Saturday, August 20, 2011

stuck and unstuck

I didn't mean to not write for five days. Usually I have about a thousand words ricocheting around my brain at any given minute. Usually they pour out…

but my brain got stuck.

Do you ever have that moment when a fear hits so hard it actually leaves you breathless?

I had that this week. A 25-year-old, recurring fear reared its head, leaving me unable to write here (or anywhere much else for that matter) for days.

I felt quite paralysed with it. I was okay if I was around people, and thank goodness for my children, for friends meeting up, and children playing, and the laughter—all around—of kids and grown-ups I treasure. Then I could float serenely on their company.

It was during any downtime that the fear would slide up soundlessly. Tap me on the shoulder. Lean forward and whisper:

I'm still here.

I had all these words to write—especially about the comments in my last post. Right there was a conversation I really wanted to have. I've been writing my replies in my head all week (really!). Been going to the computer, freezing up.

Because right then the fear would whisper:

come feed me, won't you? Or at least try to battle me. Make this interesting. 

It sure takes a lot of energy feeding or battling fear. And when you hit the wall, and think you'll never be free… ah. The hopelessness that hits. It takes a lot out of a soul. A lot out of my mothering, my living, my loving, my laughing, my Being.


While the fear has been splish-splashing around in my brain,

SO many good things have been happening.

SO many.

I've been watching, as though from far away, but sometimes, in moments of relief, blessedly close up and present,

my life.

My daughter

who last Thursday, joined this year's Lego League team with her brother. She listened to the coach's presentation, listened to me as I detailed the work that would be involved, what might be asked of her. She said, I want to do it!

She went off to do the team building exercise—she got tangled up with other kids, who were then told to untangle themselves. Which meant physical closeness, the potential for getting hurt, a huge sense of not knowing what might happen. All these things have completely blocked her before. But this time? She was in the thick of it. Smiling, but even more beautifully—laughing. It made my heart sing.

My son

who painted a painting in Art class that blew my mind. His art teacher said, "You get it. You have it. All that's left to do, is get even better." He looked like he might rise from the ground and float away.

My kids and others

who met up for homeschool group and frolicked (yes, frolicked!) in the indoor swimming pool for hours. I loved that they had the time to play for hours. I loved that these kids, ranging in age from 6 to 13, played completely together, making up games, supporting each other. They were friends without boundaries. I thought, so clearly then, I love homeschool.

And all through the week,

my children.

Who played and made up stories, and created and read and spent days pealing with laughter. I saw that we were so lucky.

My kids get to live a life where the creative arts—their passion—take centre stage. They get to truly explore visual art and music and writing and reading in their day to day lives, be fully immersed, be Artists. It's what they love, and how they learn, and nothing blocks that. That is beautiful.

My children

who all week have given me kisses, cuddles, talked to me, kept me company. They've asked for my attention and given theirs—wholly. They have been kind, loving and so gloriously interesting!

Which means…

I've been frozen and unfrozen, both.

Trapped, in quiet time, in a determined battle with a fear so old, and so useless it's a wonder it hasn't shriveled up by now. Ah, it's a tenacious little sucker. But today I have the upper hand. Today. Today, this moment. Now. The Upper Hand. You listening, Fear?

And free, in busy time, to watch, and love, and learn. To see how it's possible to overcome fears (thank you, dear girl. You are an incredible inspiration to me). To delight (in the music! the art! the imagination!)

To remember. To see. To feel blessed.

Today, I am going to go and watch my son busk in the downtown shopping mall. It's his first time. He was invited by some high school kids to play with them. Kind of excellent! He's quietly, completely, chuffed about it.

Today, I'll be hanging out with my husband and daughter. We're going to get hot chocolates and watch the buskers. But only a bit. We won't hover—we know that would be uncool!

But I'll be watching, and noting. Delighting. Keeping my Upper Hand the hardest and the best I can.


  1. Been thinking of you Helena...the universe must be telling me to send you cyber-hugs! Love that your daughter got brave, LOVE your son's painting (just stunned and amazed!), loved the swimming (how much fun!). Stay strong and know that we love your blog and that you share everything with us (we are lucky ducks!).

  2. Hi. Can I send you a book? Email me if you dare! LOL! prayers to you and your gorgeous fam.

  3. So glad to see you post. You know how much "I" miss you when you are gone. So proud of your girl for the Lego! And your boy's painting... WOW..seriously..WOW. I have no clue what busking and chuffed mean but about to google them. ;) Please keep writing Helena, keep being in your beautiful spot, keep smiling for those amazing moments with your kids. Do you have any idea how much you inspire me? I love all my blog friends, but I wish, out of all of them, I could be like you. YOU ROCK!!!

    PS. I love it..'friends without boundaries"

  4. Amazing post. I adore your writing and you always fill me up with what you have to say. :) Your son's painting is amazing. I would have exploded over the top to see my children so something like that. And then for him to hear those words of affirmation? Amazing. :)

  5. 'played completely together', 'friends without boundaries'. Yep! This is IT! I am constantly blown away when I watch my children playing in a very mixed age group with their homeschool friends. It's. just. so. natural. Isn't it? It's reason enough on it's own to pursue this school-free life.


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.