Autumn, Hello + Practising Non-Attachment

 

It’s late and a school night, but I’ve been trying to get here for days (weeks, months) and there’s no time like the present. It’s Easter Monday here. This afternoon we arrived home from Mum’s new hideaway, an upgrade from the caravan we have known and loved for so many years. The new place can fit us all in (my three sisters and our respective partners and children) with space leftover to run and play and plant vegetables and think and walk. The new place is deliciously isolated, on a long dirt road, tucked away in a valley surrounded by farmland, rolling hills, big serious clouds, a farmer called Kevin and not much else.

Over the four days we picked the last of the tomatoes and armfuls of lemons from the lemon tree which was absolutely dripping with fruit. We walked around the property, we talked, we drank wine. Simple things like putting the children to bed seemed so much easier than usual. The dishes, the washing (most likely because Mum kept doing it). Folding things and keeping things in order. The carpet was new and the house was neat. The evenings seemed to stretch on for hours. I tried my best not to whinge on my way back to the city. I tried not to look around at the cars and the houses and the dull ring of smog around the horizon and feel as though something had ended. I’ve been trying my best to practise non-attachment in my daily life. The more I read about it, the more I agree with Leo Babauta, and find that many of my own personal struggles arise from being strongly attached to something, be it a person, an idea, a concept or a structure.

So when my Mum grabbed longingly at my sister, and told us she was going to miss us so much and have separation anxiety when we left, and when I too began to feel that familiar flatness of a good time coming to an end, I tried to let go. I tried to accept that the weekend was finished, and that it was time for the next thing, the now. Yes, it’s true that my daily life currently incorporates stressors which were greatly lessened while away this weekend, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t many other things to be grateful for in amongst it. And, let’s face it, no matter how fast technology advances I’m not going to have the ability to rewind or fast forward time any day soon, so acceptance rather than struggle seems to be the logical way forward, don’t you think?

When we came home and I felt swallowed up by our little house and the walls began to encroach on my space, I took a moment to remind myself of all of this. I brought out the lemons we had collected over the weekend. The girls sat up at the kitchen bench while I made lemon butter. Bird helped me roll oats, coconut, honey, and lemon into lemon bliss balls to share with her class tomorrow as it was her birthday over the school holidays. I made some bread rolls with chia and sesame seeds sprinkled on top and a pot of tea. I packed lunch boxes with homemade rolls lathered in lemon butter, lemon bliss balls, carrot sticks, dates, strawberries and hommus.

Tonight we watched the most magical sunset from our back deck, it was all shades of purple, pink and blue. We all got up from the dinner table (dahl, no surprises there!) I held the baby up and she pointed at it, repeating “Wow!”. The Pixie stood on a chair and shouted and pointed out street lights lighting up across our little suburban valley.

They aren’t the rolling hills of the country-side, but we are lucky enough to call this patch ours.

Wintery Things

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We took a drive out to a beautiful pine forest yesterday and proceeded to wander around it with some friends. I didn’t think I liked pine trees very much, always favouring the familiar pale greens and greys of the Australian bush over the grim regiment of large pines. Yesterday though, these slender ladies made quite an impression on me.

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de ja vu

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This afternoon we arrived home from the beach, once again, for the final time this month. We’ve spent the last four days back on the coast, pretending that holidays last for ever and ever and that we don’t have any responsibilities or plans or commitments or anything else to do other than wander to the beach each morning via our favourite little coastal coffee van and play with the girls on their scooters and eat sandwiches and grapefruits and in the evenings: icecream.

But as we all know well enough, holidays come to an end. And here we are. At home. Again. Feeling the quiet rumble of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, all those icky things-coming-to-an-end type feels. KB is working the next couple of days, doing some training before the school term begins again; we will tag team this week so that I can get some work done too.

Since arriving home late this afternoon we’ve checked on our plants (yet another fern has come to a dismal end under my amateur care), picked some snowpeas, cooked some beetroot, roasted all our remaining veg from the week (pumpkin, capsicum – red and yellow, carrots, and garlic) jumbled together with cheese, leftover rice and sun dried tomatoes for an easy summer dinner, made bliss balls for snacks tomorrow, mixed some oats and chia seeds together with almond milk for breakky, milled some brown rice and put it aside to soak overnight for baby, done our veg box order for this week, paid a bill and hung out the washing. After dinner we played on the back deck as the sun went down.

Tomorrow the new week will begin, and I’m determined to stay cool and not get frazzled with the daily grind of washing, mess, toys, meals, nappies. I’m going to keep reminding myself of my goals this year. (One of which I have already knocked off yesterday by doing an 8km hike with Peachy babe on my back and KB by my side – first long walk since she was born. Yes, yeah, hooray, fist pump! Officially addicted to kicking goals! Yippee! Etc.)

It’s going to be a hot one here. Stay cool (physically, metaphorically, emotionally), wherever you are.

P.S. Have you read this blog? It’s just the sort of fun reading I like to do when I’m getting all motivated and outdoorsy and loving summer. You might like it too.

the flowers and so on

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Spring has officially arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the past year we have done a little bit of work here and there in our garden and although there is a lot more to be done (and we generally have no idea what we are doing) I was amazed at the variety of flowers that bloomed to announce the beginning of the new season. I love Winter, but the last few weeks always seem to drag a little. Everyone seems to have a sunnier disposition all of a sudden now there is some colour in our days.

It always takes me a while to shake off the darkness of Winter. I thrash through my wardrobe wondering what to wear when the sun comes out and warms the air. I keep putting nourishing yet heavy stews on the meal plan, unsure of what to do with those fresh leafy greens that arrive in my veggie box. (While we adjust our favourite go-to meal is currently a tray of roast vegetables, raw greens, a handful of seeds and a blob of hommus. It has enough possibilities to suit the whole family in one form or another.)

At the start of each season I always spend some time consulting this book. It grounds me in the here and now and no matter what is going on in my life, it always has something to say to me. I love the recipes and find that with a quick refresh of the suggested seasonal pantry items the kitchen is in business again. I’ve had about five minutes to peruse it this season, but I have kept it out on the kitchen table so it is within grabbing distance at opportune moments. I was also given this book for my birthday back in May which I absolutely love and am happy to say Peach has finally allowed me the chance to test out some of the recipes, many of which are perfect for the warmer weather headed our way.

Speaking of warmer weather (or lack of it) for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are bundling up and slowly retreating into Autumn, I am very excited to be featured in the Autumn issue of Tend Magazine, talking about creating a sense of place for our children in our homes and local landscapes. Pop over here to check it out.

I think that’s all for now, my head is a little foggy with less sleep than I would generally like, and the end of the school term in sight. I’m looking forward to KB being on long service leave and I can think of little else. FIST PUMP! Ciao.

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settling in

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Thinking and dreaming and writing (elsewhere!). Reading things that make my path and decisions easier. Focussing on mindfulness in the day to day. Trying not to get bogged down by the irrelevant. These are a few of the things I have been doing. As Autumn comes into focus (albeit a rather warm one) the world around us seems to slow down. The days become shorter and, if you pay attention, nature begins to wind down, reminding us that we should be doing the same. The Ashtanga Yoga I was doing over summer has merged into sporadical (read: rare) trips to the studio for rejuvenating stretching and meditation. Food has become warmer in our house, and cooked longer and slower as I follow the seasons and my instincts to fill our bellies with fresh, warm seasonal produce. In a book that I constantly refer to, I read that Autumn is a time for shedding, and not to be surprised if you cry a lot as we move into this season. I’m never afraid to cry. Are you?

time for rejuvenation

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Spring is in the air, and it has not gone unnoticed here.

In an effort to live more in tune with the seasons, I have paid attention to the Spring twitch, to the Spring itch, that has quietly begun nudging me to step things up a notch this week.

Until I noticed this feeling, I didn’t realise how much I had slowed down – for better or worse – over Winter. We have been in a flurry of illness, one after the other, for the last couple of months. During this time there have been many blessings – one of which is the Pixie’s sudden ability to sleep longer than 45 minutes at a time. HALLELUJAH KID. Better late than never. There have also been downfalls, sickness, lethargy and coffee – lots of coffee. Lots. Did I mention there has been lots of coffee?

There was a point during the depths of winter that I reflected on all the little things I used to do and prepare and think about in order to help us to live a healthy and happy life, that I haven’t really felt able to do since the Pixie’s arrival (uh, nearly one year ago). There have been moments of motivation and feelings of I’ve-Got-It-Together, but if I’m being honest, they have been few and far between. I’ve enjoyed the winter, as I always do, but I’ve mainly been feeling like a bit of an under-achiever. I haven’t wanted to blog much and have felt that when I have, my posts have been silly and on the surface like. None of the real stuff, the in depth thoughts, the confusion, the clarity. I haven’t really had the words. I’m not sure if I do now. Maybe I never have.

Suddenly though, with the eruption of Spring sunshine and blooming flowers, I am making almond milk. I am scribbling seasonal meals onto our meal planner in silver pen. Yes, silver. I am cutting back on the coffee and drinking ginger tea in the afternoons. I am feeling that nesting urge (minus the pregnant bit) to clean things up and throw things out. I’m feeling invigorated and motivated.

Things accumulate. Stuff, feelings, thoughts. Spring is the opportunity to shake off, cleanse, tidy, refresh. Spring is the opportunity to reset.

So that is what I’m doing.

Firstly, I took the plunge and signed up for two yoga classes a week. Two SIX AM yoga classes. I can only hope that my Spring energy shows me the money.

Secondly, I’m back in action in the kitchen. When I’m feeling crappy, I eat crappy. If I eat crappy, we all eat crappy because I am the crappy crap cook. Then I feel crappy because I’m being crappy and eating crappy and the girls feel crappy because I’m feeding them crappy crap and then Prince Charming gets crappy because I’m crappy in his direction and it’s all just a big cycle of crap. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Thirdly, I’m cleaning out. I’ve cleaned out our study/sewing room and our lounge. Next on the list is the kitchen and living area and then onto our bedroom. The back deck after that. I get so overwhelmed sorting through stuff but my method is simple – three bags/boxes. One labelled OP SHOP, one labelled SHIT (or rubbish if you prefer), one labelled KEEP. My only downfall with this method is that the KEEP box ends up full of stuff that then sits there for ages and accumulates more stuff and the cycle has to then begin again, so my one tip is to sort the KEEP box ASAP.

Fourthly, ok I’m not sure if there is a fourthly but the moral of the story is: Spring is good.

Are you feeling the Spring love? Maybe it’s Autumn where you are and the leaves are starting to colour?

hello, spring

Where did you come from, you sneaky old thing?

And what joys and pleasures do you plan to bring?

Well welcome, hello, hello to you Spring. 

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Within the week, Spring has appeared from no where.

I stood on my back deck yesterday folding washing in shorts, a singlet and bare feet, thinking back to just last week when I stood in the same position in a thick wool cardigan, long pants and uggs.

I feel as though I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Winter. To my woollen blankets, steaming cups of tea, evenings curled up on the couch and mornings spent wrapping thick scarves around our bare necks.

So goodbye Winter! I love you, I’ll miss you, but I’m also looking forward to feeling the sun on our backs and the earth on our feet.

a wintery solsticey bonfirey night

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Last weekend it was the Winter Solstice down here in Aus. For the second year in a row we went in to a community celebration organised by some dedicated and hard working family of mine. What an expert bonfire-mulled-wine-lantern-making family I do have! And all I did was front up on the night to enjoy the festivities and complain about all the hoards of people.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice is only something I started doing three years ago when I made it my mission (when Birdie was barely out of the womb) to celebrate every damn celebration I could so that I could say that My Family Has Traditions. I went a little crazy, even so far as to write them all down on brainstorm chart. I am so embarrassing, I hope I didn’t write about that on this blog somewhere because it really was just a little OTT. Three years down the track I’m really happy to say that of the 75 billion traditions I decided we would suddenly celebrate out of the blue with no rhyme or reason, the Winter Solstice is one that we have stuck with. It really is such a beautiful thing to recognise the seasons around us, to pay attention and to pay some sort of homage to the earth and the coming and going of the light and the history of such things. It fits in with our desire and effort as a family to work with the seasons, to eat seasonally, to live mindfully.

If I could tell my new-mother self one thing (actually this is not the one thing I would say if I could only say one thing but for now I will just say this one thing) I would tell her to take heart – never fear – for as a little tiny family evolves, traditions do come, even without the chart.

 

autumn rains

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Good morning Monday. It was a long summer, wasn’t it. As the rain gently pitter pats our tin roof, and cracks of thunder punctuate the seasonal sounds (and upset my dogs), my heart is warmed with thoughts of hunkering down for the cooler months ahead.

Ah, Autumn. You are here. Finally.

Welcome.

(And today, a very warm and loud happy birthday to my love.)