stop caring what others think.
stop listening to the voices in your head that whisper half-truths and full lies.
stop checking your stats, likes, follows, retweets, comments.
stop checking the phone.
stop feeling like a failure.
stop trying to fix it. all of it.
stop asking for permission.
stop staying up too late.
stop trying to live on rice cakes, candy, and coffee.
start caring what you think.
start letting your heart lead.
start taking a risk.
start being playful.
start opening your close clutching hands.
start being kind.
start enjoying the magic.
start speaking to yourself with honest kindness.
continue to breathe.
continue to question.
continue to tell.
continue to reach out.
continue to look in.
continue praying, dancing, cooking, offering. speaking.
continue being gentle.
continue being brave.
stop. start. continue.
after this week, with a sick kiddo (now recovered), a missed lantern walk, last-minute work changes, newly scheduled gigs, and the work of simply being human, I need a moment to breathe.
Here's a huge summer sky over the Green Mountains.
breathe in the warmth, the space.
Tonight, we walked in the cold, just the boy and I, and sang our songs as we circled the neighborhood with our lanterns. so far away from the scene above, and yet, there is something the same in both.
So, the big snow passed us by. We had a lot of slush. The morning commute was awful, and we picked kiddo up at school early to avoid the evening commute. Then, I made brownies.
I've been thinking about how I got connected with people online, aside from the awesomeness that was LiveJournal, ca. 2005.
See, my last year of working at Spring Hill School, I got a book by Amanda Soule for Christmas, because Dooce had recommended it. I read dooce, because Alice of Finslippy mentioned her. Can't remember how I got to Alice's blog.
So, among the ads on Amanda's page was one for Kathy's site. And Kathy had an ad for Leonie's Goddess Guidebook page... and someone had an ad for Kind Over Matter, and they had a link one day to one of Hannah Marcotti's free ebooks. Through one of Hannah's courses, I met Angela.
So, that's how I "met" some of my people. Others, I've known since the days of dial-up, when that was how I could get internet access in my college dorm. There is the mailing list group of folks who have heard all my worst and best moments for the last 20 years. There are the high school and college friends I only see on facebook.
The truth is, I kind of suck at connecting with people. I forget to answer texts and emails. It's not that I don't want to talk to people, it's just... I end up waiting until the perfect time.
There is no perfect time. This is the only time there is.
Follow some of those links. Head down the rabbit holes of my past. You may meet some of your people, and you may not. Or you could go send an email or a text, or pick up the phone, or walk out your door, or look across the room.
Hello. This has been my journey to this place. Glad to meet you here.
We are listening to the radio, and the boy, who is no longer a baby, is sleeping.
Today, I roasted a chicken, and made the car fit into the garage.
We are waiting for winter to begin, as it must.
The little tasks are as done as they will be. The windows remain un-plasticated, but the hose is detached and coiled over my sagging bicycle in the garage, and there are milk and eggs and bread enough.
Tonight, I am grateful for the house, sighing as the temperature slowly sinks.
For the chicken in the pot, for fat, warm cats lounging around the living room.
For the gas and electric and water and sewer and cable internet, still working.
for the million, million little graces that make up my life.
If you are reading this, chances are, you are somewhere safe enough, warm enough.
Be glad of it, as the snow comes, and the wind and bitter cold.
Martinmas is this week. Think of Martin, who cut his regulation-Roman cloak of heavy scarlet wool into two pieces with his sword, which probably scared the wits out of the shivering beggar in front of him. Martin, who stabbed his sword through the security and complacency of power and offered not only warmth, but humanity, and who saw the divine flame burning lighting through the skin of the beggar in his dreams that night.
They have their own stories and struggles.
no one wants to hear how tired you are, how late you were up,
how the baby wouldn't sleep,
how work was hard, or just long.
No one really wants to hear about your aching feet, or head, or heart.
Unless you are willing to punch through the tired, the ache, into the source, into the deep
Pull back the tight-wound layers of it all, the election,
the dishes, the words bitten back, the ones you regret,
and take a moment to tell me
what the moon looks like tonight.
tell me about your anger, or your sorrow, or your need for something
you can't quite name.
It's so much more than tired.
No one wants to hear
they want too much to see, to touch, to hold.
to hold you up.
to hold your hand.
to hold on when you are so ready to let go.
I'm tired of battle metaphors. I want a metaphor of building.
less tearing, less fighting, less struggle.
No one wants to hear how tired you are.
I want a soft pillow, and a gentle hand, and strengthening sleep, not just for me.
for you, and for them, and for the person who made you angriest.
Goodnight. Tomorrow, the sun will rise,
and we will go on building.
Halloween was magical and lovely. We fell in with a newly-discovered group of neighbors with little boys who live on the other side of the block, and my Wild Kratt Bat joyfully demanded treats from every house with a porchlight on, accompanied by Harry Potter, a soldier in desert camo, and a very sweet turtle. It was cold, the bat ears didn't make it more than a quarter of the way (darn that low-temp glue gun!), but there was CANDY at stake!
That candy has been sorted now, examined, and considered. A small bag of chosen treats have been carefully saved, and the rest have gone to the Sugar Sprite. Sugar Sprite, also known as the Switch Witch or Halloween Fairy, collects children's treats and leaves a present in place of the goodies. Our Sprite then takes the candy and cooks it down into pure sugar syrup to sweeten the maple sap and provide the flowers with nectar for next year's bees. She tends to bring books to our house, but some families report a toy or game being left as a thank you for the candy. So, just in case you want to lessen the sugar load, she can visit any time she's needed.
As for me, I feel a need to pay closer attention these days to what I'm eating myself. I find that there are evenings when I look back over the day, and I can't remember eating a vegetable or any non-dairy protein. On the worst days, I eat an entire bag of Lundberg's Brown Rice Cakes, and forget to eat dinner. Or lunch. Maybe Sugar Sprite needs to visit me, too. But what might she leave in place of my starchy crutches? What would she leave for you? What would she take?
Perhaps the replacement will be real food, for me, and time to read and write.
It's November, and you know that means NaBloPoMo! So, for my bloggy version of NaNoWriMo, I look forward to your comments and questions. What do you want to know about? Here is my renewed commitment to daily posts for the month.
Also! More Storytelling is coming soon! I'm working on some downloadable stories, and local peeps will be able to catch me at the Linden Hills Winter Market and at Heartfelt's Preschool mornings. More info will be forthcoming...
As you may know, I left full time teaching around 2 years ago. It was painful and hard, and in retrospect, the right thing at the time, but my God, it was awful. My story now, is that I left being a class teacher, because I needed to spend more time with my family (true!) and wanted time to pursue storytelling (also true!) and to find my own direction again. However, it is also that I was really, really struggling as a teacher. Being in a lot of other classrooms over the past months as a substitute, I have learned so much about what I was missing.
I spent my first eleven years as a teacher working in one small, developing school. I knew the families I was working with, and they knew me, and had watched me grow from a fresh-out-of-college girl to my full stature as a teacher and leader in the school. My classroom style was tuned to working with small groups of students, 12 at the most, who came to me with a really strong early childhood foundation. They could be left alone in the classroom for a few minutes while I stepped into the office to take a few deep breaths and check my mailbox. I had the freedom to throw out lesson plans and walk to the beach with my class when the weather was fine, and to construct my day-to-day curriculum as each year unfolded. I am proud of my work at that school, and so very proud to have taught the amazing young people who came out of it -- if you know them, you know how fantastic they are. It was hard work, with many, many long meetings. The school brought out the best and worst in all of us, and it was like a big, noisy, argumentative family in many ways.
I stepped into an established school, where I soon learned the school I came from was viewed by some as "not a real Waldorf school", and I tried to make it work. Waldorf teacher training is focused mainly on understanding the development of human consciousness throughout childhood and adulthood; my training as a teacher was heavy on the "why" and intentionally sketchy on the "how." I carried with me an assumption that any classroom issues stemmed from either a lack of proper inner attitude on my part, or on some constitutional characteristic of the child in question. The cultural differences led to a huge number of mistakes on my part, and the larger class and wider range of skills and temperament demanded a very different approach than I knew how to take.
I lacked some key skills in classroom management, planning, and workplace etiquette. On top of this, I had a child who was still nursing, and I slept around 5-6 hours a night. This was a recipe for disaster. My colleagues and I were not working from the same playbook; I was exhausted and ill; there was a disastrous "mentoring" visit from a master teacher. In short, we all could have seen the writing on the wall from the beginning. I needed another 5 hours in my day -- three to sleep, two to plan.
So, here is what I wish I had understood four years ago:
I want to elaborate more on some of these, but I'm tired, and trying to get more than 5-6 hours of sleep a night. My son finally started sleeping through the night 2 years ago, so I'm off to enjoy sleep interrupted only by cats, the dog, and my own ridiculous dreams...
As a Waldorf mother, I'm not the greatest. My son watches a cartoon show on my computer or my partner's about once every two weeks. We are inside right now. We may or may not go out in the rain later. I do not keep all screens turned off around my son, and we talk to him way too much, with too much intellectual question-asking and explaining.
As a mother, I am not that bad. My son is fed, dressed, and loved. He eats fruit and vegetables and whole grains daily. He goes to preschool with lovely, sweet teachers, and he is tucked into a safe, warm bed every night. His toys are a mixture of natural and mainstream, thanks to loving grandparents. I have sought out a faith community that supports our family and offers him ways to connect with his highest good. I read and tell stories. We bake together. I offer regular hugs and snuggles and tell him how much I love him. We brush his teeth together, and he has a regular bedtime routine.
See how that second list is longer than the first? Take a moment, parents, and list all the ways you are doing well. I bet that, all things considered, you are doing pretty well.
There is a lot of pressure in the Waldorf parenting community to be "perfect". To have the right toys, the right paint on the walls, the right meals, the right way of speaking to your child -- all noble pursuits, but not an end in themselves. We can easily lose sight of the goal here, lost in a forest of material desires, and we forget that the point is to help children develop into loving, responsible, INDEPENDENT adults. When we abdicate our own authority of what is good, beautiful, and true, to Pinterest and mommy blogs (even this one!) and high-minded books, we are not being worthy models of imitation (big goal of Waldorf early years parenting)! We are showing our children that we are not to be trusted -- we don't even trust ourselves!
Take a breath. Know that you are capable of extraordinary parenting, living, and teaching, and that the greatest gift you can give your child is confident, loving parenting. Trust yourself. Do your best, and forgive yourself for being imperfect. Celebrate the journey -- take what works for your family, for you, from those sources that inspire you, and let go of the rest.
I am working on yelling less and listening more. On making magical moments, and of letting myself work hard when I need to work. My child is playing baseball with a soft foam ball and a mailing tube while I type this. I pitch a few balls, then type a few lines. It's working today.
Take a breath. In, and especially out.
Hello, dear readers. I have been a bit of a reluctant writer these days. I am hesitant to share anything that isn't really stellar, and therefore I have shared little. Since I want to keep the energy flowing, I am going to offer a few links I've been loving lately. Look! Alliteration!
here is a beautiful post from Rachel at .Clean. She makes divine natural body and skincare products, and she writes beautiful things.
because Leonie makes me so happy. She went on a retreat. by herself. and lived to tell the tale. hee.
I can't keep from singing along with this song. Raw, honest, live, and awesome.
go make some gluten-free play clay. you will have fun. promise.
ready to do some writing? here are some amazing questions to get you started.
a delicious piece from Martin Shaw on the quiet loss of lovely ways of speaking...
there. something to keep you busy for a bit...
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.