THE GRATITUDE OF THOUSANDS

I wandered into the kitchen this morning with Dido’s song Thank You in my head. This happens only every so often. Like it were planted by an angel, a spirit, from a parallel universe. And I want to thank you, for giving me the best day of my life. And oh, just to be with you… 

Motherhood has grounded me. These days, I’m willing to just lay here and soak up the moment, breastfeeding my son before he falls asleep across my chest, the tree leaves rustling and the blue birds still nesting. I remember when I wasn’t pregnant, I seemed to fly across the surface of the earth, buoyant with all kinds of energies. There will come a time when I have dance parties in the living room again, probably when Julius can walk and dance with us. At this point in time, he is little, getting heavier, and I can only hang him from my shoulders for so long.

I feel blessed to be able to truly enjoy this time. These last three months I have cleared my schedule; there is nothing I need to be doing but attend to my baby, my body, my surroundings. This is how I dreamt it would be. There is nothing more important. When I hear my son laughing with my mother in law from another room, I can put down the dishes and lay down with them. When I hear him crying on another person’s shoulder, I can take him and hold him close to me and his upset melts away. I am his mother. I have never felt more engaged, more excited for the future, more enlivened to create a life with purpose and meaning and direction.

I watched a documentary called Tiny the other day, about tiny homes. I am inspired by sustainable housing, and I am inspired by California, and I am inspired by traveling on the road with Isaac and The Kin. The path is unfolding slowly, and I am in the middle of this inexplicable journey. I feel there are a dozen paths to choose from and instead of feeling daunted, I am thrilled by all the possibilities. What do we want to create? How do we want to live? I am not content with the idea that we need (or should want) a large house heated by fossil fuels, a mortgage, two cars, a nine to five job and kids in an underfunded school. I don’t want to work because I have to pay the bills. What if I didn’t have those bills in the first place? What if my kids didn’t go to a ‘regular’ school? What if we stopped relying on fossil fuels and actually, seriously, sought a personal solution?

What inspired me about Tiny was the idea that when building a tiny home (or even a ‘regular’ home smaller than a McMansion) one has to think about every surface, every space. There is a purposefulness to living this way that really excites me, as well as the fact that you need to live with less belongings. What is all this stuff in my home, and do I really like it or need it? I refuse to buy or use a lot of things that many others in my life still purchase, like kitchen towel, surface spray (we use multi-purpose environmentally friendly dish soap) or plastic (saran) wrap. There is no need to use these ‘convenience’ items when a perfectly good tea towel or bowl with a lid is on hand.

Reuse, reduce and recycle. I have been saying it for years. It’s time to take it to a new level. I want to live in tune with our values, with the vision I have for our child and future children. The time is up for staying uncomfortably comfortable. I felt the wind change a few days ago and I’m ready.

Let the planning begin…

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE | 1 Comment

GIVING BIRTH TO THE MOUNTAIN

The most incredible week of my life has just passed; perhaps matched only by the week I met Isaac, that summer three years ago when all my hearts desires seemed to have unraveled like fireworks down the New York City sidewalk. Last Saturday I gave birth to a baby boy. He was nine pounds and four ounces and I grew all of him. I labored for ten hours and experienced childbirth in the warm peace and safety of my own home. Julius was born at 1:07am on May 3rd 2014, and he arrived just in time.

I had been overdue for what felt like a year. Having lost a first pregnancy in January of 2013, I seemed to be mimicking the 23 month gestation of an elephant. I had waited to hold my baby for so many months, diligently walking the path, healing my wounds, grieving the loss of potential life and getting up again to try once more. There was fear, there was hope, and there was doubt. But I wanted my baby with every atom of my being, I yearned to be a mother.

My own mother arrived off a flight from Australia on April 18th, one day before my original due date (it was later changed to April 23rd.) She showed us old footage from when I was a child, breastfeeding teddies and doting on my sister. As the days turned into weeks waiting for a sign, the four of us went about our day in much the same manner as those before: Isaac’s mother and mine, and we their first born children, patiently expecting the boy.

By the time the calendar read May, I started to realize that we might not have much time left to have the home birth we’d planned. I tried all the regular natural methods of induction but still no baby. I had an acupuncture session on Thursday. No difference. That same night my midwife texted me. Ready for a try of castor oil tomorrow? Call me before you take it. I said yes, but I wasn’t really ready. I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of irritating my body to get the baby out – castor oil contains a compound which is a smooth muscle irritant – both the bowels and the uterus are composed of smooth muscle, so the logic is that contractions may be kickstarted in the same way the bowels are…

I was awake almost all night (mistakenly) reading internet stories about both the wonders and the horrors of castor oil. I found myself fraught with fear. What if it didn’t work? What if the baby became distressed? The next morning I called my midwife and she reassured me that castor oil is a safe method of induction which her patients have used successfully since the dawn of their practice, that it can be truly effective. Her confidence reassured me. Through tears I worked up enough courage to go for it. I blended raw cacao, coconut ice-cream and 1/4 cup of castor oil and downed the cup. Isaac had a taste. I felt it gave me strength. I had crossed the first threshold.

Within thirty minutes I was pinned to the couch cross legged, meditating through an infusion of nausea. I wore a black hooded sweater, needing the sense of protection, a slight witchiness brewing. Isaac comforted me before running a last errand. I felt rotten. I took a nap and when I woke, found my mother in the kitchen. It was very difficult to trick myself into doing the necessary second dose when my body was obviously trying to get rid of the first. It was working. I’m doing it for all of us, I thought. I climbed back into bed until Isaac returned.

“Do you realize we’re going to have a baby soon?” Isaac said as he leant over me, weak and weepy. I paused. Yes, I could see that there would be a baby at some point. “But I can’t see the path,” I said. Isaac nodded, and at that very moment, I felt something like a water balloon popping between my legs. “I think my water just broke.” I was suddenly wide eyed, a grin spreading over my face. “Really?!” He called my mother upstairs and soon they were doing a victory dance on the landing outside the bathroom door. “I can finally bring out the bunting!” Mum crowed.

The next nine hours were filled with the ebbing and flowing of contractions. I squatted through most of them, feeling like that was the most effective way of doing the job. Later Mum would tell me that it’s also the most intense (and yes, effective) position for laboring. I squatted almost every morning of my pregnancy so it felt natural to continue. My midwife Pam arrived at 5pm when contractions were coming every two minutes and lasting 45 seconds. I was progressing.

At dusk we went outside and I attempted to walk around the garden. I remembered Alanis Morrisette talking about her labor and home birth, how she had only one photo of herself, pacing the dark garden in a black hood. I was there now. I hung off a blossoming tree while Isaac went inside for a moment. Our neighbor was mowing his lawn. Life was continuing as usual and yet I was having a baby. It felt like the most natural occurrence, and yet so often we are shielded from birth. I moaned loudly to match the intensity of the contractions. After several hours of doing that I almost lost my voice so ended up hissing through them instead. I hardly recognized myself.

I remember eating one of my mothers gluten free chocolate chip cookies. I remember the African mask that I labored in front of by the fig tree at our front door. I remember the sounds of my mother and mother-in-law pottering in the kitchen. I remember crouching by the red couch with the lamp on. At some point day had turned into night. I remember asking for watered down coconut water and my mother-in-law bringing me watery coconut milk. I remember laughing with the assistant midwife who I’d bonded with over all my prenatal visits. I remember how she sat with me on the stair well just watching, smiling. She told me that Heather (the other midwife not present at the birth) had sent a text saying “Sophie you’re so strong and awesome!” I felt so supported.

At some point Pam told me I could get into the water. We had set up a birth pool in our living room, right in front of the altar on our fireplace mantel where I have sat almost every morning since we moved here, praying, meditating, asking. The water felt so good. I kept squatting, kept moaning. Isaac was fully present and calm. He would ask me to look at him and keep breathing. I would zone out between contractions, completely relaxed and completely surrendered. I think he wondered if I was okay. Soon I started bearing down, sensing things shifting. Pam checked me and I was fully dilated. I could start pushing. Little did I know these would be the most excruciating moments of my life.

How can a woman explain what childbirth feels like? The experience is no doubt different for every woman, but I’m sure almost every mother can relate to the intensity. I had no idea. I got out of the water at some point upon request of the midwife, but when the smell of the the plastic carpet protection got to me, Isaac and I decided it would be nicer to born into water. I pushed for an hour, which really seemed like twenty minutes. I would later learn that my mother and mother-in-law were sitting in the dining room able to hear everything. I began calling to God at one point. My mother grabbed Madeleine’s hand and squeezed it hard for ten minutes. They sat in silence together as a great cleaving occurred in the next room.

I can’t express the pain nor the thoughts that went through my mind for that last hour. In a situation like that, one cannot return. The only way out is through. I reasoned that this wasn’t going to last forever, but the necessity of pushing into the pain was a test of my conviction. It hurt like hell. I wanted this baby out. Pam, Heather and Isaac encouraged me, telling me how much progress I was making with each earth shattering groan. I’d always imagined I would feel the head emerge, or that the midwives would tell me the head was born. Nothing of the sort happened. I remember the last push though. I remember the way that I summoned up all my remaining strength, bit the bullet, grit my teeth and gave it my all. It was a sort of giving up as well as giving everything, the way a marathon runner flings themselves towards the finish line, hoping it might make all the difference.

It did. Suddenly I was sitting back against the wall of the tub and a baby had appeared, I was holding him, bringing him to my chest, the voices of the midwives firm, reassuring and yet distant. They slipped a loop of cord from his head and I held him close. He was perfect and pink. He cried and a blanket was put over him and everything around me stood still. Isaac was right beside us. A baby. He had arrived. A precious jewel excavated from the mountain of my body. All pain was removed in those moments and I was not myself any more.

The voices became louder and I heard an instruction to get out of the tub. I clung to our baby and was supported as I stepped out of the water. The placenta came soon after and then I was stitched up. I had a first degree tear that’s still healing but nothing too serious. (That was probably what had made the pushing so painful.) The midwives stayed with us until 4:00am that morning. The bond I felt with them both was unique. Not only had they assisted me in birthing our son, but they had stared in my nether regions for an hour as a baby appeared. There’s not many people who know you so intimately! I have a new freedom and love for my body now. Nothing is sacred. Everything is sacred.

The week following Julius’ birth was a heady mix of pure bliss, profound joy, moments of sudden realization (“It really is 24/7!”) and adjustment. It continues to be so. I lay outside on a blanket a few days later and breastfed my tiny baby amongst the violets and the green, green grass. All around us Spring is blooming. Two blue birds are nesting in bird boxes near the flowers. New growth appears every day. The vegetable garden we planted while waiting for our jewel has been sprouting, the trees getting ever fuller with foliage. Such is life. Ever fuller. Ever beginning. I am humbled by these blessings and moved by how fiercely I love this new baby, this new life.

Photos 1, 2 & 5 by Isaac Koren, 3 & 4 by me, and the above by Stef Mitchell

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, THE CLASSICS | 9 Comments

WELCOME JULIUS MAX

Born May 3rd 2014, 9lbs 4 ounces, at home in water.

Currently writing this with one hand.

Life has exploded into colour. We are beyond grateful!

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, NEW & NOTEWORTHY | 1 Comment

CAMPED ON A CLIFF

We are on the boy’s time now. Divine waiting – as if the dinner we prepare each night is for someone famous we’re expecting, someone who could knock on the door at any time, someone we’ve never met. We are ready for him at each moment. How do we spend these hours, when so much has been done, so much has been said, so much has been anticipated? It is an incredibly unique time. A pregnant pause.

My wonderful mother is here from Australia for another few weeks, and Isaac’s mother is also here from New York City. Each day Isaac and I wake up next to each other, and we cuddle and snooze as long as we desire. I spend almost an hour before our altar, laden with lilies, gardenia flowers, archangel cards, a rose quartz crystal, Ganesha, our Tibetan singing bowl, the lapis lazuli beads from my Blessingway, and the first dreamcatcher I ever made, hung with an old jangling fertility charm in the center. I made that dreamcatcher one month before our boy was conceived. Magic works.

Mum walks from my brother-in-law’s house through the forest every morning and we welcome her into our home so gratefully. We drink tea and coffee and have breakfast together. I love that we spend almost the entire day in each others’ orbit. Isaac’s mother arrives around 3pm and does the washing up, any laundry, makes salad and salad dressing, her long red hair in a bun at her crown. I’ve been making batches of coconut and almond granola and listening to the stories and advice and conversations of the grandmothers to be. They had only met once or twice before, for Christmas at my sister’s house two years ago, and again at our wedding. They are getting to know each other. It’s a powerful four (five!) that we are.

I take a nap sometime between 4:00pm and 6:00pm and then a walk through the forest to the canal. The flowers are blooming in new places each day. The Hawthorn tree in our garden is full of pink blossoms, violets strew the lawn, the yellow of the Forsythia bushes and daffodils blooms everywhere you look, and the little white hyacinths smell like all the best memories.

When will you arrive beautiful boy? You have chosen a stunning time to enter this part of the Earth. I get the sense that you are just waiting for your stars to align, the stars that you have chosen. Isaac plays piano every night for us and you move to the music. I have been making dream catchers, a hanging mobile of Australian shells. Mum and I watch old home movies each night and we laugh and cry, drink the same tea and eat the same cake.

I am so moved by the beauty of life at this time. With all the time in the world to watch Isaac play piano by candlelight, I weep with a kind of intense joy. When he looks at me for minutes at a time, I weep more. We are at the most incredible, indelible peak. I feel I have left one landscape behind, and I’m camped with my family on the edge of a great cliff, knowing that some day a voice will beckon us to the drop, and we will leap together. Until then, the flowers and the wind and the piano keep us company. We will keep baking bread, boy. Come when you’re ready, we can hardly wait to meet you.

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THE APPROACH

As my baby belly grows ever larger, heavier, I find myself struck by the sense that I am not going to be the me I have known myself as for very much longer. There is an unnameable sadness in this. I don’t know what kind of vortex my labor and birth will be like, nor how much of myself I will need to surrender to the abyss. A kind of death is on approach. I haven’t been afraid of the physical sensations, the journey of intensity, the power of the energy that will move through me, but now I am wondering how completely this experience will transform me and if I will recognize myself afterwards.

I suppose parts of me don’t want to change. I have been like this before. Sensing that something is about to shift dramatically, whether it’s my nuclear family, a period of time away from loved ones, or a change in my relationship with Isaac, I get rather upset. I like it the way that it is. I like what I’ve got here. I remember reading that it’s actually part of our evolutionary makeup to resist dramatic change unless absolutely necessary; the old adage ‘if it works, don’t fix it’ keeps things strong, resolute, enforced from within – working.

I want to meet our baby boy very much, and I want to keep something sacred between Isaac and I. I yearn for his presence and companionship. Perhaps this is because he has been away for several weeks and had just returned for a few days, before flying to LA for a 24 hour Coachella trip. I am home in the silence again. Nine days until my due date. Tomorrow will be eight. Am I ready? Are we ready? Life is an incredible adventure and I think I am having the flutters like before a leap from an airplane, or a beach cliff, from a platform with a bungee cord.

What will become of me, of us? The sweet angel who is with me is my closest companion these days, he is always here. For now though, I want my husband all to myself, to know that things will be better, closer, strong, resolute, enforced from within, working – even amidst such a life changing experience as the birth of a first child. I can’t know what is to come, what challenges await us all. I don’t know what childbirth will feel like for me, but I suppose I am expecting something bigger than I can imagine. This is probably a way for me to engage with my fears and drum up the courage I need to face this unknown, before meeting the boy who is waiting for us.

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LOVE IS LIFE THAT FLOWS (THE VEIL THINS)

I am entering into a dreamy state of being where what is eternal is becoming very clear to me, and what is unnecessary drops away. The thinning of the veil. I am two or three or four weeks from giving birth and I can feel everything. I am neither anxious, nor worried, nor overwhelmed. Life is becoming very simple in these days of expectation, and I am one with it all.

Here in the valley it rains and the earth breathes again. I walked out of my door early yesterday morning and was met by that sweet wave that the rain gives off. I hadn’t smelled that for months, perhaps since last summer. Grassy and metallic at the same time, the air misty, cooling, soothing to the bones. I love the rain. I loved the snow too. I love the sun. Every day offers something different and I honor it all. The sound of the rain falling fatly on the hands of the evergreen bushes, the comforting drip drips from the roof. The warmth of my house. The peacefulness of being here in these days, just me and my baby safe within. One, but two.

I am needing of nothing. I am wanting of nothing. Except – yes, for the arms of my husband. When I stop to think about it, my eyes get hot again. We knew it would be like this – the excruciating split between out there and in here, the world and our home. The band sold out the Troubadour last night in Los Angeles, and yet after all that, Isaac writes to me yearning to be here. Of course this breaks my heart. We shed bittersweet tears on opposite sides of this country because we love each other so deeply, so purely, and we know why we have made these choices. There is no other way. This is our path.

People tell me I’m brave, that I’ve done so much ‘alone.’ I think I’ve completely let go of that story now, being alone. Good thing I have too, because the reality is otherwise. I am not alone, never. Since the beginning of the Chinese New Year at the end of January, I have seen signs of angels all around me. The number of times I’ve seen 11:11 or 1:11 on a clock astounds me. I have photos and screenshots of all the moments (often daily) that this mysterious and repetitious pattern emerges. In my heart, I know these are the signs of a benevolent spirit, reminding me that I’m not alone. I have never seen so many signs, not since before I met Isaac (more on that here) when perhaps the same guides and angels accompanied me.

During the last few days I have been making a playlist for our birth, making sure that we have all that we’ll need for our midwives, and painting the images I see in my mind around the birth. One, a flowering leafy garden unfolding from between my legs, carrying our son upon it. At the same time, my subconscious is purging. Last night I had an intense and violent dream, not scary, but punctuated with images I don’t normally fill my mind with. They are coming up from the depths to be released after I open the door with my paintings, I’m sure.

Yesterday I walked by the wilderness of the canal, the water so rich and still, the mud starting to warm up after the rains. There was no human around. Something in me said, sit. The leaves were damp and soft and it felt good to be on the earth again after so much snow. I crossed my legs and closed my eyes for several minutes. Almost immediately I could feel the connection I now have with all of nature, with all animals who give birth, with the females of this planet, the birds who lay eggs, the deer who offer fawns to that same mossy ground.

I am glad to be here amongst them all, powerful beings that they are. I gather my strength from them. (I heard a story this week about a tribal woman in Africa, who when asked about the pain of childbirth said “Pain? No, no pain. But I now know what it feels like for the Earth to give birth to a mountain.”)

Birth mandala by Amy Haderer-Swagman

 

Our baby wakes up when I wake up, responds to his father’s music, his father’s voice. We are in the dreamtime together, and it is a beautiful time of life. I cannot be sad that my beloved isn’t physically here yet. He arrives in nine days. He is so very present, and we have a connection that I know is very precious, yet incredibly resilient. The quiet time apart from each other brings a great surge of love, and many opportunities to be with what is, without changing it or pushing against it. I am grateful for these opportunities, because I am growing into the person I know myself to be in my heart. I am shedding layers, giving birth to myself as we prepare to greet this small dreaming angel, laying within.

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, MY MUSINGS, ON THE SELF, ON TRUE LOVE | 1 Comment

CONSTANT BECOMING

Photo by Cresta Kruger

I have felt a little strange all day. After such buoyancy following my magnificent blessing way, which lit my heart completely, the days seem odd, conjoined, one flowing into another. After eleven letters written to Isaac, and 21 left to go, I feel time slowing as I wait for his return, and yet a day passes and I wonder whether I made the most of it.

I have been wanting to share so much, as so much has been happening in my life, and yet (there are so many yets) it feels as if my life is barreling on with the vigor of the horse whose year we are greeting. It seems like one minute I find myself waking up to a new day, and the next minute it is evening and I need to think about feeding myself and my growing baby. I am proud of myself for doing all that I’m doing ‘alone,’ working two jobs as I transition out of one and into another. With Isaac away, making dinner becomes a feat of creativity and resourcefulness (I am lucky that he usually cooks for us!) and I find that I’m not very hungry these days, except after breakfast when the requests for high calorie foods flood in. Peanut butter toast, coconut oil, croissants.

Perhaps this is the calm before the storm, when at almost 36 weeks pregnant, time is discombobulating itself from all logic, and my days feel mostly the same. Surely it’s a side effect of being in one place for a long time, not moving far from home, simply doing the work I must do and preparing my life in the best ways I know how. I walk to the water, through the forest. I drive to the mechanic, the midwives, the market. Yesterday I met a remarkable nurse practitioner whose office is her house, surrounded by a subsistence garden, and who was taught homeopathy and herbology by elderly neighbors when she was a young girl, “eating things from the wild which people might frown upon.”

It is quiet and the rain is falling. To be honest I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. No company is necessary. I know I am not alone. Not just with our dear baby laying snug in my womb, punching my bladder every now and then, but surrounded all the unseen energies and the support from loved ones everywhere, sending us well wishes. I have felt buoyant in a way I’ve never before, which is a wonderful feeling to embark upon a birth with.

Tomorrow is the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, and I am sensing the turning point. Last night I finished my first fiction novel, which also feels strange. I suppose I thought it would be more painful. It was instead very easy. I had noticed a few days ago that I was resisting finishing the story, because to be in the mystery of creation, pregnancy, gestation, is a nice place to be. A constant becoming of something not yet defined. There is a freedom to wonder what something could be, instead of to know what it is, which subsequently sparks debate, critique, discussion, reflection.

It is quite sad to be finished. The ending of the final chapter is like a nail in a coffin. Yes, I can open the coffin and rearrange the flowers a bit, but soon it must go into the earth or the fires and re-nourish life. I must let my babies go.

Tree of Life by Peter Lik

There is much I’m looking forward to, and much I can’t quite predict. If I’m honest with myself, I know that it’s likely I’ll have many more times lived physically distant from my beloved Isaac, which makes my eyes get hot and some denial creep in. I don’t want us to be apart. Yesterday I discovered the first song he had ever sent me, just a couple of days after we had met, which we ended up writing the lyrics for just three summers ago. The song is called As You Are, As You Were, and as it played yesterday I was moved by how far we have come, and how passionately we still love each other. The sun was falling over the mountains beyond our windows and there was a bouncing chair waiting for a baby in our living room. The gratitude I felt and feel daily for the opportunity to love Isaac is overwhelming. He has given me my life.

Naturally, I want to continue that life. How that looks, we don’t quite know yet. The balance between home and travel will be something we’ll need to navigate at every horizon. What comes next? A baby! A blessing, a beautiful life, I am sure. Predictable? No. Beloved? No question.

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, MY MUSINGS, ON THE CREATIVE LIFE | 6 Comments

THE UNWRITTEN SHEETS

I’m finding my life stranger and stranger. Not my life as it stands, but the phenomenon of life. This time I have here, to do what I will and make what I want. A friend wrote to me last night saying ‘Every time I see you, you make a wish, and the next time I see you, you’re living it.’ I am moved to tears this morning as Isaac and I sit at our dining table, having woken up to another day blanketed in white, and I see the white birds on the river, floating with the ebb. Isaac looks at me without saying anything and my heart clamps. “Thank you for loving me,” I tell him. I don’t share the question which hides deep within me: “How could I possibly accept all of this? Am I deserving of so much? Can I ask for more?”  “It’s so easy” he says, “it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.” Can I possibly ask for more? What next?

I find I feel happiest when I am working towards a dream much larger than I think I am. I know this is human. I need something to inspire me. Recently, I’ve been drawn to the pink peaks of the Himalayas, the faces and spaces of other cultures outside my own. Perhaps it’s the fact that I am thirty-three weeks pregnant and approaching a time of limbo – a waiting time, when baby is here but not here, when I am a mother and not as yet. I am closing shops and sweeping floors in the room of my life. It’s a strange feeling.

I have wanted to close certain shops for months, but the fear of being outside in the open frightened me. Frankly, the possibilities were daunting. I don’t think I had the energy or willpower to create something other than the comfort and abundance from which I was already living. But there is always more. And I don’t think it’s selfish or greedy to want for more. All around Tibet, people journey to sacred staircases, climb to the temples, and pray for a better life, either this time or next. I feel I am the base of a great staircase, pacing its floor. What do I want to see when I reach the top? What do I want to pray for?

One thing is clear to me, I am at a precipice in my life, a time when everything matters and nothing matters at all. Suddenly I feel compelled to work towards healing the environment, and supporting those in other places of the world who aren’t as blessed as we are. Bringing our first born son into the world renders every problem magnificent in size, and every joy profound in color and taste. Perhaps it’s the year of the horse I’m sensing; my feet itching to run, to move, to see new sights. The same snow lays on the ground here for months, and though I am lumbering and cumbersome, I feel my spirit flighty. There’s an energy in my body today which will sweep like a hurricane through the house and the forest and then to places beyond this physical reality. I dream, therefore I am.

“The snow lay white as a sheet of unwritten paper…”

 

Posted in ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, ON THE SELF | 4 Comments

RAISING BOYS

“How many boys have to kill themselves before this country acknowledges the problem.” – Guante

I am blown away by the influx of information that is coming to me about raising men these days, the importance of reconstructing ‘masculinity’, even going without any definition and just letting men be human.  I have been so connected to the health and wellbeing of women and body image for the last several years; what about our boys, our men? We must give them space. I have already vetoed any name for my son that means warrior, or to fight. I don’t believe that we need our men to fight any more.

Raising conscious, feeling men? What a fabulous new life challenge. It’s already begun… 

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FEAR, PASSION, DETACHMENT

It’s 12:21am on Wednesday February 5th and I am 29 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I can hear the freezing rain falling outside, and my imagination runs wild. Many of my fears have visited me this evening as I prepared for a warning that power may be cut again tomorrow due to frozen boughs and downed power lines. I drove in the snowy aftermath of Monday’s storm as the sun headed over the mountains, headed towards the store as soon as power was cut. My first instinct was to fill the bathtub, and get more water. I remember Sandy well. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for the wellbeing of my baby.

So now even though my eyes are heavy with fatigue, I am awake writing. What else do I want to say? I feel incredibly vulnerable, sensitive, porous. I am afraid of many things, and yet I know that whatever happens, I will get through it. I know that no matter what happens, I will get stronger, more resilient. Dear God please protect us, send me your grace, your love, guide your way. Angels, show me the best route to take as I navigate this new time in my life, this ending, this beginning.

I don’t know what is coming. I pray that you will spare me as much hardship and heartache as possible. I am seeing that gratitude, patience and acceptance are some of my most powerful allies, guarding against sadness, hopelessness and despair. I must keep writing in my gratitude journal, and training my mind to be happy, even when Isaac is not here. This too shall pass. There will come a time when we will all be together, either on the road or in a house or who knows where. Until then, this is my life, and it is magnificent in all its manifestations.

Isaac writes to me about his love for our boy and I am overcome with emotion. The baby moves at night and in the mornings, and Isaac is with him, even though he’s in a plane over Canada, a truck in Arizona or a tour bus in Austin. I know we will be together, somehow, that the dreams we have are possible because we dream them together.

“This much I know. I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness. No matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities that itself creates new potential.’

“I’ve learned from the Bhagavad Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of whatever I do. Because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control. But your commitment is yours to make and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment from where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world and you share your actions and take full responsibility for them but then you have detachment.’

“That combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge. Because I don’t cripple myself. I don’t tie myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty because I think we owe it to each other not to burden one another with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.”

– Vandana Shiva

Posted in ON THE CREATIVE LIFE, ON THE SELF | 3 Comments
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