Living in the moment vs seizing your dreams: do I have to choose one or the other?

I find there are two prevailing strands of life advice that both seem to get me in the gut, and I can’t figure out how to reconcile them.

One is about living in the moment: being present to the beauty of the ordinary and every-day, ceding the illusion of control, and letting the future take care of itself.

The second is about seizing your dreams now: making the time to follow your passions, honour your gifts, and not let creative opportunities slip by. Not putting off until tomorrow what you can do today.

I’ve yet to figure out how to do both of these things at once, but, being a committed idealist, I’m trying.

At the moment, I swing my life on a pendulum: first one way, then the other. One month I’m a zen master, smug about how beautifully I’ve slowed down to enjoy the moment; the next month I’m frantic, feeling like I’ve dug myself into a hole and can’t find any way out. Then the tears flow.

The balance tips very quickly. There’s so little time cushion. My husband is away for work one weekend and out several evenings in a row, I give away my one child-free morning in the week to help a friend with a greater need, and suddenly between the amount of my own work I’d like to be doing and what I can actually accomplish yawns a huge gap of impossibility.

There’s a puzzle to be solved. And in my optimism, I want to believe there’s some way to solve it.

What I’m seeing, truly seeing and accepting right now, is that shutting down my own creative and intellectual processes, stalling them, putting them off for later is not an option I can live with. That was never my intention.

What I’m seeing is that not carving out focused work time for myself means that when I’m with my kids I’m always half thinking about something else. That is not going to go away.

The truth is that when I decided to homeschool my kids, when I talked my husband into agreeing, when I talked our extended family into accepting it, when I committed to sucking up the financial consequences of that choice, I never really thought I’d do it all on my own. In many ways I don’t – we spend lots of time with other families and other kids in both casual and organized ways; my kids take part in an outdoor program once a week; they do a weekly yoga class; they spend one morning a week with their grandparents. I often go away on weekends for the naturalist programs that I’ve been involved with for the past few years. A couple of times – when grandparents have taken the kids out of town – I’ve been away for a week at a time for more immersive experiences. And last summer, we had a few delightful weeks where each child pursued their interests at full-day summer camps while I worked on other things at home. And yet I want more.

So what am I looking for exactly? Regular, focused time alone that I can depend on. And not at an hour where I am fighting the need to sleep.

When I go away for a weekend of learning and get wildly inspired to follow up on my experiences, I come home and stop short. There’s no time to integrate, to work through the research and writing that are right on the tip of my mind and fingers, to let productive work take shape. I can pretend to relax and be in the moment, but my mind and heart are spinning. Not unproductive spinning, not worrying, not busy thoughts that I want to quiet down. Awesome, inspired spinning. Spinning that I don’t want to suppress or delay. Spinning that feels like flying, soaring above the world in great leaps.

I’ve been very fortunate to have had a lot of inspiration in my life in recent years. My dreams – sleeping and waking – are full of images, of stories I want to tell, of art projects I’m conjuring up. But so little of it is possible to do in small, infinitely interruptable moments with small people – no matter how dear – talking loudly in my ear. It all takes time and focus.

This fall has been intense. Yes, we had a fantastic family trip, where my husband, kids and I AND my parents all hung out together connecting, exploring and learning for three full weeks, and I’m supremely grateful for that. But the contrast between that and the return to regular life is always painful. Especially since for so many adults working a full-time professional job – including my husband – taking time away means a huge increase of pressure and creeping increase in working hours trying to catch up on the return. And three weeks of integration segue into three months of extreme imbalance.

Right now, we’re at my parents’ house for a week for the Christmas holidays. Intergenerational family life. People cooking meals, people reading, people chasing the kids around the backyard, my father working on bits of a building project. The kids bounce around between adults, playing, reading, helping with small tasks. Six adults available to do what I normally do on my own. I can sit in the middle of the living room all day ignoring the children and writing, and no one even notices me. It’s blissful.

When people present arguments against one parent being at home with the kids, or against homeschooling, the case is made is that one person can’t meet all of a child’s developmental and educational needs. Even the nuclear family is a fairly recent invention. Humans have always lived and worked and learned in groups, in communities. Mothers and fathers have always done productive work. So now, in this historical moment, the accepted answer to this dilemma is to have everyone go off to their separate silos – separate offices, separate institutions, separate classrooms segregated by age, for the majority of their waking hours. We claim that’s the only answer possible. We claim that the only possible alternative is isolation for children and martyrdom for parents. And I concede that those can be real dangers. And I concede that currently, for so many structural reasons, it can be almost impossible to conceive of any other option.

But neither of these things – separation or isolation – is what I want for my family or for myself. I want a village. I want people engaged in meaningful pursuits, with children, babies, teens, elders woven into the fabric of daily life. The perfect scenario would be if we were doing exactly what we’re doing now except with ten other families with kids of various ages living all around us and available to play and learn and work with us even on weekdays, and maybe – please, let me indulge my unrealistic dreams for a moment – a huge open field surrounded by woods all around our homes, where the kids would go off and roam for hours at a time.

But, okay, I’d settle for a few more homeschooling families within walking distance of our urban house, my husband working shorter hours and taking more of a stake in homeschooling as a family project, and maybe some time for my kids with a teen or adult mentor once a week.

When I see my friends who are homeschooling their kids, I don’t see martyrs. I see writers, artists, educators, activists, healers, culturally creative people, all of whom are trying to shape an alternative to the dominant world of silos and specialization, of outsourcing, of separation. All of whom are trying to find integration of head, heart and hands; integration of generations; integration of learning and work and creativity and domestic responsibilities. People who are trying to do something different, to take risks.

I see people who are trying to find balance in a system where it’s very difficult to create a family income out of two adults with part-time work. Even in a family who somehow find ways to live on one full-time income, the balance usually tips to one adult working long hours (because that’s the way most jobs work in our culture) and one adult crazily trying to hold down the fort alone.

So that’s the problem. There are bigger problems in the world. But I would argue that finding time and space to develop our own gifts is something each of us has a responsibility to address in our own way, in our own circumstances.

Thinking about this question almost every day recently, I’m still fairly sure that the easiest course – taking advantage of the free child-care provided by public school – is not the answer I’m looking for right now. I’m not ruling it out as a some-day possibility, but there’s still so much that tips the scales for me towards homeschooling, unschooling, real-life mentoring, learning in the eclectic and self-directed ways that adults are usually allowed to but children generally are not. I want to keep this experiment running. I’m looking for smaller changes, significant tweaking, not a total reversal of where we currently are.

I’m happy that I’ve been able to articulate what I need more clearly within the pressure of the last few weeks. Now that I’m taking myself more seriously, I’m slowly seeing more possibilities as to how these needs can be met.

And so I’m changing metaphors. Last year, my metaphor, my mantra, was the river. I had changed course so severely in the past decade and I saw that I was pushing too hard – paddling too hard – to figure out where I was going. I wanted to let myself follow the flow, without concern for destination, trusting that the current of the river would continue to move me forward. Because really, that is all any of us can ever do. Right now, I’m flowing; I’m no longer worried – for the most part – about where and when exactly I’ll land.

My current metaphor seems to have something to do with carving. The word keeps coming up when I speak of what I need. Intentionally carving out space and time for my own work. Carving out more clearly the shape I need my life to take right now. Not a final product, just the next best step, the next stroke. The little pieces of life that I might have within my control.

What’s that image I’ve heard described by so many sculptors and carvers? Carving is finding the pieces that need to fall away to uncover the shape that’s already underneath, waiting to be brought into the light.

Six things I’ve been struggling with this month

I am struggling with giving myself permission to simultaneously homeschool my kids and find dedicated time for my own creative processes and goals, my own intense passions and learning.

I am struggling with articulating and defending the value of all the unpaid work that I do – domestic work, intellectual work, organizing work, community work – work that is integral to my family and community, but invisible or uncategorizable in the larger world.

I am struggling with the dichotomy between what I’ve always been told productive work looks like and my need for time and space to experiment, to take risks, to keep learning, to follow my heart, to trust the paths that are emerging before me, to redefine my life in meaningful ways.

I am struggling to define what education should look like for my kids, to find an approach that is right for my family, one that is built around core values of self-direction, creativity and questioning the status quo; but allows for boundaries on my own time, so that I’m not “on duty” through all of my children’s waking hours, so that I can do all the other work that is meaningful to me.

I am struggling with how to set those boundaries against what so often seem to be (and so often are) the real and pressing needs of children, husband, family, friends, and people in my community.

I am struggling to trust my redefinition of my life as radical and creative and life-giving and necessary for me instead of simply a reframing of domesticity into something more palatable.

Slowing down

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The past three weeks the kids and I have taken turns being sick, and our pace has slowed down in a way that would have been hard to implement if I’d set to it deliberately.

I always kind of appreciate those illnesses that leave me to function, for the most part, during the day, but knock me out at night so that I can’t help but stop all of my puttering around and just go to bed. Go to bed, sleep, dream, and maybe let my mind and body do its work without so much intervention from me.

The past few weeks my body has been on patrol. Any sign of me pushing too hard, and the sore throat and cough and tiredness come back. They’re waiting on the periphery, creeping up on me, ready to pounce.

Part of me wants to fight against slowing down. I don’t like this molasses in my brain, my body’s desire to curl up under a blanket and hibernate. I want to be outside, moving my body, exploring the world. I want to write – every day, about everything. I want to work my way through all the tracking journals I need to finish to complete my apprenticeship. I want to dig deeply into more naturalist skills. I want to dig more deeply into everything. I want to have some kind of plan for our homeschooling each day. There’s so much to do, so much to learn, so much on my list to cross off.

But I don’t actually have control over this.

And some kind of deeper body wisdom is at work here, keeping my patterns of over-enthusiasm and over-commitment in check. We’ve made so many choices that are about living intentionally and deliberately, and then so often, I don’t actually slow down. The inner math doesn’t add up in how our days and weeks play themselves out.

In some way, the past few weeks have created a rhythm much more in tune with what I want our daily life to look like than it actually has in recent years, especially in this darkening season, as we move into winter. Fewer casual social commitments – although our intentional weekly commitments have remained intact. More time with the kids at home: reading out loud, sitting and doing math together, playing board games, involving their participation in cooking and baking and cleaning up. More time for intentional “schoolwork.” More time to go deeply into their learning. And my learning. More time to work with my hands, do the stitch by stitch work of knitting sweaters and hats and things that meet my need for warmth and beauty to get me through the cold days. More time to observe my kids’ patterns, to talk through big questions with them, to work through their emotions, to understand them better. More time to follow through in getting their participation in household tasks, instead of taking the faster route of doing it myself. More time for walks around the neighbourhood, observing, playing games. More time for me to be playful – playfulness requires taking one’s presence seriously. More evenings at home with Conan, talking about what matters to us right now, supporting each other’s goals. More evenings for me to read good writing that inspires me.

The kids are getting in the rhythm too. They’re playing together more peacefully. They’re thinking and dreaming, and telling me their grand theories about life. They’re going deeper into their own interests. They’re making up games and alternate worlds. They’re not waiting for something to happen, something to entertain them.

And the work that I want to do? It’s getting done, bit by bit, just because I’m here and present. I chip away at it day by day.

Writing is different. Writing takes bursts of inspiration and a clear head and some time alone, and all those have been in short supply. With that, I need to stay patient.

But life is long, and I’m seeing that my projects are life-long projects. Mastery at anything takes hours, and months, and years of practice. Like committing to a life-long love, savouring a relationship day-by-day, the satisfaction is in greeting it anew each morning, waking up and remembering what hums a song deep through your being. Why hurry?

Or else life is short, and then my presence to the beauty of this moment is the only thing that matters.

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Kids on trains: travelling with kids and why it was easier than I expected

Before we took our trip to Poland last month, I didn’t give a lot of thought about how much time we would spend travelling from place to place. My parents organized the trip, and my mother had some strong opinions on driving in Poland and was quite sure that she didn’t want to rent a car. So each time we moved from city to city, we dropped by the train station and bought tickets, usually the day before departure. Having spent very little time thinking about our itinerary beforehand, I hadn’t realized how long some of our train trips would be. Perhaps if I had I would have been a little nervous.

Six hours from Warsaw to Gdańsk, seven from Gdańsk to Lublin (which, because of mechanical failures and other mishaps, turned into ten), a five-hour bus trip from Lublin to Kraków, and another five (or was it six?) hours on a train from Kraków to Siedlce, our last stop before flying out from Warsaw (an insignificant one-hour train trip away). A few short train trips, bus rides and car rides (with my uncle) interspersed the longer one.

When I thought about it afterwards, I was impressed that we had spent at least 30 hours in transit, not counting our two flights.

I love trains, especially in Europe, where it’s possible to walk around from one wagon to another, stand in the corridor with the window down, feel the wind in your hair, and even occasionally find a dining car.  But how does that work with kids under the age of 10?

It worked beautifully.

We don’t own any tablet-type devices, and while we have smartphones at home, I don’t have any interest in giving them to the kids to play with. Plus there’s the loud frugal voice in my head looking on in alarm: “But they could BREAK that!” When I’ve travelled on trains with my kids in Canada, which we used to do regularly, this has put me very much in the minority. We had a few trying train trips when Malcolm was a (very vocal) baby and toddler, when people would stare at us and elderly ladies would inquire with concern whether we had misplaced his pacifier. But we persisted, read books out loud, made up stories, played old-fashioned road games like I Spy, had lots of drawing supplies and snacks on hand. We worked at it. And it became fun.

The last few years we’ve been doing more driving, and that’s a bit harder. Harder to interact with the kids safely, impossible to move around, requiring total concentration from at least one of the adults (and intense and focused knitting from the other… ahem). But in Canada, driving makes it easier to be spontaneous, and it’s the only way to get to most places outside of a major centre.

So I was happy to rediscover train travel. Since trains (and buses and private mini-buses) were available to every nook and cranny of Poland, it seemed. And with kids ages nine and six, there was so much less effort required than in the past. I learned that six or seven hours on a train are exponentially easier than the same number in a car. And for most of the trips in helped (but perhaps just a little) that there were four adults to two children.

Lachlan, at nine, required very little interaction at all as long as he had a book to read. We’d brought two, Eragon (Christopher Paolini) and The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan). He devoured both of these in our first week of travel. A short hiatus of peaceful boredom followed, interspersed with looking out the window, card-playing, and Conan reading out loud to the kids from an old battered paperback edition of Tolkien’s Return of the King, which they had begun reading in a beautiful hardbound edition at home. In Kraków, my cousin, Ola, gave Lachlan a book of legends about the city, with stories in both Polish and English. This he also devoured.

And in an English-language bookstore in Kraków we picked up a copy of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. One of my favourite childhood books, so it thrilled my heart to see him immersed in it for the last few days of our trip.

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As for Malcolm, the six-year-old, who until the 11th hour insisted he wasn’t going on the trip…  He proved himself to be a champion traveller. I learned last year that Malcolm can power his way through workbook exercises for the sheer joy of problem-solving and completion. We brought him a first grade math workbook and a Star Wars writing workbook. The kind of thing his older brother would have disdained and isn’t totally my style either, but is definitely part of Malcolm’s learning strategy. He set to work, and that kept him engaged for our first two train trips, until he decided that trains are too bumpy for writing.

After that we spent time:

  • Playing cards. Oh, how Malcolm loves card-playing! I can’t possibly count the number of times we each played Crazy Eights with Malcolm. Counting; sorting; learning how to deal with losing, pick oneself up, and try again….
  • Reading out loud from Return of the King and a book of five-minute mysteries we had picked up before we left.
  • Eating snacks and meals. We packed LOTS of food. Mostly fresh and simple things we could buy at any deli or tiny grocery story: fresh bread, cold cuts, cheese, fruit, raw veggies.  The occasional szarlotka (apple cake) or pastry.
  • Looking out the window at the world outside and marvelling at both its similarly to and difference from the landscape in Canada. I was amazed once when Malcolm did this quietly for an hour or more while everyone else read their own books.
  • Standing in the corridor looking out the window. This required me lifting Malcolm up (and he’s getting heavy!), so only happened in short instalments with the kids. Otherwise it was usually me and my dad.
  • Having our fortunes told by the kids: Lachlan was inspired by something he read to make fortune-telling cards. These featured symbols that apparently represented things like: “You will meet a very wise person who will teach you many things about the world” (an owl) and “You will go on many journeys” (a boot). Of course then Malcolm was inspired to do the same. His were a little more specific and a little more random: “You will find a lost civilization” (underwater ruin) and “You will go on a plane to a different country” (not surprising, a plane). At the time, it was all pretty hilarious.
  • Malcolm asking me math questions, and then me sneaking in a few for him. It’s interesting how both kids have learned a lot of math simply by asking questions and having conversations about things like odd and even numbers, temperatures, measurements, distances, currency. I’ve enjoyed tracking that curiosity in both of them. When they ask me math questions I usually slow down my process out loud to model what I’m doing and they eventually imitate that or find their own process.
  • Just hanging out and talking. Especially in the compartment-style trains, where we would often have other people in a compartment with us. It was fascinating to see my parents engaging everyone in conversation. I was especially impressed through the whole trip with how my father asks questions about everything and then remembers all those details later on.
  • Ignoring the children and reading our own books, writing in a notebook (that one was just me), or being mesmerized by the landscape ourselves. I also brought some – very tiny and portable – knitting.

Lots of these activities carried over to times when we weren’t on trains. Sometimes writing, drawing, and playing card games that needed more space were better done in hotel rooms and in the homes we stayed in.

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This on top of all the museums, art galleries, castles, medieval cities, picturesque villages, local flora and fauna, traditional foods, family history and genealogy, discussions of cultural differences, and of course, the regular language practice…

Well, I fell a little bit in love with both the richness and the simplicity of learning and living on the road.

In which I see mentors everywhere

I woke up this morning at my parents’ house to the sound of my older son patiently coaching his younger brother in archery techniques. On the stairs. With a plastic bow and suction arrows. They practiced for at least an hour, standing on a high ledge “cliff” under the living room windows, shooting down at some furs they had placed in the stairwell. Some were fake, some real – probably brought from Poland years ago. Later they fought about the bow, and other things. But it’s the patience that I’ll remember.

Tonight as we ate dinner on the back deck, a red fox trotted across the backyard. I was the only one looking in its direction, but at my urgent whisper everyone turned. The fox sauntered by, looking over at us in that nonchalantly foxy way, as if waiting for someone to take its picture. We didn’t. We didn’t have any phones or cameras at the table. The fox dropped down and rolled over once, then trotted behind the cedars towards the south. My father told us they’d seen a fox already this year, maybe this one, after many years without foxes here. I looked at the kids with wide eyes and open mouth and they returned the expression to me: “Wasn’t that AMAZING? ” I wanted to make sure they would remember.

I took a walk after dinner to find some yarrow to harvest and dry. My father came out and joined me. He showed me where he had planted elderberries this year, where the poison ivy patch has migrated, where the blackberries are going strong. He pointed out his young but thriving bur oaks and sugar maples. “Do you know this one?” he asked. No, I didn’t. “Shagbark hickory.” We looked at the way the leaves grew on the branch and I described it out loud, to remember.

We examined how he had pruned the apple and pear trees. We talked about protecting the plum trees from porcupines. We talked about the rabbits, how in the spring they had made a burrow in the vegetable garden, next to the dill. Did I smell the musky smell of fox pee near the garden? I tried to describe it to my dad.

I showed him yarrow, red clover, catnip, and St. John’s wort growing at the back of the property. He told me the Polish name for St. John’s wort: dziurawiec. “Does it really have holes?” he asked. I showed him the perforations, like little pinpricks, on the leaves.

We walked back towards the house. My mother intercepted us with a basket and a request to pick vegetables. “This is a very good willow basket,” my father commented. He told me his younger brother in Poland had given it to him after he admired it once. My father showed me how well made it was, with the handle coming full circle to the base of the basket in a flat, almost seamless join; how tightly woven the willow was. He told me that his uncle, my great-uncle Jan, when younger had been a skilled basket maker in their village. “So many baskets now aren’t well-made,” he said, “But a good basket is important; it should be able to carry potatoes for fifty years!”

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We enlisted Lachlan to help pick the vegetables – zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers – and sent them inside. Malcolm came out with his plastic bow again and said he wanted to practice hunting. I told him he should look for rabbits to sneak up on, like a fox. I reminded him to walk silently and carefully with his bare feet, to use his wide-angle vision to see movement, to be aware of the birds. The rabbits must have picked up on his intentions, because none were to be found. But we snuck around the backyard for a while, shooting the arrows here and there, talking about the fox and how handsome it was.

In the last light, just before bedtime, my father came outside again to play a vigorous chasing game with his grandsons, until they were all ready to collapse.

Mentoring moments. I’m sometimes amazed when they show up so casually in my life: moments of gently directed attention; of patient practice; of shared enthusiasm and play; of connection to the land; of skills invoked and applied across generations. The moments I noticed today could have happened a hundred years ago or a thousand. Not didactic – I wouldn’t call it teaching – but emerging from presence and shared attention.

In the midst of other days that are NOT always like this, I try to imagine a time when all learning was this seamless, this grounded in place and relationship and care. I’ve looked elsewhere for this kind of learning, for myself and for my children, and I have found it elsewhere, with gratitude. I’ve thought and talked a lot about mentoring, about mentoring cultures – out there, not here. But now I see what is right under my nose.

Why is it so hard to see what’s closest to us? I don’t know. But I know that once you see you don’t stop seeing.

I can see mentoring in every relationship my kids have with their grandparents, aunts and uncles; in their relationships with family friends and neighbours; in the way they relate to children older and younger than themselves. I grew up far from my grandparents and extended family; my children’s experiences will be different from mine. Like Winnie-the-Pooh’s friend Rabbit, they are blessed with “friends and relations” all around.

Like a long row of gift-bearers, each person brings something: something particular; sometimes eccentric; always – with some encouragement – passionately shared. When there is time and space for ages and generations to mix, this organic sharing of knowledge thrives. People have skills I never expected. They have experiences they had never thought to mention. When I look for the gifts people bring – instead the flaws I sometimes used to see – I feel the urgency of cultivating and supporting these relationships. Most people in our culture don’t mentor instinctively – most need to be encouraged. Sometimes I’m overt in my encouragement; sometimes sneaky.

I need mentors just as much as my kids do. And I too have a lot I want to share.

For a while I was captivated by the story of the mentor who comes and tells you what your gifts are, scoops you up and finds a place for you.  That might happen to some people, sometimes. But it hadn’t happened to me, not that clearly and effortlessly.  That led to a lot of sadness. But I see now that more often than not YOU have to find the mentors yourself, maybe because the practice of mentoring has been so broken in our culture.  You have to search for your mentors and identify them and court them and be open to what they have to teach.  You have to let many mentors pass through your life, and you have to make the effort of holding on to some of them. You have to be willing to see the mentors who are right in front of you.  Sometimes you have to gently prod them into revealing what they know. And mostly, you have to be willing to listen.

On letting things grow

Last week I dug up the garlic, pulled up the peas and hung up the last pods to dry for seed, harvested more calendula petals and lavender for infusing in oil, picked more gooseberries for jam. My gardening tends to the wild side. Laissez-faire gardening. I’m in awe of the abundance and resilience of the plants that arrive unexpectedly. I’m in awe of LIFE, how it thrives without any tending from me. I wonder about the purpose of each plant, its particular niche. I try to find a use for whatever I can. I let them grow, and grow. And then I become overwhelmed and start pulling things up by the handful, as I did last week. Sometimes, in my sudden desire for order, plants that I originally planted and tended get pulled out too.

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I envy friends with weed-free gardens. I also envy those who know how to keep their lives simple, who know exactly what their priorities are from beginning to end. In my own life, I see a pattern of enthusiastically embracing of what’s growing, then becoming overwhelmed and a little crazed and pulling things out right and left. It’s not ideal. I need to check in with my garden, and with myself, earlier. I’m getting better at this. But when I look at my life and think hard about what to nourish and what to weed out, it’s not always obvious. I am always curious about what is growing unexpectedly, between the rows. I want to see what develops.

I don’t know if I believe in a perfect balance. I admire those who know how to sequence: first I’ll focus on this, and then later this. I have done this at times. I also see that now, for myself, i want everything, all at once. I want to pursue my own projects; I want to throw myself into community and deep relationships; I want to learn; I want to do the subsistence work and the emotional work and the intellectual work; I want to find a way to develop my gifts – such as they may be – and bring them out into the world. I want to watch with curiosity what is developing between the rows.

I’ve questioned and considered what’s important in my life; none of this is here by default. I’m going to be forty next year; there is so much I want to be doing right now. But I also want to homeschool my kids – because I’m so in love with this way of learning and living – and that often becomes the last priority, in terms of planning. It’s not ideal.

But if I can allow myself to embrace all of this, the mess and abundance of it, the LIFE in it all, then I can also find the peace and stillness underneath, the rightness of it for me. This is where I am. Messy and alive. Curious about what’s growing. And always a bit overwhelmed.