Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where Life Has Been

Life has been dancing hand in hand with exuberant children, and led them, singing all the way
Life has been grieving and letting go, without letting go of hope
Life has been planning lots of knitting projects
Life has been dreaming of autumn, in all of her fiery splendor
Life has started full time work, has practiced balancing acts, and has experienced exhaustion
Life has been picking apples from a tree in her father's yard
Life has seen long-lost family...life has held on to love
Life has marveled at the potential for healing, no matter where you find yourself
Life has been running barefoot toward the pond, smiling and laughing with glee, and she has pulled her knees to her chest right after the big jump, made the big splash, and unfolded under the water
Life has emerged breathless, still smiling

Oh, and "life" will be part of Rhythm of the Home tomorrow too!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Knitting Meditation/ Affirmations

Much has been written about knitting as a path to mindfulness, as a path to meditation, a way to slow down. There are many many ways to meditate, and for myself, slowing the flow of thoughts is hard. I am not the kind of person who gets needles in hand and has an instant transcendental experience. Oh no....quite the opposite. I experience an opportunity for growth, is more like it.
You see, those thoughts that come up aren't always "Hmmmm...I wonder what I should make for dinner?" Those thoughts are east to float away on their little disappearing word boat. No. The thoughts that come up are, "oh, that person really hurt me." or, "oh, did I really say that and will I ever be able to make it right?" or "oh, I really screwed up this time." "I will never get that time back." "I hurt." "I feel angry!" "I feel the pain of that loss." and of course, much more.
I am not an expert at meditating and I don't know if I ever will be. But knitting can help me work through the concerns and thoughts and feelings about situations and problems. To that end, I brainstormed some possible focused thoughts to have during knitting....affirmations, if you will. Mantras if you so choose. Meditation if you are farther up the pike than I am! Ultimately, isn't that what meditation is about? Not just stilling the thoughts, but moving through them...with compassion and expansive connection, all the while bringing one closer to the Divine.
For blessing:
I feel grateful.
This is a thread of kindness and blessing.
May (wearer's name) feel my love.
I feel compassion.
I feel calm.
I bless this stitch.
May love flow from my heart to my hands to my stitches.
I feel part of the greater Good.
I bless this yarn, and these stitches.
I see beauty.
I feel centered.
May each stitch carry love and blessing.
I have boundless love.
I freely give of myself.

When thoughts come, and I revisit situations that bring up strong feelings for me, I have these affirmations to help:
I feel curious.
I feel calm.
I welcome my feelings.
With each stitch I am closer to healing.
I honor my experience.
This situation (person, event) is a blessed part of the whole. 
I bless this stitch with my tears.
I am free to love.
(when one is ready) I release my fear/resentment/anger/doubt/judgment, etc. if only for this moment.
(as feelings pass) I feel grateful.
I feel loved.
I feel free.

What would you add to this list?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Check This Out

It's been awhile since I've done a "Check This Out" post, but this is certainly worth your attention and will most certainly make you smile and wonder.
Thank you, Adrienne, my talented lovely friend....for finding this!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Evening at the Farm

First Day of School

Well, here she is, as of Wednesday, my new first grader.
And here is her brother already hamming it up for the camera.

And here is me, in a dress I made (a sewing post is brewing big time)
In many Waldorf schools, the first grade students are welcomed into the grades with a ceremony. Our school's is called the Rose Ceremony...the new first grade teacher tells a story, and the uppermost class (in our case, the 5th/6th grade) presents each first grader with a rose.
For me, it was a swirl of emotions. Can you imagine how powerful it is for a child to stand there with her childhood friends, the ones she has spent 3 years with in kindergarten, and before that a year in nursery, and before that a year or two in parent-child? These children, these dear, dear friends, their parents also friends of mine, will accompany her through her lower grades as well. That is indeed a treasure.
As for me, I spent my morning in Serena's classroom as an assistant, although I'm not really sure what I'm doing yet. I then taught second and first grade music. We sang and played a couple of singing games and I shared a story that came to me at 10 p.m. the night before.
All in all, a good day and I am very very happy to be back in the classroom!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Resorting to Rhythm

Well, so few things have happened this summer the way I have planned them. It's been a balance between honoring what is there and trying to have some semblance of order. I really don't like feeling like I'm "putting out fires" but those fires offer opportunity for reflection, growth, and ultimately transformation. I think when I live in my "art head" transformation is so lovely and based on materials...you simply take something and mold something else out of it. When one is washing dirty wool, one knows the wool will come clean and one can dream about all the possibilities in the process...will I felt this, spin this, fluff this?  But when one is dealing with shadow sides of relationships, the possibilities aren't so clear, and those possiblities can cast their own shadows. The transformation is there and it is uncomfortable and it is inevitable. How will my marriage be molded and what will that look like?
I have to remind myself that this work is all part of the creative process. Chaos begs to be ordered, and order begs to be shaken up. That is how the cycle works, endlessly. Sometimes it is a wild swinging, sometimes a gentle ebb and flow.
I was speaking with a friend about temperaments, and she mentioned that sanguines really need to work on their phlegma. I am overwhelmingly sanguine...I float on feelings, I leave trails everywhere I go, I start projects all the time that I have little will to finish. Phlegmatics tend to be steady, ritualistic, patient, loyal. So with that in mind, I am rethinking rhythm, yet again. With a return to full time work, I definitely need to keep order in my home, to support myself and my new first grader and my 20-month-old who will be with a sitter.
Here is my plan. We normally get up at 6:30. My leisurely mornings will be gone since we will have to get ready for school. So, to help with breakfast, I am going to implement a breakfast and even lunch meal plan like we do for dinner. Monday will be egg day, Tuesdays cereal day (hot cereal too) Wednesdays will be muffin day, Thursdays will be egg day again, and Fridays will be French Toast.
I have found that morning tends to be a time that we are more active. Our morning activities can include feeding the animals, taking out compost, folding laundry, washing breakfast dishes. As Davis gets bigger he can do some heavy work. I have to find something heavy for him to push around, or put his impulse to throw to work. I thought about doing less active, more indoor type activities after school, like baking or crafting. That wil give us a little out-breath right after school  and time to connect and talk about our day. And of course, snack.
I think if I settle into a nice rhythm, I won't be so overwhelmed by all my new responsibilities. And, the meal rhythm helps take the "charge" out of meals. Serena is so incredibly picky, and she is also asserting her independence- normal for a 6 year old. She can help implement the meal plan and she won't argue with a rhythm.
I probably wouldn't argue with a rhythm either! But I might wrestle.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pinching myself!

Well, on Wednesday another school year starts....my ninth at the Waldorf School of Louisville. Yes, I still feel I have so much to learn, as Waldorf education can be so deep and growth-producing, for students AND teachers.
I begin as a full-time specialty/support teacher. That means that in addition to teaching handwork, I will take on 4 music classes and assist in the first grade. Now, this is incredible luck because my daughter is starting first grade. Yes, there can be challenges to having my own child in class, but there is a lead teacher that isn't me and I think that helps immensely.
So this past week the faculty gathered for a 2-day in-service. Each day we began with chalk drawing. Each day we sang. Each day we spoke freely of doing our spiritual work. I know that faculty meetings are not always fun, but I am pinching myself and feeling incredibly blessed to work in this manner, and I am ever humbled by the opportunity to teach and know the children.
Here is my chalk drawing:

We began by laying down cool colors on each side, beginning with white in the middle, then yellow, then proceeding from the lightest green. Then the warm colors arose from the middle, beginning with red. The color "columns" were not supposed to touch, but mine did and made brown. After laying down the colors, you look at your picture to see if a form emerges and then you pull out that form with light and/or dark colors. Mine started to become a path. I may develop it further.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off She Goes

The past week or so has been filled with such a whirlwind. The Cliff Notes version is that I am still married and we have turned a corner, my 15 year old is moving to her dad's, Serena starts 1st grade, and yesterday the van looked like this:
Seats removed to make room for all the college girl stuff...she is moving into a house! Big adventures await her. We sweated and struggled and got it all in the van, to Lexington, and in the house. Then we ate at...I can't remember....Good Foods co-op? It was the best health food buffet in the midwest (WHY don't we have one in Louisville???)
Lots of transitions and goodbyes and hellos. In other words, loving and life, life and loving.
If I stare at this picture too long, I will cry. That's my very first baby, after all, now a college sophomore. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Where life has been

Life has been lethargic.
Life has been waking up.
Life has been staring into space, vacant eyes eventually buried behind hands.
Life has been letting go, slipping away, fixing broken things.
Life has agonized over which broken things to fix and which to discard.
Life has been an orange salamander, slippery and hiding between dark rocks.
Life has sat down and given up for just awhile.
Life has ridden on a swing, strung high between childhood longings and adult desires,
between teen age and middle age, between growing and gathering.
Life has been the good little girl, careful not to step on toes, hands crumpled into balls
Paper balls in fisted hands, hurled at her husband's head
Life has been exploding heads.
Life has said she doesn't want so much pain, only a little to stay awake
Life has been sitting in the principal's office, stomach in knots, locker combination forgotten, homework lost.