Look, I get it. I really, really get it. Why do you think I go weeks at a time without posting? Why do you think I announce awesome new offerings on Insta and FaceBook, and then hide under the covers, pretending magic elves are creating online courses for me? The mountains of fear that rise up between me and my goals feel insurmountable sometimes.
What are we so afraid of? Oh, honey, grab a cup of coffee/tea/cocoa/whatever and let's make a list. We are afraid of judgment, of being too loud, of not being "Waldorf" enough, of being too Waldorf, of losing those we love, of losing ourselves... In my case, I am afraid of being tired, of losing my temper, of doing a terrible job...
Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic, says, "Fear is boring." and it is. Fear is so boring. It leads to boring, safe, un-magical lives, where we bind ourselves in with regulations and rules and roles. Shoulds become so much louder than coulds.
Procrastination is not a product of laziness. It's a product of fear. How on earth do we climb those mountains, though? I have a strong aversion to setting goals, because I know I will avoid even the smallest baby step if it's presented as a goal.
THERE IS HOPE, THOUGH!
what I have to do, is trick myself into remembering I'm the heroine of this tale, and this is my call to adventure. Start telling that story (not in those words. People aren't always ready for that).
I keep my goal at the back of my mind. I talk about it a lot. I tell people it's happening. But I don't schedule it on the calendar. I don't do any of those things people tell you are necessary.
Instead, I just do a thing. I don't think about it. I just start something. Transferring email courses into PDFs, sorting laundry, reading a book. And I let the momentum carry me as far as it lasts. I step onto the path into the forest.
Does this make for steady, measurable, quantifiable progress? Yes and no. It's not steady, but it does happen. It happens, as if by magic.
This won't work for everyone. If you like making lists and checking things off, go for it! Sometimes I do that, too.
What is imperative is knowing yourself, and having a clear picture of what you want. Picture is a relative word -- I don't do a lot of visual imagining, like really seeing a physical reality in my mind's eye. What I really do, is tell a story of what will happen. I see the path in front of me as a series of words. I tell the story of what I want to do, and where I want to be, and then I follow the story forward.
So, to recap.
tell the story of where you are going. You have an epic adventure ahead of you.
Then, start off on the journey. Don't think about it too much -- you can easily talk yourself out of the call to adventure.
Just take a step onto the path, and see where it takes you.
You might run into obstacles. You might need helpers. Trust that you are on a journey that is leading you to your heart's desire, and keep going. If you need to stop, and rest, consider that quest done, and rest. The next step will present itself.
All you have to do is answer the call.
It's about courage, not organization or laziness or industriousness or even being good enough.
Fear is boring. Try adventure.
you might have noticed the new blog title. Changes are afoot! As the year turns from old to new, I'm starting a new adventure. My Mama Bliss Coaching training is almost complete. When that happens, I'll be opening up my first coaching spots. I'm really excited to share this work with you. It's deceptively powerful, like a little bit of fairy dust sprinkled over everything and making it feel... lighter. Like you've put on seven-league boots to run your first marathon. Like you've put on a magic wishing hat and found yourself at your destination. Like you've found a sack that pours out feasts of your favorite foods...
Meanwhile, I'm trying to find moments of stillness in these last few days before Christmas. I hope that in between the pageants, the parties, the Yule fires and carol singing and late-night toasts ... and the teething, the colds, the meltdowns and tantrums ... you are finding the stillness of deep winter, or perhaps the brilliant surrender of high summer.
If you are curious about my coaching, and want to be one of the first to hear about opportunities to sign up, click here to be added to the waiting list!
ive taken myself out to breakfast today. Most Fridays, I drop my son off at school and head home until time to drive to my storytelling gig. It’s not really easy to leave my warm house, though, and I end up being late more than I like. So today, I came to the cafe to read and eat and drink hot coffee, a moment quiet in a busy time.
Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas, and the days in between. It’s a season of waiting and preparing, and usually in our world, that means a time of rushing and busyness that chase away any chance of peace. My son’s birthday is right in the middle of Advent, and as a perfectionist, I drive myself crazy every year, trying to make the season beautiful and fun and peaceful and reverent and sparkly and PERFECT DAMNIT! Not so peaceful, huh?
so what do we do? How can we find that peace and quiet our souls are craving as the earth darkens and rests?
Here’s what I’m trying. Maybe it will help you, too.
* stopping and saying, “What’s most important here?” Sometimes the answer surprises me.
* lighting candles and Xmas lights whenever I can.
* saying I’m sorry when I get anxious and irritable with my dearest ones.
* not reading the Advent book that was making me mad and uncomfortable. Too evangelical for us, and really hard for me to read aloud. Not my style.
* reading other books instead (list to come!)
* coffee. Lots.
How are you finding peace these days? What are you struggling with? Let me know!
shhh.... I'm hiding from facebook....
so I'm a bit more active here. Which is what I wanted. I'm also missing livejournal (remember livejournal?), and I've taken instagram off my phone for the time being...
all of which is to say, hello. It's good to talk with you, wherever you are.
And it's not that facebook is bad. I've talked about this before. it's just that I needed a break.
but it is nice to talk with people, so do consider commenting on this post, or on any post really, and tell me what you think...
You guys!!! Folks! People!!!
Brian at Waldorfish.com has posted a preview of the A Festival Year course on YouTube! You get to hear excerpts of the stories and see samples of the gorgeous art you can create. Check it out!
Here we are, playing in the wintry air that blew in last week. It's not really winter yet, but I can feel it on the edges of the day. The early sunset, the lazy, slow light of morning, the gusts of air that smell of the arctic -- all of these have come this week. So we layer on our thick coats and snowpants, mittens and hats, boots and gaiters, and we go out. How can we stay in, when the sun is shining, or a soft rain is falling, or snowflakes are swirling?
Play is learning, and play outdoors is deep learning, a learning that cannot occur within walls. There is a feeling of strength and courage that such play engenders, when we bravely step out of the warmth and into the cold.
The little ones made lanterns this week, and we sang songs and heard stories of sharing our light with the world. This week, go out. Feel that glow in your heart and listen to the call to share it. The world looks dead, or is full of sadness or fear -- shine there. Notice the life under the surface. Meet the fear with love, the sadness with gentleness, the death with life.
And run. Jump. Climb. Argue and make up, laughing the whole time. Tumble and swing, or sit quietly in some magic place (psst -- they are all magic) and dream...
Have a beautiful weekend.
It's election day. I voted this morning. I love going to the polls, filling in the ovals on the paper ballot, feeding it into the machine, getting my round, red sticker. All of it speaks to me so strongly of hope. Hope is something that seems in short supply sometimes these days.
But voting, like hoping, often seems like it's not enough. And it isn't -- voting does not absolve me of the responsibility to do what I can to create the world I want to see. Hoping for change does far less than getting up and taking action. Even if that action is just to smile at someone on the street, or to ask how someone is with the intent to really listen.
So it isn't enough, no. But neither is it small.
I've been taking time away from facebook this week, just stopping in to check my messages and notifications. I spent some time scrolling and liking posts this morning, but more and more, I feel like facebook is really good at lulling me into a false sense of enough-ness. it's not enough to "like" someone's photo of a new baby. It isn't enough to share an article on a candidate you support. I feel like I want to live my likes a little more, to seek out a different level of connection.
I've been on social media of one kind or another for 25 years now. Maybe 26. I have had friendships form and flourish entirely online. But those friendships sprang from deeper sharing and listening than facebook engenders for me. Longer form media has given way to quick bites and pictures. I love both, but the latter aren't enough for me.
So is it enough? No. But it's not bad. I just crave more. I am deeply hungry for connection, beauty, playfulness, creativity. I dream of and desire a world my child and your children can grow into and love. Voting isn't enough, but it's absolutely necessary.
So vote. and act. and reach out. Post on facebook and instagram, and stop to chat with your neighbor as you both come home from the world. Share an article that touched you, and then discuss it with someone whose mind and imagination inspire you. Snap a photo of your voting sticker (I did!), and then talk with people about why it was important for you.
And then turn it all off, and go driving into the countryside or walking down the block or wandering down rabbitholes until you are breathless with wonder, as I was at the scene above. We had gone out after a disappointment, to assuage ourselves with sugar at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store (a real place), and then went adventuring. We found a tiny, rustic county park, climbed around on barely-groomed trails, and felt a million miles from home. And then, we followed the moonrise back to dinner and warmth.
It might not ever be enough, but don't get discouraged. Just keep going deeper.
Yesterday, I was invited to a party. My wife was at work, my son at his grandfather's, and I could have gone. The people there were ones I know and like, at least many of them were. But I couldn't do it. The idea of getting in my car and going somewhere I'd have to be on, where I'd have to talk and smile and laugh and explain and sparkle, made me shudder.
Outside, the air was cold and snapping, with a deep blue sky. So I made a cup of cocoa, and packed a book just in case, and a granola bar, and I got in the car and started driving. I ended up at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and it was what I needed. Golden maples, spreading oaks, pine trees that roared gently in the wind, and countless other kinds of trees, spread overhead. I walked trails hard and soft, and watched birds and squirrels. After a time, I got chilly, and drove further west to find apples.
The orchard I had chosen turned out to be all done picking for the season, and it also happened to be a winery. There were too many people, people who I'm sure are perfectly nice people, but had that kind of frantic "we're having AUTUMN FUN" energy, with careful hair and makeup, that makes me feel frumpy and inadequate instead of quirky and joyful, so I left. I came home to my book and the stew and dumplings I'd made earlier in the day.
So, there was no people-ing, but I did go out, and it was what I needed. I hope you are finding what you need, too, in this weekend...
One of my favorite writers and bloggers is Rachel Macy Stafford. For a while I had a hard time with her writing, because I identified too much with it. Rachel talks about her choice to move from a life lived by to-do lists and outside measures of achievement, a life that made her stressed and sad and angry, and made her children stressed and sad and angry, to a life focused on choosing love and letting her loved ones know how much she loves them. I felt like my still being caught up in the stress and spinning and awful feelings, meant I was less than she was, that I was a great and dreadful failure at life.
Those feelings still creep in sometimes, but through a lot of work over the last year, including doing Rachel's course Soul Shift (she's offering it again in January!), I am beginning to come out of a very long, painful darkness. I keep telling myself, it's not too late to change. It's not too late to meet your child and your spouse with empathy and love. It's not too late to let go of codependency and manipulation. It's not too late to be happy.
Dear ones, I was afraid to be happy. Sometimes I still am. I somehow ingested a message from all kinds of sources, that I should loathe myself, that I was the least of God's creations, that any self-compassion was a sign of failure and a sin. What a load of dingo's kidneys (no offense to dingoes).
It is not too late. It's not too late to learn to regulate my own emotions. It's not too late to be who I am. To shine my light.
Joy is a worthy goal. Kindness is a worthy goal.
Happiness is not wrong.
Is the world messed up? Lord yes! But we are not going to fix it by hating ourselves and spreading that hatred around. It's gotta be love. Love makes us fierce. Love makes us seek justice. Love makes us reach out to one another.
It's not too late.
I spent this spring and summer creating ten brand-new stories for the festivals of the year, from Advent through to Samhain and Martinmas. These stories are seasonal and connected to the deep gesture of the festivals as they relate to our human experience. These are not religious stories, but I hope they ring with truth. Robyn and Brian at Waldorfish.com took these stories and created 10 stunningly beautiful art lessons for you and your family. The whole course is ready now, and you can sign up at Waldorfish today!
Please go and have a look. The artwork is just lovely, and Robyn and Brian are amazing teachers. You will get 10 stories to read, plus 10 audio recordings to enjoy on your own or with your family, as well as access to the lessons, all in an easy-to-use online classroom. I'm so proud of what I made for you, and so honored to work with Robyn and Brian on this project. It's really special.
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I coach waldorf moms and other sparkly unicorns, helping them find wonder, ease, and contentment. I write about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.