‘Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.’ – Henry David Thoreau
How are things with you?
Were you a letter writer as a kid? I was. They always started with: How are you? I ‘m fine! A template of sorts. We must build up a great many templates as we progress through our lives. Patterns we repeat. It makes life easier to create patterns, we automatically know how to colour them in or perhaps keep them black and white. Easier I say until we need to change them, change them by choice or because the season we find ourselves in has changed.
Seasons come in a great variety of guises. There are the obvious ones. The four seasons and then there are are the life ones. Some life changes hit us smack bang in the face and some are not always so obvious, we have to rummage within a little. It is nice when all that is required is to simply rearrange the shapes and lines. A little adjustment of the template and we can continue on without too much disruption. And other times the whole pattern needs to be rubbed out and a new one created. I think that is a bit what I am doing here each month, as I move from template to template. Erasing, changing colours, adding new lines.
This is the ‘doing of the work’. Now not all of us are interested in doing work and that is completely fine but me, well I am. I can’t walk in circles … I’m not built like that. I get bored with myself when I’m telling the same old stories or repeating patterns that aren’t taking me towards peace. And I can’t be living in a pretend way. If I am feeling something … be it unease, regret, lack of motivation, nervousness I need to tend to those niggles. Poke them, wonder about them, be ok with them and until they point me somewhere else. Then the spark happens … the pattern makes sense and with a little act of rebellion the pattern can be adjusted. I find those niggles usually come from some kind of fear.
I’ve been doing all sorts of rebelious things this month. Cooking with banana peels, writing in uni discussion groups with peers that are WAY more academic than me (and not caring), planting vegetables in the front garden on a street where everyone plants ‘neat’ plants, prioritising my yoga by going most days, breaking a routing (giving up the first coffee of the morning), considering if there is a gentler way to approach things, sticking to a routine (setting breakfast up the night before), daring to be quiter sometimes and louder at other times, moving more, watching less, playing with new recipes, painting my nails, wearing the darkest grey eye shadow, staying out late and hanging at a random concert we happened upon in town, responding to what feels like a judgy statements with confidence (calling shit out, no more stewing, I’m not having it), showering at night … all sorts of crazy, upside down stuff (for me)!
And I have to say that it has been a pretty darn successful experiment. Rebelling against myself, challenging myself. Shaking things up. It is like when you take a long stretch and your back cracks satisfyingly into shape. Do you know that feeling? When your back is in shape everything seems to hold well. One month, one vertebrae at a time!
Now here is a little something I just realised … I don’t think I actually change. I am not trying to change myself. Rather I’m getting closer to myself. Here is a little story of something that happened JUST now.
This is a bit of an Eat, Pray, Love kind of month actually. I have spent this past month doing yoga and I’ve been feeling the music and spiritually of Asia. I have spent many holidays in Asia. Now many of you know I am not a great hoarder of ‘stuff’. A few years ago before taking time out to travel we decided we wouldn’t leave anything in storage and I spend a lot of time sorting though all that we owned. These two black boxes you see contain the keepsakes of my babies. Some special outfits, baptism shawls, a blanket, shoes etc. There are also a few of our things tucked away in there.
Now … the story. There is a spiritual connection I feel with the sights and sounds of Asia right now and it is pulsing through my whole body this month. A few explanations, a yearning for warmth, the yoga, a return to Spring and the new flavours we now have available to cook with and also the music I am listening to. It is where I am right now in this season. I started thinking how this could be transferred to my home, my space. A rather large indoor green plant is on my mind. Music, ALWAYS. Coriander, planted 😉 And there was this large silk screen print I bought myself in Malaysia in the mid 90’s. It has hung in all sorts of share houses. Do I still have it? I might feel sad if I didn’t. I though I’d check those boxes.
While many travel ‘keepsakes’ found new homes this one obviously had a deeper meaning. This is what I mean about change … we don’t really do we? These inward journeys bring us home to ourselves. In the space where we create an awareness of ourselves we reach forward and we reach back … if we stick at it I think simply reclaim ourselves, our souls.
So here I am courtesy of a month of little acts of rebellion. The rebelling comes easy to me, it is my modus operandi. Do you know what yours is? I just had to get it working in the right direction, with it and not against it! It has taken the work of the past five months to get here and I’m back where I started – a sturdy version of myself. The unknown, the future it all seems less scary when you find yourself here. Within yourself, within the present season … it is from here where the future becomes exciting. Here where optimism lives, where feeling settled and excited about possibilities lives. And it is here in this grounded space where creativity knocks for me – HARD!
So I did very well in the first unit of my masters and I just deferred the next one. My mum is here so I wanted to give her this week of my time before she returns back to Australian. Also, after spending a week in a graded, intensely theoretical scientific discussion forum I felt that right now I want to write about other things. I think I really prefer stream of consciousness writing, life writing. I want to write here and I want to show the same commitment I seem to be able to show to a university assessor to myself. I have a few posts to write for other blogs. Important posts. Perhaps I am in a space of exploring what I can do with my writing. Perhaps I should try something new. Challenge myself. Rebel against the pattern I usually follow?
Wouldn’t you know it that darn book of mine is calling again … abeit in a different form. I actually can’t write about life when I am not feeling grounded in life. I first had to write and live myself. I have been doing that here on this blog and no doubt I have written myself to this place. This photo was easter. My photos are always as life is unfolding and I sat in awe at this moment. A bbq, some games, a guitar, conversation. The oldest had just been for a SUP on his own in the local canal. And I realised our life right here resembled the things I love about French families camping. The commitment they have to to the moment … to joy. Perhaps I should write those stories, travel reflections. I think I will.
So for the third time in the past five years I will read this. BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert. See those bookmarks?! No book I have ever owned has that many bookmarks. There is something in there I need to find for May, I know it.
Once again that brings me to a new month, May, what will I be thinking about? I think to be open and disciplined. Completing the first unit of my masters and the yoga has brought me towards both of those spaces this month. A kind of gentle unison. Yin and Yang. Perhaps there is a better word that encompasses both … I will see if it shows itself.
Have a beautiful month lovely ones. I hope there is joy in your days.