Four years ago, at this hour, I was falling asleep after a day of acupuncture and a midwife check up, hoping to go into labor (9 days passed prediction). I awoke in the early morning hours with steady contractions, and eventually was joined by my (then) husband and midwifery team, who massaged and encouraged the tensions out of me from around 5 am until 2:30pm (including 8 hours of transition due to arm at her head and sideways positioning). At last, under a shower of warm water my own water broke, and in no time my sweet Verity entered earthside, caught in the hands of her adoring daddy. (Here’s more of that story…)
Today, we celebrated her birthday (which is tomorrow) together with loving friends. As I tucked her in, I told her the story of her entrance and kissed her to sleep.
Well, it is Spring here in Mid-Missouri, characterized by typical moody weather patterns and lots-o-rain. I love the rain, but the cold I am kinda ready to do without. My toes need warm grass and sand – it is just a fact.
Last month I visited Miami with my sister and kids, and had the lovely opportunity of spending time with the Waldorf community down there. The school was incredible and I felt so much love and encouragement. The time outside of being at the school was a lot of fun, as well. I spent the weekend with my bestie and my sister, checking out various parts of Miami. Wow, the energy! It is not exactly a vibration that matches my own, but moments of bliss did not escape me. It was particularly wonderful to spend my Saturday drinking fresh coconut juice and munching on sprouts at the Coconut Grove Organic Farmer’s Market, then napping on a blanket in the sun while I sweat out my winter toxin build up. Later, twilight on the beach, complete with a refreshing dip in the salty ocean, a dinner of green beans and mango, and practicing some beginner hoola hoop tricks. That evening we ventured out to “hipsterville” (as one apparent-hipster termed it) in Wynwood, danced to some great classics at Gramps, and eventually made our way home sometime Sunday morning
It was a refreshing trip, and left me with much to ponder, dream, challenge and renew.
Friends: Thais and Andre, juice bar at the market
twilight on the beach
sissie sipping coconut
Back my (current) home state, I’ve been catching up on work, trying to finish out the semester’s courses, attempting to get in shape for bathing suit season, and making big decisions about the Summer and coming year. I am looking ahead just a tad, seeing myself become 30 next year and Verity becoming school aged – woah. Major woah. Not too long after that, I’ll finish my masters (fingers crossed) and who knows… life will happen, that much I know. For now, I am nourishing in the cocoon of Columbia – a refreshing little tonic of a town where delightful, warm folks abound
In my life currently I am finding: progress, fullness, joy, focus, health, and fun.
I am seeking: more of the same, plus peace, rest, energy, mindfulness/spiritual time/meditation, more time for art, deepening friendships, better routines (esp regular housework and exercise time), more travel, and more integrated and/or simplified work/school/home life. Striving…
I’ll part with a picture of my foundation studies course final project that just wrapped up this week:
Sometimes you read an astrological mention that just makes ya go hmmmm… those who have known me for awhile might laugh at this (north node: gemini, south node: sag)…
“Certain aspects of your life need to de-construct so it can be re-constructed in a new way. By allowing yourself to follow your dreams and gently releasing old concepts of how it all is, you begin to break new ground. Life is breaking you open to enlarge your heart and widen your perspective; for you are being trained to be the compassionate communicator. You can be the one with new stories to tell that are grounded in personal experience. You’re not just the book-smart armchair philosopher any more–you’ve walked your talk.
It will continue to be important for you to find ways to slow down, and simply connect with others in a way in which you each share the paradoxes and mysteries of life as well as your own “truths.” That truth you came into this life with is in the process of getting much bigger. And as you do this, you’ll find that writing, teaching, selling, counseling, and communicating in all forms can bring you great success.
Soul Purpose: It’s important for you to immerse yourself in the fullness and chaos of life; indulging your curiosities, being a communicator, and daring to risk your security for a life of adventure, both inner and outer. In telling your Truth and your stories skillfully, with objectivity and reflection, you awaken others to great insight. Communication is a key, but communication is not limited to words alone; it is inherent in the arts, healing practices, and in the “act of loving” in relationships.
Shadow: Your default pattern of letting your enthusiasm override your empathic listening, combined with a philosophic “know it all” attitude, could blind you to life’s complexities and wonders. If you are addicted to certainty, you will deny truths or experiences that run counter to your expectations and belief. Allow room for dialog and relationships that challenge you to expand your concepts of “how it all is.”
This week’s Steiner reading for my course “Transformational Thinking” called for an original poem expressing what we are working with in our reading on Moral Imagination. Moral Imagination is what Steiner calls the source of action for a spirit who is truly free, free with regards to absolutely original decisions, rooted in love of the deed. (further nuggets I have been finding are copied below).
Here is mine:
Make My Own Way
How you attempt to corner me, you relentlessly passionate sea!
Threatening to lose balance, my little boat
Holds me casually – caring not if I live or drown.
My ineffective dips with this old splintered paddle
create futile whirls that steer and stay no recognizable course.
Retreating into unconscious fantasy could well numb my tumultuous reality –
Pique my overwhelming interest in rest and gain –
No! I will not, I cannot, be fattened on the bones of desire.
The greater choice, I am compelled to make –
The truer action I am born to take:
To strive, to steer, to stay awake.
From an inward impression a resounding resolve becomes:
I make my own way
… And I do it for you.
“To the question: What kind of task do human beings have in life? Monism can answer only: The one they set for themselves.
My mission in the world is not predetermined but, at each moment, is the one I choose for myself. I do not enter my life’s path with fixed marching orders.”
“Free spirits act out of their impulses — that is, from intuitions chosen by thinking from the totality of their world of ideas.”
“Imagination is the chief means by which human beings produce concrete mental pictures from the sum of their ideas”
- Rudolf Steiner, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path; A Philosophy of Freedom.
FREE SPIRITS NEED MORAL IMAGINATION TO REALIZE THEIR IDEAS AND MAKE THEM EFFECTIVE!
“The actions of those who act only because they recognize particular ethical norms result from the principles present in their moral code. They are mere executors, a higher form of a robot. Toss an opportunity to act into their awareness and, right away, the clockwork of their moral principles sets itself in motion and runs its course in a lawful fashion to produce a Christian, humane, or apparently selfless action or one for the sake of the progress of civilization. Only when I follow my love for an object is it I myself who act. At this level of morality, I do not act because I acknowledge a lord over me or an external authority or a so-called inner voice. I acknowledge no outer principle for my action, because I have found within myself the basis of my acting — love for the action. I do not check rationally whether the action is good or evil; I do it because I love it. My action becomes “good” if my intuition, steeped in love, stands in the right way in the intuitively experienceable world continuum; it becomes “bad” if that is not the case. I do not ask myself, “How would another person act in my situation?” Rather, I act as I, this particular individuality, want (or will). What directs me is not common usage, not general custom, not a universal human principle, and not an ethical norm, but my love for the deed. I feel no compulsion, neither the compulsion of nature, which guides me in my drives [food, sex, etc], nor the compulsion of ethical commandments. I simply want to carry out what lies within me.”
Rudolf Steiner, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path (ch. The Idea of Freedom)
“There is a common misunderstanding among the human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the some. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead to a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing.”
― Pema Chödrön
The last two months have been intense for me, on many levels. I have been surprised by the manifestation of certain situations, and how I have found myself in them. I feel thrilled and full of gratitude, while painfully aware of loss and impermanence. It is a strangely open place, or rather space; a threshold, a waiting, an edge that begs me to sit down and look out at the view. It is also an active place – in general I have been busy and full in the midst of it all.
I have been very much inside my head, inside my heart, yet I go about my work with enthusiasm; I find it pleasing to push through the introspection, to mindfully approach the tasks at hand. I enjoy the rhythm of walking into my office with all my books and laptop and coffee, hanging my scarf and coat on my wall hooks, bringing my lunch to the fridge and peaking into the other office’s to say, “Good morning!” I enjoy the team I work with so very much. I am incredibly lucky.
My mothering has a fatigued and bleary-eyed quality to it, due to the inner work taking so much energy these days, as well as the two grad courses I’m taking online, (and the divorce, and the full-time office job, etc). But the kids, despite being kids, are so beautifully open and appreciative, and our time together is ferociously precious to me.
Mentally and emotionally: my reading (particularly “Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path“) has my brain like at-capacity rubberbands nearly ready to give way. And Pema Chodron brings me to tears every night – stretching me emotionally in lovely and uncomfortable ways.
Physically, I have been upping my yoga practice this winter and feeling my body getting stronger and more balanced, becoming aware of each satisfyingly aching muscle. I have done a few random classes out of sheer curiosity (belly dancing, tango, etc) but I come back to a love of my yoga. (In addition, I am going to be in a 7-mile Gladiator Mud Run with my boss (love love love her!) in 6 weeks!)
To top it off, I recently set out to get my TEFL certification to open doors to teaching english in other countries in the future (reading “Tales of a Female Nomad” has my Sagittarius Moon yearning for life overseas again!)
This and truly so much more… I guess I will just end it here and get back to my homework. Until next time, friends…
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently… It’s a lifetime’s journey to relate honestly to the immediacy of our experience…”
― Pema Chödrön
Holding Life Consciously – interesting interview with Arthur Zajonc, physicist and contemplative, author of Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry; When Knowing Becomes Love
“A moral misunderstanding, a clash, is out of the question between people who are morally free. Only one who is morally unfree, who obeys bodily instincts or conventional demands of duty, turns away from a fellow human being if the latter does not obey the same instincts and demands as himself.
“Live through deeds of love, and let others live with understanding for each person’s unique intentions.
“To live in love of action, and to let live in understanding of the other person’s volition, is the fundamental maxim of free human beings. They know no other ought than one with which their volition is in intuitive agreement . . .
“A free individual does not demand agreement from his fellow human beings, but he expects it because that is inherent in human nature. This does not point to a necessity for this or that external arrangement, but to the disposition, the inner attitude, through which a person, experiencing himself among fellow human beings whom he values, does most justice to human dignity.”
-Steiner, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path
Just back from Milwaukee for Spring retreat – as always, an amazing time, with amazing people.
Several months ago I signed off from this blog to better utilize my energies on the life events taking place.
What has transpired would most definitely become a novella in no time if I were to attempt to recapitulate the totality of it all. It simply cannot be done, readers – until I publish my memoir that is.
They say a picture is worth a thousands words, and if that is true then you are in luck: I like to take pictures.
Going forward, this blog will continue to be a place for me to share my musings and innerwork, with focus striving always for the positive. Time is difficult to find these days to post anything of quality, but I will do my best.
Briefly: I am still in the process of divorce, which was the last post I updated with personal information prior to the hiatus. Not much to report there – some things are best kept private, especially things which are confusing and heartbreaking. I have been moving forward, kids in tow, for 8 months now, and I must say I am amazed at life and how things continue to unfold. Suffice it to say, I get by with a little LOT of help from my friends — love and gratitude to them all. Muaw!
For one thing, I am still working on my Masters in Education w/ Waldorf Education emphasis and had an incredible, soul-changing time in Milwaukee in July and recently for my Fall courses in October, working alongside amazing teachers/classmates/new friends; it is proving to be the most nourishing, creative, stimulating, and altruistic endeavor I have undertaken and I am truly blessed for the opportunity to go down this path. I finish my first of 3 years in December – my how time flies!
Pictures of my Waldorf training intensive in July:
Pictures of Milwaukee last week (course this Fall is interesting: Mathematics in the Waldorf School and Curriculum Design – lots of geometry!):
In other news, my beautiful little sister moved in with me and I am having a blast reconnecting with her and finding relief in her support and company. P.S. She is a salsa dance instructor and let me tell you – she is amazing! I am having so much fun dancing and chatting the night away with her…
Together we have moved from my little two bedroom “tiny house” after a barrage of unfortunate run-ins with the neighorhood’s off-leashed dogs, which reduced our “urban farm” by one chicken and one cat (yes, we have cats now!). The move was seamless – a quiet, comfortable, roomy 3 bedroom duplex just outside of “town” now houses our little family and we are having a great time making it “home”. Our dear friend Polina now raises our backyard hens, and we house the cats, Gretel and Alfie, as well as Boogers, my sisters very colorful and very quirky bird. (Folks, I am not exaggerating. I just watched Boogers take a bath in the sink and he is quite a character!)
Pics of the new place, 1 week after moving in (so excuse the slight mess and chaos):
Perhaps the final update should be that I recently found “work” work! I have been freelancing with a few clients over the last 6 months, but it was becoming increasingly obvious that to afford better education for the children and all that they need, I really needed a job with consistent pay. As though Divinely picked (then again – what isn’t?!), the first and only local job I applied to (which seemed pinch-me-perfect from the get go) recently wrapped up interviews and officially offered me a position with their team. I am now the Web Education Coordinator for a local non-profit whose aim is to improve patient care by assisting physicians in evidence-based medical practice – something I can really feel good about. I am now a salaried professional with my own office and some light travel, but the most unique and lovely thing is the built in flex time so that my office hours are only during the times the children are in school – an incredible opportunity for me who has been so determined to find a work schedule that compliments their schooling as I can work from home in my off-hours at my own discretion. I am excited to work with this team of dynamic working mothers in a family-oriented small company doing good things — truly a karmic cocktail of light and love I have so been looking forward to.
Without further adeiu, more pictures for your viewing pleasure… highlights from Summer and Fall, including Saturday evening bonfires, craft nights, Harvest Hootenanny and random goodness to most recently my Dia de los Muertos costume for the Uprise Halloween party last weekend:
All of these quotes came out at me in the last 4 hours… all so related. Had to copy them down in one place…
“When there is a mature relationship between people, there is always compassion and forgiveness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” – Lily Tomlin
“..one of the highest and most powerful forms of compassion flows when we learn to pray for those who persecute us, when we dare to bless even our antagonists and enemies…we are wounded by others we are tempted to dehumanize them and label them, but that simply empowers them turning them into subhuman monsters in our minds…no wonder Jesus taught that our first response should instead be prayer for them and to bless them…we then turn them back into what they really are human beings just like us.. ” – Brian McLaren (p.137/Naked Spirituality)
“Relational trust is built on movements of the human heart such as empathy, commitment, compassion, patience, and the capacity to forgive.” – Parker J Palmer (The Courage to Teach)
I am sitting at my dining table in the kitchen where it is warm; the oven holds baked oatmeal and peaches for tonight’s low-maintenance dinner and does a great secondary job of heating up this small home.
I am knitting again, in between writing and peaking on the oatmeal. On the needles is a gift for a dear friend who was one of the first to “order” something when I put out my request for help so I could pay for my course and trip to Milwaukee last weekend. The yarn in my hands is forest heather, a golden flecked emerald DK weight wool, and I’m crafting a handkerchief headband whose pattern title harkens on the forest theme: Lichen.
The special, community supported way in which beginning my teacher training was made possible fills me with gratitude, and as I work to complete each order I am trying to be mindful of the donor the item is going to, filling myself with love and appreciation for their support. It is especially useful that this course is about meditation, as knitting itself can become quite a contemplative exercise. As I work with my hands, in my mind’s eye I am surrounded by large fir trees and a moss covered forest floor like the moist soils of Oregon. The deep green yarn tells of ancient mysteries that lurk behind the trees.
The truth is, my heart is heavy and my mind is unsettled lately, but when I dig deep I find that weightless joy abounds even in the midst of difficult times and decisions. I am delighted and surprised by this; that peace can transcend circumstances and fruitful hope can arise from the decays of failure is a calming anecdote in a world that is sometimes so damn confusing.
The inviting aroma of maple and cinnamon tells me dinner is ready…
These are my findings on the path of intentional motherhood, voluntary simplicity, radical homemaking, Waldorf teacher training, nourishing foods, passionate faith, loving tolerance, domestic arts ... and, well, whatever else I fancy. Read more about me here.
Food for thought…
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: The presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. — Burton Hillis, American writer