July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
I am in a field.
An endless field, surrounded by peaked mountains in the distance. The feeling is free, yet safe and enclosed. The sun’s rays inhabit every molecule of air and waves of wind are rushing across the long grasses.
As I turn around there are a pile of boulders behind me. I am drawn closer, and discover an opening between them. I enter, and the darkness is quick to surround me as I descend stairs cut into rock.
At the bottom there is a kind of doorway, though with no actual door. I step into a new scene, a new field, like I have just changed levels in a shopping mall. In this view however, a small brook runs, with willow trees dipping their arching branches into the edges of the water. Eagles fly high overhead, and there is an expansiveness to the sky. But I must follow the water.
It leads to an open cave that faces the river. Rock walls and a high rock ceiling surround a comfortable area. There is a pile of furs on the ground and a crackling fire. Immediately I sink into the furs and warm up beside the flames, all the while feeling a gentle breeze on my face and seeing the gurgling rush of the brook. Behind me there are pictures on the wall: ancient, primal scenes of animals, shelters, and hands.
And suddenly there is a figure….a woman, older. She wears native american dress and has a distinctive nose, and deep, dark, endless eyes. Her energy is strong, yet compassionate. In a rush my troubles spill out….not through my speaking voice, but mind voice. She hears it all with an almost imperceptible nod of acknowledgement. She carries a staff decorated with feathers and leather thonging. Her hair is long and graying. I know I trust her, and love her.
I lie for a while, knowing this place is just for me and letting myself feel nurtured by this sacred space. I notice crystal clusters here and there around the space. I know there is a bruise over my heart and so with my mind I focus the crystal energy down to dissolve it. The process brings such a deep sadness to my awareness that I almost cannot continue.
The the woman’s voice speaks inside my mind….telling me how it will be, providing answers and reminding me of my gifts of strength and intuition. I can’t recall the exact words, but I know the memory of them is there, deep inside. I know I have been changed by this encounter.
It is time to leave. I don’t wish to, but I must. I reluctantly leave the furs and fire, following the brook back to the stone staircase. I ascend slowly, knowing that each step brings me closer to my reality, to my perceived ‘problems’ and anxiety, to the responsibilities that sometimes sit so heavy. I know rather than feel that healing has begun. How many more times will I visit this place before my smile is less slow to shine?
July 17, 2013 § 1 Comment
Every time a new baby is born into our family, a weight settles on my shoulders. As I rest in bed, falling in love with my new baby, I am all too aware of the responsibility that comes with welcoming a new life into my care.
After a few days the heaviness usually subsides, and in time is forgotten. I find it fun having a large family, and I love connecting with my children on their level. I don’t often think about the ‘responsibility’ that comes with raising five children; attending to all their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. But at times of stress or when decisions need to be made, the weight often comes crashing down again, leaving me awake in the middle of the night and in awe of the job with which I have been entrusted.
My husband and I have made what many would consider ‘alternative’ choices for our family. Homebirth, alternative healthcare and Steiner education are the biggest, most visible ones. However I have never spent much time discussing these choices with people. I strive to just ‘walk the talk’ rather than ‘talk the talk’.
One of the gifts of Robin’s illness, for me personally, was the shedding of fear. Ironically, having to step up and be his advocate while he was ill seemed to bring assertiveness and power, nestled deep within me, to the fore. And as he recovered I just didn’t want to wait anymore for my dreams to somehow magically manifest: I was ready. In the past year I have begun this blog, taken on the editing role for the Sydney Homebirth magazine, and been gradually growing my crafty business and transition to ‘felt artist’, all the while leading a day of the Steiner Playgroup and managing my family.
The thing is, I never really felt like an ‘adult’ until recently. For me ‘adults’ got married and got mortgages, pets, and found a place to settle down, instil roots. They made big decisions and faced things head on. They were practical about their kids’ education, having wills and life insurances, and connections everywhere tying them down.
Sol and I, on the other hand, didn’t marry until pregnant with our third child. We have moved over ten times since William was born, twice in massive shifts to QLD (for an adventure and lifestyle change). We have followed our hearts. We’ve lived in a tent and travelled around, we’ve never wanted to be tied down to a mortgage, and often in the past it felt like we were dragged kicking and screaming into facing hard realities.
I don’t know why I felt I wasn’t being an ‘adult’. All those crazy decisions we made were what we truly felt was best for our children and ourselves at the time. We have made big decisions, and faced big things. Just not the mainstream, usual things.
Still, I used to downplay the decisions we made as our ‘craziness’, thinking we were living out an extended flighty twenties, since we began a family so young.
Since Robin’s illness that is gradually changing. Maybe just my perception of, and belief in myself is changing. Maybe it is age: I’m nearing forty. I am not really so different to all the ‘adults’ I see around me: I have five children and many responsibilities and we all take these things seriously in our own ways.
Lately I have been in a few situations where I have had to discuss some of the choices I have made. Choices that have had consequences, ramifications, and that have led to more difficult decisions. And, I have just had to bite the bullet and own them. Just had to stand up and say “Yep, that is what I believe, this is what I have chosen”.
It is hard at times, terrifying. But I feel that owning my life, and standing firmly in my choices leads me to feel that I am an adult, and that can only be a good thing.
July 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
I’m so excited to be a guest artist/seller with Gossamer Dreams this month. The theme is ‘The Enchanted Forest’. I took on this theme at the last moment, so to speak (well, a month before), because I love the idea of an enchanted forest, and many of my works are a natural fit.
But, like all good intentions…. school holiday time meant my time to create has been limited, so I have been studiously sewing away while the children play and the house gets increasingly messy around me. I am very please with the two works I have produced. My other two are supplies of hand dyed felt.
This is a great opportunity to get my work and name out there a bit more. In an ideal world my etsy shop would be fully stocked, ready for new customers….. but of course it is not. I suppose it is a good thing that as fast as I can create, I sell (or it means I am incredibly slow at creating….maybe a bit of both).
No matter, I am happy to evolve one little step at a time.
July 11, 2013 § 2 Comments
And like the stone dropped into the pond, the ripples keep surfacing and spreading.
Ah, yes. The terror.
It is like being cracked wide open, like free falling into oneself, into a black hole of nothingness.
I don’t really know what I am so terrified of.
Only that it sometimes makes me struggle with my daily tasks, a knot in my stomach my constant unwelcome companion.
With all that I had to do last week, shutting off was the option I took. But it is like slamming the door on a flood….water begins to burst through the cracks. And finally the build up forces the door open.
On the good side, the routines and rhythms I have set up for the family have remained. They have become a steadfast beat in the background of daily living in all its busyness. My boys are pretty good at doing their jobs. My girls are getting a regular bedtime. The house isn’t too hard to tidy up at the end of each night. I’m getting meals cooked, washing folded and into drawers (mostly).
These school holidays have not descended into the unorganised mess of last time. With our 3 bedroom house feeling way too small for our growing family, I’ve engineered to have at least one kid absent nearly every day or night. Just one child less and the atmosphere at home is more peaceful and relaxed. And for the rest of us, we have gone out and done things: the indoor pool, tennis at the park, movies…so on the odd day we have at home, it’s (mostly) focused play and kicks in the backyard.
However in my efforts to keep the overwhelming emotions at bay, other aspects of my plans have not fared as successfully. Sugar crept back in, gradually. I haven’t had time to think too much about my diet. Sol and I still haven’t sat down and written out blocks of time for each of us on the calendar. I’ve only had one proper break for myself in quite a few weeks now. And I tend to sabotage things by staying up way too late, watching TV, thinking I am nourishing myself when really I am avoiding feeling and making myself too tired to feel the next day.
Last year I handled this overwhelm by dropping all commitments for six months. It worked then. But now….I don’t want to have to do that. I am fiercely determined to be free from all ties with that time. I’ve been feeling increasingly strong and happy in the past three months: surely it can’t be that hard to reclaim that positive space? This little moment of stress is just a small step back in my ‘recovery’, just a little speed bump, I tell myself.
But, tonight at least, I feel quite content. I can sit with the anxiety, letting it out drip by drip in small moments of conscious awareness. Robin’s health remains strong as we enter the deepest of Winter. My other children are, on the whole, happy and healthy and engaged with life. I have all that I need, some things I want, and it is enough. I have much to be thankful for.
And the ripples finally peter out, and stillness and peace return.
July 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
It is time to check-in.
School holidays have come around again and I am keen not to repeat the chaos and slump of the last holidays, which I wrote about here. Throughout the term I identified a few things which needed to be put in place for me to be the powerful, organised, all-serene keystone-of-the-family that I aspire to be. In a nutshell they were:
1. Good energy levels thru sleep and dietary changes.
2. Lots of structured time to re charge
3. Routines and rhythms = organisation.
So, how am I going?
Well….I’m wobbling. It was all going great, until the final week of term, my busiest of 2013. We had to make a huge decision regarding our eldest son’s future by Monday. The decision was made, but I was too busy and heartbroken to deal with it immediately. We all know how draining it can be to carry around sadness without release.
At Playgroup, we hold a very special Winter Festival event in the final week of term, where we host a spiral walk for our families. Much preparation goes into this day, and it is nerve racking performing a special winter story (that I wrote myself. It went great, by the way).
I also had three children attending the overnight Winter Festival event at their school. That is three children to wash clothes for, label clothes for, pack sleeping bags and parkas….. oh, and each class asks for a contribution to their meals. One of my kids has allergies so cooking for him at least was essential.
And, my felt piece Flower/Vagina was due at the gallery in Redfern by Friday. Add to that a very sick husband who was bedridden all week, and you may get a sense of how insanely full that week was.
One of the legacies of Robin’s illness for me was a lowered threshold for overwhelm. For many months, even the deadline of getting the kids to school by 9am had me waking up in terror throughout the night. In January this year, I felt I walked free from that shroud of mental overwhelm, leaving all ties to Robin’s illness finally in the past.
As this past week progressed, I gradually recognised, with a sinking feeling, that familiar old feeling of terror.
To be continued……..