Friday, November 30, 2012

november, again

This week has been a bit of a challenge.  Days feeling long, my brain not retaining information, rushing around, dealing with the ineptitude of others.

But simultaneously I have looked upon my family with expanding eyes.  I have sat and talked with my husband in the evening lamenting the complexity of adulthood but accepting that in this moment at 35 the complexity is never going away.  It just is, it is life.

The quiet in this space may continue for a while.  My priorities are shifting slightly though I'm sure I will return  here with more regularity in the future.

What I am noticing is that as I project myself outwards towards my local community I have less energy to project towards the online one.  But again, I am not worried or saddened by this.  It is an experiment in a way.  An expansion of my safety zone.  It feels like a good time.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book of the Month: Wild Comfort

This stunning collection of essays was a delight to read.  Kathleen Dean Moore is a philosophy professor, nature lover, and wife to a biologist.  Moving fluidly from Oregon (her main home) to her Alaskan cabin and some exotic locals elsewhere her essays mix personal experience with deeply compelling reflections on death, the cycles of the earth, wild life and our human weaknesses.

Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature takes you on a journey with Moore and her family that you want to continue past the end of the book.  After a series of close ones in her life dying she took to journey of the artist deep inside to find some sense of solace.  Bittersweet mixed with the simple rhythms of nature; while Moore's spiritual side is practically agnostic she touches on the mysterious and magical of the outdoors and our unmistakable connection to it.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for comfort based in the falling of snow, the habits of birds or the currents of the ocean.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

just a little off

That's how I'm feeling this week.  A weekend away has left me feeling behind...just trying to keep afloat amid  the normal day-to-day.  Today the sun has shined all day and that has been very refreshing.  In fact nature has brought a sense of solace with some heart pumping hikes and drinking tea by a rushing creek with Elliott.  As I'm ordering gifts, attending craft fairs, cooking and doing a little making I feel the need for quiet.
Perhaps that is why being in the woods is giving me so much comfort.  The loud hum of the water over rocks, birds, those sounds are good noise.

Sleep is also a bit short these days, something I will keep trying to remedy since we are all fighting the sniffles.  I am keenly aware of the dark time, these weeks from Samhain to Yule always hold reflection and a sense of turning inward.  Next week I hit a bit of a milestone age and that has me marveling at how time moves.  The spirals of life cycling around us...

 I think I'll get through these feelings eventually.  I think it is normal to experience this ebb after the flow of the last 6 weeks.  Soon things will be quieting down in terms of day-to-day and holiday fun will spring up here and there.  Soon...the only certainty is the passing of one moment into another.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How we do...

Toy rotation.

One of the most important tips that I gathered from Kim Payne's book Simplicity Parenting was the use of toy rotation and a "toy library" storage system.  System may be the wrong word because it implies something  that may seem more organized than a big cardboard box of toys in the storage room but hey, whatever works.  My point here is you don't need fancy shelves or even lots of labels to do this.  Just take half of the toys that are crowding your living space and put them away for a few months.

Payne's point in doing this was that if children are overwhelmed by too many toys they don't actually play with them, they just move from toy to toy and discard them in their wake.  After using this system for a year or so I tend to agree.  After a few months of toys being out of sight it is like bringing out something brand new when a still appreciated toy emerges from storage.

 I would love to say that once a season I rotate out books and toys freshening them up so to speak but it ends up being more like twice a year.  Regardless of the schedule it lets you get rid of broken or outgrown toys and keep the clutter a bit more controlled.  I also try to keep a one in, one out strategy so if a new toy is  acquired or one child asks for a specific toy from storage I'll ask him to choose one to trade back into the library.

And as for the toys we are getting rid of if they are in good condition I'll post them on craig'slist for a small amount and if they sell the boys get to put the money in their piggy banks, otherwise they are donated or discarded.  Some parents consult with their kids on which toys to let go of but I've found that my boys are pretty clear when something is outgrown.  If it rarely gets asked for or is even noticed I just take it out of rotation for good.  If you do consult and your kids resist just back off a bit.  Kids tend to hold on to things in the moment so revisit the toy again in a few weeks and if they haven't played with it much or at all in that time it may be easier to convince them that it is time the toy moved on to someone else who may play with it more.  

Less is more in the case of toys and books.  (Not that I don't have tons of kids books, I do.  They are just mostly kept in storage and rotated out according to seasons, holidays etc.)
This system is helping us to live in a smaller space without a toy room and not be overwhelmed by clutter and chaos constantly.  (Or, at least it's supposed in progress:)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Poem of the Month: Vanquish

A little poem as therapy (for myself) this month.


Stand and face the fear
you stand for your truth
something that could never stay inside
it would fester, eating caverns in your gut
twisting your face into a scowl
making your limbs weak from lack of use
making you shake with impatient hands

take heart from your lessons
take love from you ancestors
make one small step and then another

do not seek approval or even acceptance
rejection is as real as praise
your offering must just be that
a piece of your soul
made manifest in cloth, in words, in song

lay it down and back away
vanquish doubt
be grateful for having the chance to create

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Breaking Tradition

With the rains and winds of October's last day blustering yesterday we did our best to enjoy Halloween.  Things, important things have been left out of this holy time of year for me.
Specifically our local Reclaiming's Spiral Dance ritual that I have attended every year for the last 9 years.  Two of those years I was sporting a huge belly, and each year I have considered the time to be "mine."
A very important, sacred time to let go, honour, journey and celebrate rebirth.  This year that didn't happen.  This year I looked over the days of hectic fervor and thought to myself, no.
That was hard.  It's not like I go out a lot these days, I rarely get to enjoy something with other pagans.  Being a part of the local community is important to me and yet I neglect that aspect of myself.
I'm not here to defend or make excuses, just to reflect a moment.  This moment was crystal clear when it dawned.  My inner voice said, you are tired, you've pushed yourself and your family to accommodate several things already this month - something has to give.  The most clarity in the moment came when I realized that I wouldn't really enjoy it.  I knew I'd have a million other things on the list running through my head.  I didn't feel able to be present - for the first time in 9 years it just wasn't going to work.
So I did not go.  I thought of the ritual going on several times Sunday evening, I had a nap which is another rare thing for me.  So instead of a ritual to soothe my spiritual self I rested my physical self.
The moral of this story is that as the hectic time of the holidays approaches try to listen to yourself.  If you sense that something you have done for years, a tradition is just not coming together the way it has in the past  that's ok.  It's ok to bow out this year.  And when next year comes around again you can return feeling a renewed sense of joy to participate.  Or you may want to create a new tradition and see where that takes you.

Wishing you a blessed Samhain and hope you had a great Halloween.