Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like…






Christmas always comes as a surprise to me.

Probably because the year is always roaring, kind of like a fire or train or truck or runaway ball in an Indiana Jones movie—it's hard to keep up with time and how quickly it passes. Sometimes you're so busy moving, keeping ahead of the Busy, you don't think of anything but just Getting Through. Or maybe, you're so happily running alongside that train, watching the fire, dancing on that ball, that you just don't notice time doing its thing, moving right along.

And now, it's 4 days until Christmas and, wait… how did that happen?

Christmas…the massive holiday that businesses and advertisers plan for, for months, the one that brings in money for shops big and small, the one that involves a lot of buying and thinking about giving… the holiday where everyone wants you to be Happy! Everyone's wishing you a Merry one, in the shops, at the end of term classes, over the phone to each other, strangers and friends alike. It's this thing we're all united by, and stressed out by, and maybe a bit confused about, sometimes. It's like the word that doesn't look weird until you write it a dozen times.

Christmas. What's it about?

What are we getting "ready" for?

Why do we cherish it?

Who says we should even celebrate it?

I'm getting these questions from my kids; I'm thinking them myself.

My family and I live outside the box in so many ways. So why do we "Do" Christmas?



I think the reason so many of us "Do" it, is because that's how it's always been, at least in my collective, European/Australian/American culture. Millions and millions of us join the hustle, do the bustle. We get the presents, make the food, prepare the parties, play the music, decorate. We fret, we argue, we spend. We sit together one day a year beside a tree that people say we should get, opening presents people say we should buy, scarfing down food people say we should eat. We do it, often joyfully, often begrudgingly, often stressfully, often lovingly.

And then we do it all over again the next year.

Why?

Well, it can be fun. Like, a lot of fun.

Stockings alone. I mean, stockings rock. Seeing that great lumpy thing at the end of your bed at dawn—I'll never forget how excited I used to be. What's not to love about a giant sock full of stuff? The crackle of the paper as you open the tiny Thing and then the next tiny Thing and the next? Sharing what you've found with your brother, your sister, your parents. So much smiling! Then the presents under the tree. The pile of them, literally singing to you, wanting you to shake them, hold them, open them, hug the person who gave them to you. And the giving. Well, that's pretty awesome too. Seeing the look of delight on peoples' faces when they've unwrapped just the thing they wanted. That moment can be so lovely.

Being together is beautiful too. Families often rock. There's all that love, for one. Then there's the hugging, the laughter, the shared history. The smiling, and of course all the singing. Those Christmas songs! Something about them, it just makes you want to do something jolly, doesn't it? Right there, on the spot.



And of course—and for many this comes top of the list of why we "Do" Christmas—well, there's Jesus. For millions of people, this day is a celebration of a life devoted to bringing people to God. I'm not religious…but at the same time I am not not religious, if that makes any sense. I'd call myself spiritual, a person of faith, but I don't know how to explain the depths or intricacies of it to anyone except, sort of, to me. And I think Jesus was pretty awesome—in the same way I also see Buddha, and Ghandi as awesome, and all people who devote their lives to love, peace, and compassion. Jesus saw humanity as all worthy of being saved; he saw all people as deserving of love. He was the turn-the-other-cheek guy, the forgiveness guy, the rebel, the new-path taker, the one who walked with everyone, spoke to everyone, believed in all people. Who wouldn't want to celebrate the birth of a guy like that?

And if you go to church on Christmas, and sit with others celebrating a life built on love, faith, and kindness? Well that can be beautiful, too. There's so much smiling in church on Christmas—I've been to church twice on a Christmas day, and it felt like a truly happy place to be.




But Christmas, the Thing, the constructed reality that we are expected to follow without questioning, I feel a bit full of that. I feel like we're at the edge of reinventing our Christmas, at a turning point where we might start choosing Something Different, something Else.

Our tree for a start.

The things we would like to give and get.

My kids and their wants.

I have asked my two what they want for Christmas, and repeatedly they've said, "Nothing." My son is saving for juggling clubs…all he'd like is maybe $5 towards those. My girl, well, she literally has asked for nothing at all. We aren't even doing stockings this year. I have bought one shared thing for them, and it's something I would have bought anyway, something they already know about and have seen. They want to give money to Animals Australia, to other charities that support compassion. They don't want any stuff at all. And…this is the most interesting part perhaps… we don't have anything for our extended family yet. Nothing!

It's that kind of Christmas we seem to be having. Already re-inventing, I suppose!



We'll see my family—my mum and sister and nieces and partners—and we'll eat food and we'll be really happy to hang out together. I know we will sing silly songs and my kids and husband and I will give our mostly home-made gifts (if we can make them in time?). And there might be moments we misunderstand each other or worry about something, and we mightn't have a perfect time.

And we will do it again, next year, because that's what we do. Because being together and singing Christmas songs and opening thoughtful gifts is a dance that can bring a whole lot of joy.



But one year… one day… ?

One day, I'd like my Christmas to be silent. Well, not silent… but quieter. Just shush, Christmas, please, just for a moment? Let me sit with you and look around.

I'd like the noise of the shops and the people asking me to Buy stuff to settle down.

I want to not be urged to buy things I don't need or want. I want to not buy stuff just because society tells me to.

I want to give when the giving makes sense, when the giving helps, when the giving isn't about material stuff, but about something Bigger.

I'd like all the junk to be replaced with food or shelter or medicine or books.

I'd like to sit on a beach, or an empty church, or walk in a field of snow, and I'd like to stop, and feel thankful.

I would like to sit and feel grateful to life. To the Universe. To god—whoever or whatever that might be. To the energy pulsing around, making the earth spin and my molecules knit, and my breath go in, go out, go in.

I'd like to spend a morning watching waves.

I'd like to hold hands with my family and tell each person why I love them.

I want to eat only plants, and talk about real things.

I want to listen and make a difference.

I'd like to do something of value.

I want to laugh.

I want to give.



Perhaps we already are? Beginning to have the Christmas I dream of? I think we might be.



This year, just yesterday, my kids, husband, niece and I made this tree. We had such a beautiful time doing it. I adore it, and everything it represents.


I think we will have a truly lovely time this Christmas day. I hope you all do, whatever you do—whether you are alone or with families—celebrating, working, living, giving… I hope you find joy.

Which is the same hope I have for you all the days! The ones before and after, every day that rolls out from you, roaring.




note:
the elf with the santa hat and the reindeer were created by my beautiful niece. Juggler and Santa by my boy, cat by my girl. Star by the five of us. Fox by me :)




Saturday, December 14, 2013

our homeschool—our treasure trove

Our "school year" is almost finished… and what a year it has been. I haven't written a lot about it here, mostly because it's been SO SO busy. Finding time to write it all down has been like trying to catch shooting stars…imagine me, running about the grass, arms up in the air, trying to catch all that light in my hands. 

Many days and nights, I don't even try to capture it all. I just watch, my mouth open, dazzled and inspired. 

This year, my son was able to immerse himself completely in his juggling. He has worked so hard and improved so much! He has performed many times in his beloved circus space, plus at school fetes, music camps, our local city festival, at a big national festival and, just recently, he did his first solo show as part of a community review. What an amazing year he's had.






And what a thing, to be able to give (with the help of his trainers and mentors) the gift of time and training space to a boy who loves something this much. What an amazing thing, to watch how that gift has helped a boy completely blossom, to completely own the thing he loves, improving so much that big international jugglers are noticing him on YouTube and Facebook. His most recent video has over 300 views. What a thing. What a thing! 

I couldn't be more pleased for him. 





As for my girl? Well, this year, she discovered and fell in love with Scratch, a online computer programming application. She has created and posted countless animations, games, role plays, stories, and pictures. She has found a beautiful community of (cat-loving!) animators who "Get" her. And she has over 100 followers in the Scratch community. She LOVES it. 

Now, she's exploring Flash animation and Photoshop, developing her love even further. How awesome to watch her in her element, improving every day, exploring and creating her heart out. 




PLUS, she's now over 300 pages into her novel. Yes, she's writing a novel too! The best days for my girl are filled with writing, reading, dreaming, art-ing, animating, laughing, swimming, and singing (not that we are supposed to listen!). I am so glad I can give her time to do all that.

I am so glad I get to give this incredible thing—the gift of time—to my kids. I am so glad I get to say, 'Yes!' And, 'Oh, that sounds interesting!' And, 'Sure, go and do that!" I get to watch as they dive deeply into the things they love.

I get to hear all the things they want to explore, what they want to immerse themselves in; I get to learn all the things that make them tick and move and smile, the things that make them want to get out of bed. I get to hear about their discoveries. I get to sit and watch the movie they've made, hear all about the informational video they've just watched, see the art they've drawn, the animation they've created, hear the song they've just found. I get to sit in the audience or right by their side as they show me who they are. 

And it's like I'm standing with them in this incredible room—a treasure trove of secret drawers and boxes, with tunnels and wondrous things waiting behind curtains. Everywhere we turn there's something new to put in our pocket, something incredible to see and absorb. It's like the room is actually vibrating, like it's filled with notes waiting in the throats of birds. 

And we're so filled with the desire to Learn! and Discover! and Explore! and Make! that our room is sometimes packed to overflowing. Some days, we have to just stop and read a book for a day, or go swimming, and try our very hardest not to learn anything new, just so we can take a break. 

But we can't seem to help ourselves. The learning keeps finding us. The new keeps surprising us. Adventures keep beckoning. Life keeps on bringing us joy.



P.S.

bird by my girl…

from this week's exhibition with their art class
at a lovely gallery down town!

portrait by my boy…

art by the whole class…

(my girl's squirrel is on the top left
my son's watercolour landscape is the top right)

:)

Monday, November 4, 2013

around the sun


credit:
from my girl's Scratch profile


I remember the moment she came out and they lay her on my belly and I said, 'Is she all right?' because, you see, it seemed as though she wasn't breathing. She lay so still and was so calm it threw me. Aren't you suppose to bawl the roof off the sucker when life starts?

Now, I think it's because she had already figured a few things out. Right that moment, she was surrounded by that heart-thumping, sky-breaking-open kind of love people write poems about. She had her skin on mine. Umbilical cord still attached. Life not too curly, yet. What did she need to do these first few moments but relax?

She's still heart-stoppingly beautiful to me. She's still as full of light and joy as those first syrup-slow seconds. I get to be her mum, still. And always, too.

It's her birthday today. It's been a really, really nice day.

Happy Birthday, to one of my best friends—my beautiful, imaginative, kind, inspiring girl.









Saturday, November 2, 2013

my son, the juggler


My son worked for weeks on this video,
training every day
coming up with new ideas

constantly
thinking
watching 
commenting 
listening 
and learning.

He lives and breathes juggling…
he lives and breathes the thing he loves.

This is where passion and dedication take you.



Isn't it lovely?


:)





Friday, November 1, 2013

keeping on

I wrote a very raw post a few days ago,
which took me literally hours and hours to write…

but I deleted it for a couple of reasons.

One…

I was concerned it misrepresented a very dear person who I credit with being part of my Life Safety Net. In the beginning of my post, I wrote words my counsellor said to me, and I don't know that I gave him, or them, justice. Out of context, the words he said seemed less kind than they were in real life, as he sat a leg length away, listening. The words he said were couched in enormous empathy and understanding. I wish you'd been there to see how much they helped, and how much it helped to talk to him.

I don't know how things would be if I didn't see my 'Professional Brain Sorter' every month or so…if I wasn't able to tip my thoughts out in front of him, like bright pebbles in a sack, and have him there to sift through them all with me. All those bits and bobs and tears and joy…together we try to make sense of it all. I am lucky to have people like that in my life. It's not something I take lightly.

Two…

I thought my words might be too dark and just too heavy.

They weren't supposed to be.

I want to write about homeschooling and our camping trips and swimming and hugs and all my workshops and just how many times we laugh in a single day… but my fears at the Unravelling State of the World seem to be sitting on my shoulders saying, "Oy! Write about us first! Hurry! Hurry! Get everyone to listen! Something must be Done! Nothing else matters but us!" And so those are the words that come out here.

I want to make a difference in this world. I want to make a difference. But I'd like to remember to live, too.

I don't know how, in this year of incredible experiences and magical growth and glorious discoveries, I ended up writing more and more about the things that concern me, and bring me down. And almost not at all about the marvellous Everything Else. But I suppose that's part of the journey, right? You don't know what's going to take up space in your brain. You share what you care about, in that moment, the thoughts that rise, the things that you think of in the spaces in between. You just have to hope that the Hard and the Heavy don't fill your pockets and sink you. You have to hope you'll notice the joy, too.

So in the spirit of noticing and finding joy (Remember that, self? Finding joy.) I want to share the music that got me through the recent Really Rough Patch I wrote about in my deleted post.

And I'll share some of those deleted words because I want to share the moment, as I was listening to beauty, things seemed to begin to turn around…

And tomorrow will be another day, where I am certain I will laugh, and my children will hug me, and I will love them like crazy and my husband will be funny,

and I will smile at all the living things.



The music 
(aka the soundtrack to the following words…)




The words


And you notice…

that all these days of being battered by sorrow and confusion and despair, you've STILL fed your kids and laughed with them because they are inspiring and beautiful, 

and you've made sure they know they are loved.

Somehow, you've taken them swimming and taught your girl algebra and filmed your son juggling and been proud of your husband and doled out hugs like people handing out balloons at the mall.

You haven't shouted at anyone and every single day you've gotten out of bed.

You've smiled at passers by and you've let people go ahead of you on the road. You've chatted to friends; you've scratched the dog's belly and stared into his old, old eyes. You've run your workshops and forgotten about the Awful and the Mad for those magic, light-filled hours. You've told silly stories to small children. You have made puppets.

You've found …  lying determinedly on the flipside of madness, is delight.


Delight is reaching through water as you swim lap after lap of the pool, your hands pulling you forward. You swim between your kids as they play. You poke at their bellies under water as you pass them by, and make them laugh.

Delight is listening to your son tell you about neutrons and the theory of 'intersubjectivity' from his university history class; it's him showing you his new juggling video; it's watching as he balances a swim noodle on his chin in the pool.

Delight is hearing your girl laugh at a line in the Princess Bride, her latest book. It's her telling you about her newest animation project; it's your girl's arms thrown around you on the couch for no other reason than Because.

Delight is music, found and held, three days ago. You reached for it then like it was a lifejacket, thrown as you bobbed about on the echoing waves, there under a fathomless sky, alone in a sea you'd built with your mind.


Delight was that moment, three days ago, as you listened to that song.


There you are, do you see?

You are sitting at the computer, bathed in only a dim square of light. Night pulses, possums scritch the eucalypts outside. Kids are in bed, your husband is far, far, far away somewhere in the house; you've shut him out with those headphones on; you can't even speak to tell him how sad and afraid you are.

The song begins, it's enormous, it's beautiful. Everything hurts.

The cat wanders by, his tail effortlessly high; he peers at you. You are just another breathing thing in this house, just another thing. But in that moment, suddenly, he's all you have. You will, you wish—all your senses reaching—for him to leap into your lap and stay.

He leaps up. He pauses, two paws balanced on each thigh. Does he sense, his tail twitching slightly, how deep your despair runs right now?

The music rises, builds. Will he stay? Will he stay?

As the music opens up and lays you bare, the cat turns into a fur circle, and lies down. You pull him close. His paw reaches to wrap around your arm. He stays.

You are so grateful, you cry.

It is the first time you've cried, all these long, Mad days. You don't know how many there have been; more than one, more than enough.

Everything curves out from this. The song. Your tears. The cat. The warm. It's the beginning of something else.

The beginning of talking to people you love…again, again…and the beginning of reaching out.



There, do you see it?

Somewhere on the spinning disc that is madness and delight bound impossibly together,

perhaps pinned to the ridged, thin seam in between

or perhaps floating around it, like an idea
or an electron cloud,

is something a tiny bit like hope.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ghandi and bees: how to save the earth




The bees are making paths only they can see in my mandarin tree. Flower to flower, gathering pollen on their legs like old ladies carrying shopping bags. They dance in the sun to sound only they can hear, move back and forth in steps older than time; they are ancient.

I watch from my laundry room, washing my hands in the sink.

I think of the age of bees. The age of gathering pollen and passing pollen and making the flowers bloom and the act of bringing life, and I know that I don't understand it all. But it is beautiful.

I watch the bees and think of the planet, dying. Dying at our hands, dying if we do nothing. The science reports everywhere agree; news and pictures call chaos from all their corners. And I wash my hands in the sink and feel outraged and heartbroken because 7 billion of us aren't marching in the streets. We aren't all singing the land and sea back to health, tending, caring, mending. We aren't saving the earth together, standing with our hands outstretched.

I think of Ghandi. I think of civil disobedience. I think of the power of a collective Us. What if we all stopped? Refused to do anything else until the planet was safe?

What if we lay down in front of every choice that demeaned and starved and spoiled the earth and said, No More Please.

Would we ever be so brave?

Civil disobedience—Ghandi practiced it. Rosa Parks too. The guy in Tianamen Square. All it takes is a steadfast and polite refusal to accept what is, a refusal to accept what other people say cannot be changed. What if we practiced that kind of refusal without retribution, anger, vitriol? What if we said No without shouting, without fists in the air or punches thrown? What if we all said No, repeatedly, spoke the type of No where people might actually listen.

Could we do that?

Could we lie down together, a sea of us, side by side, tips of fingers touching? Walk the road together, miles of us, shoulder to shoulder, in peace? Speak together, our voices one long, collective song? Sit down in simple, massive barricades and refuse point blank to accept the kind of destruction that makes us weep, the kind that could leave us with no planet left to protect?

Could we be so united?

Could we be so calm?

Could we be so wise?

I see, so clearly, the path we could follow. The song we could all hear, the one we could all move our feet to, the steps we could take. All of us, dancing or still. All of us making a difference. It is far, far simpler than we choose to believe.






Saturday, September 14, 2013

If you asked me

So my last post was a bit abrupt… After being away, AGAIN, for over a month, there should have been some, you know, light chat maybe, maybe a kiss on the cheek and a 'How have you been? You've been well? Good! And the kids? How are they? How's work? Nice, nice, I'm so pleased to bump into you!'

And we would have smiled and been so glad to see each other. And then you might have asked me How I Was Feeling, and you might have asked, "Are you Okay?"

Would I have been honest?

Would I have said, "Well…some days have been glorious. Other days … have felt raw, like each pore hurt."

Would I have said, "Some days I've felt that the world's ugliness is too ugly. Some days I've thought, I can't live like this! All the unkindness. It's impossible to bear."

Would I have said, "Some days it's like I carry the hurt of all the others. I feel so much, too much, for the animals, the trees, the children, the ocean, the innocent, the war-torn, and the lost. I think about them at night, when I wake and through the day… and it's like their voices are clattering inside, calling out. But their voices are my voice too, and it's my confusion, my hurt, my sorrow too, because I can't explain all the ugliness to my kids; I can't explain it even to myself. I can't make it okay.

Those days are harder than others."


Would you have been a bit lost for words?


But then I would have smiled and said, "Every single day though, literally every single day, I have laughed."

And I would have said, "Every single day, every second of my days, is filled with love."


And I would say, "I feel so grateful for that."


And then I would tell you something pure and personal.

"Every single day," I would say, "begins and ends with one goal: Be Kind. Be the Kindest, most compassionate person I can be."

Well, you might laugh a little then, because in that moment I would totally sound like a Hallmark card.

(And I'd laugh too, because I always laugh when other people laugh, and even when they don't. I do a lot of laughing, actually, and a lot of smiling in between.)

And you might say, "Every day? Seriously? No-one's that perfect!" and secretly you might have thought, 'Dude. Who can be kind every day? I mean, everyone's got to crack at some point.'

I'd say, "I'm not saying I'm perfect—I totally mess up sometimes. But I catch myself, sometimes even before I mess up. Those are nice moments—choosing the kinder path as it shows itself. And I say sorry, a lot more than I used to."

I would keep talking then, because I'd be getting on a roll. And I would hope you were listening still, because I'd be sharing what I care about the most.

"Kindness…it's everything; it's my daily, simple goal. It's the core of who I am and want to be. It's not even that hard, once you start—my kids are kind almost 100 percent of the time, and they do it instinctively. And they're not even boring—all that kindness and compassion and they're still really interesting, funny people."

And then I'd get this wild, hopeful light in my eyes. I'd lean forward intently and say this:

"Imagine. What if every day, people thought, "Hey.…What is the kindest, most thoughtful thing I could do today? What if they then went and did it—imagine how beautiful the world could be."

I'd say, "Imagine a world where kindness always won. What if instead of hurting, we stopped and thought, How would that feel, if this hurtful act or cruel word was said or done to me? What if we lived as though we were the Other? What if we spent our time looking out instead of looking in?"


And I would confess, "I know I'm not perfect. There is no perfect. I think of me often, just like everyone else. I want to publish my novel. I want to ride my bike and go to the movies and get a foot massage and not have to make dinner some nights. I want to be loved.

But I also want to be MORE.

I want to love back.

I want to be of service. I want to speak out against ugliness. I want to Be Kind today and all days.

I want to put Kindness in a dropper, with all the others who seek to be kind; I want to plant it drip by sweet drip on the plants and in the sea and on the sidewalks where it will spread out in great ripples. The kindness would be impossible to miss then, because there'd be so many of us, smiling and hopeful, droppers in hand, spreading love.

Imagine that. Just imagine that." I would say.

At least, that's what I hope I would say, if I was standing there in front of you,

and you asked me How I Was.





Friday, September 13, 2013

lifted





I have no time for ugly things. I have no time for hurting others, no time for ugly words, no time for turning a blind eye to suffering, no time for senseless violence, no time for being quiet just because this is the way things are. I have no time for doing nothing merely because there is too much to do, no time for looking away merely because looking is so hard. 

But…the ugly is all around. Sometimes it weighs you, wants to grind you to a nub; it wants to claim you. What do you do? What do I do?

All I have against the ugly are my own infinitely tiny steps, my own small voice, my own actions. How can they be enough, in the face of everything? Somehow, sometimes, they are. Enough for me to get from waking moment to waking moment. And then I see the others, walking too, speaking too, acting and making their own tiny dust mote miracles. Here I am, here we are—here we shout!—all we mere specks, speaking out.

And I am lifted by wonder. 








Sunday, August 4, 2013

a day in the life…

What's she been doing?

The last 24 hours have been filled to the brim with…

books made,
stories told,




 and drawings drawn (sometimes with a mum!).

(Mine are the green boxes, hers are the black…
the 2 of us making whiteboard stories on a sleepy Sunday morning)

Then hot chocolates sipped…
while walking to the sea,


and a path followed

…to a glorious ocean




and a little blowhole photographed.


Colours discovered,


patterns made,





this pattern is by me…
the rest are my girl's :) 


and a hat caught by the wind and lost to the sea (oh no! But so funny, too!).


Then…

home for more drawing!

And more stories!




So much to talk about;

so much laughter!

She is such a joy to be with.

What a beautiful friend.







Sunday, July 28, 2013

really, truly

"Busy"… 

and "Really, truly happy."

That's how I'd describe the past month and a half!

We just had the "school holidays" … the kids filled them with rest, reading, making animations and games, juggling, writing, art, walks on the beach…on repeat for 14 days. It was BLISS.

I thought I would spend the holidays writing my novel…but my mind said Otherwise!

My mind kept me up night after night with a Grand New Plan, got me leaning for a pen at two in the morning so I could scrawl notes on the back of my hand, got me fizzy with excitement for creative projects and wide awake dreams. Night after night I wrote notes in my little book…my husband laughed to see me about to go to sleep, just about to nod off, then going, "Oh, sorry, I just have to write one more thing…" and turning on the light to write Another Idea down.

It's been an amazing time. A whole Realise-Your-Dreams time, a time of sweet energy and to-the-core peace.

This is what I've been doing!

I set up two brand new workshops, which I am calling "The Imaginarium"—they are creativity workshops for young people which I'm running from my home. I am running them every Friday—two groups meeting alternately every fortnight, all homeschoolers. Both groups have now met, and both have been deliciously fun! I have just created a website, a blog really, to showcase what the Imaginarium is all about and what we'll get up to. It's going to be updated with photos of our projects, stories, all the creative things we'll explore…we are just beginning, and I can't wait to see what happens.

Click here to get to the new Blog! :)

I also moved my Tuesday workshop to my house, my once-kind-of-chaotic-but-now-pretty-cosy home, which is now set up with nooks in which to write and draw, cushions and benches to sit on, and creative spaces all over the place. After years of living in a fairly chaotic house, we fixed it up last year, and it's made such a huge difference. It means I can finally run things from my home, and that makes me so happy. The sweet thing is, because I'm running so many workshops from home, the house is pretty much always tidy. This isn't me boasting—this is me, amazed and relieved. :)





I can't even tell you what a dream this has been for me. I remember doing my Masters and telling my friends how one day I really wanted to create a Creative Arts space for young people, a safe and supportive place where kids and young adults could come and have their voices be heard. Now I'm running workshops three times a week—my Young Writers Workshop on Tuesdays, my Imaginarium on Fridays, and The Writers Room on Saturdays. Each one is so special and gives me such joy I could burst. The laughter and enthusiasm alone is enough to fill me—then there's the stories these young people tell, the drawings, the jokes, the ideas they share, the vulnerability they have and the ways they show they feel safe…my goodness… it's a cup-runneth-completely-over kind of thing. I thank everyone for coming each time, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart, from the ends of my toes on up.


What else?

Well, I've been in touch with a Creative Arts studio about doing some writing workshops with them. I don't know when I'll have time to do them, or if they'll even ask me, but wow, they were lovely women, and that was a really nice meeting! :)

I did a drawing workshop a couple of weeks ago at that same studio, run by the same awesome women. I got to sit cosily in their space on a Tuesday night with a bunch of artists, all drawing and painting a gorgeous soul-singer who sang to us for over an hour. It was so lovely. It looks like I'll get to go regularly, too—how perfect.

The lovely Studio 19

Plus!

I met with the manager of my son's Circus school, and I'm going to do some work for them—help them set up their educational programs in schools. Just in my spare time, you know?!

I finished editing a friend's beautiful project—a book of stories to go with a CD of songs, sung by mothers to their children. It's a very special project that has brought my friend so much joy. I can't wait to see the finished product!
MotherSong on Facebook


Plus…!

I joined a gym, and have been exercising like a little gym bunny (…minus the spandex). And hardly obsessively…just enough.

And we've been walking on the beach, breathing in the ocean, the sunlight, and the can't-wrap-your-arms-around-it-because-it's too-big-but-you-hug-it-in-your-mind-anyway…sweet space all around.



Plus, plus, PLUS!

We got re-registered as homeschoolers. After a wee lapse in registering (oh…um, just a two year gap? Really, hardly a lapse at all!), I spent my spare moments over the holidays putting together all our records, setting up our homeschooling plans, compiling the kids' work, so that I could present a great package to the Authorised Person. He came last Thursday—we spent two hours talking his ear off and doing a huge "show-and-tell session"—and he was really pleased with what we were doing. We got approved to homeschool for another long slab of time, and it felt so, so satisfying.

To celebrate, we took ourselves out to lunch, and then we went to the Art Gallery, just because we love it there. We saw an incredibly moving exhibition (that happened to be wildly educational too), and we talked for ages about it afterwards. It was a magic homeschooling day; it was a magic family day—it was just Happy All Around.

One of the exhibits, this beautiful piece called
Gateway is actually done by a friend of mine,

Arja VälimäkiShe is so talented.

It might seem that things are too busy here, but they actually aren't! I've set up our "schedule" so that there are open spaces everywhere. I know when my son is going to be training at circus, and when we will be at home. We've cut down on some things, and have left lovely fields of time for reading, exploring, talking, learning, learning, learning.

I feel like my creative self is truly awake. Our homeschooling selves are being satisfied. Our need for time and space to rest is being met. Our love for books and art is being fed, our passions are never neglected.

Some days we're tired, some days we have colds and aches, some days we don't want to fix dinner, and some days the laundry pile is HUGE.

But life is still full and deeply satisfying. I think the word for that is "Good."

And there's this contentment sitting in the core of me, in the deep and furthest places where anxiety and overwhelm too often used to be. It's a complex feeling… hearty like soup and crusty bread…sometimes. It's fizzy like sparkling water… sometimes. It's giddy and sweet and solid and calm—it is fluid and arranges itself like clouds (the kind you watch while lying on your back on grass; the kind that make the shape of barking dogs and dragons chasing their tails). It's a feeling that has a lot of laughter in it.

I think the name for it is… "Happy."

Or is it "Content"?

How about, "At Peace"?

Perhaps, "Surrendering To What Is"?

"Accepting?"

"Awake" and "(Mostly) Mindful" and

"Grateful"

and

"Fulfilled"?

Yeah, all of the above. That's me. :)