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Family Values

Bringing in the New Year always heralds a fresh start for me.  I am very fond of my midnight traditions and often superstitiously pay attention to the mood in our home as we carry our New Year tray across the threshold.  Our family tradition is to create a tray before midnight which holds symbols of our basic needs, hopes and intentions for the forthcoming year.  This is placed in our front porch before midnight and we leave the house by the back door, symbolically taking the rubbish out with us as we go.  (Sweeping out the old to make room for the new).

For us 2011 was a year that quickened in pace as it progressed, culminating in the opening of our Wooden Toy Store at Inverness Airport and a Christmas visit from my father in law.  These two events along with the death of a friend at the beginning of advent have been very significant in bringing me into conscious awareness of what it means to me to be part of a loving family, and where my personal balance between work and leisure time lies.

Sharing our heart’s song is fundamental to human well-being…

Setting up and running our new shop, combined with meeting our commitments to our winter events with Nok On Wood and my daily work in the kindergarten culminated in the loss of leisure and relaxation time with family and friends.  So when both my husband and I wanted to attend the funeral of our friend Philip who had been living very graciously with cancer I made the decision to close the shop for the day.  Sitting in the memorial service with my husband and son, surrounded by the community of people who knew Philip, brought my awareness to the current lack of balance in my life and the realization that this simple act of coming together and sharing our heart’s song is fundamental to human well-being.  Philip’s journey with cancer was remarkable and he left a wonderful legacy in his blog postings which was enhanced by his partner’s sharing of their last week together.  It is in times like these that we come to truly appreciate each other and value our connections.

Until we opened the shop, Sunday was our family leisure day which included Taize singing at the Findhorn Foundation and meeting up with friends for brunch in the morning.  I have always valued the simplicity of this tradition and although I enjoy being at the airport on a Sunday, I dearly miss the sacredness of my Sunday mornings.  A big part of this was meeting up with my friends Kathy and Michael and sharing reviews of our week’s activities which inevitably included discussions about family life.  Just before Christmas, I had a free Sunday which enabled me to reconnect with my friends.  In our conversation I shared some of our current struggles in our family dynamics. Kathy mentioned that she had been reading a book entitled Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and, in her usual gracious way helped me to see clearly how the shift of our family routine could be affecting my son’s sense of security.  Intrigued I looked up the Simplicity Parenting book when I got home and added it to my Christmas wish list.

Having my father in law to stay over Christmas had a two-fold effect on our family.  Firstly there was the necessity to clear the spare bedroom of all the clutter it had accrued to give him somewhere to sleep and then clear the playroom to make room for all the new toys that family and Santa were about to bestow on my son.  It felt lovely to make some space in our home and it was fantastic to actually be able to step into the playroom again without the risk of tripping over the scattered toys.  The second effect was acknowledging the inner struggle we were having with the mixed emotions we felt about having Grandad to stay.  Although we love and appreciate him, we each had our varying difficulties in our relationship with him.  Having him stay with us for a long time meant acknowledging and accepting these feelings and finding ways of working through them so that we could remain open hearted with him.  We said goodbye to Grandad on New Year’s Eve with a mixture of relief, sadness and the usual exasperation that he finds it so difficult accept and take care of himself.  All in all a very enriching experience.

Bringing that loving connection more into the light…

Our New Year’s celebrations took us out to be with friends and family and culminated in carrying our tray across the threshold when we returned home.  As I mentioned earlier, I always tend to note the mood of the family as we cross the threshold at New Year, hoping for a tranquil harmonious atmosphere that will carry us forward throughout the year.  As they struggled with lighting the candle on the tray my son and husband niggled at each other and then there was a tussle over who entered the house first.  I stifled a sigh and thought to myself ‘Lovely, this is a great way to start the year!’.  But when I reflected on it later I recognised that although we are currently struggling with the undercurrents of parenting a nine year old, basically we do love each other dearly and enjoy sharing our lives together.  So my resolution was to work towards bringing that loving connection more into the light.

New Years Day was a gentle day sharing time together at home.  I picked up my new Simplicity Parenting book and discovered that it held exactly what I needed: suggestions for clearing the clutter (physical and metaphorical), improving our relationships and making our home life a loving, secure place for my son to flourish in.   So here I am starting my new journey into 2012 with clearing the physical clutter and making room for balance and love in my life, my home and my relationships.

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