bringing the living home into being

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Recently my newly middle-once-youngest son's kindergarten teacher said there wasn't much "house" being played these days.  I think most parents would have let that go, but for me it was heart-piercing.  

I wish for us to have a world made of families, communities...whole human beings that come from homes that felt full, warm, and safe.  It's a big wish, and it's where I've been this year.  The cultivation, celebration and realization of The Living Home.  Yours, mine, and ours. 

good*ness. gratitude.

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kingston. saki. born into a tiny salty sea, at home, with his brothers close.  8 lbs, 6 oz sweet.

*oh.  this community. or these communities, rather.  this is the first time we've ever had a boy when we aren't homeschooling, and wow.  our local waldorf community has been feeding our family homecooked meals, driving our boys and scheduling playdates.  you guys, the urban organica, amulet, moonstorm, calibration institute, waldorfish, yes! and pollen {i} families have been -shocking- in your care packages.

we're eager to pay it forward.

we've always been hermits in our childbirthing and new infant days.  i'll never look at an expecting family the same way again, now that i know what a HUGE, almost, *almost* unspeakable difference it makes to realize that some of you have taken time from your days, reallocated pennies, or used hands and hearts to create sentiments that turn into heart-melting, that turn into milk, and rest, and enough post-partum elation for six.  indeed, this boy, only 2 weeks old, is already wearing 3 month baby clothes.  we're filled up, and he's filled up.  

i also understand it takes a good six weeks to fully recover one's body, bearings and bliss, otherwise it takes two and a half years, or a down-the-road meltdown.  that's a bit of science research, but we also know some about this kind of thing.  so we're here, babymooning, keeping the computer as far from him as possible, and in a state of total and complete gratitute.  

it truly takes the village, and we are of and from the collective work.  thank you doesn't even begin to begin it.  i feel small beside your communal bigness, and that feels very right, reflective of a kind, generous world i wish for our children. 

especially when it comes to our midwives.  tosi, rachel, rachel and leslie.  how you hold space for the rites of our life, and how you stand afar, when need be, and come close in silence, clarity and service...  the only words worth speaking are the ones you already witness here in my home.  but still.  my heart overflows for the primal portals you provide.  

xx, maya

farm stalk. full belly swoon.

D shared a tad about this at Waldorfish.

My mama*sister, Amulet co-founder, Moon Stormie, and wild alchemist Marybeth Bonfiglio has hooked up a chance for us to claim Our Word with Maya Stein, Blackberry magazine publisher Alisha Sommer + Nicole Colinarez.  Have you ever seen me stand with Maya?  It's quite funny, she of the tall, long, athletic, and me of the toadstool littles.  Behind the gajillion freckles, though, we are both pensive, curious, delighted at moments.  I love how she brings unexpected expression to her creative impulse.  She's like an adventure guide that thinks in projects, bringing accessibility to the sublime.  Nicole is just dope.  A tatted-out Pinay scribe, with many wee ones, who works with Quill and Clay, Feather and Stone.  I must try to hold back my gushing enthusiasm for another Earth-worshipping Pilipina oriented around family, truth and typography.  Alisha is lovely to work with, another mama of three, so if you're in 24/7 stewardship-mode, and feeling full up, there's good company here.  

I'm stoked to spend a few weeks writing with this crew, and hope you join us.

xx, Maya

waldorfish :: simple celebrations

Media disclosure, first.  For his 8th birthday, he wanted Chima Legos: little monkey warriors he knows about because he subscribes to the Lego (marketing) Club magazine  - which he did completely on his own.  He has some Chimas, from extended family and purchased from money that he saved up.  We once unsubscribed to the Lego magazines, and put them all away in the garage.  The boys took it upon themselves the re-subscribe, so now that's where it's been for two years.  As he's learning to read, the fact that I'm not going to read them to him has become a motivating factor and he's pretty much on his way.  

Having grown up in comics myself (my parents were artists and comics art brokers), I'm very aware of how awesome they are for reading.  As a peace and environmental activist, I really can't stand that Lego storylines are pretty much war + competition, out of context, set in every fantastical era, molded in plastic.  (And don't get me started about heads coming off.)   But he comes from warriors, many generations of martial artists down, so I not only get the appeal, I also see fit to honor it some.  When he first picked up a bamboo stake, at three, he went into a full-on complex Filipino stick-fighting form. It was beautiful.  Ancestral.  Psycho-genetic. Bigger than me, for sure.  So when he goes out of his way to seek out such things, he gets to keep a few.   I imagine them to be accessible versions of the little archetypal forms one might use to play out their healing in Shawn Sullivan's sandbox.

Unless he gets over-competitive, aggressive, or acts it out.  Then they all get put away again, to honor the household peace.  Same is true for his brothers.   

He also wanted golf balls and pins.  He has a set of clubs, and I very much wanted to oblige him, but was reminded of the broken windows factor.  And of our friend John, who has three scars on his face from playing golf with his brothers.  David asked me if I was actually planning on golfing with him, with a new baby strapped on.  Nope.

Secondly, a bad parenting choice:  We have a set of clear glass plates for parties that our boys love.  One of them is a deep, cobalt blue.  At some point, maybe five years ago, I began saying, "And the winner... of the blue plate... iiiiiisssss...." while setting the table.  It was a funny, silly thing, that turned into a competitive, sibling-rivalry thing,  three times a day.  If "bad parenting choice," means creating situations that make parenting harder, then this is an example of that.  While David grew up in competition, I am fundamentally anti-competitive.  Sibling rivalry is a hard one for me.  

And it's hard on our sanguine-phlegmatic boy.  He just wants to play, climb things, sing, cook and eat.  He wants to use his body, to explore the world physically and to move slowly when he's found something interesting.  Our happiest moments are when he's working with the animals, playing full-on outside with his dad and brothers, or prepping some kind of exciting food moment.

 

 So...celebrating his life, his passion, gesture, grown-upness and brotherhood...we picked him a setting of hand-thrown blue pottery.  A plate, a bowl, and large mug.  Two sets of small, but nice silverware.  Eight tiny glasses that each held a single dollar, in the tradition of his great-grandmother, who always sent a check in the amount of our age.  Three cloth napkins.  And a selection of tiny condiment trays.  

His brothers wrapped it all in newsprint (we get ours at the local paper, at $7 for a huge roll of recycled, unused newspaper ends)  + wool snippets.  He was eager, he loved it, and he especially loved watching his brothers set his place like five-star waiters.   All three napkins were used as placement, napkin and mug decor.  The condiment trays were filled with olives, capers, parmesan and sea salt.  He never missed they toys, or the golf balls.  And we have a new tradition on our hands.  

I figure by the time they run off to seek their fortunes (a la'   the three little pigs), they'll each have a full set of eclectic, mismatched plates that speak to who they were each year.

In the classroom, they enjoyed a similar simplicity.  A candle, a verse, a beautiful watercolored card with words from each child.  They sipped tea while we passed pictures and told a couple of stories.   The children were invited to share stories about him, and we were struck with how extremely young and sweet eight is.  They aren't restricted by doing it right, "looking good" or even making sense.  Their stories were like haikus, or poetry of moments.  Observations they had made from a place of very little separation.  Their teacher, who's strong and wise and lovely, asked each family to forego treats so no child is left out, and to forego small gifts for the classmates, because "we're focusing on spiritual gifts this year."  

I'm hoping we can just focus on that every year.   

If I go by the reaction from the kids, it fits.  

Celebrating my active boy,  who loves condiments, belonging, family + his wee sacred community.  And the gifts of resonance.   Wishing you simple celebrations this Fall. 

xx, Maya

ps - more note from a *mostly* media-free life over at waldorfish.

looking aside. (don't gossip with me)

my eyes are constantly deceiving me these days.  there's some neural loops i traverse, when i see clients-turned-collaborators, that, at first, second, and 457th glance, fire "ally" synapses from cell-to-cell, filling my frame with oxytocin, golden thoughts, gratitude and hope for the world.  i see supporters for a life worth living, big-picture thinkers, brilliance in the form of kindness and wisdom.  

it's all true. i know it to be, and yet, i forget, though i know it like i know my name, that "ally" is an evolving distinction.  an emergent phenomena.  a finicky moment of possibility, a starburst of human spirit in the overwhelming sea of human animal that we each are.  

and so...i find myself blindsided sometimes.  at unkindness.  at well-meaning oversights that forward individual agendas.  at theft.  at lies.  at alla that blah blah brain pattern stuff that has nothing to do with who any of us really are.  and yet, as animals, it's who each of us are, physically: given by instincts, and survival.

in those moments, where my system is shocked and stung and surprised, D grabs my hand.  and he says what i hope he'll say.  it's been 15 years of figuring out what that might be - goodness knows i'm not usually sure of it.  but he's practiced, that one.  and tonight was no different.

to love a libra, as i do, is to be supported by a balanced perspective.  to be held by someone who has no problem supporting perceived foes, who's not only willing to be compassionate to the other side, but who is, truly, completely compassionate to their wants, their needs and their goodness.  and the thing is, and this is just straight up true - he's right.  most always, in his infinite well of confidence that folks are doing their best, uncertain and basically deeply innocent, he is absolutely right.

so.  

i don't share my in-the-moment concerns with folks who are irresponsible with their listening.  i am lucky to have a dream advisory board for my life, who've been with us for 15 years.  d is one of them, and he turns to them as well.  i recommend this.  a community of people who can handle hearing upsets without believing the words.  who will hold the storm and recognize it as passing weather.  who will never hold my upsets accountable as my truth.  they don't recycle my concerns as their own.  they don't carry them around as burdens or baggage they now have to carry.  they let it go before i even begin.  

which makes being upset really really boring.  there's no payoff when it looks like you're just indulging.  

and i want some of you to know ~ i've gotten your messages.  i've seen your concerns and love while i've been quiet.  i'm talking about those of you, maybe you're leos, loyal ones, that want me to know my work on women + money + flow is being taught, verbatim, under a title from my 9 year-old Sacred Current course.  to know that former clients are taking full credit for co-created retreats. i understand that you kindly want me to understand things about others you think i should know.  and the thing is ~ I know.  thank you.  

there's also a lot, so so much that i don't know, and i really don't need to know.  it's none of my business how someone manages their karma.   it IS my business that you know i am not a structure for you to mess with your own.  i don't believe it's good for you to tell me these things.  and, i don't believe they are bad.  if you must know the truth, when i "fired" them, as clients and collaborators, i told them that i am totally committed to their purpose in this life.  that is true.  and i also washed my hands of them, with very clear boundaries.  so my committment to their purpose looks like space for them to expand, without me in their life.  it's working, i see them growing, and i have no judgements about their integrity.  if anything, it saddens me to see their people robbed of a longer, fuller lineage of my mentors and teachers.  and, i have faith that seekers find the teachers they need.  other poeple's clients are not my people to care for.  boundaries.  boundaries are rad.

so please don't attempt to gossip with me.  i am blessed with a full plate.  and i am looking aside.  

there is a massive difference in life quality between being given by a tribe, and being self-led, while choosing community.  i enjoy the latter.

the thing about the fall is, the smells are even better than the sights.   it's smokey, leafy, cinnamon-cider.  the temperature is complex, numbing and nurturing all at once, calling for textures like nubby wool, raw silk, and sultry stews.  it sounds of crunchy leaves, the windy names of trees, voices carried across shifting meadows.  this is a time for gathered blessings, pulling out the unneeded roots and tending to the deep dark greens.  it is my favorite time, a chance to celebrate my house of october birthdays.  

i honor the need for women to create allies.  it's an ancient, powerful tradition that has kept us safe.  and, i invite us all to uplevel the kind of ally we are, by identifying the commitments at play.  we can support each other's fears, concerns and personalities by discussing individuals, circumstances and situations.  or, we can support who we are in a larger context of contribution, and let the rest, Fall.

xx, maya

I just...love him

his. mine.

All of my kids challenge me.  Not like in the evolutionary sense, but they actually look me in the eye, or, more defiant, they don't look at me, and consciously, purposefully challenge me.

We've taken non-violent communication courses.  They are not my favorite, because they don't honor the personal boundaries (or self-expression) I want my children to have and to respect in others in real time.  We loved learning the language of needs, though.  We are pretty strict, actually, with wide allowances for creative autonomy, clear rules, and no punishment for punishment's sake.  Because we are all around each other constantly, and there's a lot of exciting stuff happening, there's plenty of natural consquences.  I'm like many who identify as ethnic, in that I expect my kids to behave well in public because I intend for them to get all the respect that's their birthright, and sometimes that means they have to earn it.  We're old-fashioned in that we think it's a total privilege to have so many wonderful elders in their lives, so they need to show them gratitude in the form of kindness and etiquette, there, too.  I didn't intend to go on a discipline tangent here, so I'll just stop at that.  Especially 'cause there's the whole free will thing.  And they're still learning/developing their wills.  And all of that.

So this is how I answer the challenge:  I look at what I've got.  And consider my options.  Then I choose the prettiest one.

This boy is super-feisty.  He was born during a different season than everyone else in this house.  He's used to holding his own with an extremely strategic 11 year-old (not judging him, he's just on his 150th economy plan for the citizens of this house) and ridiculously active 7 year-old (I'm not judging him, he is upside down on the door frames more often than not), so he's tough.  His fuse is short (full-on parental projection for which I am willing to provide loads of evidence).  He has no problem turning to others for help 20 seconds before he needs it, creating an environment of defensive air.  He's also lovey and he's helpful, so tonight, like everynight, he's curled up with his brothers, who all choose to "camp out" most nights in the same room.  In the morning, he'll get up, get himself together like one of the big boys, and at some point before 8 am, challenge them, and challenge me.  They will challenge him back.  Then they'll be standing before us, a jury of two adults who would never, ever wake up before 10am if we had the choice.

(So I lied.  It is about evolution, after all.)

He's given us common ground, though.  Born in my last art studio, he's claimed it as his bedroom.  He identifies as an artist- a painter, specifically, though he enjoys photography, sculpture, collage and printmaking.  He's teaching himself to write because he loves the pictures that are numbers and letters.  He builds little vignettes, often gathering rocks, or buttons, or rosebuds into "healing circles" for the center of my table.  So when it's time for us to wind down, for me to bring him into a softer space than his brothers', we do this:

And, if the goal is to calm his nervous system, or at least to calm my own, and to give his brothers space, it works.  It's a luxury I don't give us as often as I'd like.  I hope one day, he'll be old and gray, and me, older than time, and he'll be beside me.  Two left-handers, made of fire, painting.  Gluing.  Doodling.  Lost in a flowment.

Wishing you and yours a bit of common ground during the defiant moments, the short fuse, and every challenge in between,

Maya

so many buns in this oven

 

Someone had mentioned after I was on bedrest for months that I must be very disciplined, given all that had gotten done.  As if I was the one who had done all that good stuff.  Hardly.

I'm grateful that when I'm down, the community rises up.  Not for me, per se, but it's certainly a thing to witness from the bed.  People are amazing.  They're in action.  They take care of each other and add value to each other's worlds.  It's...wowing.  

I guess I just want to say all that first, before I get started with the buns in the oven.  I just really want to point out that when we make our community the "self" worth developing, a lot of shit gets done.  A lot.  It's exponential, it's holistic, it's relevant & related to it's members, it's realized potential.  

That said...

Amulet, our Field Guide, made me cry the other day.  I began reading it, and my heart broke in two.  Two moved, exquisite pieces of me felt two totally different, sublime feelings.  For one, I felt deep, deep, deep pride at my sister*publishers and Legacy alumni.  I released Amulet this past summer, and there's a love letter inside to that community, that I'll post here, soon.  So I received a gift Danielle and Marybeth may never recieve ~ the chance to see it with fresh eyes.  And be Completey.  Blown.  Away.  

The tools in there.  The raw honesty.  The fully-lit, dangerously true magic of woman and her tools in full-on rock-star diversity and quality and...I just can't really say enough, because I'm talking about emotions here.  I held it in my hands and I cried.  Cried happy, delirious, proud tears that have carried me for days.  I think the biggest thing is, this issue, Autumn, is completely an expression of Marybeth and Danielle.  They made choices that I would not have made, and they are the right choices.  The healthier, brighter, edgier choices.  D said that he sees how huge Amulet will be in it's pure form now, and it's such a thing for me to play witness.  

It reminds me of a walk I used to take each day in Marina del Rey (LA).  I'd have spent hours in fast music with fast people in creative whirlwinds of fame and fashion.  And then, there was just the white noise of a thousand boats, gently swaying in no waves.  In the water I'd find my solace, creativity in it's purest form: moon jellies, tiny sharks, fish, the occasional sea lion.  My favorite, seered into my heartskin, was a tiny, perfect, jubilant dancing octopus.  Decidedly feminine, she moved from rock to rock, with no momentum, in the most natural gesture of power and ease.  As she landed on each surface, her tentacles found a distinct home, asking for a distinct movement of curl, adjustment, wave or point.  All eight of them, in assymetrical synchronicity, moving to each stone as if it knew each stone.  Changing color, and skin texture to match the nearby shells, weeds and rusty flotsam.  

It was this way, once, with women's magic.  We hid, with both power and effort, and blended in, best we could.  We still do, but it's now an act of mesmerizing self-expression.  And when, once we've trained our eyes to it, the act is seen...well.  It's truly watching Spirit in action.  

So...

That made me cry.  And then there was the second thing.  It was the stories inside.  The cover girl.  Being a California girl, and coming from a Spanish-influenced culture, I'm more familiar with Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead) than many.  But it's never spoken to me visually.  It's been a day of ancestor worship in my mind, and my ancestors feel very close to me, every day.  Diving in to the stories of grief, I'm new to another possibility: it's a day that some of us honor our despair for those lost.  The missing, the gone souls who we didn't descend from, but those whom we were intending to live our lives with.  Those are the ones who we don't carry as close, because we cannot begin to fathom what has come of their physical expressions.  As my friend and son's Waldorf teacher Cindy Toy said the other day,  "People like that don't die!"  Indeed.  

So this issue, it's cover eyes in honest mourning, has brought me home to the season of Fall.  To a deeper connection to the women in my life.  In step with the Abuelas, the grandmothers who live with loss as a constant, making humor, mirth and warm love a consistent neccessity.  To an appreciation for the shedding around me.  As a Fire Snake, I'm constantly shedding, it is my Way.  For my sisters, this is a source of pain and raw truth.  The Fall can be depressing for some, a rich harvest for others.  A chance to store away goodness for the quiet months to come. For me, as individual and as community, it is a season of Birth.

I've so many things to share with you all.  It's coming.  xx, Maya

Verily Stoked that...{free Moon Storm Curriculum}

Our B&W Chalk Drawing Tutorial Is Coming to Waldorfish.  A little trailer 'bout it...

And Moon Storm Sisters...

 

*Angelique Arroyo is breeding Passionate Wild Women 

 

 

*Jennette Neilsen is Making-to-Mend

 

*Kelly Clark (UmberDove) is guiding us True Center & kinda outta control with making this stuff I want

 

*Latisha Guthrie (HerbMother) is sharing Sweet & Sour herbcraft

 

Joanna Otten is Frisson & in the middle of her eCourse, Connecting with your Creative Methodology!

And because we're all done, I'm giving away all this Moon Storm Sessions curriculum for free.

 

Which may or may not make you sparkle & shine with accomplishment & sisterhood like these Moon Storm Alumni...

Photo by Vivienne McMaster. Latisha Guthrie, Jennette Neilsen, Marybeth Bonfiglio, Eileen Nishi, Madelyn Mulvaney & honorary MSS, Vivienne McMaster.

But probably, it will.  It's contagious.  xx, Maya

Candy

Vivienne McMaster catching us at play

-I so loved seeing this image over at Vivienne McMaster.  I still haven't seen our women's ways Field Guide in print, believe it or not.  So this shot kind of threw me.  It's gorgeous.  

-But then again, you can't go wrong with Moon Storm sister Jennette chugging a hatbox in a red trucker cap.  She's all kinds of muse.  Her new site is candy medicine you can scroll thru.  

-Vivienne & I both turn 36 as the month rolls out.  Okay, so she's already there.  I'm 5 days close to brownies on the dock.  

-I can't believe how thirsty my skin is for Robyn's Alchemy Oil.  And that it works as well in the 106' dry heat of my Northern California town as the 90' humidity of our New Hampshire wooded isle.  I'll never use anything else, I'm sure, for face or belly.  And hair.  And it's not just love, I swear. 

-I shared a Prayer Bowl tutorial from our Sunday Play dates over at Waldorfish.  She is so organized, even wet-felting, as a Waldorf teacher who's used to crafting with a crowd.  

 -And now there's a bell ringing thru the trees.  Time for pancakes.  I've missed you guys.  xx, Maya

Notes from the Way

21 weeks...
Twelve years ago I was 85 lbs.  Exactly 8 years ago I was 78.  I remember 82, but as David reminds me, that was weeks before I stopped being able to read the scale, when the physicians next door would just peek in every couple of days to take my vitals.

From my seat now, above the woods, I can count 78 boats on the lake.  It’s a lot.  A larger number than it sounds. I saw a 13 year old at the airport yesterday, about  my height.  She had to be about 78 pounds.  She looked vibrant, vital.  In the same way  a lanky 5’ stalk of corn looks on it’s way up to 8.  Of course, I don't have the energy of a seedling.  But I'm storing one.

...complete update, including family, animals, Amulet, courses, Moon Storm community & Waldorfish over here....

greek god stew.

I was twenty.   At Fred Segal, and styling the likes of Michelle Kelly (Pfeifer), Katie Holmes & Penelope Cruz.  My future husband was a recruiter at USC football, his father the head coach.  They were in the midst of recruiting the team that would eventually win a solid handfull of national championships.  There was a player on the team that had phenomenal will. The last time I saw him play he drove in four touchdowns in the fourth quarter with a shattered foot.   He was funny, kinda crazy & would show up on the team plane in a little boyish plaid short-sleeve shirt, a huge Greek afro, red bowling shoes & a red vintage suitcase.  

His family owned a magnificent & beloved restaurant that threw a nightly raucous of love + family that's preserved large in my heart-mind.  There was his charismatic and charming father.  The older brother who was once a USC star himself, & now was just dreamily, meltingly, golden-olive gorgeous.  There was his sister, a supreme ballerina with a topknot, exquisite posture & a smile that reached across each generation in their brood as they danced, in a line, wrist-to-shoulder, wrist-to-shoulder.  There was clapping.  There were plates and dishes, flying into the ground, shattering joy and suprise into unseen corners of the room.  And there was, in the middle of what I'm sure was a giant meal, a simple, divine soup of lemony white rice & spare shredded chicken.

This is not that.  This is that, with the fullness of that night. This is that night + last night. 

Where that once-future husband had the music cranked to eleven, his own meltingly-gorgeous golden-olive skin echoed in a small army of dancing tiny versions of himself.  Where he stood at the counter making pasta to go with the stew while his soulbrotha washed one million dishes while his wife and my mom traded nutrition links and stories about Green Schools, the tropics + plant medicine.  Their children raced up and down the stairs while I lay by the fire, soaking in my favorite kind of chaos, the community meal:  "What is that you are running with? A giant sharp stick?!  You may throw that in the fire."  He didn't, he hid it, his dad found it, and then he threw it in the fire...  "Really, you don't have to wash my dishes, Kev."  "I love it, bring it!!" "Okay." Sigh, throw my hands in the air. {awesome} 

So.  By now you know I'm not a card-carrying recipe gal.  It's straight up wooden spoon + cast iron pot action + a good bit of distraction to get the onions browned just so.  Here's the best I can give you.

Greek God Stew 

1 yellow onion, sliced into moons

2 leek bottoms, rinsed well + sliced

A large handful of scallions, the lot of them, in tiny rounds.  Only the wee hairs discarded.

3 dried bay leaves, plenty of sea salt all sauteed in 1/2 stick of butter.

When it's all near-translucent, add half a roasted heirloom chicken with the saucy gelatinous broth.  Weston-Price-Style, with everything so you get the nutrition in the marrows and stuff.  Let it get nice and brown.  Add 1-2 cups of dry risotto or 4 cups of cooked risotto & cover with water.  Bring to a boil, lower to simmer.  Cook until al dente.  Give the kids a wedge of parmessan to shred tiny + 3 lemons to zest and juice.  Beat 2-3 eggs, add the lemon juice.  When the rice is done, add a ladle full of hot broth to the eggs & lemon juice, beating so it doesn't scramble.  To get it adjusted to the heat.  Do it again.  Drop the whole thing into the stew.  Add some white pepper, adjust the salt & if you're feeling rock star, a smidge of nutmeg.  Serve with the parmesan.  Sit by the flames.  Talk until all the little people pass out from the contentment of community.


havarti. apples. lentils. holy.

Now home, I'm all about the kitchen again. It's been a few months of this happiness.  We'll never return to the decade-long whole foods short-order-cook marathon that burnt me out.  (D's really good at all that, actuallly. While I was gone they ate dinner on time, brushed their teeth, had baths each night & went to school early.  Sounds blissfull, and, there was some bed-wetting, the goats escaped five times & I got a distraught rambling text on the last evening.  In full disclosure.  When I checked in there was no response & I'm told it never happened.  Such kindness on D's part.)

So now I'm cooking for myself & inviting my family into it.   Diverse food made in community makes me deliriously happy, & that always seems like the only rule worth following religously. I never felt good about placing health over culture or making foods bland to keep peace at the table.   They're big enough to be nice about it & prepare something else if they like.  Sometimes we have to call upon our *Angel of Tact, in case they just can't seem to get it together.  The most successful meals at this point are a co-creation, and I'm really savoring the way it's all coming together as we move out of the "young family" into something with a little more partnership.

For instance, the boys began using the pulp from our juicer for pancakes.  They take all of it & dump it into the big electric mixer, with a cup of our Everyday GF Flour Mix & way more eggs than they need.  It feeds them all day.  If there's enough apples & carrots in there, it doesn't need any sweetener.  Just a good pinch of sea salt & lotsa butter for frying.  (Do you fry your pancakes?  I think that's a Pilipino thing. We fry everything that we don't eat raw.)  If I wanted to be fancy I might call these Fried Apple-Carrot Souffles.  Maybe I will now.

Here we juiced green apples, celery, carrots, parsnips & lacinto kale.  After the drink I sauteed garlic, an onion, & mushrooms; added green lentils, water, sea salt & brought all to a boil.  Lowered to a simmer, it begged for the pulp + the little fresh thyme that didn't go black in the last frost.  When it was ready, we covered it in mounds & mounds of shredded havarti cheese.  And declared this the meal for all Wednesdays.  Forever & ever.  Amen.

dragon water. peace wands.

meditation jars by stacey deal rosa, uo dragon water, herbmother latisha guthrie's plant lava lanterns

Nourishing mama Stacey set off a dazzle fest before I left with these glitter meditation jars for Mia & Isabella, inspired in kind by this article on meditation with the childrens.  We practice an outdoor moving meditation here, in the form of feeding, planting, digging + climbing...what we most need now is some support for the physical bickering that happens between a trifecta of testosterone.

There's so many good tricks, right, all of them working in some instances, not others. We've long-loved the multi-cultural, inter-era Tales from the Dragon's Cave, Peacemaking Stories for Everyone.  It was obvious that our jars were to be filled with Dragon Water, so they might shake their needs & love into the wands, listen for the dragon wisdom & let the cool weight anchor them before they speak. Of course I have to be there...or for this week, while I'm gathering with these ladies, our 100 Year Promise*Keepers & the Amulet team in Seattle, D needs to be there.  The great thing about D is, he's so there.  For our boys.  For me.  For everyone. 

Herbmother took the whole concept up three with these Plant Lava Lamps, floating it all in a wisp of glycerine.  Ridiculous.  I got to hold them all (& her two girls. swoon) the last few days and wow.  They are glorious.  

Marybeth is going to add real flecks of gold + live rose petals in mineral oil.  Waldorfish's Robyn, a sea of tiny pink shells from her Atlantic summer cottage.   Danielle, sand + fairy dust.  Rachel Ballard : Pyrite (pirate!) dust that she crushes from whole crystals to become gold.  Ours: tiny metal beads in 5 tones.  Glittered flocking that sometimes looks like cool moss.  And mostly looks like mud.  We floated it all in a pond of water + dish soap, so nothing clumps or sticks.  Otherwise is looks like slough slime.  Which is gross.  So we did that for awhile.  Because lets face it.  I am the only human girl around here.  The goat-turkey-chicken-kitten-bunny ladies aren't super clean.  Clean.  Schlean.  Life is messy.

Kay.  North. Gathering more of this kind of enough.

filling up.

3 day sleepover :: Learning, cooking, making & exchanging with my Pacific Northwest Legacy Alumni, Umberdove Kelly Clark,  HerbMother Latisha Guthrie, Madelyn Mulvaney, Marybeth Bonfiglio, Smashing Rubbish Jennette Neilsen, Robyn Rae Johnston, Inhabit Earthways Sarah Stevens, {eye} wonder workshops Eileen Nishi, Merrilee Kennedy, Danielle Cohen, Cosmic American Rachael Rice & Blue Stocking Salon's Jill Pettinger Clifton. Each of these Sister*Keeper mamas has a 100 Year Promise to Earth, their beloveds & themselves. Nothing to do but celebrate.  As family.

come. sit

warmth whipped up by lisa (wei of chocolate ceo) during a recent sleepover

sweetness. the constant. (a practice)

I'm never quite sure where to begin.  Rarely in the middle place, I find details mesmerizing (You too, right?  I mean, that's sugar up there, spun into webs that crystallize over time!  And they grow...out of the soil.)  It's paralizing, actually, in the very best way, to sink into the melt.  The thin crunch.  The sticky parts of reality.  The beauty of it all - all of it, all of this life - is highly distracting.

And then.  There is the Whole.

My not-so-secret obsession.  That larger story, the many facets, the diversity of many, the multiplicity of possibilities in the full.  The enthralling potentiality!  How many ways can we feed everyone?  It's a game of paradigms I play.  Spiraling in, spiraling out.  So I guess I'll begin with breakfast. On New Years Day.  At daybreak.

It's only me. Everyday, actually.  In spite of our school rhythms, I still cannot bear to wake them.  I gave D a present last year: he may sleep in, every weekend + holiday for the rest of his life.  He may not need permission that long.  But it's really relevant these days.  Men do deserve to recover from life, yes?  Big ones. Little ones.  I want them to rest like I want them to eat.  

I used to mourn my own sleep. What about the mothers?!!  Complaints are so boring, though.  Now I cherish the quiet.  It's when I chop dates, apples. Put out oats, cinnamon & butter.  It's when I slip out the door.

Fuck. It's cold.  

So here's the nature of my practice :: It takes something.  It's a curiosity tripp.  A daily mystery.  A driven adventure that always ends in an open roof, deep beats blasting, bare feet dancing in some strange soil.  In between, there's miles of Earth in my toes as I hit reset.  Or dust, or hay, or rain or frost.  Depending on the day.  And there's emergent questions, "What's the nature of this threshold?" "What's needed?" "What's there to learn?"  (I'm a what person.  Not so much about why or who or how.  I like to do what there is to do.)  I don't force the intentions or try to make one up. I live in an inquiry.  I savor it, I relish the questions.  This is what it is to be an unschooler.  This is what it is to be a learning activist.  I dance until I can't.  I leave it all there on the ground.  And I leave something for the land.

This morning I pull over, right off the road onto a cracked bit of dirt. And sink.  Two feet.  (Whoa!)  D gave me this car, which I've loved since I was 8 years old, because it's safe for girls with wanderlust who lose themselves in the wilderness.  So I can pull the top down completely & blast beats into space.  So I can four-wheel off-road onto craggy rocks.  Just not...saturated farmland in January.  Within about twenty seconds, the wheels are covered in 2 inches of mud.  Holy shit. I'm stuck.  

So now I'm inquiring with my guides...{hmmmm? really? this is what this year is about for me?  wow}

Followed by...Wow!  That's tight.  I mean, really, really beautiful.  The canyon I've created.  The dirt on metal. I let visual beauty be the only reality that matters for second, another reset button.  I guess it's time to walk.

Removing my shoes, I look to the nearest farm, a mile off.  There it is.

I consider the danger of not having a phone out in the country.  It's ironic, given that I gave up the noise of my iPhone to enjoy my urban homestead.  Ever the city-girl, I run thru a couple of safety scenarios, ask for protection and anticipate a breakthrough. 

I remember the apple seed beds I left on the counter.  Many pointed, mysterious, not for anyone in particular, On Purpose without the need for an observer, they are there to be discovered.  I wonder what seeds are being sown as I hike the gravel, now sharp and icy underfoot.  I wonder what's being broken up, how the arc of my faith is expanding.  I wonder about my capacity for the cold wind in my ears.

Two guard dogs start way in advance of my arrival.  They're tough, fast & big. I remember that I was raised with wolves as pets. Sometimes I forget.  I have to remind myself to remind them. 

Apparently I'm on Buckley Road, on Buckley Ranch, visiting with Larry Buckley, the fourth generation proprietor who owns everything I can see.  Because I get to midwife so many initiatives and think symbolically, I'm a little stoked to make his acquaintance on the first day of this epic year.  Experience has shown me that he represents many, many others who'll come forward, eager to support.  We make fast friends as he realizes I'm out there praying on his land.  I discover he's a proud Native brother with 10,000 more acres on the mountain to the right, and a rig that saves everyone who's silly enough to pull off the road in January.  Of course.

Legit.

Saved.

I realize that we're never stuck if we're willing to walk a mile in the cold to make a friend and a request.  There's so much help to be asked for, there's so many beautiful projects that need support. We always have choice.  I  have to walk anyway, either for my practice or because my home is a mere 14 miles over.  Of course, I would have put my shoes back on.  Regardless, we can always draw the circle of our family larger to include who's in front of us.  

A grand host, Larry is already ready to be generous.  He's a physical expectation of good work needing to be done.  It takes about twenty seconds to pull out my Jeep. D gave me this ride so I'd be safe in my adventures.  I'm reminded that men are the reason this world is safe.  It's their commitment, their honor, to protect & provide shelter.  They all express it differently and I'm fully grateful for who they are about it.

There's so many miracles on this path.

As I sit in the wet soil & breathe in the green, the sunrise, my heart is sated.  My mind is empty.

Fuck.  It's cold.

  

At home they've been cooking.  Improvising.  Licking the pieces.  Feeding each other brother.  Creating sweetness.  I know it takes something for them too.  It doesn't always work out, so we slow down and commit to the sweetness.  It's a practice.

 

I know you're working yours. 

Our beloveds are radly inspiring that way. 

{waves + waves of }

love, Maya

 

little admissions #1

*I come from generations of healers, and those with crystal clear intuitive vision.  I am so not my family's healer.  Luckily D's healing powers are effortless, genius, on spot & on time.  So the truth is...the kids never go to me for first aid.  Never, ever, ever.  Because I have an impatient bedside manner with neediness.  I am only able to take pictures of them when they are ill.  Because I am in love with them.    I tuck them in.  Run a gorgeous herbal bath.  But let's be honest.  They can't smell it.  I am merely nursing aesthetics.   Soulstorm's Laura Emily is going to show me how to create balms, baths, and bubble some brews.  And...I might not ever apply it to my beloveds.  It's like having a mom who's a really good cook.  I did, so never made a meal until I left home.  

•+•+•

Poppy and Molly love real life.  Poppy wants me to share the mess of my big cabin with you all: blaring hip-hop, spontaneous dinner parties with dirty dishes for twenty...kids flying dangerously out of the hammock.  Molly pronounced "Real Life!!" the very first time she walked in my door, and I think every time since.  

Hmmm.  I can't stand pretend confessions that just skim the surface, but, I'm really actually quite private & very aware that my own musings are never just my own, but those of my beloveds.  Actually, the scariest admissions are those of goodness, support, vitality.  

And...I think it's important to share the fuller picture.  There's a constant perception that there's a right way to do things and it's just not true.  In my intensives, I always keep the videos homemade, low-key and non-pro because it models ease, play and casual sharing for my ladies.   I tell them that all homework from me should be knocked out in ten minutes.  Yes, even the 100 Year Vision.  Their Sacred Current.  Their 20 Year Games. It's important to just play and not worry about it.  Once they let go of their fear of doing it wrong, they can actually start.  In ten minutes, the basic architecture is in place.  Then they can spend a week sussing it out and making them beautiful.  In my world, the way to do it right is to just be willing to do it wrong.  Everything comes out stronger from the learning.  And that's where the magic happens.

At every level that I work, folks are paralyzed ~ for years.  For decades.  Over the fear that they aren't on hit.  New mamas and experienced papas alike know that "restaurant-tension:" the kids might freak out, requiring them to parent publicly (gasp!!).  Moneyed folks are scared to blow the dough.   Newly minted Ivy-Leaguers are distraught over choices, so they just get the next degree, then the doctorate, then the double-intensive specialty.  Athletes, artists and actresses alike are terrified to show up less than the brightest, biggest, boldest version of themselves.  Community leaders and activists cave to their understanding of diplomatic etiquette.  No, I'm not referring to the inspired and talented.  I'm referring to the talented and afraid.  We all do it.  It's a cultural phenomena that truly keeps us safe.  It's fascinating! 

And that's why this is a once-and-forever unschooling blog.  For every question asked,  free-range learners think there's at least twelve answers.   Who knows if any of them work until we experiment a little?  So many, many answers are long-term discoveries I still am in the middle of. That's the real life part.  The messy, imperfect part.  The scarily blessed part.  

So...as often as I remember to, I'll look around and see if i can't share some more little admissions...

real life. by thea coughlin

*I cook maybe a couple of times a week.  {D wanted to be the full-time parent last year, so he cooks.}  After years of cooking three organic meals a day for a vegetarian, a red-meat + greens diet, & sometimes gluten-free, sometimes casein-free, always sugar-free crew, (it literally is impossible to break that down in a sentence, let alone daily rhythm) I burnt out & possibly misplaced my cooking mind forever.   It was lost over gluten-free gnocci.  The sticky goo was not behaving correctly, sticking to my hands like peanut butter.  Not a soft, smooth dough that's powdery on the skin.  Instead of dropping fluffy oval clouds into the broth, I was flinging muck into it.  I turned around & flung it all against the wall, covered in family photos.  And took a really, really long walk.  That was three years ago.  It's never been the same around here.

*I've always had help caring for my home from my girlfriend Margarita & her older children, Yohanna & Miguel.  We clean together as families, with our little ones all about.  Sometimes we were pregnant, sometimes we had a newborn on the couch while we all shared a meal.  It was needed for the 9 1/2 years I was recovering, and it is certainly a luxury now.  As are the nannies and assistants who have traveled with us, who became real sisters and brothers to my brood.  I am not an elf without elves.  I can do so much because I have help.  I don't do it on my own & couldn't do it on my own.  Illness taught me that.  Some people can & I so admire that.  And I really mean it when I say I am a servant, a function, and a product of community.  This feels healthy and right to me.

*I leave my family for extended periods of time for work.  Next year I'm traveling at least 8 days each of all twelve months to teach, speak and style in my dream locations, at world-class spas and retreats.  Paris, Lyons, Barcelona, Glastonbury, Sedona, Seattle, New Hampshire, Outer Banks, Madrid, Big Sur are all booked, paid for, ready for me.  In 2014 you'll find me in Asia and the South Pacific.  I waited until each boy was nearly four before I left him.  And now I go.  My heart is wild, I relish my creative freedom, it takes massive partnership with D, my parents, other village members...sometimes I have to juggle this out in my head, and seemingly go backwards sometimes...like occasionally nursing my otherwise super-independent four year-old.  (I guess, for some folks that's it's own admission.  My people have always nursed their children.)  I follow my instincts for what my family needs and what I need.  They know the folks I serve & they feel like they're serving them, too.  I read my three boys every single love letter and make sure they handle every thank you gift that comes as their own.   It took me years to let myself believe it really is okay to travel the world with - or without - my family.  I believe my children need me to model personal philanthropy + creative bliss as guilt-free + shame-free.  So I'm not always here.  I am gone.  Gone like the wind.

But not now.  Right now I'm in front of my fireplace. It's 6:29 am.  My kitten, who is not supposed to be in the house, is running up and down the stairs.  Lake, my newly 7 year-old, is wrapped in a quilt with long curls spilling onto my lap.  And I am here.  Just me.  Free.

much love.  true love.  maya

Crafting a Clear Creative Culture

From over at Matrilumina this morning...

It always begins with the food in my mind.  If we're gathering with our peers, if we're all full of a gajillion creative projects, collaborations, working on our books, caring for our beloveds, coming down from the last class we led...then we're hungry.  

We want to meet, on path - we love what we do after all, we plan on getting back at some point - and we want to unpack and celebrate together.  So food good food is in order.  And if we're to really honor and celebrate each other, then of course, OF COURSE, we want to really acknowledge each other's work.  So the unpacking is not just a mere physical expression of trading one's lunch sack.  We need to gather our mugs, look at each other & share for real.  What's been done, what's worked, who was there, what's still needed.

I picture those Moroccan roftops where we are rich because there's a bit of sky.  The floor is covered with jewel-toned, overlapping rugs.  The low tables, flung with brocades and weavings from our homes.  Each and every woman has brought dishes worthy of creative luminaries and beacons.  We are dressed to celebrate, to move, to sit on the floor under a star-packed sky, with a multitude of lanterns, brights and glistening whimsies. 

And the next day we sit, cliff-side and hear what's next.  For each of us.  And collectively, we commit to it.

I think now of permaculture, of gardenscaping in a way that cultivates a permanent culture that breeds life.  By design, it's restorative, rejuvenating, and leans on the cycles that all*ready exist.  (Ready to feed, support, destroy, organize, birth).  By paying careful attention to the needs of what's growing, we can create a soft landing, packed nourishment and protection from the elements.  What would it take to create a deeply enriched soil that feeds our individual bodies of work?

What if we were covered?

And we could focus on the light?

We might unfurl exponentially.

Blossoms might spring from our very core.

And the flow...well.  As nature has it.  Effusive, rapid, rushing.

I waiver here ~ do I share that this is the work I know best, my own clarity from a life of thriving community building?  Or do I hold out for the collective discovery?  I'm holding out because we are so over theory.  The anchors we propose here are grounding for a moving body of untetherable women. 

Creating a safe, fundamentally generous, luminous culture must come from meeting in place & living together.  From generating new conversations, releasing what's unneeded into the falls, circling in the hot springs and then, integrating everything by eating the food grown right there on the very grounds we walk.

It takes full immersion in exquisite self-care in partnership with Earth and Spirit.

Ultimately, there's choice.  We can go together.  Or we can go alone, backed by those successfully walking similar paths, who've done their work, who are holding our creations very, very close. 

And as we each continue to seed, grow & build, we get to come together again.  To celebrate. To unpack.  And to feast.

Aloha + Mahalo, Maya