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It is really apparent to me that I need a break.  Just a break.  A mama break.  Time to unwind.  It’s 11:30 at night on the day before we make our big annual trip to Paducah, Kentucky to visit John’s Granny and Papaw, aunts, uncle, and cousins.  I’m so excited that I have been asked to make some things to bring this year!  Maybe this means I’m growing up. 😉  So, tonight, I’m baking.  I’ve made sweet potato and raisin cookies and sourdough bread from the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, and a coconut oil fudge recipe I got from a message board.  At about midnight, I’ll put in the blueberry muffins.  In the morning, I’m making a pumpkin pie.

I’m looking forward to this trip.  I love John’s family as much as I do my own.  They are precious to me.  The trip will also give me time to reflect on what is and isn’t working in my mothering.  I have decided that I need an information purge.  I first read about the concept on Alisha’s blog – On a Silent Sea, and her journey through reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  She posted the idea on August 19th.  It has taken me this long to get the guts to try it.  Since we are going to be away for the weekend, I think it is the perfect time to start.

My biggest issue is the internet.  I never used to use it like I do since we moved.  I resented it really.  I hated the thought of computers taking the place of books with pages, sticking your nose right in the binding and taking in the scent of paper and ink, flipping, marking, and highlighting your way through.  I hated the internet for being trendy, the knew “thing”.  Yet, here I am right in the middle of it.  I don’t feel so strongly about it anymore, and I have come to see how useful it can be, especially to a mama who is kind of isolated in her beliefs and relationships.  That mama being me.

I live four and a half hours away from my best girlfriend and sister.  There are no more weekends on her couch watching TV, eating, and talking about what goes and who gives.  I am no longer close to the only Waldorf School in Kentucky, and therefore am missing out on that community.    The attachment parenting group that I am a member of is also far away now, and there’s no more meetings at the coffee house, or VBAC support.  I no longer have the community group meetings with my church sisters and brothers.  These were weekly activities that got me out and into the world when we lived in the city.  Granted, I’d be fine with just the weekends on the couch at Ariana’s, but I needed the rest too.  Despite all the wonderfulness of home, I’m missing the break that these things gave me.  A chance to get out of my shell once and awhile and experience people.

I took the girls to most of these outings, but it was a time to be with others, vent frustrations to people face to face, a time to develop friendship, have meaningful conversations.  Now, most days, the only conversations I have are either short evening ones with John, or on computer message boards.  It has become such that if I have any little issue, my first instinct is to go get advice or look it up online.  Sad, I know.  Useful, yes, but sad.

I’m so not good at making friends.  If you notice, the above activities already put me at a place where there were folks meeting for a purpose, or common goal.  I have such a hard time without that setting.  There aren’t many opportunities for mothers here to get together, and when there are, I don’t see many taking advantage of it.  John and I don’t get date nights.  It is a rare thing that I am doing anything sans the girls.  I simply don’t have childcare throughout the week when most things I would like to attend are going on.  John is busy weekends, so those are out most of the time.  I just don’t have anyone other than family (who work) that I am close enough to to feel unembarrassed to ask about childcare, and no money to pay anyone.  Historically has it most of the time been this way for mothers, or were extended families and communities part of the child rearing?

I drink Yogi Tea and on the little tabs they have a quote from Yogi Bhajan.  Yesterday, my quote was:

Self reliance conquers any difficulty.

While I believe that relying on God is the first thing, I can completely understand what Yogi Bhajan meant here.  The answers lie within ourselves.  God in us.  It’s there if we can shut out all the noise, observe, and listen.  I don’t do that – not at all.

That said, there will be no message boards, Facebook, or crazy internet searches for information for an unset amount of time.  I’m going to use the extra time that will give me to work on my home, my selfishness, and my relationship with the girls.  I’m going to use this time to listen, and come up with my own answers.

I realize these last few posts have been lots of words and no photos.  I will do better as soon as I am able.  I also apologize for the typos in the last post that I haven’t had the chance to fix yet.  I don’t know if letting others spend time in my head is interesting or not, but that’s what’s on my mind, and I’d like to tell someone.

I’ve been guiding myself through my yoga practice the last six days with a set from the back of The 8 Human Talents by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa.  The music I have chosen, because I don’t have any yoga music, is Eddie Veddar’s work on the soundtrack to the movie Into the Wild.  If you have never seen the movie, it is beautiful, breathtaking, and based on a true story.  I love Pearl Jam and have since they became a band.  I believe Eddie Veddar to be the best lyricist possibly who ever lived.  There are two songs that seem to sing from a place where I am at now… Here they are for you.  I hope you enjoy them.

Lars - age 10

Lars - age 10

I bought the October Guide from Little Acorn Learning.  With all the wonderful festivals and holidays approaching I wanted a little help with ideas, and some help organizing myself.  Nothing beats having it all in the palm of your hand.  Our theme for the week is birds, and another great thing is Little Acorn includes a sort of weekly virtue in the theme.  They even provide a caregiver meditation to remind you to take time for yourself.  I love that!  The virtue for this week is showing kindness.  Not only are we to help create awareness of the need for kindness in our children, but we are challenged to become aware ourselves.

Mondays are “cooking days”.  This is where the girls help me with a cooking project.  Today’s project from Little Acorn was creating a homemade pet treat.  Our pet is a dalmatian whom I’ve written about a few times here.  His name is Lars.  John and I bought him as a two month old puppy the month before we were married.  He is ten years old.  Lars was our first baby.  He shared our bed.  We took him on special trips and bought him special treats.  Lars destroyed our couch and my collection of pewter figurines (yes, the dog demolished a soft metal with his teeth!) and we still allowed him to remain in the house.  We were over it in less than a week and carrying on as normal.  Unconditional love.

Then, came along Deladis.  Despite the fact that I had balked at the thought that becoming a mother would change my relationship with Lars, it did.  There was little time to snuggle with him on the couch.  He was so rowdy it was impossible for me to walk him while Deladis was with us.  His little shenanigans became more of an aggravation than something clean up and look over.  Keeping Deladis from eating out of his food bowl was a challenge.

Ivy came along.  We found out that Deladis was allergic to dogs, and we moved back to our mountains.  We could finally keep Lars safely outside, and we chose to do that, for Deladis’ sake and for the fact that dalmatians shed 24/7 all year around.  Their hair is not only white, it is fine.  I know (even with him outside) I will be sweeping his hair up long after he is gone.

With Lars outside, it has become even easier to not interact with him.  I shoo him out of the compost where he likes to visit and eat egg shells.  I peek out the door when he barks.  I make sure his food bowl is full.  Every now and then, I will pat his back.  But, mostly, he’s just there and I’m just here.

Lately, I’ve been doing more thinking about this because I know it won’t be long until he won’t be there anymore.  Though he gets around much like an adolescent dog, he has started falling through the cracks between the porch steps and gets stuck.  I have to pull him out.  I know he has lost hearing in one ear that stays infected most of the time despite our efforts to help him.  I’m pretty sure he has cataracts because he has started barking at us when we approach the house until we are right up on him.  When I see his legs shake beneath him, I know he has arthritis.

He doesn’t complain.  He isn’t sad.  He loves my children, and still follows me on walks and around the yard ready to protect me.  He lets Ivy mount him like a pony.  He cuddles with Roy (our rooster) on the front porch.  He is nothing but sweet, gentle, and kind, in spite of my not giving him the attention I once did, and being displaced by our “real” children.

When we gave Lars the treats we made, he wagged his tail like he did when he was a pup and we gave him the gourmet treats from the Three Dog Bakery.  Deladis gave him the first one, then, Ivy.  I gave him one as well.  Then, as I was putting the remainder away, he was standing in the door, and I couldn’t resist letting him have a fourth treat.  I’ll be sorry when he is gone from my doorway, drooling over my cooking.  I don’t think I’ll ever love another dog as I have him.

A part of showing kindness is recognizing the finite state of our bodies.  Realizing that we are all here only as long as the miracle of life continues to allow us to take another breath.  The time for kindness is now.  The time to release our fear and stubbornness is now.  There is no other time.

…patience which is the first condition of real Love. In Love you give without attention to all the mistakes of another as the sun gives light and warmth to all people…

– Yogi Bhajan (on the Shabad Kriya)

I’m finding it harder and harder to even come from that anxiety driven place anymore.  It is becoming easier to stop myself from riding the waves of stressful emotion.  When you truly let go of expectations, extensive future planning (within reason), and begin to focus on the now, and your blessings, it becomes more difficult to be selfish enough to be impatient.  And yet, we are all human.

Kindness is a huge thing.  I think in the modern way of life it is too easy to avoid even the simplest acts of kindness.

I wrote yesterday a little bit about my finding my way to yoga.  I’ve been toying with yoga for about ten years.  I’ve never really had what I would call a “serious” practice in that time period.  That is if the criteria for “serious” is incorporating all eight limbs of yoga.  I practiced more as another variation on the word “exercise”.  The closest I ever came to really doing yoga was during my pregnancies with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Shiva Rea DVDs along with some studio classes.  I was more about tuning in with my little beans than tuning in with God or my inner self at that time.

I really enjoyed the Gurmukh DVDs during my pregnancy, and when I realized that the type of exercise I was doing (high intensity aerobics) was exacerbating my health issues (thyroid, stress, and exhaustion), I started with her.  The type of yoga she teaches is called Kundalini yoga.  Kundalini yoga is the most ancient form of yoga and was introduced to the west by Yogi Bhajan in 1968.  Kundalini yoga suits me very well because while I need restorative exercise, I really like to exert myself.  Kundalini yoga allows for both.  It is appropriate for all people in all types of conditions and age ranges.

I’ve been exploring the different aspects of yoga and doing Kundalini and Vinyasa styles.  In my search for an authentic, traditional life, I place great emphasis on doing things the way they were meant to be done.  I have been researching the “real” way to practice yoga.  I have found that it stand aside from religion, and I have found it extremely helpful in reconnecting me with my own spirituality.  I’ve been using my yoga time as prayer time.  I am a Christian, and the original mantras work so well for me.  My favorite right now is Sat Nam – truth is my name.  It is such an uplifting thing to repeat as praise, a reminder, or a prayer.

I have bred in me an unrest.  I see impatience in many members of my family.  The impatience leads to worry and stress.  It has really affected my mothering.  I am so impatient with the girls.  For over a year now, I’ve been trying to beat this troublesome attribute with not much success.  Yoga is teaching me how to go about ridding myself of it.  Many of our problems come from alienating the various parts of ourselves.  We think of physical, mental, and spiritual parts of our being as different and often conflicting.  Yet, one part can’t work properly without the other.  We can’t know our full potential in this life without working to connect them all.  We can’t rely totally on ourselves either.  There is much more to life than us.

Gurmukh says something that I used as my mantra during my savasana time today.  “Let go and let God.”  As I heard John caring for our girls in the background, instead of wishing for peace and quiet, I embraced what was going on.  I let go of that impatience and I let God take care of me.  I can tell you right now, I was in much better hands.

* Update: I wish I could let it go everyday.  That will be a never ending goal.  Today has been a trial.

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About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

December 2021
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