Angel Wings and Herb Tea

Life after loss; healing through creativity, writing and art


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Two swans between the houses

Space.
Spaciousness.
Room to breathe and connect.

That’s what I need.

Each day seems a breathless scuttling of doing, rushing, half doing, kicking things under the sofa just so  I don’t have to deal with them in that moment, squeezing things in squeezing things out. I have developed a strange, scurrying scuffle, brought on in part by the slightly too big faded lilac slippers I wear around the house, partly by the gasping need to be beyond my next destination, five minutes ago. Too many gaping loads of laundry to process, too many loaves of bread to cook, vats of soup to produce, and tantalising sticks of charcoal waiting on the side, tubes of delicious paint luring my gaze from the latest batch of flapjack in progress.

This afternoon I drove home in the cold shivering rain from a particularly nurturing mother’s group I belong to. Our children are cared for in a creche for two hours, and  and  we sit in circle, in silence and in deep listening, and our tears and heartfelt connection and support are like a true balm, for us harried struggling 21st century mothers living in our isolation and overwhelm.

I felt particularly soothed and connected to the women in the group today, and usually as I drive home after my group I feel resourced to cope with another week.

But as I drove today  I realised I was progressing more and more slowly, I DIDN’T WANT TO GO HOME.

I was dreading walking into mess and disorder, jobs shouting at me from every corner…Me Me Me, and poor little Finch dragged around trying to half complete them all, never ending. Stuff, detritus, things to sort, things to clean, things to make. I wanted none of it. I wanted still, peace, calm, silence solitude.

And then I saw them. Maybe for ten seconds, on the river, a glimpse between to houses. In the rain against the unappealing mud brown of the river Dart in flood.

Two swans.

Nothing special, just two swans, stretching their necks and doing their thing in the rain, in the cold, in the mud. And I wanted to be there, with them, heck I even wanted to be them.

Simple calm beautiful wild and free.

I felt as if I was in chains.

But who has the key to the padlock?

I could have got out of the car and walked through the mud and rain and sat with them, the wind beating in my ears like a wild thing playing its mournful song.

But I had three children in the car and I didn’t. I came home and got a bit frustrated, tried to paint. Got cross with everyone. Tried to remember the swans. Forgot them.

But now, late at night I remember them.

Remember their grace and simplicity.
How they must feel, down there on the mud, not thinking, stressing and flustering around in baggy lilac slippers.

I want to be a swan.

I don’t really want to be  swan, but I want to learn from them.

Learn to use my thoughts less, my head less, listen from my heart, my belly, sniff the air, sharpen my ears, soften my gaze. Sit by the waters edge with nothing to do but BE.

Just Be.
Be like a swan.

 

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Emerging

Today, Finch is 4 weeks old.
Day by day uncurling, stretching, opening just a tiny bit more; emerging from his dreamy otherwordly newborn realm into our world. Each day his eyes open a little bit more, dark, wide and bottomless as they gaze up at me when he nurses…and nurses…and nurses! And then they shift, imperceptibly to a point just beside my head….what are they seeing? What does he know?
Newborns are so fascinating; fresh and pure, like tiny nuzzling animals, uttering little sighs and moans, like ancient laments from a time before time. His soft silken head nestles so beauifully on all our chests, dreaming, drooling, sucking, shuddering. Doing newborn things. He’s arriving.

Despite the fact that we decided, perhaps foolishly, perhaps wisely, to take Finch (and everyone else) to the wonderful Buddhafield Festival when he was a week old…..neither me or my new born baby had really emerged. Emerged from the quiet dreamy world of home and bed and milk. We winced in the bright sun; loud music made our ears curl, and somehow walking to the toilets seemed like quite a bit of exercise. We did manage two gentle workshops  on womb wisdom and conscious communication but the best places semed to be cushioned shady locations with plenty of chai on offer. No shamanic trance dance this year!

I need time to arrive back in the world. And  living in a community makes it very easy to not go out. There are people, there’s space, gardens, children; folks have made me a few meals and even done my washing up a few times!! Why would I want to go out?

But of course I have to….sit in a major shoe chain nursing while Freddie buys trainers, dash into convenient cafes to quickly feed on a grocery shopping trip,when there are other children to care for, life has to expand beyond the babymoon quite quickly!

And yet, and yet, there was something missing, something narrowed, constrained, that I hardly realised until I took the kids to a firelit storyelling evening with Tom Hirons and Rima Staines. Before the spellbinding rendition of ‘The Sun Princess and the 40th door’, a Lithuanian folk tale; we wandered down a little green lane on the edge of Darmoor, full of piskies and fairies, and tripped across stepping stones to gather honey scented lime blossom.

As we trod the little winding track among moss covered boulders, and trees that whispered old forgotten stories and half finished tales for our times; I suddenly felt something expand inside me, soar to the tree tops, sink down among the soil and twisting roots, fly away on the wings of the mewing buzzard beyond the green. I felt fully emerged from the confines of domesticity and nappy buckets, inspired excited and nourished all at the same time.
I hadn’t been on a  walk for weeks.

Somehow I felt more able to sink into the present moment and be fully aware with all my senses, away from home distractions. even away from the very beautiful and productive gardens which always seem to want me to harvest or weed them!

There is something about being out in the wild world that makes me feel free and happy…is it the same for you?
I guess with practice I can bring the mindfulness and freedom into daily life too.
Has anyone managed to mindfully and joyfully tidy clutter or empty the washing machine?

It’s so effortless in a sun dappled Dartmmor lane…..

Ps I haven’t yet managed to pack both camera and nappies for outings….that will come…so its a dearth of pics for now! Nappies take priority……