Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Vegetarian and the Fish

AJ has been talking about going fishing for a couple of months now. My brother Geoff and his wife, Viv, came to visit about the time his interest started. I know that they like to fish so I asked if they would like to teach AJ and they were keen. We just had to arrange a time that suited everyone, which came last weekend. Even though they live on a houseboat, it's on dry dock at the moment. So he hired a party pontoon and we enjoyed cruising out past Bribie Island.

Sometimes we stopped at some quiet beaches, sometimes we stopped in the middle of the water. Here's Uncle Geoff showing Nicholas how to use a hand reel:

And all of the kids in the water having a go:

I am a vegetarian, but not one of those that eat fish! When people find out I'm veg, they often ask me "do you eat chicken or fish?". Well if I DID, that wouldn't make me a vegetarian now would it? Why do people think that being a vegetarian just means you don't eat cows? Or that chicken and fish somehow aren't meat? I no longer go into a big rant about it, but if I'm asked, I just chose it to be an opportunity to enlighten the asker in a gentle way.
I initially became a veg without intending to. Over 15 years ago I tried the 'Fit for Life' program. After 6 weeks I realised that I had not eaten any meat in that time and I'd never felt better in my life! So I stayed veg. Cary turned veg for quite a while too, and his focus was more on the animal rights side which encouraged my interest in that area. We were members of PETA for a couple of years and that sort of thing.
So I went along on this fishing expedition, with no intention of getting involved. I completely handed the reins over to Geoff and Viv in that department, and I enjoyed being on the water, hanging out with family, the sunshine, the peace, the breeze. Totally accepting the fact that other people eat fish and the fact that AJ was so interested in learning about it. But not wanting anything to do with it.
So we were stopped at one quiet area in the water, and everyone else had some kind of line in the water. I was just sitting back enjoying the moment. I noticed that Nicholas and Summer were getting their hand lines close and I didn't want them to get tangled so I suggested that Nicholas moved over next to where I was sitting. I helped him get positioned and as I was suggesting he hold his hand reel on the inside of the boat (so it didn't accidentally fall in) and he can just hold the line in the water on the outside of the boat like 'this' (and I held the line)....we got a bite! I was so shocked that I let go of the line, not wanting there to be a fish on it really. But there was and Nicholas was jumping up and down so I pulled the fish up. Nicholas was sooooo excited! I was still in shock. Luckily it was too small so it was released. But it was the only fish caught that day so he was pretty pleased with himself.

Uncle Geoff let all of the kids have a turn of driving which they thought was fantastic!

Thanks G & V...we had a great time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

natural parenting

From the time Summer was born, we have been doing "attachment parenting". It's based on tribal child-raising practices. I have just come across this great article by Sagacious Mama, of why western style AP doesn't always work as well as it does for the tribal mamas. Basically, it's because we do not live in tribes. Of course! But how many of us try to replicate those philosophies - carrying our babes in slings during the day, sleeping with them at night, being there for every single moment?... Tribal mamas share those things with other family members. They are not the sole provider of care, and even when they are caring for their babes, they are surrounded by support 24/7, unlike western mamas who might get that kind of support just a couple of hours a week.

I am not saying that western-style AP cannot work, but perhaps there is a way it can work better than it is. I know there have been many times when I've felt drained and lost sight of who I am as a person and as a wife, in my attempt to be the best AP mama I could be. I think we need to start by better gentler with ourselves. Knowing it's okay to say "no" to requests that would over-stretch us, knowing it's okay to put ourselves first sometimes, knowing it's okay to have a trusted friend or family member stay with our kids for a while so we can have a date with ourselves or our partner.

In the absence of larger tribes, I see the value in extended families sharing a home, or at least sharing some land. Community living is becoming much more popular as people are realising that they have been missing something by living in crowded cities, yet so isolated from community.

I am proud of the way I have parented my children so far. I do wish though, that I would have had someone say "it's okay to let others be involved in this - it won't give your mama power away, your children will still love you". Maybe they did say that, but I wasn't listening because I thought that others would then do it their own way and not my way and that would be confusing for the kids. So..much better to have a stretched out mama who was sometimes too tired to be any thing for any one. No.

I cannot change the past, but I am ready to actively create my future that includes settling in an area where we can stay and form bonds and be a part of a community. A blend of tribe and western life. I don't plan on giving up the internet or libraries or my car. I do plan on growing food and growing friends and growing family and growing... connections. To find a balance of being present for my children, and being in touch with who I am, and not being afraid to share either.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Following Your Heart...

"...and what does it mean," I asked, "to follow your heart?" She laughed and beat on her drum. "So you want my secret recipe?" she said. I said yes.
"To follow your heart is as simple as closing your eyes and listening to the rhythm of your soul song. Once you find the beat you will always walk in tune..."

- from 'The Persistence of Yellow' "a book of recipes for life." by Monique Duval

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I've been reading the Ringing Cedars (Anastasia) series of books. At times I've felt incredible joy, at times I've felt as though my relatively simply life could be oh so much more simple and meaningful. The books are waking up parts of me that I already knew and showing how it could be possible to live a life even richer in connection to the earth and spirit and others. They have me questioning so many details of my life - from noticing little things like new shoots and natural gifts (more often than I already did), to bigger things like where and how I live, eat, think, act, speak, etc. As I continue this journey, the 'coincidences' increase, my awareness expands and at times I feel very sensitive. I'm trying to process these new (old) thoughts and feelings and I am longing for some absolute quiet, -no man-made sounds only the sound of the ocean or the bush...which I'm just not finding. Maybe accepting that is a part of the process.

It is time for the Jacaranda trees to show their glorious purple colours. We went for a drive through some country-type areas 10 minutes from our house where I tried to capture the colour, but this does not do it justice.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Peace fun

We went to a Peace Walk in Byron Bay on Sunday. It was a part of the - the actual part of the world march in Australia was happening in Sydney, but this was a local gig to support that effort and help raise the energy. The theme: "We want Peace and Non-Violence".
AJ's foot :

Nicholas walking a little labyrinth that I drew in the sand.

Summer and a new friend drawing "the biggest peace sign" in the sand.

To get to this event, we had left our place in beautiful sunshine and drove almost an hour, into rain and cool weather. The weather was not very nice and we thought the Walk may be cancelled. But we parked, wrapped ourselves in towels and blankets and wandered down to the beach where the walk was to take place. We found one other family there - a homeschooling mama (who had arranged the walk) and her three kids. The rain held off for a while so we played on the sand to see if anyone else wanted to brave the weather. No one did, but it was ok because we had a fabulous time! We clicked so well with this other family, like we had been friends for a long time. We ended up going back to their place for the afternoon. The kids found plenty to amuse themselves...the pegs were a big hit! -

Friday, October 02, 2009

a conversation...

Nicholas ran up to me and asked "Mama, are we real?"
Trying to understand his meaning, I slowly said "wellllllllll, if we are not real, what else could we be?"
Nicholas: "Robots"
Me: "hmm, I guess that depends on how awake we are. I think you are very real!"
Nicholas, with a huge grin: "Yeah!"

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Original Play

Here is a link to a little video about Original Play by Playing By Heart author, O. Fred Donaldson . He talks about there being a big difference between how a lot of people play with their kids (because we just didn't know any other way), and how animals in the wild play with their own kind. A lot of play with kids, especially boys, is based on rough-housing, wrestling, tickling - with an underlying feeling of it being controlling and agressive. In nature, animals will still wrestle, but in a much more fluid manner - imagine dolphins gliding over and around each other, rather than ramming into each other.

There are three parts to this series, if you have limited time, just watch the second part.

Click on Original Play, then Original Play again and then the part you want to watch.