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Posts Tagged ‘creative parenting’

As you may know already, Jamaica is pretty rugged. Life and weather arrive and disappear in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it’s rough. Sometimes it’s sad. And most of the time it’s not easy for children to grasp the concept of people, pets and plants going back to the earth. Or as we say in modern times, death.

Yesterday, we lost our cherished, little friend Mylo (pronounced My yo in our household as we are still working on annunciating l’s). Mylo was a survivor and lived through the tumultuous storms and floods of 2010. You may remember we were trapped (by rain) up in the hills and could not get to the GPs to protect them. We finally arrived home to find Mylo, shaking, hungry and terrified but her sister, Spot, and babies, weren’t as lucky. We nursed our beloved, last remaining Guinea Pig back to health and she’s been fine ever since. Until, just the other day when she became a little sluggish. Mylo died at home yesterday morning. The transition appeared peaceful. Ultimately, we think it was a heart attack.

Living in Jamaica, the children have become excellent grievers. Over the years, they have lost three grandparents, a couple of close aquaintances, fish, guinea pigs and their best friend, Cree Dawg. As parents we have discovered how crucial it is to provide opportunities for them to participate in the ritual and celebration of life and it’s passing. And so, we have fabricated several funerals.

Mylo’s celebration and burial was particularly heart warming. The children gathered flowers, made a heart and Iz (6) wrote out the head stone himself. We buried Mylo early in the day and returned after nap to decorate the grave site. Beautiful songs were sung. Memories laughed about and many, many, tears were shed. It almost broke my heart. Mylo was “such a pretty yady” (lady). “We yoved her so much.”

I think it’s important to help children through rites of passage. Allowing them to guide a ceremony for lost loved ones is empowering and healing. In some ways, I am sad that they have witnessed so much loss. At the same time, I realize how spiritually connected they are to life and nature. Gratitude.

Yesterday evening, as the babes headed outside for a sunset, ackee picking session, I overheard Izra say to his little sister,

“Miwi (meely), life comes and it passes. It’s alright, baby, that’s just how it goes.”

One Love, walk good, RIP Dear Mylo…

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We have really amazing animal luck. I mean, it’s not like we go looking for pets. Seriously, other than the guinea pigs we’ve never actively sought pets to bring home. And yet…. Somehow, over the years we have ended up with a dog (who unfortunately passed away last year), a one legged chicken and her ever growing posse of hens, a couple of cocks (roosters), eight chicks and a tankful of very dramatic fish. And as of yesterday we are also the privileged guardians of a partridge. Yes, as in, a pear tree. I know right? Where did this extended family of creatures come from? We are sanctified with visits and strays, each arriving in a colorful array; Jamaica’s version of the animal kingdom.

Around here we believe that animals are magic. They carry a history of symbolism, folklore, cultural significance, signs and wonders to the human family. When we pay attention, and learn how to read them, we can garner valuable lessons from the messages they bear. Thus, when the wounded, baby, partridge arrived on our veranda we were immediately curious as to the meaning of it’s visit.

With a little research we’ve determined that partridges (part of the pheasant family) bring stories of fierce independence, love, fertility and cunning powers of deception. If the female birds feel threatened by a predator they will sometimes fake lameness or wounds to ward danger away from the nest. Yup. Total tricksters (for the greater good of course). Who knew?

Our partridge, Free Bird, aka Chippy, appears to have flown the roost to soon.

For me, birds are always a symbol of freedom and living above the hustle. Independence inspired. Flight. Migration, etc., hmmmmm, (more on this topic soon). I have intentionally avoided the acquisition of any more pets until we are settled on our own piece of land. But by some stroke of animal fortune, we continue to receive temporary and permanent invitations from the universe to act as care takers for some of the most vulnerable. What a blessing. Our plan is to nurse the bird back to health and flight status and release it into it’s natural habitat. The King has created a make shift cage that should be quite comfortable for our new found friend. And the children are beyond themselves with joy and responsibility.

Have you received any animal messages as of late? Do tell. I love this stuff!

One Love, walk good, Welcome, Freebird Chippy…

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For the short version of this post skip to paragraph 4.

I do embrace the clean slated energy of Monday. Usually with zing. But, I must admit, sometimes Mondays, Tuesdays and frankly, any day of the week can grow unremarkably dull. The groceries, the bills, meal prep, laundry, domestic chores, home school, nap time, washing dishes, day in, day out, can leave a whole heap to be desired. I know, you know what I mean. It’s particularly challenging to lively up the dailies when faced with living in a rural area. I find myself missing the hustle and buzz of the big city, and most of all the chance to connect with dozens of conscious people, artists, musicians, baristas. Enlightened faces in general, make my day.

A few nights ago, my five year old held up his hand and proudly shared that “some people “call this baby finger, a pinky”. Hmmmmm, true. Did he just learn of this? This? From the boy who tells me he wants to build a house in Madagascar because it’s “highly populated with chameleons”. In a flash, I realized that there are a gazillion things I already know, that my babes are just learning or have yet to learn. I mean, simple things, like pinky fingers, hold huge fascination and W O W factor!

This is a reoccurring realization (if that’s even possible). It’s not that I forget the fact we can move mountains in home school and still be turning over pebbles in the daily. I think I just tuck it away for safe keeping. So I can be pleasantly surprised and deeply aware of fleeting glimpses of children’s light speed growth and comprehension. It’s precious and reminds me to look at every little thing with a spirit of discovery, exploration and excitement.

Here’s a tip, when things are feeling gray, dreary and repetitive to a point of nausea, peel your peepers a little wider. Look high, look low. Pretend you have the eyes and curiosity of an infant or even better, a toddler. Like things are still new. Enter Canon. My camera gives me toddler eyes. Through the lens, everything is new, challenging and often full of W O W factor!

Yesterday, for the weekly food shopping pilgrimage, I carried my camera in hand instead of in my purse. Generally, not a particularly exciting endeavor, going out for groceries, with my Canon in tow is way more intriguing. We stopped before we reached the main road so I could snap a few shots. See photo above. This flower and a multitude of other little things (that I don’t ordinarily take notice of) added up to a way better trip. Easy right? Just add camera!

How do you infuse the mundane with a little fun?

One Love, walk good, stoked for studio time today…

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When there are no words…

I wish for you the infinite presence, comfort and love of the Divine Feminine.

Where my Queens at???

One Love, walk good, reveling in my maternal instincts this fine, family, day…

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My daughter is a budding cubist. And although I am generally not fond of “ists” and “isms”, I am encouraging her exploration of of this radical and revolutionary art form. As of late, her style of artistic expression is leaning more and more in this direction. I am blown away by some of the images she produces. Complex beyond my comprehension. She has opened my eyes to forgotten flames of art history.

Today  I post this image, Mila’s drawing, De Wirld, (The world).

A reminder to keep looking at the world around me in new and surprising ways. I am deconstructing and reconstructing my own ideas and images in divine and delicious fashion. I am so much more aware of how art and creating an artful life completely consumes my being, intentions and expression in physical and cyber space.

All because of my darling, artist babes.

All because they accept nothing less than wild, creative, passion and abandon.

For years now, we have drawn and cut out animals, and the occasional character (more show and tell on this later). To a tune of hundreds and likely over a thousand paper creatures. At some point they were taking up the space, spilling out of doorways and windows, swept away by the breeze and the broom.

I have since corralled them in ziplock bags and houses that we’ve made from recycled oatmeal boxes. But the zoo has finally grown beyond capacity. We had a talk about this the other day and decided to incorporate all drawn and cut out animals, superheroes and characters into a large painting. This way we can preserve and injoy them while freeing up some valuable shelf/storage space.

Now, it occurs to me how dramatically the King (my husband, baby fadda) and I have improved and honed our sketching and animal drawing skills. The joy, frequency and mild frustration associated with such tasks has crossed over into our routine in colorful ways. I think the King would not have admitted to being an artist a couple of years ago. But now my babes refer to him as the best artist in the family.

Awesome.

C’mon, you know you’re an artist! How have the little people in your life inspired you to be more than you imagined you could be? How do you express your creative passion in the physical or cyber world. Have you turned up your creativity lately?

One Love, walk good, parenting artfully…

 

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