Sometime in May I wrote the longest to do list ever. It covered everything from house projects to the job search to trips we wanted to take this summer. For a while I was good at looking at it, but it became so ingrained in my mind that I didn’t feel the need to actually look at it. But over the last few weeks the heat has seeped into my brain and left me distracted. To the point that while I was sitting here this morning I thought I should write a list of the stuff that I needed to get done, completely forgetting that their is one waiting for me on my desk. Tomorrow the boys are disappearing for the day so I have a date with a notebook, a pencil, and a laptop. In our family we call the project of our life “taking over the world” some heroes use swords or superpowers my secret weapon is this list. What’s your secret weapon/superpower?
Hi my name is Stacey and I have been absent from this space for the last a six months as I finished my last full time semester of school. I may have forgotten how to blog but since my finals ended last week and we went on a week long camping trip the cobwebs are starting to clear from the writer part of my brain. I have so many ideas I’ve been mulling over but no time to put them down here, or even in a journal. So the time has come to return. But for right now I’m going to go sit on the porch and watch the rainstorm.
I’ve never been one for long term planning, I have looked at life six months at a time, possibly a year. That was how I always have been. Even in high school interning at a museum I felt uncomfortable with the way the projects were worked so far in advance. But through the transition of the past few years I have learned to value planning ahead. It is easy to fall into the comfortable rhythm of school especially with the deadlines and friendships, but I have managed to keep focused on the bigger picture, I am four semesters in and I have managed not to shift my plans. Instead I am more firm than ever in my goals.
It isn’t hard to know where I am going with all of this when at the end of the day Alder is there reminding, with his presence and words, what exactly my next step needs to be. He keeps me on task reminding me of the adventures we have planned and the rhythms we want to return to. All of this is part of a promise I made to him, and to me. I love what I am studying but that is really incidental. I chose it for the money and freedom to be made with it (don’t bother judging me I’ve had all the circular arguments in my head already). The bonus of my growing passion is that, like everything else in our lives, it becomes part of who I am and makes the work that I will do more pleasurable.
Here I am ready to move from full time student to working Mama and I feel the familiar tug of inactivity. Right now there is no one but myself pushing me forward. There are easy ways to move ahead, ones that while simple take me away from my goals. So I fight myself to find a balance that will make our family exist how it should. I push through days that move like honey, dreaming of the ones when doing what I need to will feel more natural. I am so out of practice, making myself do things. So I use big doses of day dreams and inspiration to help during the hours that Alder is at school.
This effort needed to realize my goals is monumental, yet for once it seems in reach.
no one speaks of all the arithmetic that goes in to being an adult
the cobwebs of connections
Music is just another form of numbers.
Across the street the red lights behind the bar
sends me onto the snowy porch.
3am dazed I wonder if it is fire,
I stay outside until my bare feet ache
old habits never vanish just stay hidden.
I stack mental photos of 3am in piles,
tracing my way back three decades.
I still can smell the pennies on my fingers,
staying up waiting for my parents to come home.
Playing cards with the neighbor.
3am only my father returns.
A week later my mother returns
And I got used to 3am,
3am is when the world is so quiet you can hear the stars whisper the truth
3am is when you hide from the unspeakables
3am is when lovers tell lies
3am is when death becomes real
and when the moon it full 3am is full of pain and mischief.
Has it been a year? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was wondering what 2013 would bring. I chose Engaged last year and that came to be, whether it was school or family or friends I feel I have delved into everything deeply. Even if I lost months of my life to school, where I am right now is all thanks to all that I engaged. I have found new depths to my passion and feel that I am in a good space for moving forward. I sort of feel unstoppable, timid and a little unsure of what I am doing, but unstoppable anyway.
I start 2014 in a new phase with new needs of focus, but mainly I need for it all to come together. These words I choose are not just for inspiration, they are challenges. I thought for a while that I might use something like “finishing” or “successful” but there was some missing element to both of those. They were too sterile.
Fruitful allows for growth, it brings the natural world and heart into my goals. Making the life that I want will always be a process, but I look at this year as one of focusing on creating this life. The past year was spent filling my mind with information, renewing relationships, and returning to myself. This year I need to take these strengths use them to create where I am going.
On New Year’s morning while the house was silent I was moved by the flat snow flakes to sit for a while in our new studio space. In side me there was a shift, last year was about filling up and rushing through, I feel the need to slow down to take moments to collect and create. So the girl who has never had much of a thing for candles lit one and placed it in a place of honor.
My life right now is a series of tumbling events, things that need to get done, and rhythms that I hold to. There are a lot of things I’m letting slide, things that I hope I can pick up again once this semester is over. That is what it is. I accept it and move on. Right now is so full of immediate needs that there isn’t time for day dreaming, planning yes, but not the sort of thoughts that go where they will. Because I can see the end to this I am okay with it.
Lately I’ve found my sustenance through my friends, drawing on envelopes, and reading. But I crave hot water, just a few hours at the Steam Baths or a Hot Springs, I think it’s time for me to sit down with my calendar and figure out where I can carve a few hours for myself. I am learning how to bring sustenance to my existence without large swathes of time to do so, to accept that reviving myself can’t be contingent to having lots of time to do it in.
Even this post was begun 10 days ago and is only finished right now.
We’ve had a rocky start to the school year, with lots of ups and downs. Now that we are approaching the beginning of Autumn things seem to be settling down. Still there have been some important and beautiful things that I have learned.
Taking the time to be by myself up in the mountains is the most restorative thing I can do for myself, in a way that no walk around the city can. It is the silence that my mind craves, these days of rushing from home to campus to home to pick up Alder to studying, leave little space in my mind to process the bigger picture and to nurture myself.
That when I get lost in all the small details of what I’m working on it is important to step back and look at where I am really going. But at the same time it is easy to get lost in “the future” where there are no imperfections. It is a careful balance between all of this.
I need to trust my convictions about how to live my life. That people who try to sell me on the traditional model may be good hearted but they generally have a very narrow view of how the future should go. They will try hard to change my mind about the way I am trying to shift my life because they feel like they wither know better or think that we want the same things.
When I reach a barrier inside myself take a step back and look to see where it comes from. Look deeply and then move forward (as I learned last night this is not a middle of the night thing to do). There is no benefit in pushing up against a barrier hoping to just knock it down. Instead it has to be understood and removed.
Shannon had this on her blog (with a whole trail of wonderful woman before her) it seemed like a simple way to share in the midst of the busyness that is life right now.
making : a new dress out of an old one.
cooking : dumplings, seaweed salads, and olive oil cakes
drinking : mint tea
reading : Coming Home to Eat
wanting : a new bed
looking : at the aspen leaves in the breeze near the base of Mt Shavino
playing : Sunday morning games with A
wasting : sleep over pointless stress
sowing : motivation for others
wishing : for peace in A’s heart as he goes to school
enjoying : design classes
waiting : for the end of my classes so I can truly begin
liking : the feel of jeans and socks as the weather cools
wondering : how to move from planning to implementing
loving : time alone in the mountains
hoping : that my loves will find as much peacen the coming months
marvelling : at how my life is returning to first loves
needing : to finish reorganizing the studio
smelling : rain on pavement
wearing : long sleeves and scarves
following : Camp Creek blog; to remind me of my goals
noticing : the way A has changed so much over the summer
knowing : that if I work hard enough things will come together
thinking : of ways to soften the blow of school for A
bookmarking : residential design ideas
opening : windows after a hot few weeks and letting the breeze blow in
giggling : at cat antics
feeling : tired and inspired
Birthdays and anniversaries always stir me to refocus my life. As it was my 10th anniversary last week and my 40th birthday is tomorrow. I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on how I live. So often these introspective moments bring big goals and crazy changes, and lately those change everything goals have been going forward. But sometimes it can get really easy to get derailed on the details. This year I’ve decided that taking on the those details as a way to move forward.
I have finally gotten around to reading The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron which I have occasionally dipped into but never have sat down and read. It is one of those right book for the right moment. Along with some more personal inspiration from some amazing women who have reminded me that I don’t have to go out and do every project that I come up with.
So I sat down yesterday with no expectations other than sitting with the discomfort of the now, and a journal. What came out was all about how I live the everyday life not big life changes. As I explored how I live my days I could see what parts of me and my world that needed nurturing. I found that there were eight areas that make up most of my life, and then I came up with ways to feed them. I wanted to focus on the daily and weekly rhythms not larger goals or cycles. These aren’t all action points some categories ended up with more ideas than I can possibly do, I am still in the process of seeing how to use these shifts.
~Start stretching every morning again, just 5 or 10 minutes.
~Take two long walks a week.
~Remember to wash my face every night, it seems small but I sleep so much better.
~Write 20 minutes a day, other than journaling (I haven’t really wrote since last November)
~Explore new poets and keep a poem in my pocket.
~Blog twice a week.
~Always have a novel to read.
~Pack lunch everyday
~Make four family dinners a week, both for the family time and returning to the habit of cooking for pleasure.
~Eat breakfast everyday.
~Spend an hour a day working on “job” things even while I still have a semester left.
~Stay two days a week at the CAD lab to get my work done.
~Sit everyday for five minutes (I’ve been using a meditation jar for this).
~Think before I speak
T- Is it True?
H- Is it Helpful
I~ Is it Inspiring
N~ Is it Necessary
K~ Is it Kind
~Collect images and words that inspire me and put them somewhere I can see them.
~Do some art three times a week (or go see some).
~Make space in everything I do to be creative.
~Be present with Alder for an hour every day, without the internet.
~At least three family activities a week.
~Four family dinners a week.
~Straighten the living room and studio before bed every night.
~Start laundry in the morning when I get up so it can go in the dryer before I leave.
~Organize when I do the rest of my chores (I am so thankful that Kevin has pulled most of the house cleaning weight for a long time but I need to do more.
~Don’t bring anything into the house that won’t add to the beauty of our life.
~Have Sunday mornings as many weeks as possible with our friends.
~Make social plans every other week.
~Find ways to give back once a month as a family.
~Call my Dad once a week just to say hi.
~Write a letter to a friend every other week.
What daily practices sustain you?