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.
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|
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|
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 Välimäki! She 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"?
"Awake" and "(Mostly) Mindful" and
Yeah, all of the above. That's me. :)