Friday, April 29, 2016

Big like Spring


As the light has been increasing in minutes each day I have felt more topsy turvy than usual. Does one become more sensitive to change as one ages? I seem to remember feeling much more focused at this time of year in the past. I guess it can be attributed to a different season of family life. A time when each of the four members of our family need our own time. I no longer steal moments for myself but rather schedule dedicated time. I can link the increasing light to my own increase in personal priority which often feels wrong. Mothers are notoriously bad at taking time for themselves without guilt. I honestly don't understand why but feel it just the same.
In January I began to meet with some wonderful women to venerate the full moon.  Marking this time for myself has been a balm to the soul.  Learning has blossomed; acceptance, peace, trust.  Meeting others where they stand and just being, such a gift. It could not have been at another stage of parenting, not with this level of maturity.  I am grateful to have this companionship and right now it encompasses most of my spiritual life.
Last week Elliott lost his first tooth.  I can compare the feeling of children growing to standing inside a tornado.  You are in the calm middle watching as the winds rush around you.  It is impossible to stop them, they offer you brief moments of beauty, pain, laughter, fear...but there is no stopping the movement.
The emotional challenge of right now leaves me feeling overwhelmed but I just keep going.  There is no other option.  I hope that some clarity will come, a path will open up and be less unknown or covered in brambles.  Other parents seem to have things aligned better but I know that really we all struggle. We all work hard to put one foot in front of the other and chart the unknown journey of our own life. To carry the weight of our own desire while balancing the day-to-day and do all this without maps. It feels big right now. Big like Spring in the growing light.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Books and Travel, travel and books...



Last year at this time I was researching travelling in London and the Channel island of Jersey in what would be the biggest trip our family of four had taken together.  I think it is safe to say the trip was a success.  We had planned a more modest road trip down the west coast to California this year but life stepped in as it tends to do.  So I am now in the midst of planning a 5 week extended holiday/work experience in France.

We plan to live in the south of France for a month and travel for ten days afterwards in June & July.  I can not believe it really. In the span of two years I will have been in two of the cities I have dreamed of visiting for most of my life.  London and now, Paris!  Each time I realize this I am overcome.  And so besides brushing up on my French I am reading, reading, and researching.  Poring over the map of France and tracing train routes, working out dates and looking for rental apartments.

I was hoping to find some kids books about Paris like the London ones I found last year but so far I've had no luck.  Once I have read some more I'll do a book post similar to the London book one.  There are so many memoirs about living in Paris and fiction about France.  I will have to be very selective about what to read before and during the trip.

Speaking of reading I have dusted off my Goodreads account.  I found it tedious years ago when I began recording what I was reading.  But recently I have been trying to recall certain books that I have read and at times it is a struggle because I can remember a feeling about a book rather than a title.  So my Goodreads account will take care of this, along with my completed book shelf at my local library's website.  If you are interested in following me there my account is: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2556852-jen.

Dave plans to write a blog about our summer experience in France which I will be sure to write about once he gets it going.  I will write here as much as I can, as travel blogs are really handy and interesting for anyone planning to travel. À la prochane.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lessons in Letting Go

One aspect of this life stage (childrearing, late 30's) that never ceases to catch me off guard is the radical push that your sense of comfort gets.  Whether it is waking at all hours of the night, freezing on the sidelines of a rainy soccer game, or dealing with a gut wrenching emotional struggle that your 2nd grader is facing there are minutes, hours and days of discomfort.

One such event for me has been my boy's foray into the snowboarding world.  Other than a handful of skiing and snowboarding afternoons I have never really felt a call to hurtle myself down mountains on slippery, stylishly decorated wood & fibreglass boards.  My husband loves it.  My boys declared this fall that they wanted to try it.  And so lessons were set up and next week is the last of 5 weeks worth.

Kyan now loves it too.  Which surprised me.  I was full of discomfort on the first day, watching him pull the snowboard with one foot, a determined look of struggle on his face.  Every part of me wanted to tell him to unstrap his foot and forget about it.  I expressed this only to Dave who kindly told me Kyan was doing great.  As for our 4 year old, perhaps he was too young to start.  That determination was not in him for this activity yet.  But in a few years we will revisit it and see if he will join in the fun with Dad and big brother or hang out with mama doing something else.

The lesson that has become more apparent to me as the boys have worked on lifting their toes up and getting off the chair lift, is that I must endure the discomfort.  I must stand there with my hands in fists at my side and not comment.  There are so many things that my kids do that other parents may cringe at if their kids were doing. I don't get that feeling about: playing in mud, swinging sticks around,  walking a bit too far ahead on the trail....no problem.  They'll be fine.  Strapping a board on your feet and heading down a steep incline covered in snow.....Oh, my.....

But as I watched Kyan last week I felt a small sense of peace.  His slow and methodical personality shone through as he descended the run.  And I knew that he was ok.  The tension in my body relaxed slightly and I remembered again to let go.  Does the mama bird feel that apprehension when her young-ling flies off for the first attempt in the air?  Parenting is a never-ending series of letting go and holding close.  Certainly it's not recommended for the faint of heart.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Growing up with Art


The past few years has seen a decline in the amount that I blog about my kids.  I've noticed this happening on quite a few blogs as the genre has evolved over the past ten years.  As your children get older it seems a bit off to relay their day to day life.  It's as if the details are no longer yours to share but rather belong to the child.  Who knows if, as they age they will want every little detail of their childhood posted for the world to see.  So if I'm going to post something now, I think long and hard about it and I hope that when I do talk about our lives the boys will one day enjoy looking it over and not feel that I over-shared.

An opportunity presented itself last fall for the Garden Club of our school to participate in a public art project.  A new Whole Foods Market opened in our city and we painted the metal "birds" pictured here to be on permanent display in the Whole Foods Cafe.  Kyan has always loved making art and we were able to paint these two birds together.  He decided on the design of white with a grey circle and grey with a white circle.  I loved his graphic choice and simply helped him paint them.  

The influence of parents onto their kid's interests manifests itself in many different ways.  I look back on my own upbringing and see my mother's craft & design pursuits and my father's participation in community to have been influences on my personality.  I see art as part of my influence.  The boys have been to my art show openings, they see me sewing all the time.  We draw together, we see art exhibits together and they both state to who ever may ask them what I do that I am not only their mother but also an artist.  I have no idea how this will manifest later in their lives; if they will be art supporters, makers or enthusiasts, but I feel grateful that I can share my passion with them and that it is a part of our family life every day.

Monday, December 28, 2015

A December Collapse


Collapse is meant in a good way.  A crumple into sleep, the dark and rest.  After a busy first 3 weeks to the month is has been a nice change in these last few days of 2015 to revel in the longer mornings and extra sleep.

Our holidays have been nice, though I admit I was preoccupied by impending deadlines and keeping it all straight.  But as the year wanes it seems to make sense to have the good and stressful all mixed up since that was a theme of this year for me.

I don't feel that I have tons of observations other than the above at this point.  There is much I am looking forward in 2016.  One big thing is a gathering of ladies.  We are deciding to meet each full moon in a come as you are style.  These ladies are full of magic, we each come from different spiritual places but wish to share ritual and mark the passing of time.  This is a gift that my heart has longed for for some time.  I enter into it with no expectations other than a chance to acknowledge a part of me that has been dormant and needs some nurturing.

I send out many blessings to any who read this humble message for a happy new year, a year of discovery and growth.

Blessed Be.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

November Myth


When I contemplated what I would write about this month's word: Myth, I was baffled for quite some time.  So as we creep halfway through December I now feel ready to sort it out somewhat and lay it down for posterity.

Rather than using the "traditional story" definition of myth I am thinking of the "widely held but false belief or idea" version of the word.  And specifically I'm referring to the myth(s) we tell ourselves about ourselves.  We form stories from birth as our understanding increases.  Other people can break or contribute to the myths we create for ourselves.  These myths can often limit our capacity to change.  And I've held many that broke this year.

One such myth was that I lacked drive to pursue a career.  This year drive burst out if me with a vengeance  and I feel like I crushed several beliefs that I had created about how much time I actually have to make art.

I will hold this year as a marker, a place that revealed many ideas I had about my core that were false.  Perhaps they just could not emerge sooner than now.  37 was when they were supposed to become a part of me.  It certainly is true that age gives one the gift of understanding more about ourselves.  Or maybe it lets our constructed myths crack enough for us to consider other possible realities for who we are.

I have teachers around me, people that love me, who have helped these cracks open up as well.  Challenging me to let go of rigid ideas of myself that are outdated or that limit my growth as a human.  I am grateful for those lessons despite the fact that they can be painful to learn.

As I reach further than I ever have towards putting the pieces of my life puzzle together the coming year feels like a chance to push harder than before.  At this point I feel that I have to potentially overreach in order to understand where the balance or sweet spot is.  And the sweet spot will probably change more often than not but we will just have to adapt to that.

A human trait if ever there was one.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October the Harbinger

(photo taken by Elliott)

As this year winds down; days getting shorter while the cold creeps closer, I try and hear the herald of winter and just be.
Today I put my small garden to rest, Kyan is home from school with his first cold of the season.  The sun was out and the crisp morning was perfect for trimming the raspberry canes and the stems of faded Lady's Mantle blossoms.   Our home is slowly coming back together after several room renovations.  The process of refreshing after 5 years in this home is fulfilling but made October far from stress free.

There were a few traditions missed, we picked no apples and put out minimal Halloween decorations.  But in the spirit of doing our best with the situation at hand we still made the most of the seasonal fun.

I look forward to the Yule season this year as a time to decorate and make the most of our inside space although living in such a temperate climate we are able to be outside all year (as long as we don't mind the rain)

Dancing the Spiral at Reclaiming's Samhain ritual felt like a complete renewal of my body at the cellular level.  I find that I have become more open to the energy raised each year.  When I leave the ritual space I feel new, almost reborn and that energy carries me through the darkening.  In fact I crave that renewal and look forward to immersing myself in the winter season to come.  Perhaps being an autumn baby adds to the power of this time.  38 bares little problem for me, unlike how I felt last year as my 37 birthday approached.  Looking back on the past 10 months I see why I felt so uneasy last year.  It was a year of change and lessons, a harbinger of growth and things I didn't want to accept.  It may be something I'll reflect more on next month.