A few months ago I visited my hometown and saw extended family. My aunt came up to me and asked me how I was. At the time I was feeling overwhelmed with all my repsonsibilities, and I hesitated a bit before answering (I don’t like to give fake pat answers!). My aunt, who homeschooled her four children previously, gave me a knowing look. “I always felt guilty and “behind” when I was homeschooling, too.”
The other day a Cedar Ring Circle Waldorf Co-op member mentioned in an email how “behind” she was feeling. Yes, I’ve been feeling that way, too! But, when I read her words I just had this flash of truth…
We are not behind. We are right where we should be. It’s just that our minds get ahead of our perfect “right now, right-where-we-need-to-be moment”!
The sad part about that is when we are stuck in the future, we are not getting that Divine stream of knowing that guides each moment- because it is only availabe in the now.
There are more than enough ways to fill our day. And no matter how great those things are, if there are too many, it won’t be great! On the converse side, sometimes we have things we are really dreading having to do (such as move, plan an event, etc). It is those times when I reflect on Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” So I come back to right now. I look up and ask God, “what is the wonderful plan we agreed on for this moment, right now?” Many times the answer is “Go get a hug from one of your kids…. you need one and so do they!” And the anxiety ebbs away, and the confidence that each moment of my life is perfectly ordained to be exactly what I need to fulfill my purpose on this earthly adventure kicks back in. It is only from that vantage point of peace and confidence that I can make powerful and effective plans and manage my time wisely, anyways! Mama Monica and I have talked about how easy it is to slip into a mode where our mission is to clean the house… to get the homeschooling done… to plant the garden… and then we realize we have succumbed to tunnel vision, and the rest of our lives have fallen apart. It really can be hard to keep a holistic view, and realize we can be loving our children while cleaning the house, or homeschooling while gardening, if we just slow down a bit and don’t force things to happen as fast as we can. It is not about checking things off on a list- it is about living them through.
When I think about how our days go, I use the word “Dayscaping”. It is like creating the landscape of how my time is spent. The foundation of my Dayscape is those things which must be done, especially if they must be done at a certain time. The fewer of those you have, the less stressful life with little children will be, it seems! For my family, meals and bedtime, caring for our animals, errands on Tuesday and co-op on Friday are pretty much all we commit to. After you fill in the things you need to do, fill in some things you love to do. Make sure you do them! Otherwise, life becomes tedious. We feel tired and depressed. We lack energy. Now that we have the things we need to do, and the things we love to do, we fill in the rest of our day with the things that make sense that we do. Personally, I think all of those categories can become things we love to do as we practice the art of living, the art of mothering- the art of making everything we do into an art! We chose the life we have- no sense complaining about it or resenting parts of it now, right? Instead, we weave it harmoniously into a beautiful tapestry. When I feed the chickens, I don’t just feed the chickens- I love my chickens, talking to them and admiring their silly chicken ways. When I clean my house, I clean the space, too- by consciously breathing happiness and awareness into it; filling it with gratitude for sheltering me and protecting my family. And I come away from it feeling clean and blessed within.
We have switched into our warm weather daily rhythm, and it has been wonderful. Every other spring, I would talk about how much I wanted to spend more time outside. But, it always seemed like by the time I finished breakfast, getting everyone ready, morning chores, and lessons we would get outside right when the afternoon heat peaked and everyone was miserable! This year I was determined to make our outside time and gardening, landscaping, and play area-building be more than just a daydream. So I asked the birds to wake me, and remind me of my dreams each morning…
I get up when the birdsong first fills the air. I get myself ready, breakfast ready, and if the kids haven’t woken yet I will start a load of laundry and work on my Cedar Ring Circle co-op to-do list. Then, once they are up, we eat and get dressed and go out- preferably by 8:30. We spend a few glorious hours outside, and when everyone is ready for snack we come in and have our smoothies (I will post the recipe later this week! They are divine.). They play inside while I do some housework, we have lunch, and then we sit together and read. Eventually the younger children lose interest and wander off to play again, and then I do lessons with my son. When lessons are finished, I attend to any more housework or co-op details that need to be done, we have a snack, and then we head back outside for a walk or time in the woods until dinner needs to be made (which is usually later in the day in the summer, because we are having so much fun outside!). After dinner we head back outside to catch peeper frogs or lightning bugs or toads, have a bonfire, or take a family drive to see all the deer come out to eat in the dusk of a country evening. Then the children go to bed (when it gets dark) and I have time to myself (well, lately I’ve just stayed up til wee hours re-doing the co-op website, but I think I’m almost done now!). With all this outside time, I am thinking of packing up most of the toys til cold weather sets in again! Attitudes and health seem at peak with this schedule, and our land is truly blossoming into that paradise, slowly but surely, that I envision- my Space of Love.
How are you loving your days, enjoying the weather, and building your Space of Love?