January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
My eldest boy is beginning at a new school tomorrow.
After attending a Steiner school, and two separate stints of homeschooling, this is his first time at a ‘regular’ public school. As a parent, it is mine too.
As a homeschooling mum in Queensland, years ago, I remember observing many families where it seemed obvious to me that the fears, or bad experiences of the parent were part of the reason, sometimes a huge part of the reason to homeschool the child.
I’ve always aimed to be an ‘aware parent’, someone who is conscious of her own issues and beliefs and childhood wounds; conscious enough not to put them on to my own children.
Some of the realisations I had on the Bellingen trip had to do with just this issue. I felt like I was emerging from a five year cycle of being just a little bit in avoidance about some painful things that happened before Zara was born. Inadvertantly, along the way from then to now I saw I had shown my children some patterns of responding to hurts that would be best left behind.
On that trip my eyes were suddenly opened to all the ways I could be ‘putting things’ on my children. I vowed to clean up my act, emotionally, which is of course easier said than done. Daily journalling has been a big part, and I am happy to report that I can see a difference already in an ever so slightly happier and more peaceful household.
But back to school. Shopping for his uniform, shoes, and stationary today bought up lots of feelings for me. I noticed within myself a rather cynical and rebellious attitude toward ‘school’. Why should he wear a uniform? Think what else we could have spent that money on! I don’t care about homework, I don’t want to have to enforce him doing it Why are there so many school rules? It is like a dictatorship…. and on and on it went.
I suddenly realised I was reliving my school experience, and projecting it on to his potential experience. I was at school twenty years ago. Teachers shouted at us and made us feel small, because they could, because they were adults and we were ‘children’. I was bullied. I was alone a lot. It took until my final year to make real friends or feel at home there.
And I don’t want any of that for my son. Instead I want him to feel respected and accepted. I hope he finds friends quickly. I hope he enjoys it and the gifts I am sure await him.
I just need to get myself out of the way.
January 25, 2014 § 1 Comment
The following morning I woke up to a scene that was like paradise: mountains off to the north that were steady and strong and reassuring, a lush green valley that is a balm to the eyes; and a breeze that seemed to come from nowhere, gently caressing us on its way past.
We had all slept well, and I was ready to try milking the goat again. I was feeling more comfortable and confident with the goats now, after hearing their scuffles during the night. I fed them, frisked them for ticks, and then turned to the female.
This time I managed to get one drop out.
It took me a while, and by the time that one drop fell the goat was very frustrated with my attempts and was kicking me away.
I did not know what to do. The overwhelm of the previous day returned in force and more tears fell. In desperation, I prayed. I didn’t want to let my friend down, but also I wanted to know that I could do this, that I could manage a new and challenging situation on my own.
However, I needed support. We all piled into the car, again, and drove the 6kms to that little phone box, again. Sol was fantastic as I had an extistential meltdown by phone. I gave myself permission not to continue with this situation. I prayed again for clarity.
By the time I drove home I was spent, humbled by the situation, but calm. I had finally surrendered. As I parked the car I noticed a man coming to greet me. His face broke into a broad grin and he introduced himself as the neighbour, who had stayed in town the night before and was sorry to have not seen me until now.
I was happy to meet him and confessed I was struggling to care for the goats. He immediately said “That’s ok, I’m a goat farmer!”(later he told me that in a past life in WA he had 300 goats, and a long bushy beard. He was called the ‘Goat Man’)! Intense waves of relief and gratitude flooded through me as he offered to milk the goat for me, and indeed to help care for all the goats.
He said: “Everything happens for a reason, and everyone who ends up here is here for a reason. You just relax and enjoy the place”. As I walked back to the children I thanked God, the angels, and indeed the whole Universe for this swift solution. Mine and Samuel’s musings from the night before had suddenly manifested, and I felt myself shedding layers of fear, opening up to the gifts
And then the children and I went to the river for our first swim.
Sol made it up the following day for the rest of the week. There was frolicking with goats after all, as they loved Robin especially, and the girls loved bottle feeding the little one.
Every day we went swimming in the magnificent river. A river that quickly made a place in my heart: a place for healing and rejuvenation. I had many realisations whilst sitting in the cool, clear water. Adjustments to be made to life, deep aha moments, knowings of old beliefs or thoughts ready to be set free.
It was a life changing week: I ended up being so, so thankful for the entire experience. I regained some confidence in myself, in my capability to adapt, be brave, to have adventures, rather than just dreaming about them.
January 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Before Christmas, we had the sudden opportunity to house sit for a friend for a week. All the elements sounded fantastic: a mud brick yurt, no electricity, in the bush, and situated in an intentional community.
Sol and I have long been interested in intentional communities. In fact, soon after we became a couple we travelled up the east coast of Australia visiting various communities. We were especially keen to visit this community where our friends live, as we happen to be long time friends with the couple who initiated it some fourty years ago (they are no longer living there).
There was one tiny catch to this great opportunity for a free holiday – well, three catches really, in the form of three goats, who we would be required to feed and in one case, milk.
Now I have no experience whatsoever with goats. I did not worry about this, as Sol is a nature-in-all-its-forms lover, and was relishing the chance to get up close and personal with the goats. I pictured myself lounging around on the wide verandahs, reading and writing, while Sol and the girls frolicked with these happy goats.
A few days before our departure, Sol hurt his foot at work. What we assumed to be a simple strain turned into a fractured foot and a very complicated scenario for him, meaning he couldn’t leave Sydney when we planned to. Suddenly I was driving six hours up the coast with four children, settling into a new place (with no internal toilet), and caring for the goats, all on my own.
It was somewhat of a shock to realise I was afraid. The following thought that this experience would then be good for me didn’t really help. However once I was on the road I felt fine. Excited.
Our destination was beautiful, so beautiful and peaceful and isolated. So far isolated that there was no phone reception. We arrived only an hour before dusk. My friend left detailed instructions for the feeding and milking, but I couldn’t find the equipment I needed at first. I began to panic a little, now that the reality of these goats was standing before me, and panic of course makes things seem harder and take longer.
I managed to feed the goats who needed feeding, but where was the milk for the goat that was bottle fed? I had no idea, and let that task go for the first night. Now, to milking. The goat came with me willingly enough. I had to leave the children on the vernadah as by now it was dusk. Robin did not like this and was making a lot of noise. I knew the goat would pick up on my energy so I stroked her and tried to project an air of confidence in what I was doing. The goat would not let me anywhere near her teats.
I was quite upset by now. I had visions of the goat, udders full to bursting, coming down with a goat version of mastitis, and all my fault because I couldn’t work out how to milk her. I piled the children in the car and drove the six kilometers to the nearest payphone, to get support. When we arrived there I realised I had left my wallet back at the house (another blow), but after a scrounge around in the car I found enough for a local call. Tried to ring Sol….no answer. Last resort: my mum. She listened to my tearful rant and managed to say ‘So the goat doesn’t get milked tonight!’ before we were cut off.
That one sentence was enough to bring me out of my doomsday hysteria. So the goat wouldn’t be milked that first night. They were all fed, and I would deal with this afresh in the morning.
We returned to our temporary home, I made the children a simple dinner and we piled into bed. Samuel and I discussed the events of the night, and we both agreed that if we didn’t have to take care of the goats then things would be perfect. Between us and without Sol we didn’t really feel qualified to be responsible for them.
But we were in a beautiful home with a lovely view. When I turned to solar lamp off the moon rose and shone in the windows on to our faces. There we no curtains so we could look out to the distant mountains and see stars. But most of all there was the silence. No hum from the fridge, or any else. Complete, really relaxing, silence. The scuffles of the resident lizard in the roof were comforting, and me and four children all fell asleep together in a happy tangle of limbs.
To be continued…..
January 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
I don’t really celebrate New Years Eve, but I do mark the turning of a new year in other ways.
For many years I have consciously set down goals for the future. The past few years these have consisted of nothing more than a few scribbles on a spare piece of paper. Needless to say these goals were not really realised, no matter how sincerely I intended them at the time.
Last year my husband and I took a little more time, and made two copies of our goals. One we burnt, as a symbolic letting go of the goals, and one we sealed in an envelope (grounding them) to open in one year. I opened mine a few days ago and was happily surprised to feel I had made progress in many of the areas specified.
I don’t tend to write down specific material things when doing goals. My focus is the feelings and qualities I wish to generate withing myself, or areas of self growth is needed. I figure that if I focus on myself the material will take care of itself.
This year I am doing goals differently. Firstly, they are more visual. I’ve spent hours cutting words and images out of magazines, all the while holding my visions in mind. Today I finally sat down and committed some visions to paper.
I just selected images at random, images I am drawn to, without thinking too much into it. I noticed today when doing the pages centred around my self that there is a lovely balance of both fierce and soft images. And lots of water images: flowing, still water, a woman emerging from water, a boat sailing down a river. Water is a highly significant element in my life.
Lily asked what I was doing and I explained, calling it my ‘dream book’. She saw the kind of images I was collecting and drew these two for me. What is also different this time around is the detail. I have decided to focus on specific things, especially a new home to live in, as I really really want this change to occur!
I happened to find some great illustrations that embodied each of my children, so I added them to the ‘Family’ page. Robin is this little snail emerging from his shell. I was nervous about encouraging the idea of William as a stubborn bull (above), but the image so suits him at the moment that I had to include it. Now I just to add a picture of Sol and myself as the nucleus of the family.
Some pages have been challenging to create. The ‘Love’ page for instance: I didn’t have much to contribute on this page….which has me thinking deeply about this theme in my life right now.
The amount of time and thought I have put into my 2014 goals has been significant, and even though we are only a few days into the new year it feels a deeply powerful exercise already.