Friday, 23 December 2011

Ring Out Solstice Bells ...

... Another Jethro Tull favourite of mine!  And yes it  was blaring out as loud as I thought I could get away with three times in a row Solstice morning.  It reminds me of my childhood and my Dad enthusiastically singing along in a comic spaced out droney kind of way, gooning about then regaling me in tales of Ian Anderson's hedonistic ways.  The song resonated with me at the time, I loved the rhythm and the instrumentation, though I didn't know particularly why.  Little did I know then that 20 years later I would be celebrating the Solstice myself.

Midwinter then.  The light shyly begins to return as the nights reluctantly recede.  In my garden spring already dares to dream - bulbs have timidly sent shoots up above ground reminding me it's not always going to be cold and bleak.  I'm not sure my bears are tuned into the significance of this day yet, it's still very much about Christmas and presents for them.  But they needed no encouragement to enjoy another fire at the tee pee in the garden today, sip sip sipping at warm apple juice. 

The older they get the more involved and understanding they can become but in the meantime I can carry the torch.  They will remember the day was special by the fact we had friends round for a feast, Daddy was home, mummy played weird 70's music over and over, which strangely she plays every year about the same time, and there was an eat all you want policy!

Balance eternally reigns supreme, more seasonal yin and yang I'm afraid.  I envisaged an idyll of good cheer, good company and vintage spirit but that wasn't the reality.  There certainly was the good ... solstice eve I saw it in with one dear friend who brought exciting news and a chance for me to get all evangelical on my ass over holistic pregnancy and birth.  And dear friends were here today; her children and mine making magic reindeer food and decorating gingerbread together.  The girls playing 'girlies' together, the boys being ... well, boys.  My first attempt at a yule log wasn't too shabby ... if a bit small. 

There was the bad, the challenging behaviour from Zander throughout.  Over excitement compounded by over tiredness I suspect.  He's pushed it before but not like this.  I've felt all manor of emotions since - disappointment, shame, anger, embarrassment, sadness, failure - mostly self directed.  No better time to be pushed to an edge though than one where light and dark change guard and we are given yet another chance to asses where we are, where those extensions of our hearts - our children, are and nurture more hope in plans for change and growth.  That's what I like about the Celtic wheel of the year; not just New Year for resolutions and good intentions you get eight, yes eight, festival days on which to reassess and cultivate hope and change and that dances well with motherhood - it's a constant state of flux; what worked last week or yesterday may not work today or tomorrow but throughout, core values have to be rooted deep and strong as continuity here is what children need.

I feel a strong call of my place in the triple spiral ... mother.  MOTHER.  It's calling loud.  And although yes - I am here - I had my babies, I carried them and now am raising them, I wonder if there might be some resistance loitering inside my being.  It does seem to be what I'm destined to do - care for others in a motherly way - I've been doing it in various capacities for the last ten years and though I willingly wanted it all so much I sigh a little like 'what about me'.  Ah so there is the resistance, hidden in that sigh.  A paradox springs to mind; on one hand I don't think I'm completely giving myself to the role, not embraced it fully, there's still some more I could give.  On the other hand if my sigh says what about me something is unbalanced.  There is midwinter food for thought and in quieter moments I'll let my mind feast on that.

So there, I have my things to work on.  But I'm giving much time to think of those whose darkness is so black and consuming.  My friend who I know stands in the fire each and every day.  My deepest wish is that light creeps back into her world again this year like a warm summer dawn.  I wish that the ember of strength I know is deep in her heart begins to spark a little, sparks eventually licking out lighting some kindling in her soul.

Next stop: Christmas Eve - extended family warm up round at my house, more food more merriment.  Then onwards into Christmas day: my sisters hosts at her cottage in the country and she's the best host ever!  It will be the first year the kids have shared Christmas day with their cousins, I can't wait for their excitement to reach fever pitch, I think.

Oh and I'm learning new party tricks, balloon animals ...
I can only manage a butterfly and a sausage dog at the moment.

Midwinter Blessings.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Calling it in

Excitement is building, there's a crescendo round the corner! Called the tree in and every morning the children find a decoration in a pocket of the advent calendar to hang from it's green boughs. 

Bunting success: I'd like to make more I doubt I'll get around to it as there are so many other things I want to/need to make

And crafting got so much more exciting when I discovered a new Hobby Craft megastore in town yesterday! 

Called the holly in, the children made a den complete with campfire under this fir tree whilst I gathered it.

And isn't it bliss when every day is a bake off?! 

I can feel the seasonal glutony starting already, but not sure I care, I'm dreaming of feasts, wines and cheese ... mmmm cheese.

Sentimentally I'm loving that my children sit spellbound at the echoes of my own childhood - classics - The Snowman and Father Christmas short movies by Raymond Briggs are in constant rotation now.  As my sister says - just to make sure they don't forget it's gonna be Christmas soon.  That song sends shivers down my spine and I hark back to the festive butterflies I used to have flitting about inside as a little girl.  I watch the smile creeping over Zanders face as Walking In The Air begins to play, he assured me he likes 'that one' best.  I see that classical music calls to him, it appeals to something deep inside - he's shown interest in the score, rather than the soundtrack, from the star wars films he loves as well.  So I dug out my CD of ballet suites as an experiment and you know what? calm settled upon a nearly chaotic household.

There is always Yin to the Yang in life though and indeed the season is no exception.  Alas, I have two poorly poppets at home on the couch snuggled in blankets, clutching hot water bottles with hacking coughs and temperatures - watching endless movies, which I'm cool with under the circumstances.  I'm smiling inwardly at the luxury of no longer working daytime's, knowing they can stay home as long as is needed without me having that niggle in the back of my mind that people in the office would rather I was at work or the fact they'll be taking it all out of my annual leave.  This was one major reason for giving a night job a go and already it's paying off in this respect. 

Illness, though undesirable, always makes a mama feel so needed especially as the children grow and start to exist more independent on a daily basis.  I like that feeling of really being needed by them.  That sense that only endless cuddles from mama can make some things better and with all these extra cuddles and snuggles we reconnect and bond some more, the oxytocin gets pumping round my bloodstream again.  It gives me a chance to flex my self healing muscles too so I knocked up a batch of cranberry cough linctus first thing to sooth those scratchy throats ...

Cranberry & Honey cough syrup

250g Cranberrys
150g Honey
1 Orange sliced
Good handful of fresh thyme
5 dessert spoons of demerera sugar
Echinacea if you have any to hand.

Put cranberries, honey, orange and thyme into a saucepan and just cover with water.  Simmer for half an hour then strain into a measuring jug through a muslin cloth then add the sugar and 4ml echinacea tincture.  Stir until the sugar has melted, leave to cool then pour into a sterilised bottle.  It will keep for several days in the fridge.  I let them drink a little warm from a glass, it's nicer than having it cold off a spoon.

And about half an hour ago they requested a bowl of frozen peas to snack on, which isn't unheard of but I made a note to self that neither of them has coughed since.  They are obviously well in tune with their own bodies and instincts.  What clever little poppets using frozen peas to numb their hurty throats.

I had to give myself brownie points too when I came home bearing two comics full of Christmas crafts and activities in the afternoon.  Seriously, mama did good - they were content and enthusiastic for hours despite their illness and Zanders comic gave me the chance to home school some.  We  counted, spelt, practised writing, matched shapes and  recognised numbers.  And it turns out he can actually really read already - not simply recognise letters - he see's words printed on a page and says 'Mummy - that says big' clever little poppet!

I love it when my table looks like this.

More winter heart warmers ....

Eating mince pie's the way the Somerset branch of our family eat them ... take the tops off and add as much clotted cream as you possibly can, replace top and scoff.  Calorific but the only way to eat them if you ask me ... literally the only way Cliff will eat them!

Paper chains...

 Watching Zander peel all the potatoes for our roast this weekend, persevering with the awkward  technique of a peeler in small hands...

Making winter wands out of Ash collected at Samhain.

Overspending in the continental deli and subsequently over scoffing Panettone and Panforte mostly all by myself, yum!

This cheeky little poppet scoffing popcorn as I strung it with cranberries...

Working with crystals.

The sumptuous full moon of last weekend coming up on the horizon; she looked so near, her light such a soft ivory that I wanted to reach out and pluck her from the sky.

These winter colours in the country park...

And mostly I am excited planning gatherings for the next couple of weeks.

I'm a bit disappointed in myself because in the chaos of adjusting to working nights and inevitable festive preparations my daily meditation practise has totally slipped.  I play the CD with good intentions most nights but fall asleep just minutes in.  I want to get back on top of it, I miss it and I feel I owe it to myself, my family and those that taught me.  I know being disappointed in myself is a judgement and I was taught that judgements are not helpful, they are the second dart. 

With many things on that never ending to do list that I've ignored so far this evening, I say sweet dreams as I try and move them on to my ta-da list! x x x

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Up Beat

Cheeky li'l honey!

I am ever amused by how negative drafts, written when emotions are high can, with time evolve into much more positive beasts.  The draft for this post was so woe is me and undoubtedly this initial getting things out when feeling blue is therapeutic.  But, it is even more so to leave these beasts a while and come back to them once the fog has cleared.  Sometimes I re-read where I was at and in contemplation and hindsight see a fuller, more objective, more positive picture and start replacing words, phrases and paragraphs with more sunny similes.  Other times I'm so over it all and remembering the flavour of what I've written hit delete right away and start again.

I guess this is one thing they were teaching us on the MBSR course - how current mood and head state dictates how you react to a situation or mental event.  Alternatively if you give yourself space - be that ten purposefully counted breaths, a 40 minute meditation or a couple of days - weeks even, away from thinking about said event it gives you the choice of how you respond rather than react. 

Honestly, I've been low at times these last two weeks.  Working nights isn't nice.  It's getting easier though as I work out the best rhythms whilst there for my body clock.  I always have a 5 a.m low when I am pining to be tucked up in my warm nest usually awaiting the early awakening of my bears.  I don't like the 24 lag my body clock has the next day and I am going a 36 hour period on only a few hours sleep.  Before I started the night shifts, the job in general I asked myself is this noble, brave or just plain's madness I tell you.

But my good friends (where would I be without them) are reminding me that I made a positive decision to change my life - to get myself out of where I was at.  It is going to get easier but it's not ideal. 

So after giving myself that space to breath, meditate and think (or not) I conclude that it's transitory.  I have to keep earning so it will do for now and I can hope that something more ideal comes along.  It is a little annoying that it's a sacrifice I've had to make but then motherhood is all about constantly readdressing the balance in your life isn't it.  I deliberatly hesitate to use the word sacrifice in conjunction with the word motherhood because, trying though it might be at times, gaining two bright little buttons like Zander and Gaia can barely be seen as sacrifice can it now!  And lets face it readdressing the balance will be on going - the this's and that's will change as our children grow, I think the key must be in remembering this and not resisting it, sitting with it and letting it be.  Whatever happens it is finite, if all my kids remember is that one or two mornings a week mummy got home after they had breakfast then I can dig that.

Can't stay blue for long, there is so much joy springing forth in our house right now with the countdown to Solstice and Christmas ... yes the winter festival has officially landed, starting to call it in!  The Christmas CD is on constant rotation, Cliff will just have to suffer it this year though I did go and buy the crooners collection to accommodate him!  It's all Elvis and Bing, Frank, Louis and Ella in our house and I'm loving this vintage feel.
There has been much dancing to said crooners, the kids love that vintage jazz feel too and my boy is practising his own songs for the winter concert at school next week ... Mama here can hardly wait!

1st December hails a crafting frenzy.  Sewing machine is out there much to be made - bunting, popcorn and cranberries threaded, cinammon bundles, bird food cakes (which were partially eaten by Gaia!)  Mince pies, strings of salt dough decorations, cakes, puddings, those ever elusive scarves I promise the children year after year?!

The advent calendar I made last year came out, though I had been working the previous night and totally forgotten I needed to source treats for the pockets.  I blamed it on the Elves running late and they arrived shame faced just before Zander got back from school with promises of punctual deliveries for the next 24 days!  

Since I stopped working day times it has opened up a window for me to just hang out with our dear childminder Lorraine in the country park, how beautiful it was last Thursday with icy clear blue skies ...

I was a shy honoured guest stepping into my little girls world, she knows many people who regularly walk their dogs through the woods, she was at home, I was the outsider but I beamed watching her in her element learning of the joy her smile brings to others too.

We've enjoyed another fire in the garden (it was necessary I started to fall asleep whilst 'supervising' scissors after a night shift!)

I have a thing for pictures of feet and fires!

and there were many pleas to shuffle a little closer so to warm toes just a little more .... ever enthralled by the warmth issuing forth as if 'twere magic ... isn't it though?!

Feel that Mama, he said as he placed his toastie little hand on my chilly cheek.

On Saturday we made a special trip to the country park to visit Santa.  Zander wrote a wish list and sat clutching it barely containing his shy excitement.  I should know better than to give these two 24 hours notice of such things, it was torturous for them to have to wait!

But so worth it.  Loving the rustic scene.

He kindly made the visit in aid of a little girl, Supatra, who was looked after by our childminder at the same time as Zander a few years back. At the beginning of the year she was diagnosed with a rare and terminal brain tumour and at that point her life expectancy was no more than 9 months. Her local community have rallied around raising money for the one and only treatment that will extend her life a bit longer. Lorraine thunk this particular fund raising event up and it was just beautiful. 
At a time of year when we are all high on life it is another sobering reminder to give thanks for what I have - my family and our health. Nothing more sobering and humbling than to read one tag left by a child on the wishing tree in Fairy Woods. In amongst wishes for bikes, lego and other myriad Christmas presents one child had simply written 'I wish that Supatra gets better'.  I'm choking just thinking about it, I cannot begin to imagine what her and her parents must be going through right now. Holding them in my heart.

There is so much tragedy in the world, happening to people I know right now, it seems cruel, this is reality though.

The dark and light of it all ... one of lifes dualities.  In this the darkest month we will soon celebrate the light returning as the days grow longer from the 21st.  So much to be done in between now and then, so much excitement to breath into the house and my children's dreams yet.  I'm taking fabric and yarn to work tonight so that in quieter moments I can keep this drum of excitement beating.

Love and Light x x x

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The End Of The Beginning

Wanting to catch this moment ....

I hold a yellowy green glass pebble between two fingers.  I mindfully turn it as I did a raisin this night eight weeks ago.  I hold it in different lights.  First it looks translucent and green, then yellow then I swear it could be opaque and pinky blue.  It could be a cats eye ..... but now there is more in there; this humble object is full of the faces of those of us who sat together for 8 weeks, sharing our demons, experiences, wishes and insights.  It is full of our stories and the lessons we have learnt and hope to be reminded of every time we fish for our glass pebble in the bottom of our pockets.

The love that was present in the Buddhist Centre last night was humbling.  The course poignantly finished the same way it began but this time around there was camaraderie, laughter and positive reflection as we've got to know each other and have come to feel like this truly has been a collective journey.  We did not want to leave our final night together.  We subconsciously found all the excuses we could to stay together just another minute longer.  Hugs and email addresses were exchanged and wishes to stay connected to each other and this peaceful sanctuary we all came to.

I am full of head cold this morning but the sky is clear for the first time in days and I hesitantly think I can feel that ember in my soul glowing a little warmer and a little brighter than it has for a long time, something feels more like home.  A wave of that loving energy and an inaudible sonic boom still ripples through my world now.

We came to the course feeling alone, like the rest of the world could cope so why couldn't we?  But we left knowing that we walked through fire together, that we are never alone and it is OK not to feel OK sometimes.

So what have I most noticeably gained from this last 8 weeks?  I have gained the present moment and a legitimate reason to meditate every day.  I have gained hope, better perspective and many useful tools to use often.  And you know the only thing I've sacrificed to fit all this self care in?  Housework.

In the coming days, weeks, months and years I will continue this daily practice and have faith that in time the teachings of mindfulness will permeate my life on many levels.  The commitment doesn't stop now I have my Wednesday evenings back and I'm not sure what I have 'got back' in any case.  We almost felt bereft as we said our goodbyes and yes there were tears in my eyes as I did the guided breathing space meditation this morning knowing I would not meditate with those people again, for a while at least.  But last night we were encouraged to celebrate what it has been, still is and will be.  We were wished not a wonderful week, but a wonderful rest of our lives.  This is only the end of the beginning perhaps the journey truly begins now.

Blessings, love and luck to everyone I've shared the last eight weeks with.  Parting is such sweet sorrow, I hope we meet again.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Mama Love

What treasures of the season have I found in my garden!

It keeps on giving colour even in the latter half of November ...

In my head I am slowly gathering an image.  Metaphorical and personal.  It's a porch, a raised wooden decked porch, maybe more like a veranda leading from a timber house in the woods.  There's a cliched rocking chair, low Moroccan daybeds covered in myriad rainbow throws and cushions.  Little steps that run down into an imaginary garden. There are tea lights strung in glass jars all around, wind chimes twinkle on the breeze and it's warm with the scent of Jasmine in the air.  It's my sanctuary.

A metaphorical visualisation is unique - mine alone, totally peaceful and safe.  I need this space to run to in my head sometimes to process stuff.  Happily it seems that with mindfulness I have stopped procrastinating so obsessively over everything and started inquiring more gently into the thoughts that pass through my sky on clouds.  I am finding that to acknowledge them and accept their presence is far more productive than to resist them or chase them incessantly.  Once acknowledged they are happy to hover on the periphery and this gives me the space to process them in a more objective way.  Sometimes instantly, sometimes it might be days before I think of them again and then maybe with a conclusion or resolution, or I might find that having acknowledged them and created space they seem quite ridiculous and not at all worth pursuing. 

I'm re-learning that there are other ways I can make myself feel better outside of metaphorical flights of fantasy.  Life, motherhood is at times anything but easy.  We can't run on tanks that are empty, we need an element of self care in our days, as a happy mama = happy children, or rather this is true by it's paradox: an unhappy mama = unhappy children.  It is so hard to put ourselves first, but there are ways of doing it subtly and I was rather happy to discover this week on my mindfulness course that chocolate, yes chocolate, if eaten the right way with the right intention, can very much count as Mama love!  Let me explain ...

If instead of reaching for that bar of G & B I keep hidden and proceed to scoff most of in a crazed manor, when I am feeling exasperated down or just lacking generally, I slowly deliberately consciously take 2 or 3 strips of the magic stuff and actually eat at a pace that I can properly enjoy it at, then I have mindfully treated myself to chocolate.  It's a helpful distraction.

Mulling this over I realise there are myriad things I could do that are not too disruptive even with kids nipping at my ankles.  I could escape outside, the garden will do or if I'm feeling more adventurous we could all skip down to the meadows together.
I could make a fresh juice from whatever fruit and veg lurks unsuspectingly in the fridge, or make a cup of tea and enjoy it in an appreciative way.  I could indulge in music - a favourite CD, I could do my 3 minute breathing space meditation - even whilst standing in the kitchen I can pretend I can't hear the kids or put ear phones in so I actually can't. 
I could go apply a face mask and then make jokes with the kids about how my face might crack if they make me laugh or smile too much; a sure way to get some giggles generated! 

I don't have to reach for chocolate, I could make an ever-so-healthy snack that's going to feel virtuous just to look at.  I could stop and take time to utter a few lines in my head ...

                                                        may I be well, may I be happy, may I be free from suffering, may I grow and develop...

... or read a poem and depending on the time of day pour a glass of wine and attentively sip enjoy.   And when it feels like nothing on that 'all important' to-do list ever gets done I could write a Ta-Da! list ... a list of everything, however small, that has been done so far that day.  Today's would look like this ...

... fed cats, fed kids, dressed kids, dressed myself, washed kids, washed myself, made packed lunches, got to school on time, got to childminders, had cup of tea, did driving test revision, wrote, meditated, had lunch, contemplated dinner, made dinner, did school run ...

Look what I have achieved!  Self care is also not beating myself up for what is not achieved or falling short of my own expectations.  I do not pretend to be a master of this art of self care, but I do think it makes sense.  And it is a valuable skill I want my kids to observe, accept as part of life and learn for themselves.

This MBSR course has taken more commitment and time than any of these small yet significant things.    But it's one of the biggest self care gifts my family and I could have recieved.  I'm not done yet, no sir'ee.  I understand this is a lifelong journey not a quick fix.  It has permeated some levels of my daily life already.  Others where I wish it had, it has not yet.  I have faith though.

A highlight of last week was a whole day of meditation practice at the Buddhist centre on Saturday....

I am here
In this musical silence
These timeless moments.
With this breath
I drink up the energy of common purpose.
Though my mind still wanders off
As all minds do
I wish myself well.

That is mine, but below, this is Oriah Mountain Dreamer's.  It was read to us as the day finished and as I heard it the corners of my mouth curled upwards, my eyes stung a little and something was hard to swallow in my throat ... that be the truth then!

What if there is no need to change?
No need to try and transform yourself
Into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving, more wise?
How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better?

What if the task is simply to unfold?
To become who you already are in your essential nature:
Gentle, compassionate and capable of living fully and passionately present?

What if the question is not
‘Why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be?‘
But ‘Why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?‘
How would this change what you think you have to learn?

What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying but by recognizing and receiving the people and places and practises that offer us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold?
How would this shape the choices you have to make about how to spend today?

What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait?
How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance? 

It is as my dearest friend told me then 'You will find the answers are inside Rose'.

My Kids warm my heart these colder more wintry days...

I love how Gaia wanted to cuddle up with the cat when we got home from an unexpected sleepover in hospital last Monday night.  She tucked her in so attentively ...

We heard that signature seal bark of croup as we crept to bed so we got everyone up and drove double time up to A & E.  It was scary but I managed to find calm, reassurance and a matter-of-fact manor as I rushed her into the children's cubicles where nurses and doctors pounced on us and medicated her immediately.

More severe than previously she needed 20 mins of adrenalin on the nebuliser as well as oral steroids. And despite my own holistic inclinations, when your kid can't breathe you thank the gods for the wonders of modern medicine and the NHS.  Within an hour the symptoms had all but gone, leaving her exhausted so they kept us in.  We did not sleep  much but she was safe and observed.

Zander is mastering several skills all at once ... drawing...
Writing... He wrote his Christmas list this morning...

Star Wars featured heavily!

Reading ... ok so here he is recounting the story he knows to his sister.  But I was astonished that when I said after much tomfoolery, squabbling and tears, that they were to sit down and read a book and not move whilst I made final school preparations that this is what I found ...

Making people feel good ... he tells me 'Mummy, I have tears in my eyes because you are so beautiful' and at dinner yesterday he beckoned for me to lean over and he whispered in my ear 'Mummy I think I have fallen in love with you' !!!!

In a Star Wars state of mind we created worlds, staged battle training and had bonfire sleepovers...

Countdown has begun, I have started to make winter decorations with salt dough and have started to hang fairy lights to create that grotto feeling required for this time of year as we start to call in the season.

And I am again grateful for what I have, as others who least deserve it suffer so.  Standing in the fire with them isn't easy but it's the best I can do.

Blessings X

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Edge and the Cake of Challenge

I'm working it ... the edge I mean.  We all step out of our comfort zones at times, intentionally and unintentionally too.  Sometimes we are forced by the actions of others, sometimes by our own, sometimes by the mere nature of evolving and growing and sometimes we place ourselves there on purpose for an extra slice of the challenge and self improvement cake.

The edge by definition is uncomfortable - you know, like the one that you find when you get back into yoga for the first time in months and feel the pull of tight calf muscles as you challenge yourself to stay in the downward dog pose for just eight more counts, see if those heals will touch the floor, then another eight .... it's tight, it pulls, it invariably hurts, you try to convince yourself you can't do it you're going to have to give up, but the other half of you insists you can.

Well I got greedy for a a slice of that cake, again.  Two weeks into working with people who have profound learning and physical disabilities and I'm pondering on the blade one uses to cut this cake.  One side shiny and smooth - it gleams with altruism, humility, gratitude and job satisfaction - all the reasons I wanted to step onto this edge in the first place.  The other side though is quite rough and jagged, a little rusty perhaps.  This side is the background information I am gathering about the people I am supporting; how their lives are affected by their conditions and disabilities, what they can and can't do for themselves and how this makes them feel and react. It is learning the enormity of the responsibility I will shoulder and all the worst case scenarios of the job. Naturally my soul sighs in sadness somewhat.  But I put myself here, to learn. 
Much like with motherhood.  I put myself here on purpose and I well remember finding out I was pregnant both times; I felt the ecstasy and mirth bubbling over.  But in quieter moments as dusk drew near I would doubt a little to think of the vast responsibility I was also taking on.  Bringing helpless dependant beings into the world, protecting them at all costs and teaching them until eventually they would be safe to fly alone. 

Happily, at this edge and even in these early days I've found a cross over ... the skills of caring for the vulnerable are already showing me where I lack in my parenting.  For instance where I may become exasperated with my kids and outwardly show annoyance I simply cannot with those in my care at work.  This is good, for I feel like patience grows again where it had lain dormant in my heart a while. 

The basic principals of parenting are standing me in good stead for caring for the vulnerable.  I know how to care for someone who is dependant and helpless; I raised two newborns.  I know how to listen intensively for the words that are not uttered clearly; because I watched and encouraged my bairns to learn to talk.  I know how to inspire interest with the world around and pick up on an individuals specific interests; because I'm raising two individuals at home.  Ah, the hope that this symbiosis is filled with; and fills me with.

I will in a matter of weeks work, quite literally, the unknown edge of night shifts ... I shudder slightly whilst simultaneously the other half of my consciousness is convinced it'll be a doodle. It's unknown, unfamiliar but conceptually and rationally possible. I'll work it and see where it takes me.

I forge ahead, working the edge of mindfulness and this weeks homework/challenge (yes more cake!) was to move towards and sit with unwanted thoughts, feelings and mental events as they occured instead of habitually resisting them and inflaming them in so doing.  So life handed me this slice on a plate when my boy showed an adverse reaction to some new found calmness of mine.  It was agonising, heartbreaking even as he tried to create drama where for once there was none.  He did not feel secure, things weren't 'normal'.  I felt vindicated, ganged up on, stung and heartbroken in the seeming conviction of his words.  But I sat with it, through subtle tears and a burning heart, in letting it be, not trying to change it I saw it for what it was, I wrote it down, matter of factually and later I meditated on it.  It passed and he still loves me it's just part of the journey, I'm sure it will happen again because the rest of my world is on a lag.  They are so used to my isms and schisms and not as aware of my inner changings as I am, they need time to catch up and accept.

 I'm working the edge of sharing my kids education with school.  I'm supporting what they do in practicing skills at home, yet I'm questioning, challenging, seeking explanation and further information when things seem amiss. 
I'm working my creative edge; happily indulging in writing exercises never letting myself be fooled that this is my full potential.

My kids work theirs as well.  Firework making ...

and their individual interpretations fascinate me.

I'm working the edge of being a good friend.  Working out what it is I must do to help one grieving.  Charging myself to make bold decisions to offer my company and create opportunities to talk and distract rather than shying away assuming their knowing I'm here for them is enough.

And there are always things warming my heart ...

I renovated the teepee for winter with big old sheets of camo from the loft so now our garden is almost as good as Auntie Fi's ... if only Daddy would build a cool tree house den like uncle Steve did!

My boy is working his edge of growth and evolution.  He observes and shares the symmetry he finds in nature; as in the spots on a ladybirds back.  He points out repeating patterns all around him; as in the stripes on his jumper.  And he reads beautifully.  His ability to retain information is astonishing.  He draws ever more detailed and beautiful pictures.  My favourites, of course, are of me and him together - I always have this crazy hair and look slightly mad.  In his book of dreams that we are making together he drew us all on my bike under the sunshine amongst the dandelions!
My girl works her edge too.  We danced more this week ...

She peels potatoes studiously

And is convinced the cats enjoy these cuddles.  Lets just say they are very tolerant and she means so well...

Zander writes me lists (of letters in no particular order) ... today's included being safe on my bike, not forgetting to eat lunch, not forgetting to pick Gaia up, not forgetting to go to work ... do you think he thinks I'm forgetful?! 


And today's palindromic date.  The Mayans believed it a portal of new awakening and I am certain the auspiciousness of yesterdays full moon, the alignment of Jupiter by her side and the portal date today gives every single one of us yet another opportunity to try and connect with values we wish to walk forwards with.  I found this quote in the Los Angeles Times online ...

'... no matter where you are, look for the most positive, beneficial solution and take it.  Be aware of your breath, of your kindness and the gentleness of your own nature.'

So I make this the focus of my meditation today and why not every other day as well.  And whilst I'm at it perhaps it would serve well to be a mantra at the core of the values I teach to my children.  I know I must first embody it myself ... but then you know me, any excuse for a slice of that cake!

Tell me, what edges are you working?

Blessings X