Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On the road again.......

Well. Community life came to a complete and abrupt halt. Probably not a surprise to anyone that’s tried living on a community before. Like I was saying in my two posts about the ‘survival skills’ we learnt from our parents, that we apply with the same imperative as all the other mammals and animals performing the survival skills they learnt………I don’t think us white fella’s have actually learnt much about sharing, honesty, relationship skills, taking responsibility, and living as part of a community, from our parents and society these days…..and it was a long long time ago that we did. Instead, on the community we lived on, we learnt more about what is usually taught to our younglings these days. In my perspective anyway, that can often be about criticism, emotional hierarchies that you can never work out the rules for, people saying one thing and being lovely to your face while they’re busily bitching and stabbing you behind your back, and everyone jumping on a bandwagon to attack ‘the other’, whoever that may be, glad that ‘the other’ is getting a drubbing instead of the people guiltily joining in. But life is what you make of it, and I choose to try and make everything a learning experience, rather than relegate it to ‘good’ or ‘bad’, so I can tell you right now, that it was the perfect place for us to be while we were there, and we also left at the perfect time to continue on our life path. I reckon it was the only place I can think of anyway, where a large family could live surrounded by 7 other adults, and we went through 2 pregnancies, 3 births, major surgery in the form of an emergency caesarean and it’s recovery, Post Natal Depression, whooping cough for 3 months with all the younguns, relationship hassles from all the stress, and the birth of twins to add to four other young children……….and receive absolutely no support, not a meal, not an offer of shopping and dish doing, or a vacuum, or a conversation about it all, or ANYTHING! With some lashings of criticism on top. I faced every parent of a large family’s nightmare, of being bailed up by a friend, and told about how they had chosen to not have children, to be a vegetarian, and to live on a community to be a friend to the planet, and they knew that I loved my children and had learnt from them, but did I REALLY need to have that many? How could I justify my impact on the planet and the community? And why wasn’t she consulted? To which I instantly replied that yes, each and every one of them was a gift to me and our family and my learning, but more importantly a gift to the planet, with their completely unique set of traits and dispositions and their beautiful life embracing souls. It feels almost sacrilegious to me to talk about who I should ‘allow’ to live, and who I shouldn’t. I reckon that’s about it for the whinge…….

And on the other hand, like I said before, it was perfect, cause it was about the only place I can think of where a large family would not only be completely ignored through their travails, but also criticized, which was so incredibly intense at such a huge time in our lives, especially around the birthing of our twins, that it threw us onto our own resources completely. And we coped. And beautifully. And intact. And with integrity and love. And we learnt a lot. About our patterns that had created the whole situation in the first place, and how we’d never learnt about having a home – and in using that word I’m thinking about a sanctuary, a safe place, a comfort for the soul where family are accepted, respected, and loved for who they are – and in never having experienced it, we were re-creating our own childhoods where home was a place we felt caged and trapped. We also learnt that we’ve also re-created our parents beliefs about having to do everything on your own, and how other people only hurt you. And a whole mess of other stuff that you tend to bring back from the depths when you get pushed so completely into them. So we left very abruptly. And have moved into a studio with my mum and eldest daughter in the interim, doing some loving and healing with them, and filling up the kids with some very important oma and big sister attention. And we’re endeavouring to not take the criticisms from our former home on, and internalize them (after all, the community we were living on was the ONLY place in our lives where we were copping anything but love, respect and appreciation), and not be bitter, and it’s also solidified some of our family goals and visions for the future.

And just a little aside here…… Are you wondering why there’s a large lack of any kind of blog from me about the reality of living with twins?? That’s because it’s so incredibly huge, and intense, and has been such a test of every sort of fortitude and survival skill I’ve ever had, that I really don’t know how to write about it. I think it’s all too close and here and now for me to put it to paper for a while, and I’m going to need a bit of time and perspective to express it in a way that would truly do the experience justice. But for now, I just want to say, (now that the relentless and exhausting early bit is over, and we’re getting to experience some more of the joyous bits of having two babies) that there’s something incredibly special and rare about having arms full of two babies, and when they’re both looking at me at the same time with loving mamma smiles on their faces, and when they chat to each other and put their arms around each other and snuggle up to us and them in sleep. And the huge amount of love between them and their siblings. And the feeling I have knowing that we’ve managed to give two babies at the same time, (and in extreme adversity) the same amount of holding, hugs, and attention that all my other attachment babies got on their own, is a big one. I reckon I’ll give myself a big girly badge for that one, give us all one in fact, and I feel very proud (and amazed) that we managed it. And the huge awe, trust, love and respect I’ve developed for my Griff and Lilly in particular on this journey, has blown me away. And the facets it’s brought out in all the rest of us. Trust me. I’ll have a lot more to say about this all later.

Now. Back to the goals and visions for the future. All that adversity and pattern awareness has really brought our family aims to the fore. I guess sometimes you need some beliefs to be really challenged to realize how important they are to you. And one of our biggest ones is to stay together. It’s an uncommon thing in this day and age for a large family to have their mum and dad around them all the time, in the pursuit of natural learning and mutual respect and admiration. And we want to make our way in life, and a lot more money energy, from doing what we love, rather than giving up on our dreams, and sending one of us off to be a mortgage slave like many other folk do. No judgement here about other folk and their mortgages, I just don’t want us to give up on our dreams unless we really have to. And travelling is an important part of our lifestyle that we want to really use more often as a tool of learning and inspiration. Also as a tool of getting away from the 4 walls of the beliefs and patterns we learnt in our families, taking a holiday from the expectations imbued in us about the nuclear family, and how it lives in a house.

I’ve come to learn for myself that belief and attitude is everything. I could really easily, (and so could a lot of other people – poor old Currawong struggles with this one a lot at the moment) view us and our lives as a bit of a disaster – middle aged with a large family and no home, and a smaller than small income, and not a hell of a lot to show for our lives in the material ways of the world apart from a whole lot of stories. We’ve been called ne’er do wells, dreamers, misfits, hypocrites, neglectfull, and messy, and we’ve called ourselves destitute and losers and a whole lot worse, and in times of stress we take it out on each other and say horrible things to each other, and it would be really easy to take all that on, and be victims, and blame our childhoods and everyone else, and hide our heads in shame…….

But I can also just as easily view us and our lives as a triumphant success of dreamers dreaming the dream of freedom and passion and bigger lives than we’re conditioned to expect, with toolkits of stories and experiences from life on the fringe and travelling the path less travelled, and a huge amount of love and respect between us all, and lots of stories and first hand tales between us, of working on our relationships with each other and the world, trying to work out who we really are, and what we want to do, and also trying to change the parts of ourselves that don’t really work, or that we don’t really like. The closeness and love between our children is pure gold, and the fun we have on our daily adventures is immense. Our family is a living art of performance wherever we go, from shopping to driving new places to trips in the city to visits to galleries and museums, we engage folk everywhere we go with our sociable, playful selves. When we don’t take up the societally expected role of ‘parents’ at the top of the hierarchy, it’s amazing how much we can learn from our kids, and learn all together, and teach each other, and infect the lives of nearly everyone whose live’s we touch – even in the smallest way – with smiles and giggles and warm gushy feelings, and if we engage in conversation, they usually hear something from one of us that they wouldn’t hear from many other places. One of the most common things people say as feedback to us is that we inspire them…..to try and truly be themselves and to experience the joy and wonderment in the everyday, and try chasing those loving relationships they’ve been dreaming about more.

I much prefer the second version. And I’m convinced that if we keep the flame of our dreams alive, and keep treading our paths no matter how much against the mainstream our flow may be, that our lives will keep increasing in love, and we will find our home somewhere and somehow, and the sanctuary we all desire as a base to spring into our futures from. And I’ll finally publish those books…….

So here’s the plan gang. I’m gonna borrow from a few cultural metaphors to do my bit for crafting our future. The first is that of the Mongolian mother. Living in her beautiful handmade yurt and home, she moves with the seasons and her animals and cares for her family in a nomadic way. Everything has it’s place and home and beautiful chests and pouches and carrying vessels for all the artifacts of life, that get packed away everytime they’re on the move, easy to keep safe and close. I’m busy sewing my nut off, making mattresses stuffed with alpaca, and putting them together in a swag like way so all the kids have a bed they can unroll in both the van and in our beautiful soul pad. Believe it or not, we’ve swung it so all our kids and us can sleep in comfort in our Toyota Hi-Ace Commuter van. It involves one sleeping across the front seat, one in the padded foot bay, one in front of the back seats, one on a board on top of the baby seats, us in the big bed at the back, with the twins in their swag in the bottom corner. I’m really enjoying the mattress making, and the fitted sheets and doona covers and groovy little trappings to personalize them. And I’m making clothes bags out of material that have three sections and look like a bedroll, and can hang three down with buttoned flaps that cover the holes, or lay on the bed as an added cushion. They’re funky too. And carseat covers and curtains, and pockets on the carseats for nappies and washers and water bottles and shoes, and bags for books and toys, and some really funky and warm hoodies and pants and crocheted sheepskin slippers for everyone, cause we’re heading off on the road in winter……..with no destination.

The other cultural metaphor is that of the journeywoman, or journeyman. When her apprenticeship is done, the journeywoman is sent on the road armed only with her tools, to make her living, and eat, and drink, and comfortably sleep, from what she can craft only. I’m combining this one with a traditional element of the Frisian woman’s costume, a belt from which she hung her favourite tools – a sewing needle, some scissors, her purse, and her threads. I’m gonna make myself a kick arse hippy Friesian belt, and hang my hooks and some knitting needles and some of my favourite other tools (might make hugging a dangerous pursuit), and set ourselves in the flow on the road, in a funky Mongolian style van, with my belt strapped on, and craft ourselves a beautiful future from our dreams and the alchemy of trust, love, faith and thoughts……..

I’m thinking we’ll just get somewhere and set up our soulpad with my big spiderweb inside, and a whole heap of hangy dangly crocheted things and clothes to dress up in and books to look at, and Currawongs drums for when he feels inspired to drum and tell stories (which is this funky little improvised spontaneous thing that he gets going on, that can drum out the wildest storylines), and I’ll tell stories of how to crochet and spin and knit by finding your own way, and about birth and what I’ve learnt about the great mysteries of life, and my perspective on the bachelor gods and all sorts of other things, and I’ll have hats and odd bits and books on memory sticks that people can trade or obtain by donation…… And we’ll roll our performance arted life out for others to observe and imbibe, and like all great buskers make a honest and tax free living from our skills and arts, and just set that all up at festivals and by roadsides, and in city parks and on beaches until something happens. And maybe the story will be in the journey rather than the destination.

Wish us luck. Oh. And another thing. Just to add to the spicy mix of trying to create better patterns and positive futures, it seems that another child wants to become part of our family. I’m pregnant with my eighth child. It seems that the natural birth control method of psychic protection doesn’t work for me. Who would have thought it. And with all the love and learnings of my past births and children, I couldn’t even fathom saying no. I welcome another divine creature into our family, and am aware that we’ve got a bit of a time limit on creating those new patterns and a home in particular………

And will only be near to and able to use an internet connection sporadically, so stay tuned for intermittent updates.