Welcome 2017

Looking back at the adventures and challenges of 2016, I remain grateful....not only for the safety and health we all enjoyed, but of how much I have grown. I can not help but feel a certain buzzing inside of me in this moment of January-ness. Fresh and new and hopeful and open...excited to see what emerges.

What I’m thinking of most as I start organizing and planning the New Year is – Intention.
How can I bring intention not only to each day, but also to my children?

The calendar lies out before me and I can already imagine all of the seasonal traditions and milestones that we’ll share. But I can’t help but wonder, how many are done with an honest intention and not just on autopilot? Where can I see see myself get caught up in consumerism and speed – and not a genuine presence in the moment? Of course, I am not perfect and I have no intention of striving for that, but rather a cultivation of intention throughout the seasons.

I will forgive myself when I fall short, which I’m sure will often be the case.
I’ve had so many excuses the past couple of years based on having twins and feeling overwhelmed with multiple moves and graduate school at the same time. But now I’m sitting more still and the little boys are four. It’s time.

Intentions.    We invite each other to share what ideas they have for the New Year: new adventures they'd like to take, hobbies to spend more time on, or just activities that they are interested in pursuing.

Sacred Passing.    Although we spend time in fun and dancing as a family, we also find a few moments to pray together, share a blessing, or do a meditation together. This year, we sat together with my new Tibetan singing bowl, and did a Metta meditation together. Metta means loving kindness and it is a practice of sending universal love to ourselves, others, and the entire planet. I was amazed at how all of my kids were very engaged in the practice, finding their own involvement.

Snow Silence in Summer Places

This weekend held so many different sorts of silence for me - it was almost overwhelming. I find myself sort of frenzied and confused when I find myself with big chunks of time to myself - what should I do first? Should I catch up on some magazine reading? exercise, meditation, nap, great movie, solitary walk....? All appealing options, and I'm happy to report I indulged in most of them for the two days my husband and I dashed away to Newport RI before the blizzard. I was nervous to leave, but fortunately, my husband did not lose sight of the feasibility of the trip, and the little inn was equipped with a fireplace.

When the kids are well looked after by loving family, and I'm in a familiar place of my past (Newport) the silence I'm afforded is immense. This time, we were joined by great old friends to celebrate a big birthday and tromp around in the snow together. What I learned again, is that the silence of being in a familiar place, but in unique and unfamiliar circumstances, has an amazing effect on the entire experience. Newport is usually a place we visit in the summer, and most of the time with kids. To view the seaside wharfs wrapped in wind and snow added so much to my love of the place. There is always a remarkable and lasting silence when snow has settled in inches on the ground, but the ocean adds an entirely different, almost timeless mystique. The change asks me to be more aware, and to pay more attention to my surroundings. I think this must be why I crave travel and new adventure. It's not the new place or experience that is providing me something, but the fact that I am paying attention is providing me an awareness - a foothold in the present moment. And this is what brings me a simple peace. Being in the moment.

And then of course, there is a certain silence that is so welcome for parents, when they step away from the energy of their children - briefly. Our conversations were uninterrupted, our rhythms our own. The "mom" and "dad" peel away and the selves that met so long ago, get some much needed time to catch up. When I return home, I will remember to visit some favorite places with the kids, off-season. There is an arboretum that we frequent often, during all seasons, but only once in the winter. I'll include pictures in the next post....

“Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person”
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Summer Slipping

Summer Silence

As I feel the summer beginning to slip away, I'm gathering little memories and appreciating the precious and rare moments of silence that springs up so naturally between siblings when they are engaged in nature. Between seasons I always feel unsettled, uneven, and in need of inspiration. Here is where I'm starting to look...

Reading this for myself - first time ever.

Found just in time on my bookshelves for lunchbox inspiration  

Big upcoming project? Revamping every wall display in my home, hoping Artifact Uprising can help