28 November 2013

Holidays, tradition, and moving past the grief

It’s quiet in my house.  The sun is shining and I am sunk deeply into my couch under two vintage blankets that likely kept my great-grandmother warm on similar days as she sat in the same spot under the same roof.  There are many differences, however, as I reflect fondly on how it must have been in those days, how it was for the majority of my own life and how it has come to be now.

My grandmother grew up with a house full of family.  Her grandparents, maternal and paternal, her aunts, uncles and many family friends, who may as well have been family, spent their lives here.  If they didn’t live here they enjoyed just as many dinners in my kitchen as those who did.  I can still feel that energy surrounding me, even though the only other breathing soul here belongs to my dog.  Not just the energy from the generations that were here before me, but the energy from 33 years of holiday meals I was lucky enough to experience.

My grandmother was a baker.  She probably spent more hours in her kitchen than many people who have made a career out of cooking.  It’s no wonder she ended up putting carpet in the kitchen.  She was raised in a time where all of that which sustained a family was grown and raised right in your backyard, or at a neighbors farm within walking distance.  A time where meals were the backbone of the entire day, especially during the holidays.  There was no room for excuses or exceptions to not being present at the table for the meals that were the result of weeks and months of sowing and harvesting, hours of preparation over a stove by hands that poured soul into what would nourish the body and spirit.  Not just the physical presence, but the connection between those who sat next to each other in appreciation of it all.

The sounds are still fresh in my mind, though not as fresh as the smell that still resides in my own soul.  Sitting here right now, in this empty house, I can still smell it all just as if her meals were warming on the stove as I type.  I remember it so vividly and can hear the sound of the meat cutter as my dad carved the turkey in preparation for its sacred spot in the middle of the table.  As a child, my job was usually to fill the water glasses.  That’s at least one thing that hasn’t changed, as we still drink the same water from the same well that was dug by hand before my grandmother was even born.

My most cherished memory?  Her pumpkin pie.  I have yet to eat a pumpkin pie that comes close to comparing to hers.  I believe she poured her love and affection for me into every one that she made as it was my favorite from the very first bite that crossed my lips.

And now, as I sit here in silence, thinking about all of this, four years now that she has been gone from my physical life, I think I’m ready to let go of my grief for what’s been lost and try to rebuild the holidays and their traditions again.  As much as I have accepted her tragic departure from this earth and have moved on in many ways, the holidays have been largely ignored.  Next weekend, my children and I will spend our time in the kitchen baking cookies with her recipes, from scratch, as we listen to Christmas music on her record player, just like I used to do as a child.  And as I watch my boys eyes light up when they roll out the dough with the same wooden rolling pin and create their cookies with the same vintage tin cookie cutters that were used by generations before me, I will happily feel her spirit standing next to me, smiling.

20 November 2013

Decision and Indecision

This journey continues.  I've been conflicted in whether to continue to take on photography work on a professional level and the answer still doesn't seem to be clearly presenting itself.  I've been letting go for a while, finishing up the processing from the sessions that filled every free moment of the past two months while trying not to make a decision.  Thinking that the answer will come to me when the time is right.

The time comes and goes, and comes and goes again.

After I finished all my scheduled shoots at the end of October, I made it clear that I was taking a break. Yet somehow the work continued to present itself.  So I thought that maybe I wasn't meant to quit it, at least not just yet.  And I never really planned to completely quit, yet there are also times that I don't want anything to do with it any more.

This is the Libra quality I struggle with most.  Trying to find balance in my life, I struggle with making decisions more than anything.  I rely on my intuition, and have been trying to pay more attention to it and base my perceptions, views and choices on where my deepest inner self is leading me. Mostly it's been leading me to paths that are beneficial to me and that teach me important lessons and aide me in finding parts of myself that I've been searching for. Yet, this one decision has been eating away at me like a vulture chews away at roadkill in between passing cars.

It comes and goes, and comes and goes again.

There are other things I feel drawn to concentrate on more than providing my photography services in this business sense and I truly believe that I'm meant to explore and hone in on them further.  There are other creative avenues of photography I want to explore and work on further, but I'm being pulled to other creative outlets and life paths too.

There is a part of me that just isn't ready to let go of the business, even though I already have in some ways.  I shut down the website, I let my domain expire, even though I'm still in talks with potential clients and going through the motions of taking on a little more work.  But it's slowly coming to an end.  The vulture seems to be picking away at scraps now as I fight against letting it finish its meal.

I know it's time.  And if I can be just completely balls-out honest?  The only thing keeping me from letting it go is pride.  I know that I didn't fail at running this business.  But the little ego-based voices in my head are doing a good job of trying to make me see it that way.  But everything that I've done has led me to where I am and I truly believe that I am where I'm supposed to be.  I have a great job at a great place; one that provides me with a sense of accomplishment, appreciation, a great group of co-workers (who also happen to be friends!), a fantastic boss, a flexible schedule, and a steady paycheck.  And I couldn't be happier.  Had I not left my state job, I wouldn't be here right now.  Had I not taken the leap to start this business I wouldn't realize that it's not what I'm meant to do.

I enjoy photography.  I enjoy shooting weddings.  I love capturing the completely free expressions of a child running and exploring their surroundings.  But I don't love running a business and relying on the economy for an income.  And I don't love marketing and promoting and advertising and many other aspects of it.

Yes, I believe it's time to let it go.

12 November 2013

no more knotty

Just over two months of not brushing my hair, letting it take on a life of its own as the strands twisted and turned into each other, I decided to take a comb to it.  The answer is simple, yet complicated.  For one thing, it's knitting season.  This is the time of year I spend a ridiculous amount of time with my ass planted on my couch, under a blanket with a ball of yarn and a set of circulars attached to me like another appendage.  And I like hats.  Last season I could have supplied a small country with the amount of hats I knit.  Unfortunately when I put one of my favorites on for the first time a couple weeks ago I realized that my dreads were stretching them out.  And I knew that if I continued on this journey the hats would just stretch further, or else I'd have to knit some slouchy hats, which would be fine, but alas....the time had come.

And it wasn't just the hats.  To be honest, I was starting to feel like a mess.  Obvious from my last post, my hair was becoming a tangled web that required much more attention than I had the time, or energy, to pay to it.  September and October were crazy busy months for photography work and I've spent the past few weeks editing the results.  On top of a full time job, two energetic children, a house that is in a perpetual state of remodeling, and the every-day stuff, I just didn't have time to spend taking care of my dreads.  I didn't, and don't, have the time to form them, help them along and baby them the way they were asking me.

Do I feel like I failed?  Do I regret brushing them out and giving up on the journey when it was only beginning?  No, not at all.  Because I didn't fail and the journey is far from over.  The dreads were merely a part of a much bigger journey; one that I'm still on and will be on for quite some time I'm sure. It felt really, really, REALLY GOOD to brush my hair out.  It felt amazing to wash it the next day and see it lay perfectly around my face, all shiny and still healthy.  Yes, most importantly, my hair did not lose any of the glow and luster that it's always had.  I'm certain that part of the reason for letting it go in the first place was so that I could come back to this point and appreciate my long, thick, strawberry-blonde tresses, because for a long time I've felt my hair was a burden.

The next step?  I'm letting it grow long again.

What else?  I'm taking another big step and fitting in a yoga class this week.  It's ridiculously sad that I've been working here for two months now and haven't made the time to go up one flight of stairs and take an hour of time to give my body the attention it needs.  And the goal is to make a habit of doing it at least once a week. My limbs, my muscles, they beg me for it.  And I miss the way I used to move my body when I was younger.  No plans on becoming an olympic gymnast, but I do hope to be able to do a back walkover again!

For now?  My latest knitting creation is within arms reach, and I'm logging out to finish it up.

01 November 2013

Mercury In Retrograde

Apparently when Mercury is in Retrograde we are supposed to reflect more than communicate.  This is proven to me as the wifi at my office is totally fritzing on a  minute to minute basis.  And I've felt pretty scattered in the past week, but it is what it is, and to the contrary I feel like this is the best time for me to write and get out all the shit that's in my head.

Tonight I spent a bit of time on my porch writing in my journal.  These beautiful fall days are probably on their way out as I type and tomorrow will most likely bring more true to the season weather.  I seem to do my most intimate and deep writing when I'm sitting on my porch, with the late afternoon sun warming me, soaking it all up.  Winter seems to keep me stuck to my couch, mostly with the knitting needles in my hands, which is fine, but I really need to create a space to do real writing during these cold months.

I attempted to work at my dreads tonight.  I made one last week with the twist and pull method and the same day it started coming out.  I pulled it out and tried to wrap it with some embroidery floss but there's no way I can accomplish this task myself as it's really hard to see, even with my glasses on.  So then I tried to create a new one at the top of my head using the same twist and pull method.  Didn't work.  Tonight apparently isn't the right time to work on my dreads.

I'm guessing that I just need to continue to let them dread themselves.  My hair is telling me what it wants to do and rather than try to control it, I need to let it do what it wants.

It's a fucking mess.  Really.  I wake up in the morning and it's crazy looking, and I try to calm it, and that really works.  Mostly.  But it seems like the more I try to force them the worse it all looks.  

Life is much the same.  Force something and it gets all fucked up. And I can carry this with me in other areas, which is why I'm on this journey.....to help me learn patience.  Because I really need to learn patience. It's the process, after all, that is where the depth is found.  Sure, my hair is a mess, and so are other things, but isn't the beauty actually found in the mess?  It's the crazy, messy parts that bring us to the most meaningful experiences?  Sometimes having no answer to the craziness brings more experience too.  

I'm trying, really, really hard, to embrace the moment, the process, every intricate and meaningful moment.  Not just in terms of my hair, but in so many other areas.  And I'm reminded of the beauty in all of it every time I look at each of the dreads forming.  They twist, turn and pull themselves in and out of the locks in their own way, much as the rest of my life seems to be unfolding in it's own crazy way.

More to come :)

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40. mother. earth lover. mover. creater.