When Jim, my husband, comes in the door at night after a day teaching math to middle school students, I want him to relish the fact that he’s about to sit down and crush me in a game of cribbage. Because it is FACT not projection that he is going to crush me.
All day he manages 68 young minds wandering in the world of mathematics with different skills, attention spans and levels of interest. AND HE DOES THIS WHILE WEARING A MASK.
Equally pressing is the complex interpersonal dynamics that he adjudicates on a minute to minute basis. Playground fights about four square, volcanic rudeness at the lunch table or during class, student cell phone mismanagement and endless negotiations about missed classes with students who have been absent because of optional hockey tournaments in Boston, Montreal even Las Vegas. As I listen to the synopsis of his day, always conveyed without names to preserve anonymity, my mind spins with an awareness that I would have no idea what to do in the majority of these situations. Nightly I appreciate the arduous profession we call teaching and his efforts to connect to his charges with humor, common sense, patience and compassion.
After his complex report in answer to my nightly question, ” How was your day?, we sit down at the kitchen table for a game of cribbage before dinner. Every single night Jim can count on me to lose our game of cribbage. After a day in the classroom, he deserves this simple pleasure of a game won fair and square. And he does win fair and square. I am not gaming the system to let him win. I might do this with my four year old grandson during a game of checkers but with Jim, I TRY TO WIN. Yes, I have a competitive streak in there, and I unleash it every night only to go down in a blaze of glory.
There are the Hail Mary moments that never go right and cards which I am sure will bring a Slam Dunk that don’t. But no matter the sports metaphors I employ or my attempt to impersonate Vince Lombardi, I lose. I have last minute stumbles, and I experience out and out skunkings when Jim beats me when I am only half way to the finish. I suck at cribbage.
I wish this brought him a bit of relaxation even gloating. He deserves to gloat. But sadly, there is no gloating. I’m not sure there is even a modicum of pleasure. It appears impossible for Jim to take off the math teacher hat long enough to enjoy his victories. As I fail to beat him on a nightly basis, I see his teacher mind whirring, “What gaps in her math skills do I need to address? How can this woman lose every single night and what do I need to do about it? How is it that a math’s teacher’s work is never done? Will it solve the problem if we find another game? Something all luck versus 2/3 luck? Gosh, let’s never send her to Vegas. If she went to Vegas what would stay in Vegas is all our money.”
A math teacher’s work is never done and I may be his toughest case.
The feedback I’ve gotten from my last blog encouraged me to co-create a list of Flower Essence suggestions for the coming times with my beloved partners, the Angels and Elementals. Wow! So many Flower Essences are poised to help us with the territory ahead including Essences focused on helping us heal rifts created by differing points of view, mend fractured community and co-create new solutions to old and new problems.
The enormous group of Essences coming forward reminded me that while Nature shows us every day how we need to shift on both the macro and micro level, Nature also stands ready to help us do this in the most comprehensive way possible. Flower Essence are but one of many available healing gifts for the territory now and ahead of us.
As the list of Flower Essences got longer and longer, I got a bit whiny with my partners. Hey guys, I noted, “Sometimes you just want to be told, “Take two aspirin and call us in the morning.” But no, the Angels and Elementals wanted a more comprehensive list, a resource list as circumstances unfold.
In any case, as we finished the list we made two decisions. I decided to break the list down into categories to make it easier to process. How clarifying this is remains to be seen. The other decision was that the Angels and Elementals asked me to note that this list is not complete and many other Flower Essences NOT listed here may call to you offering extremely timely and relevant. Basically an armada of Flower Essences want to help!
As always trust your own intuition and know that if you can’t find what you are looking for here, look at the website or our Flower Essence for Common Concerns suggestion list so the right ones can jump out at you.
OUR ENERGY SYSTEMS
The world has been constipated for at least two years, it’s time for flow: Flow Free
After a release of old traumas from the physical body, this cleans and restores our electrical field: Musk Thistle
Support to speak from a genuine place, find compromise between individual or groups who see things differently and hold our tongue if we are tempted to say something to prove we are right: Blue Penstemon
Finding a new paradigm for being together: Symphony
Recently I heard someone talk about Stockholm syndrome and the virus, noting that as the situation improves, we need to get ready to leave all cages including our internally created ones. This got me considering how we have gotten used to the constraints of this time and what internal changes we will need to make to set ourselves free. How have we become our own jailers and how do we unlock ourselves?
I heard the story yesterday of someone refusing to share space with a partner even after the partner recovered from the virus and tested negative. The long term stress of this situation made it challenging for this person to process the good news that his partner was well enough to be with him. These are the kind of circumstances we will have to contain with gentleness as we move forward. We have all been wounded by this experience, some of us just hide it better than others.
We will also have to find our way to forgiveness with those we have disagreed with about protocols or personal decisions. We have all been trying to find balance in our choices in an unknown situation. This bizarre experience has pulled up fears we didn’t even know we had, and now our job is to patiently examine these fears and our reactions, welcome the gifts of self knowledge they bring us and not send them scurrying back into the dark.
May we find a way to go forward with gentleness for ourselves and others. May we see with curious not judgmental eyes. Let us acknowledge with kindness the complex feelings and experiences that made us choose as we chose. Let us tenderly bind our wounds together in community with each other, knowing we all did the best we could and there was no one right way to navigate all this. Let us reflect and in this reflection harvest the gifts of this traumatic chapter.
This time has messed with us in so many ways that we’ll be unpacking it for decades. Each generation has different losses to grieve. For the teenagers and young adults this time was a binding of their wings at the very moment they needed to take flight. In my time of life, it is perhaps the inward journey that beckons most, but young adults need to ramble and explore the outer world and find their place in it. Yes, I know they and every generation will receive gifts, grist for the mill, from this experience, but it must be hard to be so constrained as a young adult.
Another group that has suffered is young mothers. For young mothers there has been a loss of flesh
and blood community just as they experience one of the most physical, flesh and
blood transitions of life. Gathering with other moms at the playground while
their little people crash around, making mom friends during story hours at the
library, wallowing in the weekly experience of toddler playgroups at each other’s
homes- for young mothers there have been none of these lifelines. Watching faked up mom and kids images on Instagram
is NOT like being at the playground with your mom friends while your kid eats
sand with the other toddlers. I do not
know what I would have done without mom friends at the playground.
We are animals, more like a troop of baboons than not. We groom our babies. We find comfort in sitting together while our babies play at our feet. We like to watch each other and see how the other moms are handling cradle cap or sleep exhaustion. Screen community doesn’t cut it, and not just because it is manipulated, artificial and shaming.
Three young mothers in my family had babies during the last two years of constraint. One had two babies! A fourth has raised two small people as a single parent during this time. I am in awe of their courage. Motherhood is stressful in any circumstance as it involves a disorienting shift in personal identity. Keeping on keeping on with the job in isolation with only fake online reference points is my idea of heroism. I wish I could send every mom, actually everyone, a bottle of Borage Flower Essence right now to help us all keep on keeping on.
Since we’re more baboon than droid, all of us of all ages want to feel in community and feel a part of each other’s experiences and not just our own. How exhausting that going to the grocery store or sitting in a café, experiences that connected us to others in benign ways, have been situations in which risk is the operative word. Hyper vigilance has worn us all down and left us licking our wounds in solitude.
I heard a discussion on a screen about how introverts have not fared any better during this time of constraints than extroverts. In this same discussion, the speakers noted that self employed people had some advantages over others at the beginning of lockdown because their work habits were self imposed compared with those whose daily structures had been created by employers. I suspect that as we go into our third year of this, the playing field has leveled out. We’ve all had to learn how to get on with it. For me, no books written or anything too fancy, but I still brush my teeth. I see this as a real accomplishment.
All in all, I am looking forward to the problems of Stockholm syndrome versus more of the same. I am looking forward to hearing more fully what this has been like for others. I am looking forward to conversations more involved than a harried and masked hello at the local Deli mart. We’ve shared a common event, but it’s been a different experience for each of us and one we haven’t had many opportunities to share with each other. I also don’t want to be told what we’re all feeling only from third party experts. I want to hear it from actual people in the flesh.
Yesterday I got to practice my sharing skills with a teenager I ran into. I listened all ears to his description of what he had to say about his life during covid. The mask didn’t bother him nearly as much as the ways his freedom to move about has been curtailed. At his school, student are not supposed to go outside unattended by an adult. It feels like prison to him. I can see why. He said he finds himself sneaking outside as much as he can to defy this rule. I get it. Sometimes as the rules, dictates and “facts” change hourly, I want to rebel right alongside him. I’ve explored the well behaved, rule following aspect of myself quite enough. There ARE other aspects that need exploration.
So I’m hoping it all eases up soon. And in the meantime, I am practicing my breakout from Stockholm syndrome skills by pursing one small act of defiance. I am going to wear my homemade masks versus the expensive ones suddenly mandated/encouraged. I am a little suspicious at the fact that yet another big business is going to profit by having all the masks but theirs suddenly “no good”. It reminds me a little bit too much how no other tools for healing from covid are ever discussed or encouraged in mainstream media besides the ones that make big money for big pharma.
You get my drift. I am tired of wearing masks and I am tired
of the particular “good little girl” aspect of my personality that these
protocols have required. Its time for a
Even when I was a child and pursuing the persona of good little girl I had more freedom. I was expected home to wash my hands and set the table in time for dinner at 5:45, the rigid moment dinner occurred every day in our household. No one knew or cared that I was out before this moment riding my bike with friends and getting into adventures and misadventures. I was only a good little girl part of the time. These days I am ready for a different balance, more free spirited adventure and a little less table setting. How about you?
In closing, I want to applaud everyone. We have all had to become heroes in unexpected ways due to unexpected challenges. It seems important to note these challenges that have caused such grief were already causing damage before this virus. Modern mothers were already cut off from real community in ways I was not when I began my motherhood journey forty years ago. But the last two years made this and so many other community breakdowns drastically worse and very visible. So much at the heart of the human experience had already been pushed aside for other patriarchal goals before lockdown, Lockdown just finished their destruction.
May we go forward seeing clearly the ways we can together regrow
our lives individually and collectively in ways that are life affirming and
Whenever they can, my sons nudge my book choices towards science fiction. The first sci-fi book they gave me was Dune. This book hit it out of the park for me. I mean, does anyone not love Dune after the first fifty confusing pages? That was what they both warned me, that the first fifty pages were not that great but to keep going. I am so glad I did.
When the movie came out I became a big fan of Denis Villenueve. To wrestle that complicated plot and world into a coherent movie? It astounded me. I watched the film several times, each time startled by all the details he had slipped in. One moment I appreciated is the scene in the helicopter when Paul has a vision of a teacher from a possible future helping him in that nerve wracking dust storm. The teacher says, “The mystery of life isn’t a problem to be solved but a reality to experience, a process that cannot be understood by stopping it. We must move with the flow of the process. We must join it. We must flow with it.”
In New Hampshire, January is a time of not much apparent flow. The earth is locked in ice, a bitter wind whips down from the arctic and nights are relentlessly chilly. Yesterday on my brisk walk down our hedgerow, it was so cold that Sheba sat up like a rabbit holding out her paws to let me know it was just too cold for her. I couldn’t think when she had bailed on a walk. If anyone uses that word “walk” in conversation, she is at the door ready to go. Not yesterday though. Yesterday things felt locked down even for Sheba.
Yet in the night as I
considered this, I thought about all the flow that does happen in January. Seed orders are sent and received. Garden designs get scratched out on
paper. Projects for the coming season
are tossed about. I hear whispers of new energies coming and the garden mandalas
that will contain them. All this reminds
me that sometimes flow is a quieter thing, an internal thing.
What have we all learned in
the last two years of contraction and diminished surface flow? What will be
born from this time? What inner flow will now spring into outward
Have you noticed how many people found new talents and interests during this time? I think we are only just beginning to find out what actually flowed during the last two years of contraction. Why even the winner of the British Bake Off shared that he learned to bake during lockdown.
I’ve hardly seen anyone in what feels like forever, yet I’ve still heard many stories of people finding new ways to express themselves during this time. A friend I was texting with this morning mentioned she was just finishing the edits on a book. Holy cow! I hadn’t realized she was even writing a book let alone just wrapping it up for a publisher! She, like so many, found flow beneath the frozen circumstances. And it wasn’t as if her life was a piece of cake during lockdown. She found flow while her husband was very ill and she was cut off, like the rest of us, from friends and family. For all of us, whatever is born has not been born without pain and suffering. I doubt anyone went through this time without some experiences of loss, grief or isolation.
As we help each other heal
the wounds of this time, listening to each other’s stories and sharing from the
heart, I feel we will listen with more curiosity and less judgement. Yes, the media makes us believe that judgment
is our main activity and repeats that party line as the one and only story. Yet
for me, whenever I have been lucky enough to talk to anyone during this time be
it a grocery store clerk, a man delivering a load of firewood, the GHF staff
goddesses or the librarians holding the fort at our town library, I have found
open hearted sharing. I don’t really care so much about dividing us all into
categories after all this and I certainly don’t experience others as caring
either. It’s like we know in the actual
moment of connection that any kind of sharing is what we need to heal. My belief is that even as we were slowed down
or even stopped in external action during this time, the inner flow of love and
creativity has risen in counterbalance.
I look forward to all that
will come to light now. I look forward
to reconnecting and discovering what unique creations were born within each of
us. I look forward to see all the love alive and well and ready to blossom in
Yes, January can seem like a promise of eternal lockdown for all of us. But seeds promise a different story of new beginnings, new life, spring. And the seeds of love in our hearts have already begun to geminate.
As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!