balance

a pure way*

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A lot of you precious souls write to me asking how Cedar is doing since I wrote months ago about us receiving a possible diagnosis and our journey within the label/non label-ness of it all. We are so grateful for the love and care from those that have been following our journey as a family. The timing of your love notes is always so divine on those extra energy giving days for us. So many have also reached out because of being on a similar journey. A confirmation how healing being witnessed and understood can be.

This past year we've really cocooned with support from family, very patient close friends, his Naturopath and Occupational Therapist. This experience has been such a delicate and beautiful dance of listening to our hearts and our own intuition as parents, listening to Cedar, honoring wisdom from those that have gone before us and yet also surrendering to the not knowing (or needing to know) and finding what feels like home to us through it all.

We were told in the very beginning that a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome was really early to tell and to stay open as he progresses through therapy and lifestyle changes. As we read through our stacks of books on Asperger's, there were some elements Cedar shared but so many he didn't. We were fully aware through this process that not any one child fits in any box. Of course this felt so deeply true for us always even before all of this came to surface. So we remained open through our research. After months of therapy and evaluation, we have found that what we are navigating through is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This diagnosis and the wisdom that has come pouring forth from books and therapy and blogs has been such a blessing for us and for him.

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I am, we are indeed one of those open, earthy families that believe in Crystal, Rainbow, Sun, Moon Starchild as a way of seeing his spirit and soul but we also surrender to and honor all wisdom that comes our way and it seems in this case, Western's view on SPD has enlightened us on how to help him and he's thriving. It helps my family have more compassion and understanding. It will help his teachers know better his special needs. I can only be grateful for this and its another life lesson in letting go of resistance to a label, letting go of judgment from others and surrendering to what my child needs.

As I shared with vulnerability before, we know in our hearts that Cedar is not defined by any one label or diagnosis. He is our Cedar...wholly and fully unique. He's tender and highly sensitive (like his mama). He hears things we cannot hear (frequencies, wires in walls, etc) and he needs deep pressure/impact to feel things physically. He needs to be reminded that he's hungry, hot, cold or has to go to the bathroom. He needs forewarning if a loud noise is coming (vacuum, blender, dishwasher) so he can prepare for what it does to his body. He struggles when more than one person is talking in a room, so he self soothes by making noises (hums, clicks or talks loud) to diffuse the sound in his head. If he is not in a centered space, there is a lot of melting down or inability to calm his mind and body. We try our best to honor these needs and not expose him to environments that are uncomfortable for him. We are also learning to be more brave by helping him (and us) practice self awareness in challenging situations where before we just avoided them all together for peace.

Unpredictability is what causes a lot of anxiety for him and to make things predictable, he often tries to control his environment and his imagination is what feels safe to him. He will approach people and say he is another creature and they are another creature and all of a sudden, he is taking them on an adventure. He doesn't have normal conversations. ; ) He has a wild imagination and those that go along with him and enter into his beautiful world of creatures and magic, not only gain his trust and love but they leave his presence so filled up with other-worldliness. My marmie calls him "the storyteller"...and that he can do (all. day. long.).

What our son is, is deeply connected. Deeply sensitive. Deeply intuitive. This is how we see him...and really, he is such a mirror for us. We too have so many of these needs, his daddy and me. We have learned through this process to honor these needs in each of us.

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My husband is so amazing when it comes to information. He's constantly doing research on how to heal the body from within, especially for children with sensitivities like our Cedar and those on the spectrum. For our own journey through fertility and other things, healing has always been about what we put into our bodies and how it affects our mind, body and spirit. After months of trying so many different diets for Cedar, we have discovered what are triggers for his sensory needs and what nourishes him and helps his body to regulate his senses.

Below I will share what we've learned in order to offer some nuggets of help to those that are on a similar path but also to keep those informed that care for our family deeply of where we are today. I realize what works for one child, may not for another. Its all part of exploring our uniqueness!

Here's our daily gig of healing:

  • Occupational therapy once a week. Every other week he joins another boy in the therapy room so they can learn together how to move through social anxieties and fears in a warm, loving, gentle environment. Playing with children can feel so unpredictable to Cedar and what feels safe and predictable is to control his environment by controlling play.  This has made it an emotional experience to connect with other children. This therapy sharing has really helped him be open to other children's needs and ideas. Its helped him be more brave and open in social situations.
  • Gluten Free/Grain Free diet. If he does do grains, only brown rice and quinoa feel good in his body but not in excess...just bits at a time.
  • No peanuts
  • No bananas
  • No dairy with the exception of goats cheese/milk
  • No safflower or sunflower oil
  • No sunflower seeds
  • Cashew nut butter only (he has a reaction from almond, peanut and sunflower butters)
  • High doses of Omega 3 oils (five of these & two of these, both in the morning and late afternoon).
  • Probiotics (one in morning, one in afternoon) are crucial because we notice that if he is able to digest what goes into his body well, then energy will go towards what he needs for his sensory system rather than energy being used up for his digestion.
  • Vitamin D3 (one tablet daily in morning)
  • We cook for him with walnut and grapeseed oil. After watching the film Lorenzo's Oil (true story), my husband did research and discovered the miracle piece to the oil came from walnuts. When we started using these oils for him, we noticed a shift immediately. We start his day with breakfast sauteed heavy in walnut oil (scrambled fresh eggs from our neighbor, organic sausage, potatoes) with some coconut milk yogurt and a wee bit of berries. He needs to start his day with a breakfast mostly of protein with plenty of those oils and that sets him up for a day feeling better in his body.
  • He eats nothing processed, no artificial colors, artificial flavors and no sugars. The only sweetener he can tolerate is honey.
  • Body movement. Cedar's occupational therapist describes his sensory needs as a "sensory bank account". The more you deposit into his account, the better his sensory system can regulate itself. The more that is taken out, the more depleted an unable to regulate he becomes. The best way to fill his account up is with body movement, body impact (deep hugs, deep pressure placed on body, pillow sandwich, running, climbing, pulling, jumping, stretching).
  • Music therapy
  • We often create dark spaces for him to go to (tents, forts, huge boxes with pillows and blankets inside where he places battery operated candles for low light). This helps him when he is overstimulated and overwhelmed. He'll read a book or watch a film or play an educational game in these dark spaces until he's ready to surface.
  • Nurturing ourselves: All of this requires a lot of energy and taking time to ourselves (romantic dates, coffee shops, me working on an ecourse, my husband getting massages for his carpel tunnel) helps us be more present for Cedar when we are with him.
  • Nature, nature, nature...is his most healing place.  There he can connect in a way where there is no pressure to connect.  Trees, earth, stones, sand and water just get him.

How we communicate these changes we've made in our life to Cedar is that we are trying to "help his body feel good".  What we've seen in him as we've poured our energy into this journey is that he is so much more in tune with his body.  He is beginning to communicate in words what feels like too much or what he needs.  He will tell his babysitter "my body doesn't feel good when I eat those" or he will ask if he can leave the room when there are too many people.  He will tell us he needs to be held tightly or he will tell us he doesn't want to be touched. He is not always able to use his words but many times he does and this is so precious to us.

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After spending time communicating with Cedar in a very other worldly way, his Naturopath shared with us that he believes Cedar is a sentient being and these beings that are sent to earth with a message are very sensitive to anything that isn't pure.

Truly, that is what brought it all together for me. That simple message of purity. Pure...oh how I love that word and really, its been such a guide for us: Pure, simple, clean, clear, whole, organic. Aren't all of our bodies in need of this, especially when we are in a sensitive space?

free and unsquashed spirit*

Right before I took the photo above, Cedar said "Mommy, I never want to cut my hair. Can people keep curls as pets?"

People often ask me if I will ever cut his hair. Some have suggested, since Cedar has a bit of a feminine face, that it might be a good idea. Whenever we've asked him out of concern for it getting in his eyes, we get a passionate "NO!". Not a day goes by when we are out and about that Cedar isn't referred to as a girl by a stranger. But my husband and I have really desired to cultivate nonconforming gender ways of being and have just allowed Cedar to guide us with his interests and needs and what comes natural to him.

When we were ordering him some soft pajamas online, we asked him to pick out which style he wanted. He chose the purple and pink striped ones. My husband and I looked at one another and had one of those unspoken nods of understanding that there may be a journey ahead of us. No matter how liberal and open minded we are, we know there are others out there that are not and allowing Cedar to be and dress how he desires will be a constant choice to let go of those pressures of cultural norms. We know he is only about to turn four...but growing up near San Francisco, it is difficult for my mind to not go to those places of what may lay ahead for him.

We are blessed to live in a very open minded community. One of the reasons we love this place so. Although I still hear people around me say "he is ALL boy" or "girl or boy energy". I'm not sure why whenever those words are spoken, that it stirs something inside of me. Nothing negative but more like a fluttering or nervousness. I never felt this way before having a child. So my intuition tells me that there may be something ahead of me in my journey with Cedar that may have to break through those preconceived ideas of what kind of gender energy he has or what kind of gender he is more like.

A few days ago his babysitter Emily (and best friend) told me that they were outside playing and he outstretched his arms in a moment of complete abandon and yelled with his scruffy voice "I am Woman!!!" and as she told me this, we both giggled and had a knowing look. We knew Cedar in that moment just got the whole woman power thing and its wild because I've never yelled out that phrase to him. It completely came from within. Then of course shortly after that, he'll play with this tractors or cars and let the wild rumpus start. Or he'll be outside playing with our neighborhood girls sitting in his big yellow car making loud car noises and then stop to compliment them on their dress or skirt.

The other day I heard Cedar up in my bedroom. I walked in to find him putting my lipstick on his lips in front of my mirror and saying to himself "I love you". I fought that knee jerk reaction to stop him. Tears welled up and in that moment I realized that is what its all about: Loving himself. We just want him to feel free to be who he is and love who he is and have a strong self esteem. Whether he ends up being more gender-boy or gender-girl or gender-fluid, we hope for him to have a free and un-squashed spirit and we will nurture that in any way we can.

fear and gentleness*

I know I haven't been here much. But I have been here (see image above).

Monday morning I went on a walk around a lake. As my pace became faster under a canopy of forest, I realized I hadn't moved my body like this in over a year. The life pulsing through my veins and bones felt so deeply healing and good.

Our move to Washington paralleled some huge awakenings about my life. Choices needed to be made to marinate in and live in my own truth but more importantly, to protect my heart and to feel safe. I just ached to feel safe. These choices to free myself from that which didn't serve my heart and my soul were not easy and were full of some grief and separation and loneliness. It felt like a peeling that left me raw and needing to cocoon and rest and be still. I didn't have a lot of expectations of myself beyond learning to live life more in the present, settling into an entirely new h*OM*e and loving my boys and my family with all I had. I surrendered to the aches and pains of going from being so seen, very public and constantly-connected to less seen, more private, inner and solitary. Just recently, a dear friend going through a similar transition of online to offline said to me "I've felt very much out of site/out of mind". I knew intimately and had compassion for what she meant about feeling a sense of being invisible to others. I was living it and yet it was okay, it was so good, what I needed and it was deeply humbling.

Humility has been my companion this year along side gentleness. Humility has been my constant reminder, that gentle whisper throughout my life but most especially now. Being a mother to an intensely wild and beautiful and sensitive child has brought me closer to humility. Stepping away from and losing relationships I thought were deeply rooted in trust brought me closer to humility. Quieting the noise and the influences and constant adoration has brought me closer to humility. To me, humility has always been a home where my true self is. A place I can surrender to egolessness. A place where right now, in this moment, I am enough. For me, in the midst of humility there is less striving and more being, there is deeper compassion and loving. There is less temptation to be anyone or anything but my true self. There is an inner strength that comes from within rather than with-out. To me, to continue to empty my mind and soul of the ego...that is where wisdom and enlightenment set me free. Yet, it is my constant practice to create boundaries where this process can be honored and lived. It can be messy, oh so messy and full of pain because of my humanness.

Throughout my life, in any kind of institution or following of sorts (school, church, blogging community, online media, etc), I have had this awakening. I find myself (not by intention) being swept up by very human desires: the glamor, the attention, the praise, the acclaim and consistently, I have a very similar experience. I pull back, I grow quiet, I do my inner work, I renew, I reinvent. Part of it is the gypsy in me, the wanderer that does not follow, nor do I lead, I just drift because I know there is so much wisdom to gain by exploring. Part of it is that I am a deeply sensitive soul and in circles or tribes, religions or followings, there can be exclusion to that which is outside and I am not comfortable being part of anything that excludes. Part of it is that I see clearly that so much of that need to be seen and heard comes from a very achy, hurty place in our hearts, which makes us all equal and teachable to one another. Part of it is that I witness those that are guiding or leading become so consumed with their leading that their own lives, loves and hearts are not given needed attention and care and therefore, what they are teaching is not what they are able to live.

All of this causes me to pause and reflect. It brings me to periods of stillness, of rest, of letting go, shedding and renewing and surfacing again.

So as I was moving my body to a faster rhythm under the trees the other day, there was this awareness of how every pore on my body felt heightened, alive. I could feel my heart expanding, chest opening, face to the sky, limbs stretched. I felt my whole being surfacing from the safe, still place I have created and begin to move again...through the light...and also through the darkness. Fear came to me and my face grew wet with tears. But the tears did not come from the fear. The tears came from a knowing I haven't quite felt so intensely before. The tears came from love. A deep love, a tenderness for and an embracing of my fears.

I wiped my tears under my sunglasses and laughed to myself. I heard this whisper. Perhaps my inner voice, perhaps the Divine. It said something about walking through fear in gentleness is possible. I don't have to be fierce because fierce is not my nature. I can greet fear with gentleness, with compassion and with humility and will still be able to walk through to the other side stronger and rooted and yet free.

"is this life bringing?"

  the beloved  rain .

the beloved rain.

The last few weeks with our move, unpacking, settling in, my sisters visit and how full we kept every single hour of her time here with us, I haven't had much time to venture online.  Its been so very long since I've peeked into the hills and valleys of the internets (that word makes me giggle) and what waves of deep wisdom, insight and inspiration are flowing through.  This morning I had a bit of quiet time to myself, unexpectedly so.  I woke up earlier than usual and tip toed downstairs (which is not an easy feat given our very old stairs crackle SO LOUD).  I poured my sacred cup of coffee and snuggled up near the fire and wiped the dust off of my laptop before I opened the door to Narnia.

Mmmm...oh how the softness and simplicity I am wanting so deeply to manifest in my life can easily become overwhelmed with the energies flowing around in the virtual space that sits on my lap and beyond.  Oh how loud it can feel at times in the midst of my quieter spirit and voice.  It is just the space I am in. Right now I am so hyper aware and conscious of how I process these voices.  I know deeply that it is all about me and a process I am going through.  Its not about anyone else or anything else but just what I am needing in my life, how I am wanting to offer love and receive love, how I am yearning to tell my story in a way that feels true to my own heart.  Embracing my slower, quieter way of being and sharing in the midst of a faster and fiercer realm.  It is so many things, really and I know it is my own path to walk.  My own journey to find a place in the midst of it all.  My journey to surrender to and embrace the tenderness, mercy, humility, authenticity and gentle warrioress-ness that my heart beats to.

So often when doubts begin to rush in and I need to feel not alone and to be understood and seen, I seek wisdom from my dear friend Rain (shown in image above).  This morning she shared with me a question she often asks herself when doubt enters in; "Is this life bringing?"  Mmmmm...yes, oh yes...that resonated so deeply.  What is it, who is it...that brings me life?  It reminds me so much of something my sister once asked of me because she knows I am a very FEELing person. "Check in with how you feel in this moment, how your heart is beating, keep note of when you feel peace and when you do not, when you feel anxiousness and when you feel ease."

These questions help bring me back to center when moments begin to feel cloudy or noisy and it is hard to hear my own voice and feel my own heart.  THAT is the very space I am allowing myself to be in right now.  A space of quiet so that I can hear deeper as I am so sensitive to others thoughts and emotions, mine so often become lost to me.

Rain sent this to me today and it is an exercise that created such a peace in my heart and helped me come to a place of knowing much sooner than usual.  It is something I want to paint on my wall with the most beautiful handwriting.  It is something I want to share with all of you.  I hope you spend more time on her website.  She is so true blue and uniquely her.  I am grateful for this exercise she wrote...

The Soul Journey

rain2

1. Take a deep breath.

That’s it. Breathe deep, as deep as you can, and before you let it out long and slow, I want you to hold your breath. Just for a moment. Hold it for a heartbeat. You can even close your eyes.

That suspension? The quiet place of in-between?

That is where you begin.

Life begins and ends with breath. We forget to breathe and lose our way, but we can always come home to that quiet place. We gain composure and find rest and strength in its steady rhythm. As you breathe, imagine pulling life-nectar up, up out of the deepest parts of your stomach and drawing it, with intention, into your lungs. After you feel your lungs expand, exhale all goodness and healing into the world, and begin again. Breathe without ceasing. Let this become your prayer.

No matter where you are, you can always begin again with breath.

{And this is grace.}

2. Become aware.

As you incorporate patterns of slow, deep, and steady breathing, begin to feel yourself rippling outwards, like water, from your center. Your center holds the core of you, your essence. This is where you commune with God. Your energy is rooted here, your intuition and instinct, and your own sacred presence.

With each rippling, ask yourself things like:How do I feel in my body right now? When I breathe, what do I taste in my mouth? What do I see around me? What is happening in my space? You can start with whatever immediately surrounds you, like the way air feels on your bare skin (cold? sharp? gentle? nurturing?) or how your favorite coffee mug feels in your hand (is it earthy, or slim and sleek? Does its smooth porcelain rim invite caressing?) and work outwards. Practicing this awareness is like gently rousing a sleeping loved one.

Remember: you can breathe slow, steady rhythms, even in chaos. And as you breathe, become aware of all that surrounds you. This awareness precedes your awakening.

3. Awaken.

Sometimes we don’t know that we’re not awake, and we stumble around in circles fighting the same old things, over and over, for years. It is important to awaken gently. Will you go to a mirror for me right now? As you face your reflection, what do you see?

For this next step, and for the rest of your life, I want you to begin seeing yourself as Soul. You are not what you see in the mirror; your skin and hair and wrinkles and lusciousness ~ the curves that aren’t where they are supposed to be, and the extra curves which don’t belong ~ this is the glorious vehicle which carries your soul as you sojourn on earth.

And the beautiful thing about this? As you ripple and flow outwards, you will begin to see others as souls, too. Your children? Eternal souls poured into skin that looks like yours, with perhaps a little more energy, but ageless just the same. Your lover? Sacred, multifaceted soul matched to the sacred multi-facets of yours. Your loud neighbor? The alcoholic? The addict?

The world is full of Souls who forget they are.

Remember: your adventure is to come alive. And your shimmering spirit will cause others to hunger for a life essence like yours; you will ignite and inspire, and through being, you will draw others to life, maybe for the very first time.

This labyrinth doesn’t end, really. This means there will always be deep mysteries for the uncovering and places to rest along the way. As you go, keep in mind this secret of mine which will help you make wise choices. You can use this in everything—how to feed your body, the vehicle for your soul; what relationships to invite close, how you spend your time.

Sufi poet Rumi teaches, Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When you can suspend thoughts of condemnation or judgment and be present in your body, you will know what is right for you. And in this place of being, ask yourself—regarding any situation—"Is this life-bringing? Does this bring life to me?"

Whatever is right for you, whatever is the way for you, will always bring life.

love,
Hillary Rain

heart flutters*

fireside dinner in our front yard, taken a few nights ago

I've been feeling quiet lately.  I think its just all part of this movement flowing through my life.  A movement of cocooning and healing and being mindful of where I put my energy and what kind of energy I allow into my life.  Its been so so good for me to keep it simple and present. So so good.

Here are a few things that are filling my heart with flutters these days...

Dreaming of the new yellow house we'll be living in this coming July and how I want to a create a nourishing, earthy, calm and inspiring space for my family and visitors.  Amused at how excited I get about dreaming up and designing a home.

Researching what it would be like to have chickens and goats.  There are some pretty darling homes you can build for them!  We went to an animal farm in Victoria, BC last year and got to sit with baby goats and cuddle and pet them.  It was there I learned that if you decide to have a goat in your family, you should have two because they need the company.  Hmmm...just like us, yes?  A lot to learn and a lot of work but its been fun to imagine the possibility of extending our family in this way. ; )

Looking into a studio space for me to put in our new backyard this Summer.  Something barn shaped and wide with lots of light.  My husband surprised me by purchasing this eBook because I want to experiment with painting furniture.  I love love to explore antique shops and oh that furniture from Anthropologie and Sundance makes me swoon.  Can you imagine doing that kind of stuff yourself?  I know.  I can too.  So, here I go.

I have fallen in love with using words for decor.  So far I have "Read" for our library/office.  "Dream" for our bedroom and "Gather" for our kitchen.  It adds such a fun touch.  Also loving the idea of poetry on a wall.

Whole Food Meal Plans is my saving grace these days.  At the end of the week I get a list of 5 recipes that I use for dinners, a few deserts and a fun weekend food project with a grocery list to gather up the goods for the next week.  Every single meal has been mouth watering...and I mean that and I am PICKY.  Usually when I try a particular way of eating and follow a book of recipes, I only like a few.  But oh my...last night my husband and I were talking about how brilliant Nicole and Alex are.  Seriously.  Drool worthy meals and healthy too.  But the best part is not having to plan out my own meals because I'll be honest with you, that is NOT my forte.  I love to cook but the planning bit is not my gig.

Loving and embracing the rhythm with my son.  His language is exploding and imagination widening and its so fun to be brought into his world.  His new found independence is a trip to witness.  Just the little things like gardening together or me being able to work in the yard while he rides his bike around me.  Being together but doing our own thing.  Its a groove I am really cherishing these days.

The other night I moved the chairs and fire pit from our backyard into our front yard and it shifted the energy of time together around the fire.  Its now something we can share with passersby or our neighbors rather than being so closed in.  I notice we spend a lot more time out front than in the backyard anyways.  So, opening up space like this felt really good on our hearts.

Would love to hear about what is making your heart flutter these days...

restoring my spirit*

{our frosty branch one morning}

I've received quite a few emails asking if everything is okay.  Many so curious as to why I have been quieter than usual here in this space.  And because it hasn't really been a conscious decision, I've had to ask myself the same questions.

I feel like moving here has birthed a transition within me, not just in body (obviously) but in spirit.  Its been happening mildly, slowly...ever so gently but I feel like this is just the beginning of shedding layers, healing past wounds, opening to new ways of being in this world and restoring my spirit .  I suppose with this transformation, I am listening deeper and paying attention more quietly than before. In the past I would work through my life by writing it out. Now I find myself sitting with it.  Meditating on it all.  Seeking in solitude.

Our lifestyle has changed so much, so fast with my husband working from home, just a door knock away, living in a real house with a backyard and front yard and neighbors that pop by, with forest a few feet away and ocean a few blocks away.  We've been nesting and exploring.  I thought when we first moved here, we would dive deeply into community but we found ourselves pulling in as a family.  Slowly rooting ourselves, becoming familiar with our surroundings but mostly just craving togetherness.  And it seemed until most recently, I only had energy for the three of us, really and creating a space that nurtured each of our spirits.  Only just now do I find us having the energy and space to connect to community and to other parents and their children.  Perhaps we were also following Cedar's groove, who seems to be at a time in his life where he is wanting to invite others into his wild imagination when for so long he preferred to be alone in his own world.  Its so beautiful to witness him opening, connecting to others and how he seems to be able to find kindred spirits.

{cedar exploring frost for the first time}

{cedar pretending to be a barista making me a latte}

For over ten years I lived in an area where I didn't feel I belonged as much as I tried to.  And the community that held me so close during my fertility journey was my online community of gorgeous bright creative motivated world changing bloggers.  Connecting to my friends within this tribe was through emails and texts and comments on blog posts, facebook and twitter and instagram...and occasional meet-ups or retreats or phone dates.  And for an introvert like me who needs a lot of alone time, these connections served my spirit.  And of course, they still serve my spirit.  I think because I was not connecting on a deeper level with anyone local, that I grew accustom to my online connections being the only friends I felt safe to let into my heart.

What I am realizing now that I am living in a seaside town full of kindred spirits, is that I have almost forgotten what it is like to have a friend that lives down the street that I can call and meet up.  Or have people that show up in my life, not only on "my" time but also on theirs.  It's as if since moving here, I have resisted this type of intimacy because it felt THAT foreign to me and almost a bit over stimulating for my introverted self.  Although I know it is what I need and what my son needs and my husband.  We have for so long talked about going back to simplicity as a family. Connecting deeper to nature, less time with technology, more reading, more community...slowing...slowing.

This is what I mean by a slow transition.   I didn't want to drastically transition from online world to in person world.  I found myself pulling back from my online life and sitting with it.   Asking myself many questions.  What is it like to live my life and not share so much of it publicly?  I felt like I was constantly checking in with my heart...am I doing this for me?  Am I doing this to share it with the world?  Have I forgotten what it feels like to not be so SEEN?  I wanted to remember.  To remember what it was like to live each day and hold it close...for myself and those around me.  I suppose it sounds a bit selfish as I am writing this out but I think for me, for us, it was selfish in a healthy way.  Healthy in the way of cocooning or hibernating when you know your body needs rest and when you know in order to be a good friend, sister, daughter wife, mother, you need restoration of some sort.

Now that I am somewhat surfacing and opening myself up to this community, a few mamas have come into my life organically.  A new cafe opened up here downtown for parents of children with a huge play area.  I have met a handful of gentle mamas and a few where Cedar really connected with their children and we've exchanged numbers like we're "dating".  I also have been invited into a women's circle by my dear friend in town that has held our family so gently and has been SO patient with my need to be quiet.

With all of this opening for me, I am in a space where I want to find a balance between my online connections and my in person ones.  I don't have the answers yet but I am surrendering the idea of needing to have it figured out.  As I am rising out of this quiet space, I see all of my dear, deep, soulful online friends rocking their online spaces;  eCourses, workshops, books, book tours and so much more.  On some days, it takes an enormous amount of energy for me to not compare myself to them, knowing that me pulling back, cancelling my eCourse, putting aside my book, taking a break from photography sessions, postponing teaching a class at a retreat this fall, was a healthy choice for me and my family during this time of transition.  Perhaps there will be a time for me to enter back into being more public or perhaps I will dive deeper into this community and put my energy into those spaces.  I am unsure.  What I do know is that this next year, I am going to continue on the path of restoring my spirit and I am still learning what that is because I feel like so much is shifting.

{self portrait in our hotel elevator in Victoria, B.C.}

{getting a yerba mate latte, downtown Victoria}

Its actually been really nice living deeper in each moment without the urge to run to the computer to share.  I notice I am more present in those moments and I am discovering a whole new kind of sacredness in this quiet.  Perhaps I will learn how to bring this sacredness into my writings again.  

So, I suppose all of what I shared may answer those questions I've been receiving in my inbox asking if I am okay.  I am grateful that by you asking this question, I was given the space to explore it and learned that, yah...I am more than okay. It feels good to acknowledge that.

welcoming in july*

The rain is now a mist. The sun stretching its rays above us. Flowers we never knew we had are beginning to bloom around our home. I've paddled a Canoe. Cedar has fished with his daddy. Marybeth (seen with basket above) nourishes us with strawberries at the park. We painted a picnic table for our back yard a gorgeous turquoise while Cedar was napping. We also drank root beer floats that day. My neighbor lets me come over and pick flowers to put in my mason jars. She has an enchanting garden. A witch once lived in her house. I think it was cast with a garden spell. I found a gorgeous antique cabinet for my tinctures and nature medicine. We sleep in and stay up late. My niece is coming tomorrow with her fiance. I am taking engagement photos of them. I plan on doing one downtown with a vintage bike and ice cream cones. My new favorite flavor of ice cream is licorice and orange. Cedar is awesome at balancing himself on big logs laying on the ground. He also stands on boulders and pretends its a stage. I am trying to hoola hoop but cannot keep it on my waist. I am being patient. I am rarely on the computer. My life has completely shifted. I am craving quiet and peace and solitude in nature. I am feeling God. I want to sit with the Dalai Lama. I wish I could walk with Buddha. I am having conversations with Jesus. I am resting on Mother Earth. I am crying with Father Sky. I am bleeding with Sister Moon. I am listening to and honoring my needs. I am navigating my way through parenting while trying to stay aware of my projections and Cedar's heart and needs. I am in awe of how funny both of my boys are. I am just BE-ing...simmering...slowing...releasing...recreating...remembering...me.

and...HAPPY CANADA DAY!!

The Tao of Packing*

pixie, cedar, me...photo by stacy

It seems I have to go back to purge piles or boxes three or four times until I am left with what I truly need or nourishes me.  Each time I come back to these piles, I find that I am in a deeper mindset of simplicity, so it is easier to lighten the load and let go of the stuff I was holding onto.  I feel like this is a metaphor for my life lately...not just with moving but with all things.  The Tao of Packing. ; )

facebook, twitter and being present*

Hello lovelies. I have surfaced from a bit of time away from the computer. Boho Boy was home from work and I really wanted to be present as a family...together. He too stayed away from the internet. The break was nourishing for our computer geek hearts.

This brings me to a pretty big decision I made and it has taken me months to come to this place with confidence that is is right for me. I decided to take a break from both Facebook and Twitter for a while. I am not sure if this is a permanent decision or if it is temporary. I most likely will create a new Facebook and Twitter account focusing on my e-course when registration begins in February because to me personally, I feel it will be important to have a space for the Nectar Girls to gather and share.  But as far as personal accounts, it was beginning to feel a bit overwhelming for me. I haven't yet tried to put the feelings that brought me to this decision into words, so bare with me.

First let me begin with how grateful I have been for social media/networking, period. Blogging has guided me to so many like minded spirits. It was how I found some of my people, my dear friends for life...kindred spirits that gathered with me in a virtual garden to nourish one another. This space has given so many of us permission to express and be all the layers of who we are. I can't say enough about blogging and it is why I choose to show up here and share my story, not only to record my life for my son and family but also to encourage others to tell their own stories;  for healing, for gathering, to not feel alone in this world. I am not sure if my blog will ever go away. You're stuck with me as far as this space goes. ; )

Facebook and Twitter didn't always feel so nourishing. What I was grateful for is how Facebook led me to very old and dear friends from various parts of my life: high-school, church, mission trips, college, previous jobs and the blogging community. It gave me a peek into their lives as I always wondered how their journeys unfolded. It kept me in touch with my lovelies;  a peek into their daily doings and a space to exchange words of support or quotes or images of our babes or new hair styles, etc. I will miss this part.  Although, since I tend to be a person that desires to be fully present with my exchanges, I found myself lost in it all most of the time. I am not the best at balancing my energy into many different places at once. I felt a pressure (not from others, but from myself) to show up to not only my home and family but my blog, Facebook and Twitter to share my heart and life. Some of my time that needed to be spent with Cedar and creating an environment in my home that is important to me, was directed towards these spaces and I was left feeling torn. I never felt I could keep up and at times, it brought to surface emotions of not being enough. I noticed that emails in my inbox were not being responded to. Emails from close friends and family that are important to me.  The time I could spend picking up the phone or responding to the email, was spent telling the world that I just brushed my teeth or drank a cup of coffee or my thoughts on a film I had just watched because that was the hip thing to do to stay connected. These are all wonderful, light, fun (and sometimes deep) things to share but I just don't have the time in my day for it all and being hip is less important to me now than it ever has been. I had to really marinate in this and figure out where I felt my energy was most needed. Twitter was easier for me to let go of. It always felt presumptuous to me that anyone would want to know so many details about me!!  Some of my friends are so creative with it and I wish I had the Twitter mojo but oh my...it got quite boring on that page.

What solidified this decision for me was the few times I took a break from them.  I noticed I had more energy for my son and was able to put more energy into activities that fed my soul and my family.  That was big.

I feel it is so important to make it clear that this is my story with these forms of social media. We all have our own stories and experiences. Others in my life find Facebook and Twitter more nourishing for their souls, as well as an awesome element to their creative businesses and I celebrate and honor that we are all suited for different things at different times in our life. Rather than wish I could be more creative and useful like my friends in those communities right now, I decided to accept my truth and that is a person that thrives sharing through my blog and in deep personal one on one connections.  It is essential for me to continue to be authentic to what feels nourishing and what doesn't and also to not stretch myself too thin.

Perhaps someday space in my life will open up for these things.  Until then, I will have to connect with loved ones the old fashioned way.  ; ) Now that I will be on the computer less, I hope to teach Cedar to do more of this:

I also wanted to end this with an update about my marmie.  She is doing so much better holding her food down and has put on a few pounds.  Her color is coming back a wee bit.  We are so grateful for all of your wonderful suggestions and will continue to go back to them during this journey to healing she is on.

Also wanted to ask if you could send up some positive prayers and thoughts for two of my nephews that I care for deeply.  They are going through a really rough time right now and our hearts are heavy.  Its a bit too personal to share but I know when it comes to the power of communities gathering to lift up, the details don't matter.  So grateful for your intentions, always.

back to our roots*

me and my boho boys on the trolley yesterday

I am slowly surfacing, peeking my head into the online world after much needed cocooning with my wee family.  Boho Boy had a few days off of work which meant four full days of Cedar and me soaking him in.  During the four days, he chose not to touch a computer and work...which is HUGE for him.  I don't remember the last time he did this.  Perhaps last Christmas.  As a result of his hard work to help our move go more smoothly, his body has let him know in a big way that he needs to slow down.  He's been dealing with sinus and kidney issues and the information nerds that we are, have been on a quest to help heal his bod.

Part of the healing process is family time and quieting the mind.   It was so wonderful to see him reading again.  Curled up in the rocking chair and hungry for the pages.  "I want Cedar to see me reading", he said.  This is who he was when I met him.  I walked into his home for the first time years ago and there were books everywhere stacked by the sofa and chairs and on top of tables and near his bed and pouring out of the gigantic book shelf that took over one wall (we still have this).  I see us someday having our own sweet library in our home with huge cushy chairs and stacks of books and perhaps yummy arched book shelves built into the wall.   Ohhh...with a fireplace too.  One can dream.

He even did something he hasn't done in a long time.  He woke up earlier than me and went out to get our yerba mate ready.  When Cedar woke up, he tipped toed into our room and grabbed him so I could sleep.  Then about an hour later, he came in with a steaming mug of mate and told me to enjoy it alone in bed.  Since Cedar has been born, those quiet moments of my first morning cup are mostly non-existent.  When he left the bedroom and I was resting up against my plethora of pillows, I took a deep breath in and felt so grateful that he knows the little things I need and have been missing in my life...without me having to say anything.

We have recognized that our days have felt rough around here.  Years ago when we met for the first time, we connected over parts of our personalities that we feel not a lot of people understood or nurtured in their own life.  Neither one of us took the road expected.  Money was never a priority for us but living life by the heart was.  We were not workaholics.  Connecting, talking for hours all snuggled up was always enough for us.  Reading, dreaming, being outdoors.  Neither one of us are super energetic go-getters that spin from morning until night.  We're pretty laid back and very simple.  The last few years of spinning have felt unfamiliar to our bones.  Especially to his.  We honor all of it.  We honor why it needed to change.  We honor what it has taught us and where it has brought us and now we know we need to go back to our roots.  We are ready for a slower life.  A simpler existence.  Just recognizing that alone has brought us so much peace.

And Cedar.  Oh how many times we looked at one another the past four days with teary eyes expressing how blessed we are to have him as a son.  He truly is an amazing little dude.  The past few months have been full of so many emotions for him and of course for me because we are always together and so very connected.  Ever since birth, he has been very hyper aware of his environment.  The doctors noticed it in the hospital and people tell us this whenever they are with him.  So because of this, if you want to really engage with him, it is constant.  Being with him is both healing and challenging.  I've been really trying to honor my intuition in guiding him and comforted by a few friends of mine that have read books and taken courses on gentle parenting.  Every child is so, so different and I think this is why we as parents have to embrace the concept that not one thing works for every child.  So I try to balance my studying of techniques and guidance with listening to my own voice and most importantly, listening to Cedar's.  For someone like me, who is sensitive to all emotions in a room, it can feel exhausting.  But truly, its a good exhaustion.  I am madly in love with this exhaustion because I am madly in love with being a partner to Cedar on his journey.

Yesterday evening we were at a park.  It was 5:30pm and completely dark already.  The park was lit up by the moon and stars.  We were alone there...me, Cedar and Boho Boy.  Cedar was in the swing and I said..."soak it all in Cedar!" and immediately he threw his body back, taking in a deep breath while closing his eyes and when he opened them said "he-yoh  mooooo!" towards the moon.  I wasn't sure if he would even understand what I meant by "soak it in".  Of course he did.  And then I too lingered at the moon and the stars a bit longer.  Cedar too is guiding us back to our roots.

39 is sublime.

reflection
self portrait, 2007

Today I turn 39. I am excited to be approaching 40...just like I was excited to approach 30. A new layer to my journey.  Sinking deeper into who I am.  Deeper into being more comfortable in my skin.

I've been tender with emotion the last few days.  Sitting with these feelings  Stepping into them.  Reflecting on my life, the balance between openness and protecting my heart.  Meditating on what feels authentic in my bones and what feels forced.  I sense a renewal coming.  A cleansing of sorts in many areas of my life.  I've been thinking about age and what it means to me.

I remember in my late twenties, I was outside of my parent's house and my dad noticed a gray hair on my head. "Geeez...you have a gray hair!" My response was "Really? Where? That's awesome!"  I don't necessarily feel that way about gray hairs on my head now. : )  But I do notice that I am not afraid of age but rather intrigued and thrilled.  Not sure if that will change but I am reveling in it now.

I took this self portrait while waiting for an appointment with a well know psychic in my area three years ago.  This waiting room was so very eclectic.  Not too long after this photo was taken, I was told by said psychic that a boy spirit of a baby I had in another life wanted to come back into this life to be with me.  I was a Queen, which allowed concubines to breastfeed my children and one of them was left longing for a deeper connection to me, in this life. My life had been easy...many things done for me or to me, without much independence.  In this life I wanted to know what suffering felt like.  I wanted to feel more, period.

She said other things but these were the two that continue to come into my mind.  Here I am three years later with a boy and my whole life I have FELT...everything.  Intense suffering has led to intense joy.  Not sure what to believe...but what I do know is that her telling me that felt romantic and seems to parallel how my life is unfolding.

{i woke up this morning to a husband singing happy birthday to me, hovering over my pillow lit up by a candle burning, stuck inside a gluten free/vegan raw raspberry cheesecake slice.  a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.}

 ps. the psychic also said that my husband was a nobleman in our past life and we were in love but not allowed to be together and that is why he searched for me in this life.  that's pretty hot.  ; )

balancing my family, my dreams, my loves, my life.

cedar & me

dreads...day ten
cedar & me, taken by boho boy

I've been a little quiet in this space this past week for a few reasons; had cold, cedar caught mini tummy flu, swamped with work during every spare moment I can spare, really.

So the house looks disheveled. The laundry is in sweet lil' piles. We are tired of take out (even if its healthy take out). ; )

July, August and September are the busiest months for my husband. Not only does he have his full time day job as a sexy librarian but he has his own business, a sweet gig of designing databases for online homeschools. The Summer months are crazed for him because he's needing to build and make all of these changes to prepare for when schools start in the Fall. This means when he comes home from work, he still has to go up to the loft and work until the wee hours of the morning. Everything with databases is surrounded with a "we need this now!" energy and it is challenging to plan our lives around him putting out fires all the time. Its tough for him because he would rather be spending time with us but it helps to remember this is temporary. Although as much as it eases up in the Fall, he will still have to work each night but perhaps not until the wee hours.

It just so happens that my cup has runneth over as well the past few months as far as work goes, which I am feeling so blessed about but also trying to figure out a way to balance it all. My priority is obviously Cedar and being as present as possible with him throughout the day. But when my only time to work right now are his naps and a few hours after he goes down for bed (because my shoots are on the weekends), then other things like cleaning and laundry and creative meal planning drift away into a vortex of nothingness. If Boho Boy only had his day job, then I know I would have my nights and weekends free but for the time being, I don't have that luxury.

The thing is...because I have passions and dreams and ideas that are bubbling within me, I know that I will always be in a space of learning to balance it all with being the most attentive and intuitive mommy for Cedar and loving and supportive wife to Boho boy.

I don't feel comfy with the feeling that I get bummed if Cedar's nap is shorter than usual because I still have work to do. But at the same time, when I toy with the idea of not working for a while, that doesn't feel right either. Not only for financial reasons but for heart reasons. I feel too inspired right now.

I also know that this time with Cedar is so precious and it goes quickly. This time where he is not yet walking and is a wee cherub babe in my arms. Plus all we had to go through to meet him and be with him...it just creates a sense of wanting to marinate in him that much more.

I have also always said that because it took so long for him to get there, that I had ample time to figure out who I was as an artist and what I needed to put out into the world. So, as soon as my career was flourishing and my book was coming to fruition, Cedar happens. Awesome timing my love!

Its so interesting. It all comes full circle, really. My longing for him brought so much clarity for me as an artist and now that he is here, I want to share it, explore it, do it...you know?

I know this is an age old dilema. How do working moms do it all. I know there are a million books out there about it...and if I had time to sit and read them, I would flip through a few.

This is the first time I have tried to voice was is going on inside of me through words. So, I am not quite sure if it is coming out as articulately as I want it to.

I suppose I want to pose a question to all of my readers that are either mothers, fathers, caretakers of children but also work from the home. How do you structure your time so that you feel your child, your partner, your home, your health, your work are all receiving the attention they need?

I know we are all different...and because of this have different needs. I know we all have different stories and there is not one answer and that is why it will be fun for me to read all the stuff you've tried and perhaps something in the midst of it all will resonate with me. Comments are way easier for me to read in doses rather than a book right now! I also feel as though I have attracted many like minded souls here in this space and find you very interesting people.

I've always been one to go with my intuition and my inner voice and not ask a lot of advice. Although, lately I feel a bit worn and overwhelmed and am in need of some fresh ideas and inspiration in regards to all of this.

So my lovely buckets of warmth, love and inspiration...do share what works for YOU and your families. How do you balance your family, your dreams, your loves, your lives?