Tuesday, November 30

to do or not do

i feel like i'm in this floating place between focus and achievement, and, simplicity and hibernating.

i have a head impossibly full of ideas. i want to start giving them away. anyone short of ideas?

i want to achieve things. not in a huge way. i know that Making a Difference comes in all shapes and sizes. yet i do have ideas that are big by default.

anyway, it's a pull towards simplicity, deeper spiritual pursuits, doing less, mothering time, and yet, a desire towards Getting Things Done. i suppose the question is, which pull is strongest?

no, better yet, which runs deepest?

i've spent most of my life Getting Things Done. it comes naturally, but also i am aware of the childhood and social influences. that i should to get things done.

becoming a mother was the best teacher in learning to focus and slow down. you just have to don't you? if you want to be a mindful and present mama. but it comes with a challenge. suddenly time is zapped out from your life and there is panic. in a couple of years i've come a long way to finding peace and acceptance. to embracing it as a chance for depth and mindfulness, rather than seeing it as Lack of Time.

but still there persist my desires to do certain things. i no longer want to do it all, but i do have a few passions that request a voice.

i've always been a face-things-head-on person, yet the last few weeks i've found myself seduced with the call of running. to a tower or cave up in an inpenetrable mountain. with nothing but art supplies, books, cups of chai, some cushions, and my girl.

simplicity comes hardest to the passionate, i think.

Thursday, November 25

joy pockets

cloud choices
playing with crysti

the pixie beginning to learn to pedal her tricycle on her own
John Cusack playing Poe in a new film, swoon
julia is having a pendant giveaway
an infinite supply of littlegirl kisses and 'i love yoos'
powerful wood stoves

share with me your joy pockets this week

wishing my american friends a happy thanksgiving weekend.

Monday, November 22

not a review

i completed Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke.

i can't give a review of this book because it's utterly astonishing. i have not been gifted with the level of articulateness (!) that it requires.

but did you enjoy it?

i know that some are ready to challenge me to a duel if i cut it to shreds. thing is, i was skeptical before i even started it. it sounded vaguely like just my sort of thing, but i hesitated. i seem to be at astonishing odds in regards to reading material with two people who i like and respect and that touted its wonderfulness.

but did you enjoy it?

you know those desert island type questions? well, i'm terrible at them. i can never think off the top of my head my most favourite whatevers. the best i've got is...
If I Were to Be Stranded on an Island I Wouldn't Complain If I Had The Following Books to Read List.

Four books that always seem to crop up are;
Don Quixote, Pride & Prejudice, On the Road, I Ching, Wuthering Heights.

Next place is now taken up by Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. i can give no higher, or easier, praise.

so you recommend it?

good heavens no! it's for a most Particular Type of creature. it would give the ordinary person odd and twisted notions about; French armies, enchantment, the questionable state of Portuguese maps, messy necromancy, respectable English magic and it's proper place in the nation, Borgesian footnotes*, the usefulness of faeries, kingship, London, the gentlemanly way to walk through a mirror, libraries, the use of capitalisation, and suspect paths through English country sides, among other things. And holding this 1000+ page tome gives your hand a cramp.

do you see? you're better off without it. if you visit and ask to borrow it, i dare say you'll witness a most peculiar inability for it to release from my hands. in fact, forget i ever mentioned it. Susanna Clarke who? never heard of her.

here's a book i recommend instead, very safe.

* Please refer to Thou Art the Footnote: History, Theory & Practical Application of a Lost Skill, (2nd Ed), Yves Bookman.

Friday, November 19

joy pockets

launching the new Spiral Sisters!
a sunny day spent in Cavtat, Croatia
pixiegirl asking to eat bekkets with mama (breakfast)
our parking area ready
receiving a little packet of journaling goodies from Briana
Faith will be giving stuff away for a couple of weeks
reading lots

share with me your joy pockets this week

Monday, November 15

intensity & balance

“One should clean out a room in one's home and place only a tea table and a chair in the room with some boiled water and fragrant tea. Afterwards, sit solitarily and allow one's spirit to become tranquil, light, and natural.”
Li Ri Hua, a Ming Dynasty scholar

you know how the symbol for libra is a set of scales? and how this means balance? well, while us librans can appear balanced, it's all a trick of the light. it's simply because we're always on the search for it, rather than that we've attained it.

if you notice, old-fashioned scales are easily tipped one way or the other.

playing at macro monday

i've been working intensely on the new spiral sisters blog, and writing for it. and i just can't sustain that level of intensity. the scales are tipped too far one way.

and so i run for the hills. literally. scavenging for fallen pinecones with the pixiechild. i can't stand to look at anything related to what i was working on. i immerse myself in art and literature instead (see couple of posts ago).

it's taken me a long time to understand this about myself. i used to think that i was inconstant, and was often frustrated. now i realise that it's an attempt at rebalance. i know i'll return to the serious spiritual ponderings, web design, writing......

for now, fresh air and a simple cup of chai.

Saturday, November 13

silly ol' bear

the first feature-length film the pixiechild watched was Winnie the Pooh. it was last November when we were in England. she was 18 months old and she fell in love with it, and so did the rest of the family. while she no longer requests to watch it, she enjoys it, and still plays with piglet and eeyore soft toys.

i soon bought a couple of other pooh films and they were just so-so. the reviews of some others i haven't seen are not favourable - for those of us who love the hundred acre wood stories for their charm and wit, rather than brighter, louder, crazier happenings.

so i was delighted to hear they've finally caught on, and will return to the illustration style, and the charm. released next summer.

Thursday, November 11

: as the wind blows :

...make what you will of these capricious posts of mine. will return to joy pockets next week....
today i felt this.

“Strange how a teapot
Can represent at the same time
The comforts of solitude
And the pleasures of company”
author unknown


some time around the turn of the century, i began a rather odd book. other things took priority and i only picked it back up a few weeks ago. now that i'm halfway through this 1000 page tome, taking more time for reading fiction, and thereby on the road to finishing it, i can admit to you that it sits on my nightstand.

i won't be saying a word until i'm done.


some clued in linguists are using twitter to analyse how language is used. they claim that gorgeous is used three time more often by women than men. they have a query site where you can check the gender bias of many words, and with which you can easily become obsessed... or that's just me.


over the last month i've twice had the conversation with others about artist's who guard their techniques. one such artist was actually teaching a class, but refused to share too much at the risk that the students would merely copy. have we become that egocentric? history is riddled with copy-cats. that's why we're able to have art movements, musical genres.... you get the idea.
head over to HUP and grab a free copy of in praise of copying.


i re-watched woody allen's manhatten. despite being an allen fan, and really, mostly a diane keaton fan, her subtlety kills me, this one irked. possibly because i couldn't help thinking of life imitating art. what with his running off with his much younger daughter-in-law, or whoever she was.


thankfully for us, disney let burton go. so off he went and mixed seuss + vincent price + poe. take a look at one of his earliest works, a 6min piece voiced-over by vincent price.
His voice was soft and very slow
As he quoted The Raven from Edgar Allen Poe:

“and my soul from out that shadow
that lies floating on the floor
shall be lifted?

and of course you know that you can get free kindle for pc and a collection of poe's works for $1, right?


if people wouldn't stare, i could so wear this hat, you know, to do errands.


and a question for you...
what's a really useful idea or skill that you learnt (directly or indirectly) from your parents?

Wednesday, November 10


i was reading the inspiring little house on the mesa's honest post on the tradeoffs we make when we don't have tons of money. you know, you don't drive the swish car or have fancy new clothes, but you travel more or buy books... whatever you really love to do or have.

anyway, thinking of it as a tradeoff is a great perspective. that is, that you fully own that it's your choice to choose one thing over another.

i've found that over the last few years, as we opted out of the 9-5 grind, a mainstream lifestyle, unjobbed, and basically went to live up a mountain.... that i have shifted from seeing my choices as tradeoffs.

i think that when we give something of our familiar lifestyle up or have it taken from us (a great job, any job! large house, financial comfort) we go through stages of loss. for some of us, the relief of unburdening is too great, or the triumph of taking charge of our life too powerful, that we move into acceptance a lot easier (that would be me). but for others, the process takes time. especially of course if the choice was forced upon you. and even when the choice was yours you can swing back and forth.

buy that new dress/book regardless of how little you have in the bank, because, i mean, we're not poor for pete's sake! tsk 
darn company/economic crisis/husband! 
look God/Universe, next time i won't max out my credit card, honestly...
i've got a phD/my parents sent me to private school/i'm over 30 and i live like an empoverished gypsy, i'm such a loser

after all of that, comes acceptance.

the pure joy of an empty room

there are two types of acceptance. the surface kind, which is a survival mechanism. anger, depression, and such don't get you invited to parties and make you ill. this kind has you shrugging your shoulders in defeat. fine you say, these are the cards i've been dealt with, i'll make the best out of it. this is the place where you think things like - this too shall pass.

the other type of acceptance can come in place of or after the first type. this acceptance has you see that when you had it all, you didn't truly appreciate it anyway. it has you see that in having less, you have more. it shows you that you are rich with, time for yourself, your family, relaxing. that you are unburdened. that simplicity is pure gold. that a life of less ease and modern conveniences, is actually more engaged with people, the land, your own hands.

you are free. you're not defined by stuff. you think more creatively than ever. your mind and heart move towards things of depth.

not so long ago i would think -  i won't get my hair cut professionally so that i can afford another book. now i think - i'll cut my own hair, how convenient, how self-sufficient!

we tend to view a lifestyle that shifted from financially stable and comfortable to one that's not, as a tradeoff between quantity and quality. and it is that. but i think that the second type of acceptance comes when we see abundance and gain in all our choices, rather than as an either/or life.

Monday, November 8

reflection: focus

i've been in a strange place these last few weeks. i have no words to describe accurately the many emotions, thoughts and their jumbled-upness. it's been mostly good, with dashes of challenges.

i think the theme has been re-evaluation.... as well as a continued simplifying of life.

the other has been focus.

as an Infinitely Interested person, and owning the Impatience Shadow, i have invited too much scattering into my life. i have had periods over the last few years before motherhood where i was bringing focus back in. now i seem to be returning to this place.

simplicity (not starkness) beckons daily. every day i release something - a bookmark/favorite, an rss feed, a book, an idea, a possible new interest...

and simplifying supports focus. so currently, i'm in this place - how can i invite more focus into my life?


autumn focus
playing with simplicity

i wrote the above about 4 days ago. after my withdrawal with the new moon, i've resurfaced renewed. once i released a few perceptions i had been clinging onto, clarity filled that space.

i am owning my most authentic purpose even more. i stopped forcing certain things. allowed an unfolding. double-checked my motivations.

and, i have a wonderful venture i will share with you in a couple of weeks.

i'm walking my path, focused.

Friday, November 5

joy pockets

the wood cooker's first firing up

hearing, i love yoo so much mama
winning a blogger appreciation award from the creative Briana
Ola being brave with labels and change
the girl suddenly taking to dancing
toys + high fat/sugar meals = no no
an idea for when they claim "i'm bored mama"

share with me your joy pockets this week

Wednesday, November 3

autumn depths

are you feeling the pull inwards? towards a wintery hibernation. or even for my southern friends, towards a scorpio new moon full of mysteries and insights and time to transform quietly?

playing with simplicity

our walks these days are filled with autumn secrecy. that silence that isn't silence at all.

Monday, November 1

mind decluttering iii

i wrote quite some time ago about mind decluttering. i've continued this process on and off, and as we head into a scorpionic new moon and winter up here in the north, well, my efforts are energised. i want to enter this hibernation cycle with renewed focus.

for anyone who is filled to the brim with ideas and life enthusiasm, you'll understand that this process is not an easy one. there is a lot of internal clinging.

some situations are totally emotional - but this is so much fun! and that could be so useful... one day.
these ones are of course difficult, but as they're clearly clinging, they can be dealt with by a determined declutterer.

others are trickier. like when you feel, or know, that cutting of or releasing effects others. will i be letting a whole bunch of people down? will they be disappointed? will so-and-so feel rejected? will they think i'm flaky or flighty or fickle? (don't ask me why they're all F words)

so the trickier ones require some willingness to be ruthless, or, to allow a natural unfolding of what will be, rather than force anything.

i always say - when in doubt, wait to decide.

but on the productive side, i have decluttered very well.

  • i have a pile of books to take back to UK when we visit (charity shops/thrift stores).
  • my feed reader was reduced just this past week from 167 feeds down to 121. (one of the tricky ones)
  • i re-organised bohemian shadows to be more of a portfolio than a blog, although it still has a blogging area. it means i feel less obligation to follow or comment on other arty blogs, and less guilt if i don't. 
  • i'm slogging through the indescribably large number of bookmarks/favourites. deleting, deleting.... 
  • on an almost daily basis i'm choosing to not follow a new interest or idea or bit of info.

it's about giving up even what is enjoyable, on the surface, for the sake of simplicity. Fact is, i find an infinite number of things enjoyable.... or feel i ought to do, or learn, or read, or.....

it's all about bringing in space to make room to then be filled by the top priorities, whatever they may be for each of us. as well as to leave some of that space unfilled.

unfilled space
phew.... how many of us struggle with that?

thing is, the deepest connections, the most healing self-awareness, and the height of creativity, actually happen in that unfilled space.

being filled to the brim is not the same as a full life.

i'm slowly allowing this learning to take firmer shape.