Letting go

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Right now, I see nature doing a lot of letting go: leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, green, life. It’s Autumn’s  job and what I, like many who follow a nature-based spirituality, hear nature calling me to do in my own life at this time. As part of my Autumn equinox celebrations, I consider this question of what it is that I need to release; what habits. what patterns of thinking, what goals, what projects, what chapters in my story. This year, as part of our equinox activities, I made a little “stream” in our garden like the one here (but less effective, due to the lack of hill!) and some walnut shell boats a bit like these (but less, um, upright).

It had been a bit of a hard day in Mama-ville with Little Mr Toddler being, well, a toddler. As the three of us stood in our darkening garden with our boats, Dylan contemplating vocally exactly when he would get to pour all the water into the stream, I contemplated what I was letting go of; what I’d like to sail away from me into the darkness. I found myself silently lamenting the fact that yet another seasonal festival had come to an air of tension and frustration all round. Each time, I strive and want for these festivals to be joyful, beautiful days of celebration. In striving for that – through various activities. little rituals, food and plans – I probably expect a bit too much really. Too much of myself, the already-busy, often-tired Mama who in all honesty could do with less doing and more being; of also-busy, also-tired Rob who splits himself between the roles of work-Rob and Daddy-Rob; and of Dylan, too young to understand and really appreciate the symbolism and meaning of many of the things I’d tried to weave into the day.  It had been too much. I started to feel guilty about it; how would Dylan ever see celebrating the seasons positively if he associated them with stress? How could I have prioritised these activities over just savouring and honouring stillness? The answer I harvested was that I probably needed to in order to realise I need to let go of some of my often-high expectations. My hope is that in expecting less, I will find myself more grateful and feel more blessed with abundance instead of thinking so much about what I didn’t do or have. The shift will be easier said than done.

Our little boats wobbled over and ignored the water trying to bob them along. My life these days seems one long u-turn from my teenage perfectionism. Goodbye, high expectations; I know some of you will stay with me like those odd leaves that cling onto their branches all winter long. But I’ll feel lighter with fewer of you. I’m sure. ♥

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2 thoughts on “Letting go

  1. Ah the performance pressure of a “perfect” festival! I also struggle with my own (rather tight) expectations and that can be a barrier to doing anything at all (why bother if it won’t be perfect?) TBH i think too much emphasis is put into “doing” festivals “for the children”. I’d say (horror of horrors) don’t. Don’t put the focus on your children, celebrate the festival because you want to celebrate it. Do what you’d do anyway (as much as is practical), with perhaps one small simple nod towards an activity. Honestly, with small children, if you can light a candle and say a few words, plus read a relevant story, you’re doing well. 😉

    The one ‘festivally’ craft my children have always enjoyed as a whole (ie, so far all of them) is jam jar lanterns and making dragon bread. Activity-wise, anything with fire they enjoy. Only Nin has ever put in much additional effort into anything else (baking solstice biscuits and celebration cakes, any sort of symbolic/intentional/magickal activity, etc)

    That said I always find The Winter Solstice/Christmas time hard work (a lot of that due to navigating wider family pressures and expectations)

  2. Thanks for your wise words. Yes, it is hard not to get carried away in expectations – particularly when those of others come into it (like you say- Christmas). It’s interesting re-reading this post a year since I wrote it. In many of the festivals we’ve celebrated since, I’ve seen now that less can often create more. More space for enjoying the magic of the one simple activity we did; more calm to be conducive to an air of celebration! Your saying how your children enjoy fire-related activities also reminded me of how I’ve sometimes chosen an activity that actually doesn’t suit us all as a family – and so created stress and disappointment!

    Ha – we made an autumn leaf jam-jar lantern this afternoon and both enjoyed it! (All hail the magic of fire!)

    Wishing you and yours many happy simple celebrations ahead.x

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