband.

You want to hear some?

for one,

I think I am doing okay at this homeschooling lark, because, I mean, 
my kids are really, really happy.

For 2,

my kids are 
crazy for learning.

They want to know so much! Read so many books! Fiction, non-fiction, science magazines, the travel section in the paper, you name it, they inhale it. They ask so many questions! They have just so, so many ideas; they're brimming with Wonder. 

It's not so hard 
letting them choose
how to learn,
or what, or how.

Because they make their own lives overflow
with Knowing.

For 3,

I think I forgot that as homeschoolers,
and as life learners/unschoolers/freedom experimenters/whoever we are-ers,

my kids and I make "the rules."

There's no one way of doing this thing.
That's one of the tremendous beauties of doing it!

For 4, 

I don't have to sit silently by in our homeschool,
waiting to be called like
a shy kid at the dance.

I can
totally plan 

(together with my kids, or just by myself. 
I can privately write ideas down that I'd love the kids to do in the future, 
without declaring or imposing them. 
I can also write tons of plans in my book to make myself feel better, 
then get on with the day).

I can 

Like when my kids ask, How'd you do that?
or, How does this work? Or, Why or Where or When?,
I can show them. 

I can 

Like when my kids say
Mum, I don't get this. Or, I want it to work like this, but it won't!
I can give them a hand.

I can 

when I see an awesome website, youtube video, 
find something cool on someone's blog, hear of a resource I think they'd like, 
think of an excursion we can go on, 
a book I've found that they might enjoy,
I can put it out there, 
and see what happens.

I can
new things into my kids' days.
Images! Experiences! 
Unexpected delights!

I can

I can say, 

"Shall we?" and "Do you want to?" and "I'd like to" and "I had an idea!"
without feeling guilty or scared
that the Life Learning Police will break open open the door and say:


It simply doesn't work that way. 

Most importantly,

I realised I had let in fear and guilt 
(and all sorts of "shoulds").

Opened the door and let them stride shamelessly in.

I'd let them try all the porridge, all the chairs, all the beds in my house

settle deeply,

inside my chest. 

I thought,

Best to let them go.

And then?

to go for a walk.

Through a rainbow, no less!

Where I
let the colours 
weave into me,

find where the fear had left a hole

and settle inside 

So, today,
I walked through green

and gathered healing,

I walked through red

and rediscovered
my power, my strength, determination, and

I walked through 

and remembered joy,
enthusiasm, and happiness.

I walked through

and saw stability,
and connection.

I walked past

and felt mental stimulation, cheerfulness 
and intelligence.

I walked 
with blue

and could see (so clearly!),
tranquility, confidence and 

I stood with grey
(and together we 
crouched over him, and my son imagined
his soul watching us)

and felt
a calm emptiness,
and a sense of peace.

I walked through these colours 
could feel

myself healing.

The weight,
that had pinned me down 
for days,


And the light came back.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I am

sick. I've got a cold. I didn't know so much mucus could come out of a single human body!

(…what? Oh. Too much information? I'm sorry.
I'm sick. I'm not rational!)

I am

a bit low. Like, I did a whole bunch of "self-tests" for depression, and they all said, "Hmmm. Lady, it looks like you're kinda sad; maybe you should get some help with that." (That's a euphemism for lots of sites saying: "you show moderate to high signs of clinical depression." But those are medical terms, and maybe if I'd taken the tests when I wasn't sneezing, coughing and overwhelmed by a huge to-do list I'm trying to keep in my head and a truly high-maintenance, psychotic kitten, I might have come out of the whole thing with a big, gold Happy Star.)

I am

finding myself unsure and afraid at times, about my homeschool choices. Do I stay on the path of life learning/unschooling, which sometimes feels like an enormous Unknowable, Uncontrollable journey, or do I follow the path that sometimes seems so much safer and calmer, and buy a lovely, set curriculum that tells me and my kids what we should do each day?

Some days, when I'm low and poorly, following that path is so tempting. Because then I wouldn't panic about whether my kids were learning what they "should" be learning. Then I might not feel guilty, when I suggest they do something 'schooly.'  Then I might know what's coming, and feel grounded.

Other people use planned curriculums—they structure their days, and the kids are happy. I regularly read a beautiful blog where the kids use a boxed curriculum, constantly do art, relish their learning journey, and have plenty of free time. I have many bloggy friends and friends in real life, who structure their homeschool days, use a variety of curriculums, and the kids thrive.

Some days, that's all I want—to plan my and my kids' future. To climb into the sweet structure of a schedule and set goals. To settle into the comforting solidity of planned steps, like dance moves painted on the pavement. Clearly set out, there for us to follow.

Which is fair enough.

But I am

not sure that it's truly what I want every single day,
and what would be right for my kids,
in which case we should totally change how we homeschool,

or if it's only what I want when

I have a huge to-do list in my head, and
am dealing with a crazy high maintenance kitten, and
am sick,
and overwhelmed.

in an attempt to figure it out

I have been
and am…

reading, again, about unschooling.

I am

going back to the basics. Reading, again, the articles, blogs, and websites.  Feeling out and finding how this kind of learning fits and resonates for me, and why.

I am

finding that

all that I read…

makes me feel calmer.

And then…

I am

sitting with my children at breakfast, as they talk to me about different countries of the world, places their Nana is travelling to, places we hope to visit. I am sitting with them with the big world map out, looking for countries and capitals, talking about continents, talking about the first explorers. I am sitting with them as we get out our Usborne Encyclopedia of World History to read about South America, the conquistadors of Spain, the defeat of the indigenous people, and the introduction of slavery.

I am sitting and thinking:

this is us. This is how we roll. This, this moment, isn't terrifying at all.

And then…

I am

watching my kids


listening as they ask to watch How It's Made videos and
ask me the meanings of words in their books and
discuss what they love about the books they're reading and
ask to play Tiny Wings on their dad's i-phone and
play and
write and read poems and
read their Scientriffic magazine and
practice piano for hours or violin 'til the confidence rises and
discuss slavery with their friends and
design a felt toy bird and
play and
make up funny skits for me to film and
say, "I want to learn how to type," and
"I want to write stories with you, Mum," and
"I'm going to read The Number Devil next!" and
play and
laugh and
read for hours and hours and hours 'til they come up for air, blinking.

I am

taking the time to breathe

and to


and what I see


so good. 

And yes, I am

complicated and crinkled and treading a path that seems kind of chaotic right now.


I am

hopeful, too.

Because I am taking the time to think. To pause and reflect.

Because there are low moments in my days, but also many, many moments of wonder and magic. Laughter and beauty. Good and grace.

Because I'm still me, in here, looking out.

Looking for joy. Keeping still and waiting,

for the light to show itself.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

fear of falling

There are things I'm afraid of…

sort of like monsters in the closet, 

but harder things, 

things I can't control and wish I could.

I'm afraid of failing, mostly.

Failing my kids, failing at homeschool, failing at keeping myself together, failing at being a good mother, failing at keeping a clean house and failing at loving life.

When those fears get big and monster like, I feel like I'm the kid in the bed. Knees up to my chin, calling out,

for someone to turn on a light and say, Lookit. It's just a coat over a chair. Lookit. It's a tree scratching the roof. Lookit. It's just shadow leaves turning in a crisp wind.

Lookit. I want someone to sit by my bed and hold my hand. I want them to smooth me, soothe me, help make the fear lesser, lighter, easier to carry, easier to let go. 

On better days, most days,

I want to do that for myself.

And on every day, 

I want to notice

when someone else who could be fearful, could be wobbly and uncertain,

strides into life and says,

Bring It.

Which is what my son did last weekend.

He was invited to sub for a percussionist in an elite Wind Ensemble, to play in the National Eisteddford in Canberra. 

He had two rehearsals in which to learn the part. He was playing with high school kids, aged 14-18. He was playing in a group that had been playing together for over a year. 

I would have quaked in my boots. 

But this is what my boy saw:

He was getting to play with drummers who inspired him! He was going to hang with kids he liked! He was going on an overnight trip to Canberra! He got a band shirt! It was purple! 

Bring It!

For me (coming along because I wouldn't miss it for the world), 
most of the trip was a complete unknown. 

As we headed off, I didn't know when we were going to have dinner. I didn't know which we were doing first, dropping our gear off at the Youth Hostel or going to the Concert Hall. I didn't know who was holding my son's music (though I knew Someone was). I didn't know when he should change into his band shirt. I didn't know if it mattered that he wasn't wearing the required black socks. I didn't know how he'd go or if it would go well. 

I had to sit back and let go. I was, literally, going along for the ride.

My son chilled out on the bus. He got into his band shirt when we got there. He skipped as he went, everywhere. 

It was time for the concert. By this time, I actually felt sick with nerves.

How would it go? Would he be all right? Would he keep up, know the music, would he fail?

There. There was that word again. Fail. 

I had no control whatsoever over my boy's future. He could tank, completely. There in those ten minutes on that enormous stage, he was completely vulnerable. I couldn't protect him, sitting in that audience of over a hundred, in that cavernous, impossible space. If anything went wrong, I couldn't leap the seats and shield him with my body. If anything went wrong, I couldn't fix it; I couldn't carry him out of there. I couldn't protect him, if he failed.

If he failed. 

My son strode onto the stage with his friends. He stood amongst the timpanis, the triangles, the marimbas, tiny. Wearing his purple shirt, and of course, his hat! 

The music began. My son focussed. If his focus had been a colour, you would have seen it coming like a beam of blue light. 

There he was. Counting the measures. Counting the beats. Waiting for just the right moment when a note or sound was needed. A note only he could play. 

And he did. He played. He played with his whole heart.

Threw caution to the wind.

Poured his Everything into it. 

He Brought It. 

And in that seat I simply sat. Watching my boy climb, no safety ropes to hold him, no net beneath. It was all or nothing; it was All. 

And afterwards, 
after I nearly cried with pride and fear,

he came up and brightly said,

"That was fun!!"

Because it was.

It is so simple,

to leap at life

wings spread

clutching at nothing,

dreaming and looking 

upward and out and around.

Seeing the potential everywhere. Seeing beauty in everything. Letting fear go and finding…




in the biggest and smallest moments. 

This is what my children teach me

where my children lead me

the joy they show me

the light I gather from them 

the gift they give. 

Monday, May 23, 2011


Three days on the road we've been!

Down to Canberra for two full days of concerts…

then up to Sydney for a day of chocolate eating (and saying happy birthday to a sweet niece)…

And then, finally, home.

The family is asleep. It's midnight, and the dog is licking himself.

The kitten too.

A possum scuttles the tree outside.

I have to go to bed, but I've been so long gone, and I have so much to say!

It's like going to bed before you've said good night

like the word you have on the tip of your tongue

like a door held open

like a book put down with only a page left to read.

Unfinished is how I feel.

But it's too late to write all the Things and share all the Stuff—

the millions of firefly lights in my brain, waiting to be released.

And tomorrow, the day is big, again.

I'll wake and the day will rocket off,

me gripping it tightly,

perhaps straddling it, riding it bareback with my knees quivering,

while all the while,

the words will push to be written here, and the photos shared, the thoughts almost bursting…

I'll go because I have to,

and do the Busy that is us

living so large and so happy and so very


But then?

I'll pause,

and I

will write and write and write

and write

(soon, I hope) :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


This, here, is our life.

Every single day.

Creating! Dreaming! Wondering!

Always in a floating other-world
of art, music, words.


at our heart—

our Creative selves.

I think it comes down

to a single word:

It's the core and blood and depth of us.

It is the True of Us. The Us of us.

I think we'd be lost without it.  :)


Today, at sunset

my girl and I went walking

with the dog, of course, and he bounded and we?

Well, we looked up

and saw the birds dancing in the sky.

We sat and watched them
and the dog lay his old self down beside us to wait
(thinking, what sort of walk is this?)

And my girl said, They are so lucky. 

Later, I sat here and found a film of birds

to show and share

(and see? this is how it looked, a little and a lot, just like ribbons and dancing souls)

While at the same time,

(and while my boy sat with a kitten on his lap, reading poetry to us out loud)

my girl wrote a poem 
about the birds we had seen in the sky.

Here 'tis:


in the early night sky
sunset colours flash
and birds circle
and swoop and sing
the night-time song.

for the True, the Deep, the Us of us, 
I am grateful.

I am 


Sunday, May 15, 2011

a perfect day really

Say you're alive. 

Say the sun is out. And music is in the air.

Say the world is calling you.

Say you have a girl and a boy and a husband, 
who make your insides shiver with how much you love them.

Say you have a dog

and say there are many other dogs

getting together for a walk in a park

to raise money for the RSPCA.

You put this all together, and 

what do you have?

Well, a perfect day really…

 A girl and a mum 
and a dog 
walking with a thousand others

(some on two feet,
some on four
and some in little buggies because 
they were too old
or too young to walk),

a boy and a dad
(and their friends)

played music for them all.

Then say you're still up for adventure.

Say you need icecream!

and more sunshine!

and trees!

and you need to jump,

(oh, you really really do)

What do you do?

Well, you make an already perfect day…



Saturday, May 14, 2011


perambulate |pəˈrambyəˌlāt|
verb [ trans. formalwalk or travel through or around (a place or area), esp. for pleasure and in a leisurely way she perambulated the square.
Well, imagine that! That's EXACTLY what I did today. Except for the square part. I didn't perambulate a square—I perambulated into and around my whole TOWN. Yeah, I did. And yeah, I'm pleased with myself.

… I should probably start at the beginning, shouldn't I.
The thing is, this past week, I've been feeling lowly and poorly and sorry for myself. I have. There, it's out. At least three days in a row of low and sorry and anxious and sad. Ugh. 
So I thought. It's time to do something. Take a day off. Recharge. 
First I thought: I want to go to a hotel and lie on a bed and watch movies ALL DAY.
Then I thought: I want to go up to Sydney and find a movie house and watch movies ALL DAY.
Then I thought: I'll just go into town, and watch movies ALL DAY.
As I got ready to go out, I got overwhelmed, and I thought:I want to shut my bedroom door and lie on my bed and stay there ALL DAY.
Which is when I knew I really had to get out.
Luckily at that very moment, I thought: 
Maybe I should go up the mountain and go for a hike? Which was the perfect thought, because then I realised—I just want to be OUT. I just want to walk outside, and be under that blue sky. I want to get OUT and move my body and walk and walk and walk and spend hours with just my thoughts for company, OUT in the sunshine…
So that's what I did. I just 
stepped out my door and… walked 12 kilometres into town.
I really did! 
It felt unbelievable.

Fifteen minutes in, I saw the sea 

and the sun was shining like crazy!

And I saw interesting things straightaway. Who knew that on some side road you'd find this?

People were dropping off their gas canisters and old batteries in a random carpark near the beach. It was a "Don't come to us; we'll come to you!" traveling hazardous waste collection service. How very friendly and helpful.
And I saw things of beauty. Like, over and over and over. 

Because this whole time, I was walking by the sea. Either on a path near the sea or on the sand right by the sea or in the vicinity of the sea, and I could feel its energy the whole time, lifting me.
Or was that the wind? 'Cos the wind was NUTS. After a while of leaning into it, like after about an hour, I thought, Huh. This isn't quite as fun as the beginning. 
And then I had this existential thought. (Which is one of the great things about long walks. You have thoughts! Uninterrupted ones! Deep ones and thin ones, fat ones and shallow ones! Lovely.)
Anyway, I thought: 
This walk is a bit like life, isn't it? In that, in life you don't really know when you'll have fun or not have fun. But you keep walking. And you keep thinking, maybe in a minute I won't be walking into the wind. Maybe in a minute, I'll round the path and see something cool. 

Like a big old surfboat race

and a person swimming (swimming!!) in the rock pool 

while people in beanies and jackets stood in the gusting wind and watched the boats tear by.  A little later, I took a pathaway from the windand stood near some trees and listened to birds talkingand families whizzed past on their bikes
and I kept on walking. And walking and walking. With the sun on my back the whole time, so my shadow kept me company everywhere I went. 

And in this way, I walked into town. Stopping and watching and listening and taking note

 of the ships lined on the horizon 
of swimmers braving the cold, 
how the view stretched on,

and the trees stood and kept each other company.

Suddenly, there I was, 
12 kilometres in, in town. 
And I was HUNGRY. 

So then, there I was, 
sitting in a pub (A pub! Like a grown-up!) having my lunch (by myself!) and feeling just. so. good. 

(And my lunch rocked, by the way.) 

But the adventure wasn't even over.

Because then I walked just a bit more…
and took myself to the movies. 

And sat for two whole hours in the happy dark, lost in another world, while my tired knees rested and my spirit sighed with contentment.

When I got out, it was dark and cold. And I was in town. Without a car.

What did I do?

I caught a bus! The first bus I've taken in ages. And it wasn't long, and only took me part-way home and I still needed to get picked up, but for those 10 minutes, I just 


I remembered all the bus rides of my university days, and the bus rides through the cities I'd lived in, and how I used to people-watch, and it was always just me, 
independant, unfettered, free as a bird,
and I smiled for that old me and that old life.

While just itching to get home
to the life I have now,

refreshed and worn-out, both.

Ready to share my Grand Adventure with my kids and husband,

wanting to see how their  faces lit up when they saw me,

knowing my face would light up just the same,
when I saw them.