Sunday, October 19, 2014

Open Space

The colors, the crisp air and the falling leaves of this season just grab onto me and make me feel so good inside.  I notice when autumn comes, I start to pay attention a bit more to my surroundings and myself.  I just can't help but stop to look a bit more.

It's really easy to miss things around us with how busy we can be.  Simple but beautiful things can get overlooked or ignored.  Part of learning mindfulness is to slow down enough to actually enjoy and take in fully what is around us.  And one thing is for certain, I do struggle with slowing down.  I've read the books and done the meditation classes :) but it is still difficult, with my personality, to slow the pace.

The other morning I decided to just stop rushing and go to this beautiful place in my town that I have never actually walked through in my 14 years of living here.  I've always wanted to walk here but I was always too busy...

14 years too busy.  Can you imagine this place was in my backyard all this time and I have yet to enjoy it?  And if I'm too busy - so are most other people.  And how on earth can we fight to protect these beautiful open spaces if we do not even really know the details of how they exist?

I walked there alone and it isn't always easy being alone.  We can feel alone even in the midst of all we do and all the people that surround us.  I've always enjoyed my own company in the past but I think lately I've filled up my life with many things to do to avoid feelings that come up in the silence. 

To keep striving to be able to fill our own selves up without looking to outside things and people to do it for us is important.   And I have some wonderful new projects coming up that I'm so excited about... and I have so many wonderful people in my life that I want to spend time with but I have to find a balance between being busy and allowing enough open space in my life for silence.  And re-learning how to be ok with it.  

I remember back when I was a little girl, I would play for hours and hours on my own.  I was so content and at peace with being alone with myself.  The things I would create and imagine... and I didn't have to share them with anyone but me.  It was enough.  I remembered that and it made me wonder:  At what point did I become not enough for myself?   

I had the amazing experience of seeing my favorite musician live with really great friends last Thursday night.  Brett Dennen's lyrics and music really resonate so deeply with me and this was really a dream come true.   

"See when you forgive your imperfections
And you've auctioned all your clothes
And you look to see your true reflection
You will be the one who loves you the most"

It's getting cold here and we have installed a new wood stove.  I cannot wait to use it.  Today it was installed but sadly we were told that we have to fix the chimney first before we can use it.  So, hopefully we can get it going soon.  

And I can practice mindfulness and enjoy some of my own company in front of it on the cold nights to come.  (Do puppies count?  They don't say much.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Real Christopher Columbus

My 5th grader wrote this essay for school last week.  The idea that they all have a day off of school today to celebrate him is baffling.

In the textbooks they say Christopher Columbus was a good man who tried to make the natives his friends, but really he just wanted them as slaves for money.

In addition, he disobeyed the Queen and brought 1,600 natives with him as slaves even against her orders.

When Columbus returned from his voyage he lied and said that he, instead of one of his crew members, found the island first.  He got the money instead of the person who was truly responsible for discovering America.

Columbus also forced natives above the age of 14 to find and deliver gold every three months. If they found gold they got a copper badge. Any native found without a badge got their hands cut off.

When Columbus returned from his voyage, he received all sorts of rewards that he did not deserve and he was called a hero for finding land that he did not find alone.

Columbus did many horrible things and these are just a few.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Corn Mazes and Soul Sisters

I have had many friendships and relationships in my life but I can truly count on one hand my soul connections.  Do you have those?  It's different than a best friend or the moms you like to go grab a few drinks with on mom's night out.  Soul connections are different.  There is a level of connection that takes you deeper with these people.  They come far and few... they can be male or female.  

Years ago when my second oldest daughter was in Kindergarten, I met one of her friend's moms.  Instantly we just had this comfortable relationship.  And, while we do not spend time together on a regular basis.. whenever we do, it adds a layer of growth to who I am.  We've done mediation classes, yoga, long walks, tears, drinks, corn mazes and texts.  We share fully and openly and know we are loved and not judged. I'm not even sure I'm describing this well.. but there are certain people who you meet that you make you a better person for have knowing them.  They make you want to be a better person.  These people that help you grow. These are my soul connections and I can count them on one hand and they know who they are.

On Friday our kids had a half day from school and my soul sister texted out of the blue... she's going to a corn maze in two hours with the kids, can I come? 

Hell yes...

Because as fun as the corn maze is for the kids, my time with her is like a full blown therapy session each time.  I leave feeling as if I have grown and that I have someone who truly understands me, without judgement, who I can share my entire self with.

The funny thing is that we let the kids go ahead of us.  And we got so entrenched in conversation... and we walked and we talked...

And we forgot to look at our map.  But the talking was so good.  And so helpful... and full.   So we talked and we walked.  In circles.  

Until soon, we realized the kids were long out of this maze... and we were... LOST.  Really lost.  

We had no idea where we were on the map... 

So we found an emergency exit.  The problem was, even that was difficult.  Thank GOD it wasn't an emergency.  Because we almost got lost again :)   

But we got out... and I left that place feeling lighter and understood.  And I'm so thankful for the few people I've met in this lifetime that have entered this soul place with me.  Who have helped me to grow.  

We got ice cream at a creamery nearby and it was just a really great day.

And simple days filled with friendship and ice cream are the things I know I will remember most.  

And, I'm thankful.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

October's Moon and Verses to Share

It's a beautiful month for moon watching and charting.  Maia's 5th grade class is keeping a Moon Phase log and the timing couldn't be better.  

Yesterday there was a total lunar eclipse of the Full Hunter's Moon.  Native Americans called it the Hunter's Moon as it signifies a time to go hunting in preparation for the winter cold.  We are preparing for the cold and a new season.  We've decided to buy a wood stove to help with our heating costs and because I love making fires each day when it's cold outside.  And for a new season in life, I've been trying to prepare an office space for full time writing after I'm done working on a big fundraiser that ends at our middle school next week.  

Here are a few sweet verses you can share with your children this month:

~Moon, So Round~
Polish Folk Song

Moon, so round and bright,
Looking from on high,
How I love to see you there,
Shining in the sky!

Where are you at morn,
When the night is past,
When the sun comes peeping down
Over the hills at last?
 ~My Guardian Angel~
Folk Song, arranged by Johannes Brahms

My guardian angel, pure and bright, 
God's face forever seeing,
Protect me and guide my path aright,
While I have breath and being.

When day departs and night is near, 
Thy light in me be shining; 
Teach me all evil deeds to fear,
My heart too good inclining.  

I remember when Keira had this project in the very same class.  While I do not believe in homework the way it is structured in our society, I do appreciate this type of learning at home because it bring children closer to nature and fosters a connection to the rhythms of the earth.  And it also brings the family together which should be done more often.

  ~The October Huntsman~

The huntsman through the greenwood came,
His heart was bent on finding game;
He wandered here, he wandered there,
He wandered here, he wandered there,
A-hunting, A-hunting through greenwood fair.

His faithful hound was by this side,
They searched the greenwood far and wide;
The hound was keen,the hunter gay,
The hound was keen, the hunter gay,
Together, together A-hunting through the long, bright day.

The Little Acorn Learning October Photo Contest has also just begun!  This month's theme is *Scarecrows and Pumpkins*  
Photography by Melissa Patton -Williams
Send us no more than 3 photos correlating to our theme and then ask family and friends to LIKE them on our Facebook Page!  The photos with the most LIKES wins a free e-book from Little Acorn Learning.  Contest ends 10/19/14

Good luck!!!!