This is not so much about unschooling. This is about me, the mom.
I saw blogger Lori-Lyn was running a Loving 2011 month. Check it out. I decided to do it. I didn’t think I’d publish my response here. But here it is. I hope to continue to participate.
Loving 2011: Day One – What surprised you this year and what gift did you find in that surprise?
Two things surprised me: one was a yearning for some unnamed connection, something spiritual, something creative, something beyond the mundane. Because I’m very…practical. Logical. Playful, yes, but I’m almost allergic to gambling or taking risks. Lots of anxiety about things that I don’t or can’t control. So at first I rationalized this yearning, this wanting of something creative, alone, grown-up and divine as a vehicle for clarifying my values, as a way to eventually uncover ways that we might move concretely forward in our lives. Because reading about and learning about concrete skills, while fun, hadn’t been the magic bullet to help us achieve our dream life so far.
I think it all started on a Facebook post by Sara Janssen about a new blog by her friend that she was excited about, Milagro Girl. And it was a beautiful blog, full of love and support and dreams and raw truths. And from there I found her list of things that inspired her and helped her create her blog. Two of those that I remember clearly are The Organic Sister’s (Tara Wagner) Digging Deep program and the other was Goddess Leonie’s 2011 Goddess Workbook and Calendar. So I checked them out. I really liked what I saw. I downloaded everything they both had available for free (which wasn’t that much from Tara at the time, unfortunately). I loved how they were both about self-improvement, about asking deep questions…but in the end, I loved Goddess Leonie’s rainbows and love and uplift. I also loved the fact that I got a LOT of content for a one-time price. So I bought a membership to the Goddess Circle. (I still really want to do Digging Deep, and now Tara’s expanded her offerings into a tribe with phone calls and all kinds of enhanced awesomeness. Maybe it’ll be my birthday gift to myself this month!!!)
I was SO terrified that I would regret my decision to join Goddess Circle. I was so afraid of laughing at myself, of being laughed at by my husband. He was totally supportive in my wanting to try something different, but in my head, I wondered if I was wasting money, being immature, deluding myself. I was terrified I would participate for a month and then, having sucked all the marrow out of it, I wouldn’t want it anymore.
I did it anyway. I figured it was the cost of 2-3 meals out, and I have no problem giving myself that when I need it. Why should I begrudge myself something that could be long-lasting and wonderful?
I’m so glad I did it. It hasn’t been a steady relationship – I do it in fits and starts. I find that it inspires me to tend to myself, to focus on self-care, which is something that is VERY easy to let slide when you mother two small people, one of whom is still nursing what seems like 456,302 times a day. But when I remember that I’m a person that deserves care as much as anyone else in the house, this is the place I go to for inspiration, for permission to try new things.
I participated in the Creative Goddess e-course, for about 4 of the 6 weeks. I really committed myself to the first four weeks and got a LOT out of it. I LOVED the guided meditations each week (SO much!), I loved the artistic assignments, I loved the walks, I loved prioritizing my art and time alone once or twice a week. It was so rejuvenating. It was so liberating. I found myself having no expectations for myself in the creation process, so I was pretty much thrilled at anything that resulted. Particularly when I had no vision in mind about what would result at the end of an art session, I was so being thrilled and able to completely shut down my inner perfectionist and just revel in the ecstatic nature of CREATING. Of something only for me, that would not be judged in any way by anyone. I had a fabulous time shopping for art supplies, choosing new-to-me materials, trying them out. Even creating with my kids.
It. Was. Wonderful. I was meditating. I was writing every day. I was creating things, connecting with women on line, I was cheering other people on. I was open to receiving.
And then life crept back in. Little people needed me. I was tired. My husband was tired. Slowly I stopped prioritizing my 1-2 hours a week to myself and let “real life” erode away my self-care plantings. Slowly I stopped writing every day, forgot that meditation existed and turned the TV on during my baby’s nap time instead of reminding myself that I was a radiant goddess.
Actually, do you know what? That is a total lie. That’s not what happened. It didn’t happen slowly.
And this is the second thing that surprised me.
Once I had a little taste of that freedom, a touch of the artist’s muse, felt the wings of beings brushing my subconscious and cheering me on – I wanted MORE.
I wanted it NOW.
And I was so unbelievably resentful that I couldn’t do it. That I had two little people that needed me. All the damn time. ALL THE TIME. Meditation would be interrupted by a need to nurse. Writing would be interrupted by requests for snacks, clothes, help with a toy, to break up a squabble, to make a meal. And I don’t mind doing these things – these are tasks a mother does. I love my little people.
But I was so fucking mad. I was so fucking pissed at the interruptions, at everyone’s incessant wants and needs, at how fucking impossible it was to schedule the time to myself, at how tired I was, my husband was. I wanted a soundproofed studio to myself with a lock on it where I could retreat for hours, days and create to my heart’s content without ANYONE NEEDING ANYTHING FROM ME. Not even to talk to me. NOTHING.
And I think instead of dealing with that rage head-on, I just stopped doing the things that reminded me of it. I stopped meditating, I stopped writing, I stopped creating. Because if I didn’t try to do those things, then they couldn’t be interrupted. If I didn’t try at all, then I wouldn’t be reminded of the bottomless pit of yearning. I would just forget about it entirely, ignore it, be the mother, be the wife, be the daughter. It wasn’t conscious, it’s just how I coped with the RAGE.
The yearning and the RAGE. These are what surprised me this year.
The gift – the gift is knowing that the yearning is there. The gift is valuing myself as a creative person, as a PERSON who wants to create, who is spiritual, who needs support, who is WORTHY of the time and energy alone to do these things. The gift is knowing that the tools are there, that I can use them at any time. The challenge is to do it. The challenge is facing the rage that may/well inevitably bubble up as a result. The black pit of want will always be there, I’m certain. But I can still face it down. I’m worth it. My children deserve a mother who has not forgotten who she is.