Thursday, 14th of January, 2016
We had an interesting day, which as usual started early. I like to rise before everyone else, when it is still dark and spend time writing alone, and then when the girls get up, my day with them beings. I have a new system in place, that when I rise, I light a candle so I can write by candle light. I really enjoy how the flame flickers and dances and now and then it shrinks and grows. It reminds me that there is a force greater than me, and it reminds me to breathe because the flame is close enough to respond to my breath. It has always fascinated me that fire breathes, and that without oxygen, a flame is suffocated. A flame is life. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Elle was the first to come into my room and today I was not sitting at my desk, I was sitting on the floor with the computer on my lap and she was not sure what to do because my lap was not easy to jump onto. Usually she squeezes into the space on my lap between the desk and my body, and then she tells me “Time to blow out the flame Mama.” The other part of this ritual of lighting a candle, and really the most important part, is that when I start writing I have to remember to stop. So I light the flame when I commence writing then when the children come into my room after they wake, they get to blow out the candle. This symbolizes the end of my alone writing time and the start of my day with them. I really need this flickering flame because I find it hard to stop mid sentence, but once the candle has been blown out, I respect the symbolism, and I respect my children and my role as mother.
On this day, as I said, Elle was the first one up so she came into my room, we cuddled and then she blew out the candle. Some days I still try to slip in a little more writing and Elle will sternly say to me, “Mama, the candle is out.”
There is so much beauty in this moment, I surrender that inner flame that burns so brightly within for my children, which of course is another flame. Throughout the day when school work and house work and meals have been made, I might write again, but it is the morning hours undisturbed, in the dark by candle light that I feel this sense of tapping into a more expansive life.
So we breathe into the new day and it is breakfast time and play time. The children really like to play, and so I let them. A child that plays grow into an adult who plays. I am noticing Maya’s playing is shifting a little. Not much, but yes, the nine year old bloom. With her new keyboard in the living room, playtime is now shared with piano practice. For the longest time I encouraged Maya to learn an instrument. To which she always replied “I don’t want to.”
For all those years of wishing she would learn an instrument, I feel such peace that the timing is actually perfect. It would have been nice if she had started at seven, but I see now pretend play was her instrument and now that she is nine, an instrument is going to become her play.
School work started around elven am, oops I mean eleven. I am really not sure what I was doing prior to that. Perhaps I was in some sort of daydream, where I sit and think and imagine beautiful things. With golden hair hanging to the ground and pointy ears poking out either side of my face. I just like to sit. The children are content to play, they know I am there if they need me, then suddenly, and as is often the case I look at the clock and say, “Oh my goodness where has this morning gone?” and then I holler, “Girls, it is time to do some work” and they come down the stairs in thumps of complaint. I am really not sure how one goes about eliminating complaints, but I try my hardest, “Please remember to be pleasant about your work today!” I say in a falsetto voice with eyes to the heavens.
Work today was the usual, spelling, maths and reading and then following that we studied the lymphatic system. I do not recall learning a thing about the lymphatic system myself as a child and to be honest I do not think I gave it any thought until I became a young woman and my father told me he had poisoned lymph. Poisoned lymph is a ghastly reality and so lessons on clean water, holistic remedies, and food that is not sprayed is very important.
Body studies with Maya is my favorite subject and as we sat and watched a short film on the lymphatic system I noticed that Maya was genuinely interested, so much so, we watched numerous films. It has always been my motherly hunch, my intuition that body studies was important for her and when many of the other learning ideas I have had have fallen away, working in her body book has remained consistent.
Now this part of my sharing is a little funny and quirky and totally me, but while I was sitting there watching the video my feet were very cold, and it is impossible to concentrate if you have cold feet, but instead of putting socks on, I had this idea that I would soak my feet in hot water. I have been feeling a feeling in the bottom of one foot, and I have been studying reflexology for it, and then today when my feet were cold I had the bright idea I should soak my feet in epsom salts while watching the lymphatic films. Soaking the feet can have very helpful healing effects. I thought I would have an epsom salt foot bath to improve circulation and general well-being, and so I rummaged in the pots and pans to find a cake tin large enough that my feet could fit into. For added benefit I dropped some frankincense essential oil into the water along with the magnesium sulfate, and I placed it under the table and put my feet to soak while sitting and studying.
The girls both started flaring their nostrils in rejection of the frankincense, all qualities it is helpful for inducing was getting disrupted by two little nose pinchers. When finally comfortably with my feet soaking in the hot water, I lifted up my foot thoughtlessly and accidentally sloshed the aromatic salt water all over the floor under the table. “Ooospy!” I said out loud. “I have made a mess.” The girls both stopped watching the lymphatic system film and looked under the dinning room table at the floor which was now a large puddle of water.
Just like that, study was put on hold and I went to find the mop. It had been about a month since I had last mopped and with the mop in hand it suddenly made sense to mop the whole house. Some of you might consider this a very disruptive learning situation, but really, what is learning? Learning is living life I say, and this was a fine example of accepting mistakes and accidents and ceasing the moment! We are who we are and so we let the beauty of mopping be our study disruption. With grace Maya and Elle quickly went to work picking up objects from various play activities off the living room floor and carrying this and that upstairs and I embraced my inner cleaner.
An hour later the whole of downstairs and the staircase was dusted, vacuumed and mopped, and like a take two scene reenactment we resumed lymphatic studies. Only this time, I just put on socks and slippers.
Elle does not write or draw in a body studies book like Maya does, and so after the film while Maya was doing a diagram of the lymphatic system, Elle did a little self inspired creative writing. Being with a seven year old who is learning to read and write is a wonderful time of life. I like to give her a lot of freedom within the paddock of literacy. With great delight Elle read aloud the sentence she had written.
“I fly through the sky like a bird and I am a fox, but I am not a fox, now what can I be? A flying fox!”
Elle and foxes are very good friends, and so a flying fox is another favorite mammal. A fox that can fly, now isn’t that something! Well now, colloquial names aside, a pteropus is not really a fox, it is a large tropical bat that has features like a fox, but unlike other bats, it lives on flowers, nectar, pollen and fruit. It relies on a very keen sense of sight and smell instead of echoloation like other bats, and the most fascination fact, is that flying foxes have not really changed since prehistoric times. Fossils have remained virtually the same. If only we knew what the flying foxes had to say?
“Please don’t spray the trees, and leave some fruit for me!”
Elle constructed this sentence on her own and I was forbidden to even turn my head to peek at what she was writing, except when she could not remember which way a question mark went. Then very proudly, with a little theatrics, she read her sentence out loud. The biggest smile spread across her face, because she felt so clever. “Oh that is a marvelous sentence Elle, you must go read it to Cam.” I said.
Now Cam had been disturbed a lot this morning but I knew a sentence like this would please him and so I was not concerned about rousing. We had moved things around in the house and Cam was working at my desk in my bedroom because the sunroom office gets too cold during the winter months and it does not make sense to force heat in this room with so many windows. We had numerous conversations about how we could rearrange the house so that he could set up a new work space where it was warm, and then suddenly he had the idea that he could just use my desk. I was not very enthusiastic about this idea.“But I just got that desk all set up nicely for myself!” I protested with a voice of complaint. “I know, it is perfect!” Cam said, thinking that it was a little amusing that he was about to commandeer the space I had just established for my own work purposes, and that it was so nice of me to have made it so comfortable and pleasant. I followed him up the stairs as he walked into my room with his computer. “But what if I want to sit at my desk?” I said pathetically. In a very pleased manner he sat himself down in my chair and spread his hand across the table-cloth on my desk and admired the flowering clover plant and beeswax candle. “Ah, yes! This will do perfectly!” He said puffing up his chest, taking a full inhale and exhale. I stood beside him with a furrowed brow. Cam really likes to make fun of my suffering. Well I was not really suffering, but I was feeling like I was very hungry and I had just made myself the most delicious sandwich and then Cam came along and ate it.
The day progressed and school work had been done and the house had been dusted and vacuumed and mopped, and I was laying on the couch beneath a blanket doing some study. Sometimes I like to take a little catnap too. On the days I get up at 5am to write by mid afternoon I am worn out and a snooze does wonders. Without coffee, tea and sugar in my system, I find a little shut-eye is very restorative. So I was laying on the couch, studying and dozing when Cam came and gently sat by my side. I could tell something had happened. It was the briefest knowing, but still it was a knowing. I felt his vibration.
“I was just laid off” he said with a serious tone. Instantly I took his hand, and then I sat up and hugged him. I could feel the shift in his body. “Boom” just like that life changes. Everything you think you know just falls away. Resting my head against his heart, I listened to his beat, and I breathed love into him. There was no fear of worry inside either of us, we were both very calm, but it was what it was. An end and a new beginning. I am sure my eyes were big, because as I pulled away he looked into my face and he said, “We will be ok, we are always ok, we have been every other time.” His assurance was predictable, and just what I needed to hear. I nodded knowing that it was true. As with all the other times, I believed we would be ok, and in fact part of me even felt a little excited because I love change. “Well maybe now something better will come? Maybe the next job you get will be for a charity organization!” I said hopefully with my highest aspirations bubbling over. Deep down we had been wishing for the right job that gives Cam a chance to use his skills for the greater good while working from home.
Cam would miss us dreadfully if he had to trudge into Manhattan again every day and so we all put our positive energy into thoughts of another remote job. We like him at home with us so we can live life as a family. The truth of the matter though, is that the right full-time remote work on a set wage takes some effort to find. If only there were billions of jobs like that for everyone!
I have always been enthusiastic as one could be about his employment, because it puts food on our table and a roof over our head, but I felt his last job was not the ultimate job for him. We both embraced this sudden change, and started visualizing a new path for ourselves, whilst simultaneously hunkering down for the possible storms. Unemployment is a time of uncertainty. We had sailed this sea many times before, and just like that our house turned into a ship, Cam became the helmsperson and I assumed the role of mate, supporting him as best I could.
When you live on a boat you have to be very mindful, you have to be careful what you bring on board. You take only what you truly need, and there is no room for superfluous or excessive things. Suddenly clutter takes up space and things you don’t need or use turn into cash signs in the air and you wish objects would be money in the bank instead of stuff sinking your ship. You also have to be very mindful of your mood, and the energy you omit because well, bickering at sea seems much worse than regular disagreements. One must remain very balanced and calm, no matter what emotional storms might be raging inside. Camaraderie amongst the crew is very important because you might have to be at sea together a long time.
Boat life suits me, I am someone who thrives on finding bearings, battening down, and time in a galley cooking on rations. When I lived in Alaska I had friends that sailed all over the world, and my Aunt and Uncles are sailors too, and there is so much to learn from life at sea. The most important being about charting a safe course, harnessing natural energy and knowing waste.
The girls came down into the living room and we shared the news with them too. Cam and I pulled each into and embrace and we sat on the couch as a family of four discussing our life. They are old enough now to understand that money is necessary to live, and that Cam is the sole provider in our home and that he would be looking for a new job to ensure our family’s income. I explained to the girls that our roles were especially important. “We all must be very supportive and well behaved and keep things ship-shape. It will be helpful for all of us to keep our spirits up, and not fuss when I say no. We will all have to be more conservative and pay extra attention to the little things in life and work harder for the next while.” I said. With as much love and togetherness as we could muster into The Sea of Uncertainty we sailed.
Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue