Chaos calls forth change… Look at birth… It’s messy!

(I just discovered these reflections on moving out of our home and reinventing our life. It was written at the end of last year. I often write my way through chapters. You are welcome to read and harvest what you wish.)

I’m at that pointy end of the deal where there is the hugest, fattest invitation to get involved with my thoughts… To entertain them, get intimate with them, believe them, serenade them, define myself by them and most of all, to pick them up and run like hell down God knows what track at a break necking pace, doubting myself and questioning my sanity while carrying them on my shoulders.

But, I’ve been there, and done that run more times than I could count. And while in my desperation I could almost convince myself it’s a charming option, the stillness inside of me is deciding to rest on the side of surrender.

For me, surrender is not shiny or pretty or charming, but it is EASY when you feel THIS tired! Ease CAN be the best option. The world of course won’t tell you that, because mostly we are taught that we must push beyond our capacity, we must do our best (which by the way is usually just outside our human capacity) and show up ‘switched on’ with positivity at any cost. There seems to be little room for exhaustion, self connection, deep questions, honesty, self care, authentic expression or curiosity. Don’t get me wrong, there certainly is a time for pushing (like if you were exhausted and crossing a road and a bus was headed for you…) but in a lot of instances, kindness and compassion looks like ease and surrender, not necessarily shoving the hell out of yourself.

Life is big. Most people I know are moving at such a fast pace with an enormous load that there is very little spaciousness left in their moments. We tend to place our happiness in time, either at a future event when EVERYTHING is going to be exactly as we want it to be, or we place it in the past, where things WERE actually entirely wonderful (at least according to our limited memory). We forget our bodies are temporary rentals and that life doesn’t allow US to relentlessly push them. Nature doesn’t continue any cycle unendingly. Where in the world is it always summer? Or where in the ocean is it always high tide? Are we not bound by similar forces?

We modern humans juggle so many balls that living a healthy life is often out of our reach. We worry, have trouble sleeping, over eat, under eat then serve ourselves guilt and shame. We are so busy maintaining this demanding pace that we often don’t slow to reflect and smell the roses until life takes control of the reins. And when this happens, as it inevitably does, we are reminded how little of life is really within our control. I love that Buddhist saying, “relax, nothing is under control!” It may be a mind flip, however, regardless of our personal opinions, life does inevitably impose change, reminding us our CEO position is certainly not reliable nor secure. Sometimes change is wrapped in illness or loss, more times than not it involves suffering. My teacher Adyashanti often says suffering is the great awakener, and I’ve experienced this so many times in my own life. I’m not sure why but I tend to learn the most through hardship. Bless the people who learn and grow with joy and grace ‘rainbows and butterflies style’. Truth be known, I’ve rarely managed this. For some reason I’ve often needed hardcore super course sandpaper to prepare me for surrender.

Yet…

Not this time!

I’m intercepting the “it has to be hard and full of suffering habit” and inviting in a new way.

Yes i’m curious about where this road show is headed, but rest assured I’m not bulldozing my way into it!

Yesterday I spent 2 hours on my hands and knees picking up pebbles and rocks from a dirt floor soon to become our temporary living area.

-Insert crazy here.-

The past year has overflowed with richness for me. I’ve lost precious people, grieved, worked hard at inviting discernment and the word ‘NO’ into my life which translated into saying yes to a whole lot more and I finally married my beloved. It’s been a big beautiful messy year. And what I’ve discovered in a nut shell is this:

1) Time is shorter than I think. I don’t actually know how many more breaths I’ve got. Or how many more my loved ones have either. And I want to love all over them and the world with as much of my heart and time as possible.

2) Having a big beautiful house is an immeasurable blessing and also a shitload of work and distraction from what matters to me the most.

3)I want to play with my children, haphazardly with reckless abandon.

4) I suck at playing with my children when I spend my days saying YES to too many societal or worldly invitations and not enough NO’s to things that don’t really matter.

5) I also suck at living in disorder or chaos and am so habituated to work to ‘straighten things out’, and rather than playing or writing,  I loyally serve the tasks of my house.

6) I’m ready. I’m ready to let go. I’m ready to play. I’m ready to give through my vulnerable authentic heart. I’m ready to ‘not know’.

And from this place I asked my husband if he would consider moving out of our home and into a caravan so I could simplify life down to what is fully present in my heart, right now… And this looks like time and spaciousness with my precious family, and time to write and explore this beautiful country we live in.  (I also plan to finish this book and surrender it to the world while I’m still alive!!)

Being an adventurous soul he was on board straight away. As was our youngest – 4 years. But miss 8, while she loves camping and travel, is super reluctant to leave her school for a year. She loves it. Loves her guides, her friends, the opportunities the school community offers. I can highly recommend Montessori Education! And while she has visions of where she wants to travel and clearly sees the market stall she wants to create, her sensitivity cautions her to change. I honour that! I’ve been a fool many times over and dived deep. Yet it’s a dance to hold her precious and also trust the alive invitations of life. Questioning my intentions can be another well wrapped invitation to mother guilt. Reminder to self: Unwrapping mother guilt IS optional.

Where I’m sitting now is smack bang in the middle of a house half packed, overflowing with chaos, and a bush camp half created yet far from complete. And I’m exhausted. I landed back here a week ago after a few weeks retreat in the USA. Silence is wonderful for clarity and surrender. I’ve begun the climb out of one overflowing constant life into a simpler more spacious one. Yet I’m in the messy middle. My previous life is dismantled and offers little comfort, yet the new foundations have a way to go before they offer any stability.

Any sense of comfort, safety or sanity is not going to come from outside of me. It’s a complete shitfight everywhere I look. This middle gap asks a real lot of me and offers nothing in return. And I could shove, push, force myself relentlessly, yet the sense I get is this:

Yes, keep showing up, however hold your heart tenderly, it is ever so courageous and precious and now is not a time for doubt or discouragement. Encourage it to trust, but please, no force. Invite what ever is present, be it pretty, ugly or indifferent to come, sit and drink tea. Sure, you may be a complete nutter giving up your home, maybe your children won’t be able to stand playing with you and your book will be a total flop, but that aliveness that is guiding you now and has guided you countless other times before has offered a 100% survival rate so far. Lean into those odds. And keep listening. The silence is loud if you take a moment to acknowledge it. Let’s ‘check in’ in a few months and see how this new life change is unfolding.

And in the meantime, be brave and ever so kind to yourself. Hang in there woman, you are doing a great job.

You never know what’s in store.
Take care dear ones.

Love Xox

Kate M Foster

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