The other day Aiden and I took a small photography trip to Hall Cemetery. A little cemetery for the historic village that is located one suburb away from our house.
It was a beautiful sunny Winter's day to explore the gravestones.
I was pleasantly surprised to see all the natural designs. So I've taken a few photos to share here.
They have a rare orchid that grows here amongst other rare grassland plants, and they've even gone to the lengths of asking people who have reserved plots where the orchids have taken up residence, to volunteer to move. Tricky. I don't think they are asking the current occupants of graves to get up and move!
Aiden went around straightening up the fallen vases and putting things to rights.
Afterwards we took a trip to the end of the road and had a picnic in the turnoff where gravel is dumped. Such a gorgeous view over the mountains.
Also on this road is an amazing monastery with silver roofs. The Free Serbian Orthodox Monastery.
Stunning! It seems very glamorous to be sitting there all alone amongst farmland.
Recently I made a YouTube video about our trip up the Moruya River on our tinnie
(small fishing boat). Here it is:
Although this was not a perfect video by any means, I released it anyway, as a snapshot in time. Showing our fun on the day, and my beginner skills with the camera.(Videoing from a moving boat requires rather a lot of skill!)
My theory is that we need to recognise and relish in our beginner mind.
I have too strong a tendency to judge myself and my work, and sometimes that is appropriate.
However over time I've found it is more useful for skill development, to allow the mistakes to occur, and sometimes in public! To make room for more understanding and ability.
Creative pursuits are rife with difficulties in this area, because we can so easily judge our poor attempts at painting or playing an instrument etc., and give up. How sad that is, if it is due to criticism, as opposed to a lack of desire.
'feel the beauty
of the origin of an idea.'
If we truly want to continue studying and growing in that area, we need to allow the mistakes, and the beginner mind to have its moment.
This can be challenging to our egos, especially when you are a person who usually performs at a high standard.
But there is a place there in the vulnerability and humbleness that can be a highly creative space.
We can allow more room for our ideas to flourish and our new thought patterns to develop, if we hold off on the judgement for a while.
Of course there is always a time to sit and reflect if we want to allow others to see this work.
But in this instance, after editing this video three times, and cutting it back by half (!), I decided to let you see the wobbles and wind gusts. To let you hear my silly singing, and include my son's beginner guitar playing, because we celebrate the attempt at creativity as much as the finished product.
I released this work so you can feel encouraged at my beginnings, and maybe have a go yourself.
We need to rejoice in our vulnerable starting points, and feel the beauty of the origin of an idea.
I think this mindset is why I love Unschooling so much. It is a space where we allow beginnings and endings. It is a place to explore our interests and desires. It makes room
for imperfections and creativity, and gives time to expand into ourselves.
I am finding as a parent who is Unschooling my mind is becoming more relaxed about "the way things should be". It is an expansion where we need to gently guide, be aware, but leave our hands off until absolutely needed or wanted. I am more able to trust that things will work out in time if we let them. My need for control of every little educational moment is releasing and I'm gaining such wonder of the naturally perfect learning my kids are creating in and around themselves.
We are creative people underneath, and if we can silence or ignore our critic long enough and open up to love and trust and play, we can find wells of new ideas just waiting to rise.
So do yourself a favour, and give it a go.
Open your hearts
to your simplicity
Celebrate the imperfect
the wobbly lines
at the sweet joys
of trembling tries
Let yourself laugh
at your playful
(I hope you like my playful creative examples above)
I write this post to help me process a recent occurrence in my life.
You may or may not know I have a relationship with a choir where I help out with vocal training. This year I branched out into helping with the warmups, to try and set the scene for the voice, as it were. Bringing in a little more vocal technique to help with achieving a better tone, increased breath control and higher notes.
Of course, being the creative soul I am, I couldn't just do the same warmups everyone else has used. I had to invent a whole new system.
So taking inspiration from my yoga class, I decided to incorporate some body work with some breathing and grounding exercises, before we started on the voice. Then, in order to keep people from just cranking into their voices and to facilitate relaxation, I created stories where people were to put in sound effects and little sung phrases, to create a whole and take people on a journey. Almost like a story meditation but with singing. It's a little difficult to describe, but it was a lot of fun.
However I had a five week break due to a family holiday, and when I returned the engagement from the choir just wasn't there. I persevered for a couple more weeks and then sent out an email survey to find out what people were thinking about my style.
Half of the respondents were on board and loving it, but half were either on the fence or actively negative. In particular one respondent tried to explain how two other conductors he knew did a similar thing but with much better results. He couldn't see how what I was doing was influencing the choir at all, or changing the sound.
I could have ignored his comment given the greater amount of positive feedback, but something wasn't right, and I was feeling a sense of disengagement from the choir overall.
I should mention this is the first time I've worked with such a large group (60 or 70 voices), and I struggled with my Asperger overload feedback loop in my brain. Whenever people sang my brain shut down for a second, and I lost all capacity to think. To counteract that, I wrote everything down, but this may have caused me to seem less engaging and able to think on my feet.
I'm not sure why I am so attracted to dancing on the edge of my abilities like this.
So I decided to pull out from the warmups, and from helping the choir overall for a while, to lick my wounds and reassess. If I had been paid, I would have pushed through the negativity, but being a volunteer, I didn't feel the need. It requires a lot of energy for someone of my sensitivities to overcome negative feedback, and I delayed issuing my survey knowing this about myself. But in the end I did it, and now have to live with the result. My precarious health and my kids' need of me, require me to be careful how I expend my energy, so I decided the environment was not ideal for me at this stage.
Leaving has been a hard decision because I really thought I might have finally found a place to hang my hat. I have a quirky way of relating to the world, and not every group or organisation can support it, but this choir was different I thought. I thought they might manage to go there with me, and maybe they would have in time, but somehow it didn't work out. I do wonder if we didn't have such a long break whether things would have been different. It has also been hard because this was my only real social outlet in my life.
Since I've left I have received some more emails saying how much they enjoyed my warmups, so that has been nice, but also induced a sense of guilt that I've abandoned people.
I think I am reacting so strongly to this situation because it is pushing buttons from throughout my life where I have been in a similar situation.
I seem to get to places where I can't see my way forward, perhaps I've run out of energy or other priorities arise, or I just can't do it anymore, and so I leave. I am not blessed with the ability to stumble along. This makes it seem like I leave things more than I complete them.
I'm not sure this is true, I have completed many things, including university degree, staying married for 29 years, studying singing for 10 years, many knitted garments etc. But I do struggle in groups when I don't have a direct connection with the people involved. Unfortunately being Aspie/gifted/highly sensitive, this can be many of the groups I attend.
Anyway I ask myself, what is wrong with knowing your own mind and deciding not to continue down a path that isn't suiting you? It is good to be proactive and design your life, even if it means making hard decisions.
I think I need to allow myself this process and not listen to the self critique that follows.
So once again I feel like I have something to share where I can't communicate what I can see, where I'm going deeply or intensely into it, and where many people can't follow. It seems such a shame.
My Mum says I'm throwing pearls before swine...but then Mum's are notoriously biased. Love you Mum! It's so nice to have a cheer squad, to know you are in my corner!
So, I start again, trying to find a place for my talents. At the moment I am cocooning, and pulling back into my domestic space. I feel like I never want to try to share anything creative again. But of course, in time I won't be able to help myself, and we'll be on the rollercoaster again!