Saturday, 20 June 2015

Conscious slowing

I'm often driven by a frantic feeling of rush and tear.  This is partly due to the fact that I'm so determined to live a low carbon life that I try to do it all NOW.  Grow our veggies, cook all our food, raise animals for milk and meat.  Mend, sew, build....  The feeling is compounded by the responsibility of teaching my children at home.

Lately I've been reflecting on our busy lives because I've been panicking somewhat about my children's education. Trying to squeeze in lessons and still get organised in the veggie garden and on the farm.  Life was feeling crazily out of control with me sitting at the pivotal centre point. Pressure!
My scrap paper with shorter lists - what I get done is good enough
However, thinking about my alternatives (school) quickly snapped me out of it. I don't want my children in school.  And I certainly don't want them there just because I'm bad at time management!  That would not be the right reason to make such a major life change for them and for me.

Tossing up all my options had me thinking about the upsides to the way we do things and one of the biggest advantages is that we are not tied to other people's schedules.  We are masters of our own time.  With this in mind, I decided to shrug off that feeling of being constantly on the run.  We can only do, in a day, what is possible.  Besides, all the panicking in the world doesn't help me achieve more. 

We live a beautiful life full of gentle chores like caring for the animals, gardening, preparing food etc.  We go about our days on a hill with views that I love, surrounded by bush, birds, kangaroos and the occasional echidna.  I need to maintain a wider view rather than shrinking it down to all the things I haven't accomplished right here in the house and yard.

With this in mind, instead of trying to do more to achieve the organised, perfect life I feel I should be living (you know, the one with no kid's toys dumped where they played, a tidy lounge and clean stove top) I have decided to enjoy our process.  Each day I have taken the time to make a family breakfast and eat together at the table in a leisurely fashion.  This starts us all off in the right frame of mind.  Life is good!  It's meant to be enjoyed.  
Before the children wake, I put the pot of porridge on the fire and set the table with bowls, glasses, water, honey, yoghurt, some fresh fruit or maybe leftover honey baked quinces...  whatever I can think of to make it an enjoyable meal.  No more letting them get their own puffed rice or simply plonking some porridge in front of them.  They're loving the new routine.  Within a week of 'proper' breakfasts, I've heard them discussing at night what they hope might be on the table the next morning.  How lovely that they go to bed anticipating the next day with pleasure!  The small sacrifice of a little time has completely changed the mood of the mornings.  My children feel cosy and nurtured.

And, as if aware of my internal angst, all three children have convinced me that they are learning well.  Pumpkin (8 yrs) has been ravenously devouring books from the library faster than I can borrow them,  Belle (12 yrs) pulls out the lap top in the evening, after milking, and continues research for her project on Peru with enthusiasm while Buddy (9 yrs) has mastered a new skill.  In the last week he has grasped the concept of addition while he works with an online program augmented with cuisenaire blocks.  He uses the blocks to represent the dots that flash up on the screen and then disappear.  He has to remember the dots, group the correct amount of blocks, then counts them up and uses terms like "two and three altogether is..." and "two and five makes...".  The use of the different phrases shows me he truly understands the concept now rather than just learning by rote.  He then enters his answer on the computer to see if he gets a tick.  He was even heard this week exclaiming, "I'm a genius!" as he received a tick.  Yes my boy, you truly are!  Thank you kids for proving, in such a timely manner, that you are indeed learning.
I look around the room at a bench that needs to be tidied, clothes that need to be folded, a floor that needs to be swept.  I know that I will bake today if we are to have snacks.  I will be going to town to the stock feed store.  All these tasks I will complete as I am able, after feeding the chooks, checking water and letting out the goats.  And if I don't get them done today I will do them tomorrow.  I am treating my chores as I would the children.  I'm putting my foot down and telling them not to scream at me.  "Chores, just speak to me quietly, say 'excuse me' and then wait nicely.  I will get to you when I can."

Now if you need me you'll find me outside doing my work whilst stopping to smell the roses.  Have a great weekend!


Unknown said...

What a lovely post Linda ! Yes the chores will wait for you ... Telling them to speak softly to you & not roar at you - love it ! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day & what's more wonderful then sitting down together to start the day as a family! Live in the Moment as much as I can these days due to poor health . Your children sound like they have a good teacher in you ! Have a lovely weekend & take care .

Anne@ArtyGreen in Paradise said...

Yeah, guilt can be a crippler if we let it be. A good resolution. Kind of like that quote "You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf" from Jon Kabet-Zinn Ride those waves!

narf7 said...

We are led to believe that we can do and have it all right "NOW!" but that is a lie that has us all feeling incredibly guilty because we can't keep up. Leading a slower, more meaningful life is more important than a few dust mice (of course we won't let them get to "bunny" stage ;) ) and some crumbs on the floor. I loved this post. I too am trying to find time to do what matters at the moment. Our world is manic and our studies are incredibly demanding and we are feeling a bit left behind in the wash. I think our modern pace drags us too far, too fast. At the end of the day, what the heck are we racing towards! This is a good reminder to slow down and take time and enjoy the heck out of our little moments that in reality, make up our lives. Cheers for this Linda :)

Cheryl said...

Well said Narf7!

Thank you for finding time in your busy schedule to send me some Perennial Leeks! They are in the ground, and fingers crossed they will live :)

I can see you have come to the conclusion that "things can wait" Maybe if you sectioned your day up, farm jobs a couple of hours in the morning, school a few hours, house a few hours, rest, farm a couple more hours (or whatever schedule works for you) you get done what you can in that time for that task, at an enjoyable pace...not racing the clock...then what doesn't get done doesn't matter, it rolls on in to tomorrow. At least that way each main area gets attention every day.

Kathy said...

What a lovely way to start the day al together with a healthy breakfast. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

Kathy said...

My kids are grown and married and I have one granddaughter. When we all get together for holidays or just visits (they live 13 hours away) we never talk about the clean house or the well manicured lawn. They talk about our adventures and trips and the things we did together! You are on the right track. It is just my hubby and I now and the house is clean, we get things done in our time, it is quieter than it used to be - and we miss them...
Enjoy your time now, it never comes again!

Linda said...

Hi Gayle, I love the concept of living in the moment but constantly have to draw myself back from worrying about future events.

What a great quote Anne!

Narf7, I saw a meme on fb this week that talked of the cleaning fairy being murdered by dust bunnies. It gave me a giggle coz I think mine may have been suffocated this way!

Cheryl, I'm forever tossing around different methods to stay organised. That's exactly what I want to fight against atm. I just want to productively live each day without being so results driven! I'm so glad the leeks arrived. Let me know how they go.

Yep, it's great Kathy A. We're really enjoying it!

Thanks Kathy, that's a good reminder for me. Another reason to keep in my head for enjoying life as it comes.

Tracey said...

Ditto, ditto ditto! It could have been me writing that post. I too am trying to give myself a tiny break here and there and realise what is most important. Keep it up Linda, you're doing a beautiful job!