Last Saturday, I took a day out from my life, a whole day, from ten until five in a cosy studio with seven other adults and two enormous dogs. There were no children, and no packing and cleaning, there was no insulating or painting or dashing around holding ten things in my head, while I just quickly text someone and stir the onions and pull Leo out of the fridge. For six hours (one hour was devoted to a sumptuous bring and share lunch) we wrote and shared and reflected, and felt our way into this still new year of 2012. I feel this day may become an annual occurence, compassionately and creatively held by the wonderful Roselle Angwin of Fire in the Head.
I rarely have the time and space to step back and reflect on my life from the outside. Especially at the moment, with our build nearing completion and our next house move looming, it has become very important to remember just exactly why we are doing this. And to remember that we have chosen this path, and we will continue to influence the direction it takes through life by our decisions and motivations. How I needed to know this.
Prompted by Roselle’s exercises and questions we worked in pairs, alone and as a group to dredge the gold and the slime from our lives.. …with a grand finale of verbally releasing (and writing and burning in the fire) the things which had not served us in 2011, and welcoming those we wished to embrace for the new year.
As always I found the power of free writing without pausing or censorship to be revealing, insightful and surprising. A trust in the process of following where the pen leads, without pausing to edit, uncovers the treasures which are always there when we stop thinking! I was surprised for example when in answer to the question, ‘what would you do if you had only a year to live?’, I wrote, ‘stop cooking’.
‘Well that’s ridiculous,’ my censoring mind immediately thought, ‘wouldn’t you get rid of all your things and travel the world or some other traditional only-one-year-to-live activity?’ So I dutifully and limply wrote, ‘travel the world and give away my belongings’, but fortunately came back to the cooking.
Yes, I realised I had let cooking dominate my life. Feelings of guilt at not being a wage earner gnaw at my fragile sense of self worth, so I cook copious amounts of nutritious, delicious, fresh, home baked goodness each and every day. From slow cooked millet or oatmeal in the morning to raw energy balls or sugar free muffins for mid morning snacks to carefully planned vegetable grain dishes at dinner time I pride myself on being the paragon of wholesome food. Which is great, apart from the fact its got a bit obsessive. Of course, I really do believe freshly prepared organic food is important for my family, but do I have to take it to extremes which prevent me from doing something more meditative, creative, social or physically active?
It’s a useful avoidance tactic, being feverishly busy with a seemingly necessary task. Finish editing the children’s book I am writing.?…No can’t possibly I’m up to my ears in making sauerkraut and being good and looking after my family. So I sidestep my fear of failure in writing, but at least I’ve got a few jars of preserves on my shelves.
And I can justify my existence by being visibly useful instead of doing something self indulgent like writing or meditating or dancing. Grrr…I’ve got to stop being so good all the time.
We can and do create our own reality, and I left the Thresholds workshop with several poignant and compelling affirmations which I will copy out and pin liberally around our new home.
- I breathe love and acceptance into every moment, and I remember that the pain I feel is caused by my own aversion to misfortune.
- I release my attachment to the outcome
- I am living in this moment. (that’s a big one)
- I am connected to everything.
And others still brewing….
Thanks so much to Roselle for facilitating the process of reflection and intention setting, I’ll be back next year!
Watch the quiet opalescence of dawn,
Listen to their sleeping breath,
and the cat’s stealthy paw.
Smell the smoke of early morning
Feel the night drifting from my limbs.
I am here.