your ordinary life is a fairy tale
and that means it's the best kind of real.
July 24, I'll start sending out the emails for the Storytelling Ecourse! This was a big hit 2 years ago when I last offered it, and I am really excited to offer it again. This course is seven days of daily emails, plus some audio stories, all centered on bringing storytelling to children in your care. This course is perfect for teachers, homeschoolers, and parents, as well as for anyone who spends time with kids and wants to tell some different kinds of stories. This is an beginner's course -- no experience necessary! -- but will contain depth, thoughtfulness, and big ideas that makeit appropriate for those seeking a re-connection as well!
You can sign up by following this link!
I am not stressing out about screen time. Well, not too much. We are well, well over the waldorf recommended amount for age 8 1/2 (uh, that is, none), and I'm fully conscious of this. And determined not to stress.
Sugar. Not stressing about sugar, except about how desperately I would like someone to deliver some DQ to my house, stat.
Whether it's okay to do some easy stuff or if I have to take a BIG LEAP RIGHT NOW. okay. I'm stressing a little bit about that. But it's kinda navel-gaze-y. And for this week, I'm more thinking about dinner. Because dinner is a big deal -- people seem to want it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!
So that's something I am kind of stressing about, which means I need to find something I'm not stressing out over... oh no, now I'm stressed about too many prepositions!
I am not stressed out about fireworks. I love them, and our house is shut against the heat and humidity, so the poor dog is not being beset by too much noise.
So yeah, not stressing about three things. What three things are you refusing to stress out about this week?
It gets weird in my head sometimes. Does it get weird in yours? Do you find yourself worrying and looping, and stuck?
Feels like old times again, writing again and again about how hard it is to write, and how hard it is to do anything new. So, I'm not writing about that! Here's what's coming up:
When I am not me, I am dried up and tired and old. When I am me, I choose color and texture and light. I sing loudly around the house. I dance. When I am myself, I am late-- not out of disrespect for you or your time, but because I am sure that there is time to do it all. Thank you for waiting. When I am myself, I devour books and eat too much sugar and laugh. I tell stories at bedtime and I stop criticizing. I am full of love, and hope, and sadness, and joy. I look at stars and snuggle babies. I want to chat and check in and suggest things and offer things.
When I am myself, I feel alive, useful, smart, funny. I'm also quiet, puttering around or drifting, it seems, but actually purposeful, working it out behind the scenes.
What are you like, when you are you? What makes your heart light up? What makes the dove in your chest come to life, and the bear in your belly snuggle in for more dreams?
Blogging is, in and of itself, a weird thing for me. I feel really silly, putting my personal comments on the world out there. I can't control who gets to read them -- find my blog, and you find me. That's just how it is. That means, too, that my family and friends might learn hear things I've been quiet about in person, things I've been facing alone, trying to bear up in the face of what feels really heavy and hard.
Not being asked back to teach at the school feels heavy and hard. It feels like a big old lump of iron, half-melted down, twisted. It feels like I've lost my way, like I should have known to turn back at the beginning. There are so many things I want to be doing, and somehow, it's not happening. It's not the right place for me, which makes the moments that things work feel even weirder.
But it also feels like I'm being given another chance to make it happen. What ever "it" is. The "it" that has been calling to me for years, just out of hearing. The one I hear on the edge of my sleep. I don't call it a dream...
There's that word. Dream. This is "stories from the dream." Storyteller's Dream. And yet. What is the dream? I am quick to say, "but I don't have any dreams. there is nothing I dream of doing." and that feels really true. I don't want to be something when I grow up. I don't have a dream house, a dream car, a dream lifestyle. A dream job.
For one thing, where do you stop? A dream child? A dream spouse? A dream hat? A dream bathroom cleaner?
People like to ask, "What did you like doing as a child?"
I liked wandering around outside, telling myself stories and pretending to be book characters. I liked playing with my dolls. I liked going to school and brownies and choir and tap dancing lessons. I liked reading. I liked writing stories and poems, and dressing up in costumes. I liked going to church, and visiting my grandparents. I liked watching tv. I liked going to movies and museums and zoos with my family. I liked shopping for perfect, lovely little things, just to have bought something in a fancy store -- a fancy piece of chocolate, or a sticker, or a pencil, or a book... None of those sound like jobs to me. They sound like being a child. I like doing a lot of those things, still. But they aren't jobs. They aren't a career.
Here is something I'm still trying to understand, and I wonder if it is even possible to do. From "Two Tramps in Mud Time," by Robert Frost:
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
as my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
and work is play for mortal stakes,
is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.
What does that even mean?
This is long and rambling, and I feel shy about putting it out there. This isn't a blog that's helping anyone with anything. I'm not even sure why it's here, or why I write, but maybe someone will feel less alone, someday, in seeing that I was here, and felt this, and wrote it.
Long story short, I am postponing the ecourse I was going to run. I know nothing about launching ecourses or products or services. I would love to do story/reading work with someone, soon. Soon, I'll have loads of time... And hopefully, I can find my way into offering blossom later in the year.
There will be a lot to let go of in the coming days, and weeks. As there always is, because that is part of living, and it sure beats the alternative.
coming next month, a short story/reading course that leads you into a fuller experience of your own tale.
read more about it here...
sometimes, it's hard to stay quiet, and sometimes going public hurts. I have had two interviews and sample teaching lessons in the last two months, and I have been hired for neither position. For the second, I was applying to take a classroom at the school where I teach now. When I met with the assistant principal today to talk about my application, and she told me why I hadn't been hired, I was immediately full of tears. Because, on the one hand, she may not have been right about one or two things, but on the other hand, the observations she shared from the interview committee were so dead on.
People, it's all about being authentic, and about living out in the classroom what I espouse in the faculty meeting. And in the moment, under the eye of other teachers, feeling like I am in a classroom with students that aren't mine, I fail. Over and over again, I fail. I have been making the wrong people my role models, again, because (and I wish I could get this through my head) they are not me! I have to stop using other people's tools. They don't work for me. The minute I put up a box for children to earn "points," the minute I take down names, the minute I threaten to call someone's mom, I HAVE LOST. I've lost it. I lose my cool, my resolve, my nerve, and all my fine talk about being a relational teacher and seeking to connect first? Like unto dust in the wind, dude.
I'm trying to see it as a gift: the gift of being the co-teacher again. Of not being in charge of planning. Of not having to be on the front lines of parent communications. Of getting to just be me.
Have I been me in the classroom? No. I've been me in my small groups, mostly. I've been choosing books I know the children will love, having them practice with movement and art and games. Now to find the balance between teaching lessons I didn't write, and chucking it all out the window to dance and paint all day.
I have four more days with this class as their leader. Four more days to turn it around, to give them my best. To actually dare to try something, instead of grinding -- GRINDING -- through the day, feeling nothing but regret and exhaustion at the end. Four more days to try to figure out why it is that the two African-American girls in the class are the two I am having the hardest time reaching; I have so much to unpack, so much to examine.
And it's hard. And it hurts. Every day hurts. I'm trying to trust that I am learning, and that I am in the right place, and that they want me to continue in this role, because they see potential. The school sees that I have something they need, and I need to find a way to let that shine out more.
Nothing feels easy with this job. I need to roll it all back in, and really figure it out, because if I don't it will eat me alive.
Sometimes, I really hate learning. Learning is HARD. Growth is HARD. And what happens again and again, is that I see that the path forward, is really a path back. It's a path that reminds me to be what I am, teach how I teach, and trust the children.
I need that tattooed on my forehead. Or on a BIG poster paper in my classroom. (doing that tomorrow. yep.)
It's never easy to start writing again. To sit still and let the words come as they will. I've cut myself off from the words, from the writing and the making and the creating. Creativity is like some kind of magic spring -- the water only flows if you let it flow, and the well becomes dry if the water cannot flow out of it.
I haven't been telling, or consulting, or writing. I've been teaching, but finding my way in a new school, with such different structures and parameters from those I'm accustomed to... And I feel adrift. Sad.
Did I let it go too easily, that life of creating, that took me to warm beaches and let me share my deep joy and love of story with people? I asked the Source for stability, and to put me back in the classroom. And I got what I asked for. So now what to do with it?
I'm going to offer another story/reading course later this spring. Just two weeks, because four is too much. I'm stepping away from strictures around what I can make, and what I can support, and doing what I can. There's been no activity here on the blog for four months, and nothing new offered since diving deep and coming out of the forest -- which was MAGICAL, people; simply MAGICAL -- so maybe I'm forgotten. That's okay. I'll be doing what I do here, and trying to find myself again under it all.
I'm asking questions these days -- How can one be a Waldorf teacher, teaching out of the wisdom that comes through anthroposophy, but not be in a Waldorf school (not even homeschooling)? Why, in the midwest, is Waldorf only available to those who can afford private tuition? And is a rigorous, academic-focused curriculum, focused on "data-driven" goals, really the best we can offer children affected by systemic oppression? Really?
How can I bring storytelling, beauty, music, art, practical activities, developmental movement, and reverence into an already packed school day?
Is there value in sharing stories, music, art, poetry, with children who may lack the background information to fully comprehend and learn from the piece?
Are things only of value if they instruct, and if we can teach children to analyze and comprehend? To GRASP? Or is there something intrinsic?
If eyes were made for seeing, is beauty really it's own excuse for being?
And how on earth has bedtime gotten so late at my house?
There's no end to the questions.
And I find myself wanting to hide, even here, even now. I'm afraid to be seen -- being a teacher is so very public. Can I write about my faith? About my spiritual practices? About my struggles?
Are teachers allowed to be whole people?
I'm open to conversation around any and all of these questions. And if you can tell me a story along the way, I'd love it. My well is feeling very dry.
FLASH SALE! Until tomorrow night, I am offering a flash fairy tale Story/Reading. Just drop me an email and let me know you're interested, and tell me anything that's coming up for you right now, and I'll choose a fairy tale just for you. I'll send you a link and a pdf of questions and prompts. It's like a New Year's oracle reading, in fairy tale form! And it's just $15!!! I'll send you a paypal invoice, and we'll go from there.
I just finished recording Mother Holle for our Story/Journey together that starts THIS FRIDAY!! I am really looking forward to this. We have room for a few more -- signups are open through tomorrow, so come on! It's going to be amazing.
there's one week before the story/reading journey, diving into the well and coming out of the forest, begins. we will be exploring two wintery tales, full of magic and wonder.
We have room for a few more companions on our way. Spend as much or as little time on it as you wish. All that's required, is that you listen to the stories, and listen to your life. Go deep, or just trail your fingertips in the waters of the magic well. It's up to you.
I'm offering this course in the winter, at the turning of the year, because it's a time of reflection and looking forward. Two-faced Janus stands in the doorway of the new year, and asks us to see into our own pasts, and to make our plans and dreams for the future. What better way, than through the voices of the long past, telling stories of once upon a time, a time so long ago that perhaps it never was? What better way, than to dream through stories that read like dreams themselves, where anything is possible?
No experience is needed, except the experience of being human and living on earth. No materials are required, except what you wish to use to explore your new dreams and new understandings -- pencils, paper, computer, crayons, playdough, clay, paints, fiber, felt, leaves, stones, your body, your voice . . .
Imagine pausing in the midst of your day, and noticing that you can see whatever situation arises, as the call to adventure. Imagine seeing your loved ones on their own paths through the woods, and having your heart fill with wonder at their courage.
Come with us.
I believe in this work. I believe in the power of fairy tale work to change lives. This is a way to make shifts that are deep, powerful, and affirming of your story.
However, this is subtle work. I've been asked, "What will I really get from this work?" and it's so hard for me to describe. I've tried. All I can ask, is that you try it. And maybe for you, it won't be that big of a shift. You may find only a tiny glimmer of light. When it's really dark, tiny lights are so bright.
Having done this fairy tale work, using it daily to re-examine my life story and my current place on the journey, I can truly say that it works, that the little changes add up, and that the deeper I go, the more amazed I feel.
This work can change your relationships. It can open new doors. It can alert you to something you've been overlooking. I want you to experience it.
For all these reasons, I have chosen to drop my price for this course. Not because I thought the price was too high -- It is worth every penny -- but because I want it to be accessible and available.
We are going to start later, too, as I've heard from a number of people that December 26 is just too much in the thick of things. I understand. Let's wait a bit, and I'll whisper these stories into the quiet of the new year.
$27. I'm holding space for you throughout the deepest darkness of the year, and as the light returns, we are going to make this journey together. Won't you come along?
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.