absolute child

I don’t know exactly where it’s all coming from…(maybe the space for dreaming that I have been allowing myself recently)…but I’ve been re-struck by some beautiful memories of my childhood of late.

As a young adult I thought I grew up in a perfect family. But then, with the loss of my beautiful Dad, I removed my rose tinted glasses and saw a few chips. Apparently there is no such thing as a perfect family. I found this hard to accept and spent years trying to understand and accept my, our, weaknesses.

But now, I’m experiencing the joy of slipping the rose tinted glasses back on.

And finding again in myself those moments of absolute child.

The hours in the garden concocting stews from petals, mud and greenery. Was anyone there with me? Watching me? I haven’t got a clue. I was busy.

And free.

The pine forest across the road was a place of adventure for myself and for my brothers.

Dress ups.

Music.

Dancing.

Puppets.

The sprinkler.

Slip and slide.

The yearly trips to the coast – bush walks, swimming, board games. Shell collecting. Possum watching.

Clue-do.
Monopoly.

Cards with Marnie.

Treasure hunts with cousins.

The willow tree.
Friendship
Tree climbing.

Dolls. Dolls. Dolls.

The dresses hand made by Marnie.

Marnie and Poppy’s garden. The cubby house Poppy tailor made out of a leafy bush.

Poppy’s garage. Full of mystery and history. The scent of paper and type writer ink.

Nana’s suitcase of dolls.

Pa’s birds.

Marnie’s dressing table…the black and white photos, the antique perfume bottles, the jewels.

Nana’s wardrobe. The textures, colours, scents.

Switzerland. We went on weekend bike rides as a family. On evening walks to say “bonjour” to the cows. Colouring in unicorn pictures on the balcony while Mum sketched the landscape ahead.

Dinners as a family outside. Snow men. Ski trips. Hikes.

Zoro. I really was Zoro.

Big brothers.

My brothers have always played a big part in shaping me. They are very different to each other and I always looked to find the perfect balance of their strengths.

They loved me unconditionally, played with me, protected me.

Pets too. Wow. Pets are such a lifeline for a child. They listen, they cuddle, they understand.

Unconditionally.

And nature. It frees a child’s wild. It invigorates their dreams, inspires ideas and builds boldness.

Mother Nature. She holds you and loves you unconditionally.

I had all of this. Good brothers, a big backyard to play in, time to explore, pets to love. Real friends, imaginary ones. Mother Nature embracing me. Environments to roam. I even remember having the dog from ‘The Never Ending Story’ with me, everywhere I went.

And don’t forget. I was Zoro. The Zoro.

There are so many aspects of these childhood treasures that I long to offer my son.

We, as adults, seem to have an innate desire to give the best of our childhoods to our children…or is it for ourselves to relive the best?…or is it that we never should have stopped the best from happening by getting overwhelmed by the more serious aspects of adulthood?

I will never forget watching my 40 year old brother drag out the ‘slip and slide’ to share the joy with his 4 year old son.

My son, the dog and our back yard, though tiny, is a place where dreams are made.

Cloud watch, moon search, bee listen, petal analyse, mud make, dig-dig, seed plant, growth see, ant observe, bird watch, sit still and breathe type dreams. Or pull out weeds and sweat, sort and shake off type dreams.

And right now, I’m obsessed with fabric in the garden.

My heart glows at the simple sight of pretty fabric blowing in the wind. Or strung up over us in tent like fashion. If you can’t find me. I’m lost in meters of sari as I try and pin it to the fence, the roof, a tree so that little one and I can delight in it’s above-us-ness.

It feels so good to play again.

To obsess over such a simple, odd, pretty thing.

I hope little one is watching me and giving himself permission to do the same, forever.

Just as I am watching him and giving myself permission to do what he does best, now.

Play passionately, intensely, daily.

Hello my little child.

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it’s easier to throw in the towel…

Half an hour ago, I wanted to burst out crying and give up on rediscovering my little rain dance.

My son was having a melt down, because I burst his balloon (literally….).

We have been struggling this morning. I did my daily pages (more on that later) while he played with the dish washing water. I stretched while he played with his trains. I moved while he played trucks. I felt conflicted the whole time. My presence was going inward, and the guilt….

It’s really important to me that I do not interrupt my son’s play ‘flow’. That he knows I am there, but that he can go deep into his imaginative worlds for as long and as self directed as he wishes.

Along side that, it is important to me that he feels seen, heard, loved, appreciated, deeply connected with me because he knows I am there for him….

Sometimes we flow side by side. In the past my flow has been domestic or practical….cook, clean, pack the bags, shower, get dressed, etc. But now, I am fixated on the idea of allowing time for my flow to be artistic.

When I sneak moments of artistic in and we are flowing smoothly. Our connections in between are so profound. Grounded. Content.

Today though. Eiks!

This morning our flow clashed. I don’t know why. He`really wanted me to push the big truck. And I really wanted to stay in my zone of ‘starting on my little rain dance’. I guess I’ve got this new found pressure on myself as a result of my commitment to this personal project.

We went for a walk to the park to step out of the tension.

And when we returned we talked, we cuddled. He needed to talk about his fear of the big truck that was doing work down the road. And I listened with all my heart. Soaking up his gorgeous features, pauses, repetitions and gestures as he`told his story.

“Wow! That truck really shook you up didn’t it”.

“Mummy was with you and held you close, and we walked safely around the truck”

Now he sleeps. And as I cuddled his sleeping self the internal fear for me was loosing that connection as I try to do my daily practice. Being absent.- ly present.

And then that’s when I realised its a day to day process.

The “Mummy is having a shower” flow was a struggle at first and now its easy. Sometimes he brings toys into the bathroom, or pulls faces through the glass. Other times he has solo adventures in other parts of the house.

I guess we just need to get used`to the new addition of my creative rituals to our day.

And if they are not working. I can’t let the pressure create conflict. I have to stop. I have to smell the`roses. Push the truck. Listen. Just stop. Let the project go for a minute. Because, right now, the internal conflict of my not being present could result in my throwing in the towel, and that is not what I want to do.

You know, something that helped was a perfect timing post from visual artist Lily Mae Martin. Her honesty is ever appreciated as she struggles with creating her art and parenting particularly while her partner is busier than usual with work. I get it! But it also provided some self-compassion. And your right Lily Mae we have to find ways around the struggles, especially when without village. Every day. Day by day. And I don’t think that means it’s a hobby. It is actually the conflict, the struggle, the tears, the relief, the flow, the non-flow, the breaks, the listening, the fear of the truck, the exhaustion, the balancing act that creates a work of art.

Isn’t it?

what have i done!?

What have I done!?

Have I just attempted to take myself seriously? Too seriously? At a time when I don’t ‘deserve’ to?

I’ve attempted to put myself out there.

For a minute there, I was in a state of panic because I thought I put myself out there as an ‘artist’. And I felt like a fraud.

I am not an artist? Am I? But my current practice is this:

– watching my son create the most splendid installations around our home. Installations that make me awe struck.

– contact improvisation jams with my son while making sure he doesn’t rip my hair out from my scalp.

– an addiction to creating inside and outside play spaces that provoke and inspire him and his friends.

– carrying, lifting, nose rubbing, back rubbing, cuddling, rocking, being silly.

– an obsession with tiny worlds through terrarium making and ogling.

– singing lullabies and duet improv jazz numbers…off key by the way…but on key enough to help him sleep or smile.

– noticing the simplest of moments and feeling so lucky to have seen it.

– reading.

– so much walking.

– spontaneous adventures.

– occasional lounge room dance offs.

Am I a fraud?

On one hand I think artists who don’t live life surely can’t frame it. And believe me I am living life right now.

On the other, I have been told by many, “If you are not doing the work” you are not an artist.

How dare I create a Facebook page under` the category of ‘artist’. Am I demeaning all of those hard working artists who are “doing the work”!? daily, I really hope not.

No. I’ve been an artist since I was born. It’s how I see the world. It’s how I think. There were times in my life when I had a daily practice, and then there were times I couldn’t. Or just didn’t (more on that in a later post).

This is the longest period though, so I do feel like a fraud.

I promise you, and myself, though that the tears behind the eyes. The pain behind the heart. The unframed joy. The adrenaline from running from a big bad wolf, the fear. The love for my child. The awe of his innate artistry. The stories that have piled up. Untold. Will be. In the way I have always know best to tell them, since i was 5 years old. My little rain dance.

I think I am warming up. I am sorting the beans. I am taking a very slow breath in.

I am seeking.

Searching.

Again.

For a daily practice that realistically fits my life a a mother. And that fuels the telling of story through dance.

while he is sleeping

While he is sleeping. I begin. I’m hungry, the washing sits wet in the basket. I should duck to the toilet. Or even have a shower!? Give the dog a cuddle. Dishes.

No, I begin today. And you, my (hopefully I have) readers, keep me accountable, inspired, accountable and motivated. I can find my own little rain dance again. I will. It’s been three years since I last created work. A solo. I turned into a beach whale when I was pregnant. Dancing resulted in my head in the toilet bowl. This surprised me, disappointed me. But I let myself ride the wave in. And trusted my body wanted rest.

And now, he wakes….

I will be back. Because i want to find my dance again. A practice. I commit to daily rituals that reawaken my choreographer. While he sleeps, with him, alongside him, alongside life, alongside the washing, the dishes, the adventures.

“Mummy”

I have begun my practice again…