Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a Manifesto

From the Freaky Salon. Since I am not a "performer" - attention seeking, extroverted, flamboyant possibly - but not a performing-type performer, I decided to do a dramtic reading. Of what? Couldn't find anything I really wanted to read, so I wrote something. As promised, here it is:

On Being Me

A Manifesto

I believe in Love.

(an easy one right? even trite, maybe, sappy, romantic, sentimental, but Love is at the core of my heart and being, it all starts with Love)

I believe in art, in beauty, in nature, in relationship, in family, in God.

(so generic, so broad, cloying, true. So how do all these beliefs manifest in my life? How do these generalizations specifically show up? How does a belief in love, and a love of belief, define a manifesto?)

I believe in surrender.

American Heritage Dictionary defines surrender as:

  1. To relinquish possession or control of to another because of demand or compulsion.
  2. To give up in favor of another.
  3. To give up or give back (something that has been granted): surrender a contractual right.
  4. To give up or abandon: surrender all hope.
  5. To give over or resign (oneself) to something, as to an emotion: surrendered himself to grief.

I believe in surrender.

(I believe that I do not always live my beliefs)

I believe in motherhood.

(motherhood. Motherhood? I mean really, whose definition of motherhood? What am I saying, exactly? Do I believe in the actual process of becoming a mother? Something that concrete, or is it more abstract?)

I believe in the actual process of becoming a mother.

I believe in the surrender that has accompanied me in my journey as a mother.

I believe that in being a mom, mama, mother, mommy, I have found my truest expression of love, absolute and unconditional.

I believe in marriage.

Specifically, I believe in my marriage.

I believe in the structure and style and value of my relationship with my husband.

I trust that belief.

I believe in being the heart of our home.

I believe in beauty.

I believe in the value of creating beauty.

(creating beauty, hmmm…how? Where? This is a manifesto for God’s sake, MANIFEST!)

I believe in creating beauty in our home with art made by us, art given to us, beautiful things to use, beautiful things to look at, a beautiful atmosphere of love and warmth and safety.

I believe in a wabi-sabi life.

I believe in family.

I believe our family.

I believe in the story of our family, the history, the myths, the tales, the memories.

I believe that culturally, we are Cuban.

I believe in telling stories with my children, with my family, with my mom, with my brothers and sister, with my cousins, with my aunt, with heart sisters and brothers and cousins and aunts and uncles.

I believe in listening.

I believe in creating continuity with our specific personal history.

I believe in forgiving the past.

I believe in redemption.

I believe in recovery.

I believe that what did not kill me may not have made me stronger, but it definitely made me humble. (or maybe humiliated me, sometimes a fine line)

I believe that Love truly is the heart of all things.

(yes, I did come back to that first one, and no, it is not the final line in the manifesto, I just thought we could be reminded of that)

I believe that Jeanne Vanier is a living Saint.

I believe that service to the community, to one in need, to one who wants, to one with a broken heart, to one who suffers in any capacity, can lead me to ultimate joy.

I believe in community.

I believe that we are part of a whole.

I believe that whole benefits from our participation.

I believe we benefit from the whole.

I believe in the love of Our Lady, Mary.

I believe in asking for help.

(begging is more like it, when I can’t seem to find that surrender I so fervently believe in)

I believe that life unfolds in absolute perfection.

I believe that in our imperfection, we are perfect beings, and our imperfect life is perfect.

I believe that there is not a cosmic eyelash out of place.

I believe in “Chop wood carry water”

I believe in the sacred as the mundane.

I believe the mundane is sacred.

I believe it when Tita says “we’re squeezing every drop of joy and wonder out of life, in between the tragedies”

I believe that the depth of my sorrow is only matched by the soaring heights of my joy, and the capacity and ability to feel both is a gift.

I believe in dancing.

I believe in laughter.

I believe in free play.

I believe in letting go.

I believe in the earth.

I believe in flowers and a vegetable garden.

I believe in digging in the dirt.

I believe in the sand and the ocean.

I believe in summer and all that entails.

I believe in days that last an eternity, sandy, salty children, and I believe that food tastes better at the end of those days.

I believe in the river.

I believe in the swamp.

I believe that my children need to dig and swim and climb and run.

I believe I need to do the same.

I believe in the mountains.

I believe in the desert.

I believe in my husband’s love of his home, and my need to be near mine.

I believe in deep and abiding friendship.

I believe in my coast-to-coast community.

I believe in Uncle William, in Cali Jess, in LJ, in the LaShell’s, in Dara & Jonnie & Caolin and Rauri, I believe in our Mira Monte family, and Clan Pollard.

I believe in CafĂ© con Leche, black beans, picadillo, and paella (even thought I don’t eat it any more, I still believe in it)

I believe in taking pictures and documenting our life.

I believe in expressing my beliefs.

I believe in living an authentic life.

I believe in that as I live life from my heart, with out fear, I live a life of love and beauty and joy.

And ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about?

I believe in happiness.

I believe in joy.

I believe in freedom.

I believe in beauty.

I believe in LOVE.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Feels like spring

Valentine's Day

No cakes baked this year, or strawberries dipped in chocolate, but a Valentine's of love and family and blessings from the Traveling Virgin was delighful. She visited us last just before Thanksgiving and I set her up on Magdalena's desk. We then used the desk for the Advent wreath, and as a sort of Holiday table and we didn't do a lick of school work until the beginning of February. Sooo...when the Virgin came back around, I didn't dare close up shop on the desk again, so here she sits on the antique sewing machine, surrounded by love and hearts and candles and flowers. Perfect!

Feeling the Spring Vibe

Magdalena and Augustus, ready for a day celebrating what feels like spring here, and dressed for the occasion.

HAP East Begins!

HAP or - Homeschool Adventure Playgroup - is the brainchild of my dear darling Cali Jess, mama extraordinaire. It's a field trip playgroup out in LA and I thought, hey, we need that here hence - HAP East! Started with fits and sputters, here is our official first outing, a day - chillier than we expected - on the St. Johns River, a boardwalk stroll, a picnic in a sheltered from the wind forest clearing, and a wonderful hike through the woods. HAP East rocks!

Here is our first HAP East lineup, sans Augustus, adventure ready.

Augustus off to the side.

Our first botanical find, a crazy fungus among us, peaking up through the Spanish moss.

Boys! (see, it's been all girls, seven in our co-op, with Augustus and Soren baby, now we've added darling Tanner and the boys I've asked the universe for are starting to show up!)

The coolest tree of all. Lichens or fungus, don't remember what our resident field expert told me, but it was a beautiful sight. HAP East will be happening, and we'll see it all here.
The Freaky Salon
The Freaky Salon you ask? Yes, the Freaky Salon. I read this article in Mothering Mag (couldn't link to it in the archives) awhile back and I knew we had to create our own Freaky Salon. We asked our friends to join us in an evening of performance, fun, and food. The rules, as we created them, were:
1.) Don't invite anyone you wouldn't want to see you in your p.j.'s - which means, basically, don't invite anybody you couldn't completely relax around.
2.) Nobody has to perform - if you want to awesome! If not, relax and enjoy, and when you see how fun it is, maybe you'll do it next time!
3.) 5 minute performance maximum.
Mothering might have had other rules, and maybe we did also, but I don't remember them now. Anyhoo, Magdalena made tickets and she and Lulu sold them to our guests, $1 a pop, money to be donated to the local Humane Society. Our hostess with the mostess Sarah MC'd and was fabulous, and we had the most wonderful, unexpected and ingenious performances you could imagine! I didn't get photos of Magdalena, Augustus and Lulu, dressed all in silks and scarves with rouged cheeks under authentic Vietnamese sun hats dancing to "Good News Delivered By Thunder", which is a shame because they were darling, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Jen helps Magdalena with her "spooky eyes".
Above mentioned spooky eyes. Magdalena's solo performance to "Monster Mash" as Magdalena Bat Girl.

Jeanna's interpretive dance to The Smith's blast from the past "How Soon Is Now?" with pink and gold tulle, channelling Abraham, bringing joy to all.

Issac and Emma, mad libbing and strumming the original "I Once Was a Mermaid...", and rocking the house!
There were many more acts, but because there was a video being recorded, I seriously fell down on the documenting job. But I will, in a separate post, post a manuscript of my performance. You'll see.

The LaShell Visit, or The Okefenokee As Seen Through Magdalena's Camera

Augustus at the well of the homestead near the East entrance to the Okefenokee.

Magdalena and Augustus and Ben in full imagination play mode, working on the homestead, figuring out the grindstone. There was a corn crib with some kind of grinder, and when I walked in Magdalena said "if you're in here, you need to get to work!". So I left for a kinder gentler spot.

Gettin' the washin' done!

Puttin' the boys to work.
The LaShell's were here for days, and I was so camera lazy that I have not one photo from my camera to show. I will say as always, it was a delight to spend time with them, to play to laugh to talk to explore. We spent our last day together barely getting our proverbial toes wet at the Okefenokee Swamp. It was so insanely gorgeous! We saw 4 alligators, live and direct and I mean not behind bars but right there! Close enough to make me nervous and hold Augustus tight. Jessica did take some photos at the swamp, one of the children sitting down on the raised boardwalk with a gator right behind them, in the swamp, close enough to jump up and take a bite! Ok, not that close, and the gator was not that big, but when it got sick of us bothering it and started toward the boardwalk to swim under it, you best believe that there were no people near the edge, and all children's hands were held! The swamp is just as I imagined, tea colored water, cypress trees and knees, scrub oak and pine trees, and everything dripping with swaying Spanish moss. It didn't smell swampy, strangely enough, it smelled fresh. As soon as get a good photo from Jess, I'll post it. We'll be making a trip back soon enough.
We Are Blessed By Owls

These two gorgeous owls live in the trees above our house. We hear them every evening. The come out shortly before dusk and hoot and hoot and hoot. When we hear them and it is still light, we all race outside to search the trees for them. Today, they were right above us in the back yard, just hanging out, grooming each other and themselves, and they'd both look down at us, checking us out I like to imagine. They make a total racket all night long and I am surprised by how much I adore them. I love hearing their hoots and look for them above. I love hearing them hoot when I'm already in bed and the house is quiet, I imagine them, out in our trees, living their owl-y life. I feel so blessed that they have chosen the trees above us as their home, it's just the coolest thing in the world to me. We have this book from Grandma Fran, Ethan's mom, called "Who Pooped In the Park?" and it's all about looking for animal "sign" as in tracks or "scat" - what the naturalists call poop. It tells about owl scat and also owl "pellets", chunks of hair and fur and bones that the owls can't digest and cough up, kinda like our cat Belly's hair balls, but much less gross because I wouldn't discover them when they squished through my toes, but I digress. I'm still hunting my first owl pellet, I have to figure out where there home is so I can suss it out for "pellets". Yum. I'll keep you informed.