Thursday, May 27, 2010

Almost June...

Jacaranda in bloom: the view from the hammock.

Well, well, what do you know? It's almost June and I have not been more regular here at all. Maybe... maybe now that today is our last day of school for the year? Yes, maybe. I just find my life to be so very FULL of interests and other things vying for my attention that writing here happens mostly when I have, well, something to say. And I guess that's just how my blog is. Many others use their blogs as part of their businesses, but this is not that for me. It's just a place to share when something new comes up that wants to be shared. Can you tell I'm writing these words more for myself than anyone else?

May has been kind of a crazy month of trying to finish up end-of-the-year commitments, getting thing lined up for the things I want to do with Creative Life Studio, as well as health issues we've been facing with my husband. We are unsure at this time what he is struggling with, but we are now thinking it may be a hernia. Hopefully a visit to the doctor in the next couple of days will shed some light on his trouble.
Tessa Napping
For my part, I continue to feel really good with the yoga and running/other exercise. My art was selected to be featured in a quarterly exhibition at a nice library nearby. There will be a reception for the artists in July - FUN!! So, I have had a lot of positive experiences sustaining me - and the mood of our household - for this last month. It is helpful, when one person is dealing with challenges in a family, that others are there to keep the boat afloat; it's what we do for each other.
Yoga continues to help with this. When I practice I am very mindful of being in my practice, being in my body, in the present with all the experiences that brings me. I practice not letting my mind wander back home to any concerns I have there and just stay with the asana (the pose) I am doing. It's not too hard to do that when I am trying not to fall over! And that is the beauty of it and something that keeps pulling me back to my mat, because sometimes, in a more relaxing, restful pose - or at the end of practice, my mind wanders back to trying to solve problems. So, I am trying to take my practice with me when I leave the club, trying to be driving the van when I am driving the van or making lunch when I am making lunch. Sometimes, though, I still find I need distraction and I'll listen to an interesting podcast or music. Sometimes that is what it takes to pull me into the present - or at least get my mind off how uncomfortable my husband feels right now.

Bug Painting - Just for Fun
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil
This being in the now has gotten me thinking more and more about regularly living in the now and trying to figure out how we can do more of that. I think the fact that my older daughter is going to be starting high school this year and my younger is going to be middle school age (still doing school at home with us of course, though) has gotten me thinking a bit more about the fleeting amount of time I have with them and also that I just don't like having a bunch of requirements headed our way. By that, I mean not just high school requirements, but those credits and volunteer hours and all the things that go into helping make your child marketable for scholarship money, which is what we will be needing if my girls are able to pursue college. At this point, Maia already has her eye on a particular art school that she REALLY wants to attend, so we have a lot of work ahead of us. And I'm okay with that. But I do want to continue to work on emphasizing the fun we can have along the way.
I'm also realizing that we have been doing some things that may have been extraneous throughout some of our homeschooling years. I have been seeing that some of the things we have done, probably could have been learned in different, more experiential, or fun ways. I am thinking this partly because I see special things happening in my older daughter. Because she has found what she is passionate about, she is highly motivated to achieve her dreams. She said to me just yesterday, "Mama, once I found out what I was passionate about, math became easy for me. I mean, school just became easier to do, because I know why I am doing it and I know what it will do for me." Essentially, she just had an attitude shift. This is not to say that she had a bad attitude about school, but like the kid who says, "What are we going to need this for, anyway?" she just couldn't see the forrest for the trees.
So, I'm rethinking things. I'm rethinking a lot of things. I'm almost rethinking everything! We are going to be doing things a bit differently next year. Every year I find myself moving more and more toward unschooling, and while I haven't completely embraced it, I am learning to loosen my grip more and more. I am understanding that the kids really are learning in everything (which I really already knew), but more that they can be trusted to have that desire to learn even if I am not pushing it toward them. At least this is what I see being played out in my family. And so we are going to experiment some more with loosening the reigns and see where it takes us. I'm feeling happy and excited about this and I think I'll see even more joy in daily activities throughout the school year.

Some new prayer flags for the garden - LOVE!
But for now, we are on the cusp of summer. It is almost June. We have a lot of ideas planned for ourselves for the next few months. The girls and I plan to do a graphic novel panel per day documenting our activites in the month of June - longer if we find we like it. Maia is working on particular areas of her drawings that she wants to improve and explore and she is also learning how to make amigurumi. Eve has plans to learn some sewing from one of our friends down the street. We all have lots of books to read and I just signed the kids up for free bowling all summer - a program that is probably offered somewhere by you too if you live in the U.S. And I'm going to just keep doing what I do: draw & paint, knit, read, do yoga, exercise, and just be for a little while without lesson plans attached. :)

So, here's to relaxing into summer. Here's to almost June. Here's to now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Indulge and RELEASE!

Wow. How do we let things get like this?! :)

This is a shot from two weekends ago. I wrote on the calendar: "The Big Room Clean-Up." I swear, nowadays, unless I write in things like this, everything gets filled, filled, filled so very quickly. I am thankful that since my children were small, we do at least a bi-annual purging of things outgrown or no longer wanted. Things usually go to Goodwill or Freecycle regularly. This year, we'll be having a garage sale in October. They're all good practices in recycling, sharing, and then, even, managing and organizing an event.

So, things get like this for a few reasons. One, is that, like many children, I have a girl that is SO involved in the present moment that she often does the "dump and run" and moves on to the next thing - never wanting to miss a moment of the action - before she has actually put something away. This, all despite our YEARS of nagging - ahem - training on putting things back in their proper place so one can easily find them again and to avoid killing oneself on a middle-of-the-night-bathroom run.

But it's not all that. Some of it is having too much stuff to begin with. Gifts and trinkets find their way in and older, forgotten trinkets are just pushed back farther on the shelf or in the box under the bed... or wherever, until there is no more room. Cooler weather (and this was Florida's coldest winter in a couple of decades) has us huddling, cozy in our winter nests and we don't get to these deep-cleaning kind of projects.

And I simply don't have the time, or frankly, the desire, to huddle over the bedrooms like I did when the girls were little. Sometimes they get to live with the clean and sometimes they have to live with the mess and when I simply can't take it anymore, big cleanup days get put on the calendar.

I'll admit to getting frustrated, because when things get this bad, they are overwhelming for little ones and inevitably, Mom and Dad are dragged into the picture to help sort, and purge, and reorganize. This year, I was hoping that the knowledge that I was doing my own cleaning in my room would be enough solace for her, but no such luck. Daddy and I ended up devoting each a couple of hours which made for a happier girl and vows of never letting her room get so bad again!

We'll work on it. :) Can you tell, by the way, what this one's favorite color is???

Cleaning and organizing and purging is always such a psychological process in addition to simply the physical one. We hang onto things for emotional reasons or the idea that we might need something "someday." That's why I love these seasonal clean-ups. It gives us a chance to re-evaluate if that thing we couldn't let go of last time, is ready to be released now.

Releasing, to me, really does feel like an indulgence, because a feeling of freedom and lightness always follows and who doesn't like that?

My closet (I'd already started clearing a shelf when I remembered to take a before picture!) is usually pretty well organized. But over the holidays, it becomes the hiding place for gifts and secret projects. I also end up storing some of my works-in-progress knitting projects here to keep the kitties out of them. So, my floor gets littered with bags of yarn. Clothes are not always put away as neatly and nicely as I like and when you have an open shelf system, it's important to keep things that way - even if you're the only one looking at it.

The season is shifting... my taste in clothes change (it's a good thing I shop at Goodwill for most of my clothes - my budget can tolerate those fashion whims much easier this way!)... I'm ready for a few new inspiration/vision board changes, and hey, losing the 10 pounds I've lost means that some of my stuff simply just doesn't fit anymore! Time for a revamp.

Tessa does a double-take at the big pile of clothes that were taking up space in my closet that can now find new homes. Crazy, really, at how much there is. Like my daughter, I want to do a better job of keeping up with letting go of things I really don't want. Like I said, I regularly drop things at Goodwill, but still, I had so much to let go!

Now, all better! I'm sure the spring cleaning bug has bit some of you too. Go ahead and make time on your calendar to indulge and release! You'll be glad you did!

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