Just reflecting on how very busy I am. Years ago, I felt my focus to be almost entirely on my being mama. I desired to conciously spend my time and energy creating and holding a space in which our children could find warmth, nourishment and the space to be free to be who they are. To express themselves, be heard, be held. Not to be entirely child-centric in our lives that they may be the lords and ladies who we serve – but for them to be involved in our family life, to be a part of the running of the house (washing up, making meals, gardening, cleaning etc) and for our life together be gentle and pleasurable, with the feeling of time being ‘big enough’ for us all to find the time we need to do all we need to / desire to, without us being too overwhelmed. And that wasn’t entirely how it was, but I do look back on this being a little true for us. And not to over-glorify this, as it wasn’t, and isn’t, always the case but it definitely felt (feels?) easier to flow in this way when we were (are?) at home, either in school holidays or having a short time of home educating.
But I LOVE the school we’re a part of. Here I feel a sense of belonging. Deep friendships have formed, and unfold all the time in new ways. There is a conciousness amongst the people I meet here which inspires me, holds me, encourages me, draws me towards me being the best I can be, towards the Divine. And I love how it is for the children. It is a beautiful, deeply nourishing, held, creative, connecting environment and education for them. They have amazing teachers. They have lovely friendships unfolding for them.
But it isn’t straight forward, of course. We have to pay for it, which has huge impact on us, on Stu in particular. School life isn’t without it’s challenges for the children, particularly in terms of the long days especially for Rowan, who would just love to spend hours reading, sitting in a tree, sewing, knitting, creating, playing. And she feels there isn’t time for all this. With school, violin practice, dinner, tidying up there is just a short time for reading/making/playing before it’s time for bed and then time to do it all again the next day.
At least there is space for this, sometimes.
But there’s just so much I am now fitting into my life, and I know it has a huge impact on not only my wellbeing, but all of us as a family. And I sit and consider what occupies my time.
Last week my dear friend Abi and I re-opened the school shop – a Waldorf-inspired store selling beautiful toys, gifts, books, stationery, games, wool and fabric, cards and candles. It’s lovely. And we have a cushioned bench for people to come and sit on and natter a while – and they do. And I love that. And there’s the extras that come with it – the pleasures and the challenges of when to fit it all in. The community, the atmosphere, the being with the beautiful Abi, the spending time getting to grips with restocking, the administration. There’s a whole lot to this thing.
And there’s the gigs. Had these gorgeous souls come sing and play in our front room a few weeks back; what an amazing evening. The community spirit, the music, the banter, the energy, the building of relationships with beautiful artists who share/bear their souls – such a joy to host. These gigs take a whole lot of time up. To promote them so we fill our space and cover our costs, to cook up a feast, change our living room around so accomodate 40 guests, clean the bathrooms, and hold the children through the knock-on effects of a very late night. It is a lot of work. Yet such a joy to do.
Our children then share their music with us. The boys are forever playing stick guitars/fiddles and shelf-keyboard, to a CD usually of Hanson, sometimes of Luke Concannon or whichever folk musician we’ve most recently hosted. Rowan and Isaac have begun to accompany each other on fiddle and piano, with Finlay drumming or strumming along in his own way – and this is such a wonderful thing, and I’m sure in part due to the music they experience being shared in our home.
And then there’s The Barefoot Diaries. And here is the great parodox. These are journals with intention of dwelling deeply, gently, fully with ourselves, Earth and each other. Yet since we launched them in 2013, our life has unfolded with such speed, fullness and, it seems, chaos, that this sense of living slower and more deeply aware of our connection has often been the last thing in our capacity to experience, so overwhelmed we have been by the huge job of designing and creating, and then selling and posting out, the Diaries, alongside all our other work as parents and freelance earners.
And in recognition of that, we are (finally) extending ourselves out to others. We have created for ourselves a Circle of Guardians who hold us, hear us, support us. And we have created for Barefoot a Circle of Guardians who are helping us to shape it and make it into a sustainable, flowing business. So we can let it fly, we can actually be paid for the immense amount of work we do so we can actually pay our bills and allow the exchange of lifes work to truly flow. We are finally putting a proper vision and structure in place, we are finally looking to bring in proper funds to get Barefoot where it needs to go. We are going to advertise for another team member, with expertise in sales. It’s immensly exciting, we are looking to grow and extend what we do with Barefoot. More on that soon.
But what I hold in all of this right now, is the huge impact of all of this, on me, and on us as a family. And so I look for balance. I acknowledge the stresses and strains present for us all, and I await clarity on finding balance in my life, in our lives. So we can dwell deeper, with reverence and rhythm, and so our children can experience gentle flow instead of jerky rushing. Time expands to allow them, and us all, to flow within it, rather than shrinks to make us constantly late for everything as we try to fit too much in.
For my part, I’ll report back soon. I wonder if others have thoughts on how to find balance amidst all this crazy busyness?