Springtime in the Soul

When I first began to embrace the seasonal celebrations embodied in Waldorf festivals, I was a very ambitious little mama. Armed with my copy of All Year Round and a host of inspiring blogs, I dreamed of making every wonderful project I got wind of. I wanted to do all the crafts and projects at once, to sit down and industriously—but peacefully! Don’t forget the peaceful part—whip out what I felt were the requisite adornments for whatever season we happened to be in.

If it was spring, well, that meant a bevy of flower fairies, wheat grass growing in a basket, eggs died with baths of cabbage and beets and onion skins. Spring meant knitted bunnies, paper windmills and kites, crowns with streaming ribbons in pastel colors, and bright new dresses to sew.

In addition to all this stuff to do there was the songs and fingerplays I wanted to learn, new recipes to try out, Easter and may-day parties to host or attend, and birthday presents to make. Oh, and garden beds to prepare for planting and seeds to start. It all seemed so good, so beautiful and fanciful. With so many possibilities laid out before me I felt compelled, nay, driven, to give it my all.

We live in a world so concerned with productivity and material achievement that it is easy to give myself over to how important and urgent all this feels.

Indeed, all of these things on my to-do list are well and good. Each has its place in bringing beauty and richness to life, to the slowly unfolding days. But to really feel the season moving in my soul, I have to slow way down. Almost to a stop.

When I release myself from that expectation of constant doing, I am able to connect more fully with the inner gesture of the season. From that stillness, I have found that the impulse we all have towards celebration and creativity comes bubbling up naturally enough. Things will get done. Not every thing, but the right things.

And so I’ve learned to chuck the springtime to-do list. Indeed, the natural world is busily taking care of the details—providing the perfect back drop of returning bird song, flowers poking up from the snow, rain bringing thaw and trees bursting into bloom. My dear friend scoffs at the idea of dying eggs. “Our goose just started laying again,” she says. “What could be more magical than that?”

Don’t get me wrong—we will be dying a few eggs. You bet we’ve got a nature table up with a basket of wheat grass and apple branches that refuse to bloom hung with Easter egg ornaments. And this was the year I finally got around to making a flower fairy. These are the small rituals that manifest my inner experience of renewal and beauty. Sometimes they even lead the way, nudging me like any good symbol does, towards the truth that is sometimes unseen.

I am learning, though, that the simpler, the better. That less is so much more. That I can save things for future years. That sometimes, what seems like a lovely idea, is really a big stress. And that my to-do list, no matter how Waldorfy, rushes me through the days, not just of Spring, but this brief season of life with my tiny children. And so I am reminding myself that it’s not simply what I do or make that brings meaning to anything. It is what lives in my heart and fills our days with grace. Attending to that is all I really need to do.

Our very small children are inherently reverent, in awe of the world they have so newly entered, and still connected to the divine place they come from. We can join them in that grace with our presence.

No knitted bunnies required.

March 11~Head, Heart, and Hands

Thinking:: a great deal about the new cooperative garden being created at the place where we already belong to a goat milking and chicken co-op. I am so excited that I’ve been making excel spreadsheets of seed starting calendars and a rotation for succession planting. As I plan the garden on paper, I am reminded of how other big dreams need to begin with a long gestation and a fair amount of thought. It’s happening in my journal, during conversations on the phone, at power lunches with other mamas with grand visions. Time alone will tell how much of this will flower and what the harvest might be.

Feeling:: full of love for a dear friend who passed away after a life filled with beauty and heart and hope. It is amazing how grief and gratitude can be two sides of the same coin. Feeling grateful for the drip drip of a recent snow melting into our rain barrels, and the hose channeling runoff  to the fruit trees. Feeling happy to be recovered from a day of flu, and also happy to have had a day of rest in which all I did was look deliriously at my children with delight and amazement. Feeling like it’s fine to accept the controlled mess that fills our home. It is a sign of life and joy and creativity. That we live here.

Doing:: deep cleaning, gathering with friends, visiting our favorite wetlands, singing spring songs, planning a birthday party, swapping meals, washing spring greens, and as ever, trying not to do too much of anything at all.

What are your head, heart, and hands up to? Please do tell!