I was reading a few blogs the other day, and I clicked on misplaced mama, as I do when I am needing raw, real truth that sinks into my soul and makes me want to wrap my arms around my own skin and open my heart to the world. She always does that for me. With this particular click, I rested my eyes on this paragraph: "i am done with thinking this blog is a place for something other than a process like a result of a process. this blog is the process. phew. how come it has taken me so long to remember that?" I felt the wisdom of those words immediately. Sometimes, for reasons that I can only attribute to fear and perfectionism...perfectionism of a wonky kind...but still perfectionism, I think that I should only come and write about something once it has been thought through and digested and once I am holding a fine piece of wisdom from the whole process to share with anyone who visits here. I hear these untruths that my writing won't really be worth anything unless I have the "right" words and enough space to really put them in the "right" order. The truth is...that is not a holistic representation of reality. Every situation isn't always tied up in a clear bow of wisdom. And a partial expression of my self is not what I come to this blog with...although sometimes it is the only thing that comes out. I am whole and I feel the muddiness. I have very little time to write. My mind isn't always able to find the words I look for. I sit inside a whole lot of situations without real answers for a good portion of the time. Sometimes, I am expansive and my spirit feels huge and weightless...soaring as high as a breeze. And I float on clear whispers of knowledge and shiny clarity of what is true and real. Sometimes, I am sinking small...unable to catch that same clarity that I experienced on that breeze, and I contract into a ball of fear and restlessness, thinking that there isn't enough and I am not enough. I expand. And then contract. And I think that somewhere along the way, I started to believe a lie that said I am only of good service when I am expanding. I offer nothing if I am shrinking and contracting. And all of that is bogus. Because, really, we are all adhering to that same rhythm and we are dancing along side one another. And when one of us steps back, another steps forward but is reminded of the song through our interconnected beat. When we can share honestly, we are brought into the fullness of it all...it isn't just this or that, right or wrong, truth or lie. It is all one big life-filled dance. I'm writing this because the words aren't coming easily right now. My thoughts are really jumbled. My attention is quite scattered. My center is always there but I am not spending much time in it. I have been rubbing up against some emotions of feeling quite vulnerable. As I embrace more of the complete picture...that I am not immune to the insecurities, the imperfections, the confusion and the muddy waters...there is a deeper tenderness revealed. Coming to this space opens that vulnerability wider. But I think that it also opens my heart further. Because I connect with people in a very real and authentic way through this medium. I cross paths with souls who understand and see me...and whom I understand and see. I see creativity at work in the world at large...and I feel hopeful. Sharing parts of my heart here...and in turn connecting with beauties who share parts of their own hearts, has been truly healing and quite cozy for me. I feel deep connection. I experience high inspiration. And I am reminded that we are never alone... we share similar dreams. we encourage the journey. we inspire and get inspired. and awaken to the delight that is life. out and in. out and in. out and in. again and again.
I have been occupying a tender little place for the past week or so. I noticed that several experiences in my life were taking me to these places of fear, where I started to want to shut down a little bit, close off, and cuddle up. My mind has been trying to attach to several different distractions where I am quickly brought back to the root of it all and I am left with the fears and the emotions that accompany those fears. I've noticed that I am learning a lot about where I look for validation and where I allow other people's opinions to define parts of me. I have been having some really useful conversations with some of the lovelies in my life...where I am led to a better understanding of what my fears are telling me. And for the most part, I am still kind of sitting with the murkiness of it all, because that has become my practice of getting through it. I know that it is all here to tell me something. I know that I am hearing these fears for a reason and that I am coming up against situations that touch on these fears in order for me to better understand how to live courageously in the face of them. I know that it all makes up life as a practice of opening further and living more fully. I am honoring all of it. Today I organized certain parts of my house. I cleaned and I went through "stuff" and the whole day held a meditative pulse where I was able to check in with myself and ground in small experiences of peace. It reminded me of how much I need that daily grounding that can only come through awareness. I haven't really been doing that lately... and I can see that when this happens, the problems seem bigger... the patience is thinner, I feel smaller, and any small emotional distraction can take me for a walk around the park, leaving my center behind. When I come back, this is where I can see what is right in front of me. This is where I can access that infinite part of who I am...the one that is clear and loving and fully supported. This is the place where dreams are born and made real. *Light in the darkness*
just a few images from our painting time today. i have been feeling a bit "off". worn out. in need of a big nest of goodness. i find that when i am cramped up in that bubble of discomfort...it is good to create. it is always good to create with my children. there is something very therapeutic about the action. about doing something. about making something even with all the grumblies hanging around and making me tired. even if i act as a bystander to the whole process... i can still catch a mist of the clarity that shines in the room. *big sigh* i'm just soaking that up, and wanted to share.
my mama's hands.
if you have spent much time in this little blog space of mine, you have probably noticed this theme running through my life and efforts. this theme of wanting to make a difference, of wanting to make my actions matter, of carrying a bit of a tortured soul over how to make space for the everything i feel and ache for. i am consistently craving simplicity and am hungry for experiences that bring me closer to the kind of simple life i hope to lead. my heart clings to information that tells me that i have so much...and that there are people with so little. and sometimes, it all feels very heavy. i look around my home and see so much. so much that we don't need, and so much that we could do without.
jenica, who has quickly become a very dear and true friend in my life, has recently inspired me to join her in a project to use these longings and soul aches for a higher purpose. She shared her motivation on her blog this past week, and I have been touched by it ever since. The project is called Little Dresses for Africa and is such an inspirational, simple way for me to make a small difference with my own two hands.
I wanted to join right away! Seeing that we are states apart, I have decided to start my own little sewing group here...and would love for you to join forces with me! I am going send you on your merry way to read the original post that Jenica wrote on her blog about this project. I would love for you to read it. And after you do, if you find that you have a load of pillow cases not being used...send them my way! Better yet, if you want to be a part of turning those old pillow cases into clothing for children who don't have much...let me know! I would love to have you over for a sewing date. Just get in touch with me if this is something that feels as good to you as it does to me. If your hands are itching to make change, i'll make a seat for ya!
Journey just stopped nursing in February. I never thought that I would wean any of my children...I was much more inclined to let them initiate that departure. Asher weaned himself around 14 months and it was all in his own time. But Journey. She could nurse all day...all night...all the time. She LOVED it. And it was starting to become something that really interfered with sleep, for both of us. Which interfered with the rest of our time together. So... I somewhat encouraged the process along. But, it took a long time and a lot of questioning on my part. All that to say, she still has quite an adoration for my "milks", and likes to touch them as often as she can, without any regard to whether or not we are surrounded by complete strangers. Pulling down my shirt and searching her way through my bra is a comfort she won't deny herself. I love how she is taking her own fond memory of breast feeding and incorporating it into her play. She likes to nurse her babies. And she will ask me to help her put her babies in her "milks". Forget a sling, just use your shirt! It is something so sweet for me to see and it makes my heart happy to know that she remembers this in a delightful way...and that it is something that is very real for her.
i just got finished watching Across the Universe (again). i like to watch that movie whenever i feel the need for a little nudge into what really matters. and for some creative inspiration. really, just an all around heart tug. plus. jim sturgess? um. ya. pretty much a ginormous crush. honestly, it couldn't be any bigger. i have been feeling pretty quiet today. my dreams are on my mind. my relationships are on my mind. the world at large...is on my mind. i just wanted to share with you this beautiful part of the movie. because, i think we could all use this reminder. i could use it every morning (alongside my cup of jim, er i mean joe) hee hee.
i've had this wonderful love for vinyl for quite some time now. i don't even remember when it started. but something about a record. yum. so you can imagine (or at least try) my disappointment when not one, not two BUT THREE of my record players were damaged beyond repair by my very own husband in the length of time i have known him. two were stepped on in college. and the third was broken on the day i received it as a gift. needless to say, i haven't heard the sound of a record in my living space for, well....years. today i decided to put an end to that fatality. and i looked on craigslist for a record player, and i found one that sounded just perfect. which had just been posted yesterday. hello universe! thank you for knowing my need for some vinyl. i made the connection, stopped by the bank for some quick cash, and brought home my gently used record player.
to help instill this love for spinning into my children, i grabbed the winnie the pooh record i have in my collection. they sat. and listened. and really enjoyed it. and i couldn't stop smelling my records. and listening to that delicious crackly sound as they spin around and around. and the sound of bob dylan on vinyl is just ten times more rich. and i am so happy to have a working record player in my home...
so. i have been really trying to make things happen around here. i have all of these little projects in my mind for our space. a photo placed here. some paint over here. a little decoupage on this. some lights hung over that. except. none of it has seemed to be actually, um, happening. because there are piles. and i really mean PILES of laundry to be done. there are loads of dishes to be washed. there are naked children to dry off from splashing in the kiddy pool outside. there is said pool to be drained. and there is that cat who runs outside when draining that pool...and he makes this mama all nervous when he goes out, because, you know...he might not show up again for three days. he has a short history of doing that, and i don't want to make it a habit. he actually did leave the yard this morning though...and i just had to let the anxiety go. after i did that, whaddya know? he showed up at the back door, choosing the air conditioned sanctuary over the call of his wild. but i didn't really come on here to talk about my cat. i wanted to talk about today. about how i woke up this morning with those same longings of creating something, anything...just getting to a place of feeling like i had made life a little bit more beautiful around here. immediately upon rising, i tripped my way through the mountain of laundry on our bedroom floor (clean laundry that needed to be folded) in order to make it to the kitchen where i was being hungered for by two near STARVING children pleading for some relief in the form of chocolate milk. and i knew my day had begun. and i was swirling around my discontent over my time being everyone elses at the same time i stirred the sugar into my children's breakfast. i then caught that little girl scream from within. and i remembered some tools that i have acquired in listening to her and holding her and helping her needs be met. and i said to myself. this is YOUR life jessamyn. this is YOUR day. how do you want to spend it? and i walked through my day with that in mind. sure, i still had the same responsibilities that i have had. i still knew that there would be many mishaps throughout our day. i was still very certain that i wouldn't get each and every thing on my to do list accomplished. but i recovered my power...and that was all that mattered, really. and the day actually kind of flowed from that point on in a noticeable way. i decided to make myself a playlist on the computer in the bedroom that was keeping all of those clean clothes on the floor that were soon to be dirtied from everyone stepping on them over and over again. and i had so much fun constructing this confetti list of music i love to listen to. and i began my folding. and i didn't get through it until the far end of the day because of how many times i decided to leave it and come back. but the music played all day long. and the children decided to play hide and seek with each other...without ARGUING and without being prompted by me (such a fun stage they are entering with all of that). and journey took this fantastic 2 hour nap. and while she napped, asher wanted to show me all of the "museums" he constructed in his room and listening to him nearly brought me to tears because he is so freaking full of passion, it kills me. and then. then when i told him i needed to get back to nurturing our home, he asked if he could help. and he really wanted to help in a really authentic way. and it was awesome to hear that...i didn't even know where to guide him at first! all that to say. i noticed that once i drew back my power and remembered that this is my one wild and beautiful life...i was opened up to possibility. i put on a comfy hippie dress. i let that dread forming in the back of my hair just stay there. i dyed my duvet cover. i framed some art and photos and hung them. i put up some large colorful vases in my kitchen. i turned up the music and turned on the paper lanterns. i played with my camera and drank a LOT of coffee. i sat with my children as they practiced cutting with scissors, and then we pasted and colored. and we spent time with the bugs outside, and read 1/2 of our library books on sharks. the day had a positive current and i totally chalk it up to that moment of realizing that i can create it in any way that i want...even when there is a lot to do and a mountain of laundry and a couple of beautiful, curious souls wanting everything all at once. oh! and that mountain of laundry got it's bootie whooped.