Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wild without and calm within

What a wild day. Wild wind. Rain. Love having an excuse to stay inside all day. Beau sleeps as does the child of a friend who is with us today. A peaceful spell to be with myself and eat the chocolate I hid this morning. I'm going to make Beau a doll - a Steiner Doll for which I have instructions. It occurred to me how quickly gender differentiation's starts - how Beau has ended up with so many trucks and cars and animals and no dolls. All the daughters of my friends have had dolls for a long time. I would love to see Beau connect with a doll and have a sense of that caring nature that girls are encouraged to have in their play from so early on. A friend who runs a Steiner Playgroup says that a doll is also special for a child because when the parent is absent the child cares for the doll and in turn feels the parent's nurture through the doll. I thought this was a great explanation;

"A waldorf dollmaker breathes life into each creation by slowly and lovingly sewing a body for its spirit to come into. These dolls are not just stitched together; they are 'born'. Something of the maker's own self goes into each individual doll; therefore it would be ideal for parents to make all their own children's dolls and toys. The next best thing is to have a doll custom-made for a particular child, and for the dollmaker to endow that doll as much as possible with the personality and colouring of the child.

Seeing that the doll is the child's 'alter ego', through which he or she can express his/her deepest feelings, they are not only for girls, but for boys too! I have made many dolls for little boys whose mothers tell me, years later, that their son still plays with that doll and that it is his favourite toy."

Victoria Robertson, Waldorf Doll maker Dunsborough WA

We've been having one of those weeks where everything is going so smoothly - Beau is happy and relaxed and easy going.....and I say it's all due to routine, to the blissfully predictable rhythm of a day and week that a 2 and a bit year old can count on. Our days are more relaxed, more productive, more creative and filled with much more laughter when we follow the rhythms that support our otherwise busy life. The changes that come with having no car are varied and while we often aren't home as early, being car-less has forced us to take our time, be more organised when we need to go out and do things and to just let it all go when it looks like we've missed a bus or the weather is too wild or we are too tired to ride. It has made me realise how much we would normally try to pack into a day/ a week and how much harder it is on Beau to be bustled out of the house and into the car and driven around on errands. He is truly so much happier when he gets to spend most of his time at home (still with visits to the park and friends) and so for that matter am I! There's more time for drawing and singing songs and dancing and looking out the window at the world going by. Being a mother is of course the most enormous and challenging commitment I've ever undertaken but it's taught me so much about relaxing and letting go which is very fortunate considering there is little time for formal meditation practice. One of the main principals of Dzogchen practice is to not separate practice from daily life - that it is daily life. Recognising and integrating our natural state of pure presence and awareness amidst the chaos of our daily lives is real enlightenment. I have kept this perfect quote from Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche for a long time :

"The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes into oneself.

This produces a tremendous energy which usually is locked up in the process of mental evasion and a general running away from life experiences.

Clarity of awareness may, in its initial stages, be unpleasant or fear-inspiring; if so, then one should open oneself completely to the pain or the fear and welcome it. In this way the barriers created by one's own habitual emotional reactions and prejudices are broken down.....

......The everyday practice is just ordinary is life itself. Since the underdeveloped state does not exist there is no need to behave in any special way or try to attain or practice anything.

There should be no need of striving to reach some exalted goal or higher state; this simply produces something conditional or artificial that will act as an obstruction to the free flow of the mind. One should never think of oneself as "sinful" or worthless, but as naturally pure and perfect, lacking nothing."

It's the same message for me within Skeleton Woman story. It's so perfectly simple and yet utterly challenging all at the same time!!!! But NEVER boring!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ducks where are you?

Aaahhhh those eyes. Precious boy. Today as K and I were riding our bikes back from Bundoora Children's Farm (wonderful place) in the blissful autumn sun with Beau in his seat on my bike, we coasted along the creek-side cycle path, past the long reeds rustling in the wind. Beau called out "DUCKS WHERE ARE YOU" I had such a moment. He's nearly two and a half and is talking more and more, but there was something in that call......it was just such a normal sentence, something a child would say.....but the first of it's kind for Beau, and it was a moment for me realising he isn't a baby anymore. Now he's a boy, a kid, a little talking thinking person, my mate, my fellow seeker of duck life, my Guru, my mirror.

Corners of my home and my mind.

Our little home. It is a slow work in progress but it is light filled and warm and cosy. It is the perfect blank canvas. There are corners I love and corners that have been transformed like this one by simply having bought an op shop couch and covering it with red that catches the afternoon sun. A place to read and cuddle and watch the world go by the front window.

Our choir is revising a Rachmaninoff piece called Bogorditsye Dyevo - a beautiful 4 part song.....I have it constantly in my head at the moment. So many divine pieces of music/songs have been written and played....
It's a pleasure to be singing with a group of like-minded people and a real challenge for me to be there as a singing leader. I was thinking not so long ago about the length of time music has been a part of my life. Mum taught me to play piano when I was 6 or 7.....so 34 years now and perhaps I'm only just really finding my feet with it. All the fear and moving in and out of musical connections and still no matter where I am it will find me even if I'm not looking for it. I'm very happy that Music cares for me enough to go the long haul with me. I think I've come a little further to be able to make reciprocal commitment!

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Spiritual and the Material

In my first post I said I would upload a picture of the painting I have been working on (forever!!) This is White Tara.
This link has a good description of the Buddhist deity. I spent a good deal of time meditating and painting Tara throughout my pregnancy and I felt her presence at Beau's home birth. This painting is for one of our midwives and sadly she has been waiting for almost 2 and a half years!! I WILL finish it by the end of this year.
And on a far more material level and almost as devotional - my love of a well made, woolen retro skirt. The one above I found at a little op shop around the corner from our house (often I find fantastic hand knitted woolen jumpers for Beau too), and the one below was a Camberwell Market purchase last winter.
It was all those years of Scooby Doo as a child - Daphne's dress sense has definitely influenced me!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Accidental Art

We painted this fibro wall at the back of our garden with left over watery dregs from the roller tray having painted our east wall in lime wash. I love that despite how motley it is, is looks wonderful next to the rusty red iron. Just having that colour against the green veges....The garden is looking quite neglected at present and in dire need of mulching. The glorious rain did come and turn our back yard into a mud pit. Soon we will put gravel down for a pergola, and build a chook pen in the back corner (our garden converges into a point at the north east corner....love it) and lay sawdust paths around the vege circles and move the back fence and and and .....
Beau loves to be out in the garden looking for bugs under bricks and chasing the cat....I look forward to it being a space that we can spend endless hours in whatever the season.
We had a 'circle' on the weekend with two couples, great friends with whom we needed to discuss the whole biting issue. IT was a wonderful thing to do - meet without the kids and have a couple of hours for each of us to talk about how we feel and what we would like to do about it. It wasn't easy either. I have had a lot of fear of judgment and I felt very vulnerable and nervous as I spoke. But it was a supportive space and we all felt very fortunate to be able to do something like that with each other. I think I'll be more able to relax and not take other parents' reactions so personally if their children are bitten and I also got to ask for more support when we are socialising with our children/ having play dates. K and I have found it really inspiring and reassuring to find Louise Porter's advice on guiding children's behaviour without punishment and reward. She has written a book called 'Children are People Too'.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lazy Bones?

Well I know that's not the case really. How can a mother of a toddler who works 17 hours a week outside the home and runs a choir and a household possibly be considered lazy except by her deluded self???????? I tell you I do feel guilty when I sit down to watch an episode of the Sopranos and imagine all those dedicated women who instead grab any moment they can to sequester themselves away in crafting solitude. And seriously the Sopranos is entertaining but I'm almost over it.....it IS violent despite it's intriguing character development...
I was looking at Beau's plastic (eekk!!) animal collection and remembered seeing the mama pig and piglets my friend M knitted!!!! for her boys and how my heart yearns for Beau to be surrounded by things that reflect care and imagination and beauty. We're doing pretty well for our circumstances. Oh that there were more hours in a day.
our first official car-less week. Feels fine. Feels good. I feel good and I do think I will sleep a whole lot better with all this physical activity.I may even have enough energy to craft into the wee hours now and then.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

On Yer Bike

Well now, in 5 days rego runs out and we become a bicycle family! Now we each have a bike and a seat for Beau and we have peered into the world of cycling accessories via ebay to come to the conclusion that simplicity is best and the rest we'll work out as we go along. All I know is it's going to get cold and sometimes very wet so as long as we're prepared for that we'll get through winter. I rode to work today and it was lovely. There's a great freedom in just hopping on one's bike and going wherever - no petrol, no parking problems, back streets and footpaths and bike tracks to avoid traffic....now to just work out how to avoid 'bike helmet hair'....
Beau loves being on the bike too which is fortunate!!