THE PRIMAL FLUX

“The best thing about writing is not the actual labor of putting word against word, brick upon brick, but the preliminaries, the spade work, which is done in silence, under any circumstances, in dream as well as in the waking state. In short, the period of gestation.’ 

“No man ever puts down what he intended to say: the original creation, which is taking place all the time, whether one writes or doesn’t write, belongs to the primal flux: it has no dimensions, no form, no time element. In this preliminary state, which is creation and not birth, what disappears suffers no destruction; something which was already there, something imperishable, like memory, or matter, or God, is summoned and in it one flings himself like a twig into a torrent.’ 

“Words, sentences, ideas, no matter how subtle or ingenious, the maddest flights of poetry, the most profound dreams, the most hallucinating visions, are but crude hieroglyphs chiseled in pain and sorrow to commemorate an event which is untransmissible.” (Henry Miller, ’On Artistic Action’, from Henry Miller On Writing, 1964)

All creation is the same then, a summoning of crude markings against the unfathomable wonder which infuses the phenomena of life. How is it possible that I am creating a tiny human body within my own? What magic is this? I have huge bursts of energy and then cravings for slumber. I blaze like a hurricane across the floorboards of my house, the concrete of New York, and occasionally remember to look up at the sky and take a breath. There is much being born and much dying off. I am embedded in the cosmos, and so, I am it. I want to remember that forever.

When I began writing, I recognized that one of the predominant drives I had to capture a moment, a feeling, an image, was the overwhelming sense that it would be gone so soon. Then I realized at nineteen that I couldn’t possibly capture everything I had felt or been moved by. There was just too much. I have stopped that endeavor in many ways, stopped putting my cup in the water to fill my bucket, like a child who wants to hold the ocean in a fishbowl. I turned from cup to hand, feeling the water, putting arm then body into it. Now on this shelf of pregnant contemplation, I am able (encouraged) to climb out of the water and tip out the contents of my cup again, shake the water from my hair.

I can’t imagine the emotions to come, the waves of the sea, the surfing I will learn. I can’t imagine how it will feel to give birth, to hold a small baby in my arms whose body I built with my own. Contemplating the journey our son has been on from conception to eventual birth, dwarfs all worldly concern I have. What a gift it is to be a woman. What a responsibility, a blessing, an opportunity. How else does one prepare but right here, in the inquiry? Watching, feeling, breathing the sky, flinging oneself “like a twig into a torrent…” 

 

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, MY MUSINGS, ON THE COSMOS | 2 Comments

TAKE THE LOVE YOU HAVE FOR ME

In the interest of documenting this sacred transition, I am planning to write a little something here every day. There is simply so much to reflect upon and share. It’s also lovely to connect with you my community, to express what inspires, moves, and gets me up in the morning! The trick is stopping myself from spending hours here; I could write long into the night. I’ll do my best to keep it brief. After all, there is always tomorrow.

I’m noticing as I grow older that there are all kinds of times. In the words of the Byrds, “a time to build up, a time to break down, a time to dance, a time to mourn…” Through it all there is inner peace, an inner me. I fly high as a kite and fall hard into the caves of my heart. Through it all, the sun rises and sets in an arc each day. The days keep coming. This is my life. I must now more than any other time, let go of those things I don’t need to carry anymore. The more I drop what I’ve been carrying, the easier it is to climb this mountain.

Just over this last week I have grown and my baby has grown. I know because I wake up hungry and sore, like I’ve been kicked in the vagina (!) which I’ve learnt are the ’round ligaments’ of my uterus expanding. Some people describe it like sitting on a catamaran. Yeah. Even with the pains and pushes, I am grateful for the opportunity to grow. This is what I wanted, to expand, to test the limits of who I knew myself to be. I am not who I was on Monday.

When Isaac was driving us into the city this week, I told him about something I’d read. My brother had given me the Humans of New York book for Christmas, and on one particular page, a captivating face peered through the paper. The caption read, “When my husband was dying, I said, ‘Moe, how am I supposed to live without you?’ He told me ‘Take the love you have for me and spread it around.‘”

That is what I will do for you, I said to Isaac. He didn’t say anything, but took my hand and I knew we would be okay.

While facing months of time at home as Isaac tours the US with The Kin and P!NK, I have come to reframe everything. For a long time, my inner two year old ran the show, essentially wailing and expressing how unjust this was. It wasn’t pretty. But this week, I saw that she doesn’t have to hurt anymore, because I’m here. I decided to take over, told her to rest in peace, and that her behavior is not acceptable. Her presence in my psyche represents my oldest wound and earliest memory. It’s why I have such a hard time saying goodbye at airports and at the end of family holidays, but also possibly why I chose Isaac as my partner.

I am back. What’s the point in wishing things were different? This moment now is where our life happens, and yet we spend so much time living elsewhere, we miss the real activity of our life, which is this. I decided that if I want to change something, I will take real action to actually change it. The two year old felt completely powerless when her mother went out for the night, felt defeated that no matter how hard she kicked the ground, how hoarsely she screamed, how tightly she held onto those stockinged legs, she still left.

I remember being at my grandmothers house that night in a grey, curtained room as the sun dropped deep beneath the horizon. My survival and identity had depended on her. What if she doesn’t come back? I thought. In that moment, I decided that I wasn’t going to get close to people, because they will leave me anyway and it will hurt. It took me years to unravel that one. Every time someone has said goodbye or left for a long time, the small girl in me remembers all of that. I must put her to bed now, comfort her. I am all that she has left.

What of the future? I used to wonder. How will I cope when Isaac is on tour and I am waking every few hours to feed a baby by myself? You will cope, says something in me. You are more powerful than you know. You can do this. Yes, if Gwyneth Paltrow can do it, so can I! I tell myself. If army wives can do it, so can I. If nomadic tribes can do it, so can I. Women have weathered everything for the progeny of their families. And since Isaac’s work is away from home, I plan to bring home to him. There’s a reason I started this Pinterest board.

Anything is possible. This blog is where I am documenting my inexplicable journey through this experience called life. The lessons are hard sometimes, in fact they take my breath away. But as long as we stay present, let the river flood its banks. Cry. Feel it all. I have. The hollowing helps the music come through.

Posted in ON TRUE LOVE | 10 Comments

AN INCREMENTAL BURGEONING

Photo by Henry Ward

What a fortnight it has been. I can hardly believe I was in Los Angeles last week for New Years eve. We lay in the sun by the bluest pool and I took my vacation – an hour or so with a magazine, some gelato, the sun on my skin. It’s almost unbelievable to consider that in a few months we will meet our son. I am overcome with thoughts and feelings. How do I express this emotion? Anticipation doesn’t fully capture what I want to share. I sense one layer of my life closing and another opening. I once considered this like a chapter ending and another starting. I mourned the loss of my girl self, my freedom and ‘innocence.’ But I don’t see it like that anymore.  There is constant overlap, evolution, an incremental burgeoning towards fulfillment.

What do I know now that I didn’t before? What will I know in six months that I didn’t before? I know that even after the roughest climb, there are valleys. I know that even after the well is emptied, there is more water. I know that no matter what I go through or where I am, these days are pages in my life and I am the author, the flint and the spark. I have given up wishing to be elsewhere – my life is only happening now. It is a great blessing to be reminded just how easily I can take the reins of my life, to sail on an infinite horizon upon which I paint. It takes a lot of courage to dream your own dreams, and even more to actually create them, to move towards them. New friends, new adventures, new hobbies, new life.

Death too. I see how much of my past life has withered away into the earth, how I stood in the winter forest praying for the sun. Instead of running from that passage of my life, I understand it now. This needed to happen. Death, birth, rebirth. I needed to raze the forest to plant new seeds. I have killed and been killed. Now I am building a village. I am starting again. I am reinventing myself, just as I am inventing a soul. What else is there to say? Words fail me. The baby kicks against the wall my abdomen; he is here too. What adventures await us? I know I couldn’t possibly imagine. Even now, no mountain seems too high, too daunting. What courage will birth bring? I am not afraid.

The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail - when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her. The emotional labor pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pains of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love. It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy then the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred.

– Joy Kusek LCCE

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, MY MUSINGS, ON THE CREATIVE LIFE | 2 Comments

THE RECKONING

I suddenly feel as if birth is right around the corner, only a few months away, and I want to prepare myself. The sensation of an event such as birth approaching as the logical end to pregnancy is a profound reckoning. As I write this a baby boy nudges my abdomen reminding me that he is alive and well, strong, vigorous and preparing to change my life. How does one prepare for something unpreparable for?

reckoning |ˈrekəni ng | noun:  the action or process of calculating or estimating something

There is much to be done, and little to fret about. The inner world is where I have been dwelling, and yet at the same time navigating the path towards that which I need. The first step is recognizing the needs and desires. Some days it feels as if the baby is commanding the ship and I curiously follow his strong handed steer. I wake up thinking about cream or croissants and can spend the better part of an hour considering what kind of sandwich I’d like to consume.

I hardly ate meat before I became pregnant with this boy. Now when I walk along the river in the winter, I wonder how I would do in the wild. In the fall, I saw the green shoots pushing up through the ground and thought of the deer. If that was all there was to eat, I would graze that patch too. But my body said – no, I want you to hunt a wild pig and spit-roast it over a fire. I don’t even like pork. I generally steered clear of saturated fat and animal protein. Oh how this pregnancy is teaching me to stay fluid, to let go of every habit, to honor the body’s wisdom – both my own and the boy growing within.

It is heavenly to be home with Isaac. The baby kicks my insides while Isaac sings and talks through my body. How is it possible that a small person is growing inside me? From two single cells, we have created life. I think of his heart beating deep and regular, and realize that it too will feel love and pain, desire and loss. I think of his mind and how it will grasp the things of the world and learn the non-things too, how it will grapple with the concepts we have created to make sense of it all.

How can I possibly capture everything?

Some nights as I lay in my husband’s arms laughing, smiling, blissfully alive, I think of death. It brings tears to my eyes. I don’t want it to end. I believe the experience of pregnancy and the imminence of birth reminds me of the presence of death. As we create life, we also create death. I have mourned the transience of life since my teens. “Don’t go soon,” says Isaac. “I don’t want to go!” How is it possible that we die? Everyone we know will die. I’m still coming to terms with this fact of life. The question becomes then, how to live life well? How do I want to spend these days? Down to this very moment? Isaac holds me in his arms and I cry and we drift towards sleep. I can’t imagine life without this love, which simply keeps expanding.

Pregnancy also reminds me of my own childhood and how far away it feels, which naturally summons the thought that each day brings me deeper into my life, towards death. I never imagined that the joy of bringing forth life would instigate thoughts about my own mortality, but it seems completely natural. Birth and death are inextricably linked. I have the sense that we both come from and return to the same place.

I have lost all sense of ambition. There is nowhere to get to, and yet, I am more committed than ever to the greater things of life: love, laughter, family, community. I am the creator of my life, and together we will steer our ship, sturdy that it is.

(Other strange requests from baby boy: loud dance music right by my abdomen. The way I interpret this is that he has his fathers’ love of the arena in his blood and is preparing for many trips on tour. I wonder if he’ll recognize Lady Gaga’s music when he comes out of the womb…)

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

I WILL ELEVATE YOU IN THE DARKEST NIGHT

“The roads are straight, three lanes, dotted with white and edged with yellow. The leaves of the trees are golden, orange, red, taupe, sage. I am with my love, my heart, my husband. We are on tour with The Kin.”

There was a very special moment this week that I do not want to let pass without honoring it with words. But first, some history.

Many months ago, when Isaac and I were just home from our honeymoon, he returned for a few days to work in Los Angeles. We had just left L.A. where I’d had a soul-shifting moment in a beachside hotel room. I needed to being doing something. My new husband was with his band recording music in a studio a few blocks away. I needed to be at work too, but I’d forgotten what that was while I waited for him. I needed to be chipping away at something that had meaning to me and meant something to others, too. Days spent strolling the beach, having lunch in cafes and riding bicycles on a boulevard, were not enough for me. I needed to chip.

Finding myself then in our house, alone, on the other side of the country after the bliss of two weeks together was a little too much to digest at the time. We’d landed in San Francisco, explored sequoia and redwood forests, seen Big Sur, the Houdini museum, Henry Millers’ Library, laughed on the balcony of Nepenthe and watched whales as we sipped Bloody Marys. It was a rare two weeks “alone together” and having married within four months of meeting each other, I was still head over heels and irreversibly attached.

Then things got ugly. I hadn’t been in our house alone, ever, for more than a couple of days, and now I had a week to myself. Here was my chance to chip at something! Anything! But it was also Valentines Day, so instead that first week brought tears which I know now as the pains of attachment. They always sprang fastest on the night before he’d return, my stoicism pent up and the dam fit to bursting. I was afraid of what was out there, uncertain of my safety, and acclimating to life after a life-changing wedding with the life-changing man of my dreams. Little did I know that I would soon spend many days in our home ‘by myself’ and yet, I would very quickly learn to love this time in solitude.

First it was five days, then ten, then three weeks, then five. Acceptance brings the greatest ease, a flow with what is, all of that magic. Soon I was learning how to make dreamcatchers from materials I found in the forest nearby. I was leaving the door unlocked, not having nightmares about axe murdering rapists hunting me down for no reason. I was learning to trust, to let go, to be with what is, no matter how much I squirmed (Oh, how I squirmed!) I spent weekends in new places, made new friends and connected with old ones. I learnt to separate myself from my lover and husband, the man I am co-creating a life with – a beautiful, epic, adventure filled life. However, there is nothing predictable about adventure!

Practicing my self-defense (it's a bb gun, Dad)

The process of disentangling my ego from its attachments has taken time. I remember a point not so long ago when I realized how afraid I was of (the idea of) being apart from my husband while he toured potentially ever more frequently and ever more successfully. I was so conflicted wanting to support his dreams, terrified that I was losing sight of my own. I scoured the web for writing by women whose husbands were touring musicians, and became more afraid the more I read. “A tour bus is no place for children.” It wasn’t okay. I didn’t want to lead two separate existences.

Needing to feel at peace with it all, I went through the eye of the needle and learnt to let go of needing to be near. I came back to my self. Who am I without a partner to define me? It was almost like being single again, but WAY better. I was in love! I started writing letters to Isaac every night. I realized that the love Isaac and I share is beyond proximity. I’ve seen how it grows stronger, regardless of (and sometimes in direct proportion to) physical distance. We are never very far from each other, really. Our hearts are so near, and our love for each other so strong, that after a while, I stopped noticing the distance.

The truth has always been that our happiness, and therefore the happiness of each other, must come first. We wrote our own wedding vows, and I’m reminded now that one reads:  “I will elevate you in the darkest night.” Another that “I am a stand for your wildest aspirations and highest goals.” Frankly there have been times when I’ve wondered how on earth to stitch Isaac’s dream of touring the world regularly on a man-filled tour bus with my dream of raising children in a natural, grounded environment.

But no matter what, we are absolutely committed to each others’ bliss and so to each others’ dreams. We share them. I adore my music-filled life and am thrilled by all the tours that Isaac undertakes. I am so proud of who he is and cherish the way he shares his gifts with the world. He also needs home as much as I do and treasures his time here. We both want to raise our children in a natural and grounded environment. What happened in the catacombs of my mind was that I realized the cliche of ‘rock star on tour’ doesn’t have to be insoluble with that other cliche, ‘home with the kids.’ Who says they can’t mix? Why can’t we have both? My father once said to me, “Sophie, you could be happy living in a caravan park. The thing is you would make it amazing.

House on wheels!

Perhaps he was onto something there. Suddenly the idea of a converted RV or custom tour bus became very attractive, and as you know, I leapt full in. The marrying of our dreams was nothing short of effervescent. Let’s get a yurt! A guard llama! Let’s tour the country and raise our children on the road surrounded by music, friends and family! (Isaac’s brother is his partner in their band The Kin, all of whom I absolutely adore.)

Soon enough, I had a chance to experience this vision first hand. It was time to visit my husband on tour after four weeks away. The days had flown by this time. As mentioned earlier, one of the ways I have dealt with the sense of living separate lives is that for every single night that we are apart, without fail, I pen a missive to Isaac (well, it’s an email.) I call them Letters from Home, each numbered in accordance with the number of nights we have left to see each other. In them I share anything I want from my day, without the constraint of time – which is often short on the road with big acts like P!NK. He loves those letters, and I love writing them. I have found nothing else that keeps me so connected, and I cannot give them up. I’ll probably be writing them for years to come.

I arrived in Minneapolis and stepped onto an escalator heading down towards baggage claim. A feeling came over me, so I looked over to where a stunning young man stood in the airy sunlight with a huge smile on his face. He did a little celebration dance and then stood watching me, grinning. It had been four weeks since he’d seen my growing belly, the burgeoning form of our first child taking shape. “Ya’ll warm my heart, you two!” said a woman who saw us kissing and embracing by a suitcase in that sunlit airport. We didn’t take our arms or hands from each other for several hours.

Somehow this reunion was different than the others. Perhaps because I was on tour with Isaac and his band, and was overjoyed at the opportunity. Cuddling has never felt so good in an RV on the edge of a Walmart in Idaho. Then came the special moment I wanted to share, while walking along the edge of a geese-filled creek in Ann Arbor. It was a chilly overcast day, and as we walked arm in arm, I realized how much I loved being “alone together”, and that the arrival of our baby in several months heralded the end of this unique time. Tears sprang to my eyes as we shuffled through the fallen leaves. At the same time, I saw the happy apparition of a small child in my mind, running ahead to chase geese from the shore. There were so many questions. Isaac reassured me and kissed me and held my hand and I learnt to let go a little more.

As we looped back around to return home, Isaac’s stride outpaced mine. Being four months pregnant my breath is different now. I need more oxygen to fuel both my body and our baby’s. One of my first instincts was to ask Isaac to slow down, to wait for me, to walk with me. But I didn’t say it. I waited. I recognized that as ye old attachment again. I didn’t need anything. In fact, I was very content to walk at my pace, to enjoy the air and the leaves and the sounds of the geese and children playing in the distance.

I let my love walk beyond me, at his own pace, on his own journey, feeling his own feelings. I let him go, while loving him more. He didn’t turn back, and I didn’t call out. We just moved how we needed to move. I felt my love for him grow larger. This must be what it’s like to have children, I thought, as the voices of the girls in the playground reminded me of games I used to play in those places, too. To let your heart walk outside of your body, and love them from a distance. That’s what I’ve heard it’s like. It was already happening.

When we got to the top of a hill, Isaac walked directly into the middle of the quiet road and turned towards me. The look on his face was very special. I felt his acknowledgment for what I had done, whether he knew it or not. Something had shifted.

“Then you stopped in the middle of the road on top of the hill, and watched me. Your face had a look on it that I can only interpret as pure love and gratitude. I don’t know what you were thinking, but I felt that moment of acknowledgement and basked in your gaze. I see that when I choose how to respond without attaching to how something ‘should’ be, I am able to just enjoy the delight of the moment. It’s a precious gift.”  

May we all learn to love deeply, and let go a little more. It may be one of the hardest things to do, loving and leaving. One day though, we won’t be here any more. Who knows who will enter the halls of the afterlife first, but one thing is certain, we’re all going there. To love without attachment helps me find peace in the distance. The lump in my throat however, that’s still there.

Our wedding vows, January 7th 2012

I AM MY WORD

I SHALL LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEART

I SHALL CHERISH YOU WITH ALL OF MY BEING

I SHALL STAND BY YOU AS YOUR CHAMPION

I SHALL BE HONEST WITH YOU NO MATTER WHAT THE COST

I WILL CHOOSE YOU EVERY DAY NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE

I WILL ELEVATE YOU IN THE DARKEST NIGHT

I COMMIT TO PROTECTING YOU AND DEFENDING YOUR HONOUR

I COMMIT TO YOUR FAMILY, TO EMBRACE THEM AS MY FAMILY

I COMMIT TO THE EVER EXPANSIVE NATURE OF OUR LOVE

I AM A STAND FOR YOUR WILDEST ASPIRATIONS AND HIGHEST GOALS

I COMMIT TO SATISFYING YOUR EVERY DESIRE

I WILL MAKE SACRED TIME AND SPACE FOR OUR LOVE

I SHALL HOLD YOUR HEART IN MY HEART

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, MY MUSINGS, ON TRUE LOVE | 4 Comments

FURNISHING A SOUL

Watercolor by me from before I was pregnant. It really is like this!

“It’s the best thing.

I should always want to be pregnant

Tummy thickening like a yogurt.

Unbelievable flower.”

- Sandra McPherson

Today I am 117 days pregnant. I have waited until now to share with you about this incredible feeling. How does one begin to describe what is happening? What am I feeling? How can I put words to this sensation? It has been four months, and I feel (I am) blessed. I feel strong, full of eternal life energy and coursing with love. It is a buoyancy I am somewhat familiar with, but unaccustomed to living amongst constantly. There are so few moments that take me out of this sensation.

I am furnishing a soul with a body. Who is this soul? Who are you that dreams in utero amongst the body my mother furnished for me? I have the undeniable sense of being used, utilized, filled up, full, fulfilled and complete. I have a sense of being able to do (almost) anything. Contrary to popular belief, my mind is sharpening in subtle ways. Or perhaps, it is not my mind, but my heart, which has expanded yet again, ballooning outwards across the planet.

What a gift it is to feel so utilized. Being a woman, it seems that my entire body is being employed for a purpose. I have a uterus! I have breasts! And they are engaged in their life’s work! I’ve never known this feeling – only the regular release and increase of blood shedding, and a powerful sense of when. Part of me knows I am born to mother. Perhaps born to mother this being, and then the others who will join him or her.

At first I wondered, when, then how, now who. There isn’t much to do except prepare myself for the journey and adventure that awaits as I follow this path – yet another inexplicable journey.

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, NEW & NOTEWORTHY | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

I FOUND THE HEART OF A LION, IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

I wrote an article for the Sunday Times Magazine in Western Australia which ran last Sunday, and was syndicated nationally via The Australian. I am very proud of the response the story has received and am humbled by the courage I’ve found to share the journey that I went upon.

Photo by Stef Mitchell

That courage, clarity and honesty are testament to the two women who have been working with me on the topic, not only of disordered eating, but the disempowered thinking that accompanies so many women on their passage through adolescence and well into adulthood. What began as an essay sent to me by my best friend, written by a woman I’d never met, became the seed of a book. All that was needed to germinate that seed was ‘YES.’

I was moved by the essay written by de Vie, now co-author of the book we are co-creating. Her stark honesty about the realm she called ‘Eatingdisorderland’ inspired me on that day in New York as I crossed a street to my apartment. I suggested via email that we co-author something on the topic with my friend Libby, an utterly passionate advocate of health and wellbeing, and the woman who had shared the essay with me.

Their response was a resounding ‘YES.’

Image by Erica Ruby via MYSTICMAMMA

Approximately four years later, the seed is sprouting leaves, its flower yet to bloom. I am so very grateful to these two courageous, inquisitive, focused, impassioned women, without whom this soil may have been left untilled. Now we have planted a garden, and the delight it brings to others is its gift and legacy. From the ashes, a phoenix. From the rain, a silver lining. May our message inspire you towards a life filled completely with love, joy, peace and fulfillment.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“I couldn’t keep it up any longer. Anorexia had given me a sense of stability, now it was eating me alive. I didn’t feel vital. Certain organs in my body had completely shut down. I didn’t menstruate for years. Acknowledging I had a problem was the first step out. I realized that my appearance was not worth my health, nor my sense of self-worth.’

“Like countless others, I’d been swept away by the beauty myth, the promise that we could just be better – or even perfect – if we bought this or looked like that. What I didn’t know at the time was that the images I struggled to emulate were airbrushed to the tune of an unattainable ideal. I’d bitten the apple and fell under the spell. It was good advertising. But I was smarter.’

“Yearning for some other model of wellbeing, I paid attention to women who had broken the spell, some of them ex-models. These women made a huge difference in how I saw the world and my potential place in it. It took immense courage to step beyond the confines of the tribe I was in, to leave its members for new horizons.

“When we take this step with an authentic desire for something different, we can begin to seek alternatives to the prison we have locked ourselves into. In the end, I had the key the entire time. Only I knew how to release the lock.’

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ONLINE HERE.

** The title to this post is a lyric from Grace Potter & The Nocturnal’s song ‘The Lion, the Beast, The Beat’

Posted in NEW & NOTEWORTHY | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

THE INCURABLE LONGING FOR A FARM OF ONE’S OWN

The title of this post is also the name of a book I just added to my list of must-reads. It was a sunny afternoon when Isaac and I began discussing the possibility that purchasing an RV of one’s own might be the best way to stay together while he tours with his band The Kin for the foreseeable future. I got very inspired by that idea! The thought of being apart, when we have children too, in a house away from the city, gets me a little anxious, especially when the truth of the matter is that he might be gone for months at a time. An RV or converted bus sounds like a perfectly adventurous solution! I have always loved road tripping around this country I am young in, and I’ve only seen parts of this mad world. I want to see Alaska, and Portland, Washington State, the Dakotas, and Montana, and all the wild beautiful reaches that stretch across the earth here, if we would just seek them.

A dream was formed. We would take our young child or children around the country in a vehicle something like this (my dream) playing great music to great audiences, meeting great people and seeing great sights. I think this would be a wonderful experience for everyone involved. So as one does, I made a trip to Pinterest. There I found layer upon layer of images inspiring the dream further! Soon, as one does, I came across a link within link within a picture, and found this. Yet another example of the life well lived. You see, I’m finding myself angling more and more towards a naturally harmonious life, a life truly connected to and in partnership with the earth and it’s abundance.  It’s women like this, and this, and this, who have inspired me to create this dream. We are already one step in the direction of this picture, having moved to the countryside. We must simply begin to explore the land further and find the farm that fits us.

To clarify, it would be a small farm. I grew up spending part of the year on my uncle’s farm in Southwest Australia, where he grew mandarins and oranges on an orchard we roamed, and kept sheep, cows and kangaroo on a large parcel of land which surrounded their house on a hill. My sister, my cousin Vaishali and I, loved trekking this land in search of who-knows-what. The adventure was what drove us. Our curiosity pulled us over hills, across streams and rivers, through thick sticky mud, down gravel roads and back up again. I think it’s these memories that are speaking now. Yes, I dreamt of New York like there was no other place on Earth – but uncannily, almost as soon as I met Isaac, we up and moved to the countryside (it was 10 weeks after meeting each other, and four weeks after were engaged!) There is a plan, it seems. Our dreams and desires are not planted randomly. I longed and longed for New York, and now I know why.

The longing is shifting now. It’s probably something to do with my awareness that there will soon be others in our life whom we are responsible for raising and teaching and loving. Our children. What kind of a world do I want them to grow up in? I once wrote the following, months ago – letters to my unborn babes:

IF I HAVE A DAUGHTER 

If I have a daughter, I want her to know these things. I would want her to feel safe, free and loved. I want her to feel so loved as she lay in her bed looking at the glow in the dark stars on her ceiling. I’d want her to have a full belly and enjoy food with her whole being. I would want her to look at the world with excitement and awe and wonder. I’d want her to take time for herself to look out the window of her bedroom at the trees and the birds and the water, the sky, the fireflies, the snow falling. I would want her to have super friends, friends who were kind and compassionate and thoughtful and generous and loving. I would want her to have interests of her own, and I would want to show her things in life, take her places and teach her things – like baking, making paper toys, how to grow a garden, how to pray, how to talk to the angels and how not to be scared of the forest. I would want her to be encouraged to be herself. I would want her to take joy in her body and everything it can do. I would want her to DANCE and sing and enjoy music, let it fill every atom of her being. I would want her to be hugged as much as she could be, I would want her to be kissed all over and blessed with more love than she knows how to take in. I would want her to know everything she can about recycling and protecting the earth. I would want her to take initiative in her world, to know what to do to protect the earth and herself. I’d want her to roar like a lion and roam the wilderness with her father, be fierce and strong and fearless as she can be – to not fear what cannot touch her. I’d want her to know that there is strength in being female, in being feminine, receptive, yielding and vulnerable, sensitive and open and honest. I would want her to smile with her whole body.

IF I HAVE A SON 

If I have a son, I’d want him to know these things. I’d want him to know that he is sacred, and that his sisters, family, friends and relatives, teachers and the people he sees every day are sacred. I’d want him to know to treat everyone as if they were himself. Not just as ‘his brother,’ but as if they were he. I’d want him to be kind and compassionate and open and generous and to have friends who were the same way. I’d want him to laugh. Loudly and a lot. I’d want him to have quiet time, too. To read and think about the universe and the world and to think about the Earth. I’d want him to study and to learn useful things, and some things that might not be useful, just to practice learning. I’d want him to run and to rest, I’d want him to feel free and loved, so loved, that he could stay naked wrapped in a towel after a warm bath at night. I would want him to feel so loved that he would be cuddled and tickled and squeezed senseless by his parents. I would want him to smile lots, and to ask lots of questions and to have the courage and the trust from his parents to ride his bike around and to be safe and to scrape his knees and climb logs over rivers and look at bugs. I’d want him to look after his brothers and sisters if he has any, and his friends, and to explore the land, the earth. I’d want him to stay out after dark and know that he’s safe to find his way home. I’d want him to look at the stars and build fires with his Dad and eat with gusto and ask for more. I’d want him to cuddle his Mum and to lay with her on the couch and let her stroke his hair and rub his feet. I’d want him to tell me his worries and his dreams and hopes and fears. I’d want only the most beautiful life for him, the life of his dreams.

Photo via instagram/acupfullofsunshine

I think it’s these children who are creating the future for Isaac and myself. I believe their dreams and hopes and wishes are made manifest through the fact that they choose us. I feel the spirits of our children around us, very often, and I know their desires are my desires also.  So, there is The Farm. As I start to engage with this idea, I feel my future self speaking to me, and she has learnt many things. I’m going to order this book among others, and I am going to learn the ways of the past – a time when we weren’t trapped in nine to five jobs, with dozens of bills and an imbalanced reliance on the supermarket. I know it’s a lot of work, to keep animals, but I don’t doubt the desires I’ve had for decades! When I was about 10 or 11, I became intensely interested in the animal kingdom, so much so that I thought I might become a veterinarian. I read yesterday about this woman’s experience as a one-time ‘goat doula’, and thought how powerful it must feel to be privy to the cycles of life and death which we’re often so removed from – and which come as great shocks when they knock on the door.

The idea of living a suburban life, with two cars and a mortgage, sounds very much like a trap to me. After finding this woman’s instagram blog, I have a sudden yearning for the presence of an alpaca. Ideally, we’d have a manageable plot of land, with forest, creek, brook, or river, sunny and fertile plots for growing vegetables and fruit trees, a chicken pen with egg-laying hens, a goat shed with four or so goats to milk and care for, a dog or two, and a guard llama to keep the herd safe (and interesting.) I have gotten into the habit over the past few months of baking my own sourdough and making almond milk, which has eradicated any reliance on store-bought bread or milk, which I now can’t stand.

Thankfully, I notice that several converted RVs house an oven! (For those times when we’re not on the farm, but roaming wider.)

Photo by Tracy Porter

As the days pass, so do I shift and adapt. I am finding my dreams so different to those I had before, and with good reason I believe. It seems we must learn to let go of rotting fruit, to plant new seeds, to rip up the garden that didn’t grow, and start again. To believe in the God-flow of life (for lack of a better word) and participate once again in the dance of its expression. This is what I am surrendering to now.

For lack of a better word, thank you.  

Posted in LOVE LETTER TO LIFE, MY MUSINGS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

UNPINNING THE MOTHS

It seems so long since I wrote freely here. I make excuses. Too many people know and see me each week now, who read my writing, and I must make amends to my self-expression. I must not upset or concern them. I must protect them from their worry. Nonsense! I forbid myself to think as such, let alone to act as such. I am a free woman. Free to say whatever I want, however I want.

So what do I want to tell you? The reader I am writing to is a person such as I am, such as I was, someone with the same urges and dreams and fears and questions about life, and how to live it. Preoccupied with the stuff of life, I find myself stepping out of the flow of creativity, of self-expression. I find myself trapped in the expectations of others, on collaborations that are controlled, focused on a final outcome that we each contribute to, but which are not wholly my own.

That is not what I am here for. I am here to be Queen of my own Kingdom, to rule over the realm of my imagination. I am unlike anyone I know, my creativity unlike anyone’s either. I am the best me imaginable. And I am constantly changing, growing, adapting and transforming. I notice myself holding onto the things of the past, lamenting a future I seem unable to grasp, and beholden to my desires. I am not perfect. I don’t pretend to be any longer, either, though I once did, in the throes of anorexia. Did you know about that?  I will tell you more.

One of the things that used to motivate my writing was the perception that everything was moving so fast, that life was too beautiful to comprehend, and that I was going to miss something if I didn’t pin it down like a moth on a board. I wrote to capture life in all it’s mystery, misery and wonder. I didn’t want to forget. Have I forgotten, now? I don’t think we do forget, deep down. I feel I have remembered things I can’t recall, and it is my body that remembers, the thought or feeling tucked away in a particular nook, unable to be reached logically, but intuitively.

So, I haven’t lost anything. There is only new space created, things sorted and folded, placed orderly or otherwise deeply within, for me to retrieve someday when the hours beckon. There is space, now, for newness. It’s up to me. What next? What do I want to fill myself with for this next phase of life? As within, so without.

Yesterday, I spent hours in my office picking through papers I had stowed in filing cabinets, boxes, drawers and files. I threw away everything I didn’t need anymore, and treasured the gems I have kept. I wept. There’s a box I have which my father made himself for my twenty-first birthday. It’s a replica of the box we loved as children – his own father’s box, the drawers filled with ancient marbles, the lid hiding sepia pictures, faded and worn.

In my box, I have stowed every handwritten letter or card I’ve received from those who love me the most, my family, my nearest friends, as well as letters from readers and one, which brought a torrent of tears, from my seventh grade teacher, Ms Booker. She had written to my family after an interview was published in the Sunday Times Magazine some years ago, in which I described the fact that I’d won the Miss Booker Prize for Literature when I was young. She wrote that a teacher hopes the things they do might positively impact a child later in life, and that my mention of this prize and its impact, had not only made her day, but her “whole teaching career!”

It is treasures like this which I am glad to have kept, not just the pages and pages of words I’ve pinned to the page. Ironically, it is other people’s words which have made all the difference. I once thought the best joy was in expressing and sharing and opening myself, which is still true. However, now that I am older, I’m finding that it’s the reflections I see in the world around me, the increase of love, respect, and inspiration (my younger brothers’ notes particularly put lumps in my chest) that bring it all home.

I don’t do what I do for the attention of others, but for the gentle pressing from within which says write. Sadly, I have overpowered that quiet voice more times than I care to admit. Sometimes there is another voice, meaner and spiteful, which asks me, “Why are you not writing?” and I have to tell it, “because I am riding my bike,” or more often, simply “because you are there.” The Critic stands guard over certain documents which I’m angling to hike through like mountains, and questions everything I think with hands on hips. I’ve recently learnt that this Critic is not an ally. (You’d think we’d figure that out from the moment it speaks.) While it may seem to be hustling and jostling me to work, it is the very way it does so which is problematic – igniting fear, doubt, and a sense of duty.

Lest passion become a duty! No! Pure creativity is not to cross wires with the life of chores and duty. Yes, there will and are times when my creativity must be funneled into a shape, into chronological time and tangible form. But today, here and now, the creativity and freedom of self-expression afforded to me, to anyone, is what I choose. We must not be hindered, let alone from within. The realm in which we play is endless. What next, indeed?

There have been stories upon stories that have spilt from my hands, and they have all taught me something. Yet there have also been experience upon experience that have spilt from my life, and these have taught me the most. Life offers itself to our imagination, asking for nothing, and everything. I want simply to keep up with the magic itself, to stay present, out of the past, beyond the future. There is life here, everywhere, and we are it. The leaves shimmer in the wind, glow in the sun, the berries evanescent as the seasons shift. The sun drops to the sky as we spin around and around it, here for a time, and then somewhere else entirely, but not forgotten.

We are here making marks in the ways that inspire us, grappling with the mysteries of life, of purpose, these wellsprings of idea, impulse, desire and duty. Life, what a life.

In all its seasons, let us love it.

Posted in MY MUSINGS, ON THE CREATIVE LIFE | 1 Comment

BLESSED

“I live the poetry that I cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize.”  - Oscar Wilde

Oh joyous life, thank you for your blessings.
Posted in MY MUSINGS | Leave a comment
  • Sections

  • Archives