Unsettled

(You will have to bear with me here. I have lots going on and came up with this cute little structure for the post that will not let me cut anything out! So read on, all 1,400 words, if you dare. If not, I won’t blame you — aren’t blog posts supposed to be no more than 250 words so that the modern human can properly digest them?)

1. not calm or tranquil; disturbed; unquiet

I have recently begun attending the church affiliated with SillyBilly’s school. I can’t recall now why I went the first time; perhaps it was simple curiosity about the services or wanting to find a new social connection. But I realized that at least once during each service I was getting choked up, disturbed, unquiet. So I decided to keep going, to see what might come out of that unquiet.

Then I decided to take the pastor’s “Christianity 101” class on Monday nights. I’ve had a Bible since I was a little girl (and now own several) and went to Lutheran school for 5 years. Religion (or spirituality) has always interested me — I also attended Hebrew school for a short time as a girl and have studied Buddhism as an adult. I am the kind of person who will read the Gideon Bible in the hotel drawer instead of watching TV! So it’s not that I need to really learn what Christianity is. Rather, I’m interested in what this pastor has to say about this particular denomination.

The class often unsettles me. Missouri Synod Lutherans are fairly conservative. I’m partly conservative too — I much prefer the traditional service (hymns) to the contemporary service (praise band). But I believe enough of what I’ve read in Steiner’s cosmology and Christology to feel uncomfortable with many of mainstream Christianity’s views on eternal life, hell and heaven,and so on.

In any case I am enjoying the class and the Sunday services. I am enjoying taking Napoleona with me. I am even enjoying getting up early on Sunday and getting dressed up. And I’m enjoying my struggles with the disturbances to my thoughts on spirituality.

2. not decided or determined; inconstant; variable

This morning, when Napoleona and I went to church, it was sprinkling. A few hours later as we were finishing up in Sunday school, we heard some thunder and when we looked out the window, it was sleeting. Throughout the day we saw snow, sleet, and rain plus a few more peals of thunder. Evening has brought beautiful cloud formations with dashes of sun.

We made jokes on several occasions today about how it was springtime — yeah RIGHT! This is winter weather! But then we talked about how spring and autumn are really transitions between the main seasons of winter and summer — and even more so here in Idaho, with the cold and snow of winter and long, hot summers broken only briefly by these transitional times.

But come on! I just changed over our nature table to be all springy, with bunnies and flowers and such. What’s up with the snow???

3. not firm or steadfast in disposition or outlook; erratic; unstable

This weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to get together with some Waldorf homeschooling moms for an afternoon of crafting and chatting about parenting and Waldorf and anthroposophy. The ladies are all new to Waldorf and have little knowledge of the anthroposophical foundations, so I offered to chat about I’ve learned over the years. I also offered to show them how to make felted Easter eggs.

Now, this turned out to be quite the humbling experience. I discovered two things: I forgot the basics of felting and didn’t prepare by practicing or reading up on it. Our eggs were rather lumpy and were only rescued by extensive needle felting. And I discovered that while I feel that in my own head I have a sufficient grasp on basic concepts of anthroposophy, I can’t necessarily explain them well to others. So perhaps that’s telling me my grasp isn’t as good as I thought it was, or that I need to go back and re-read some basics to be clear on them again.

The ladies were quite forgiving (or unaware of my disconcerting feelings) and welcomed the idea of a regular study/craft group. Which will give me a structure to plan around so that I am better prepared and clear on what I’d like to say.

4. not living or staying in one place; nomadic

We are in the thick of summer planning right now. In past years, summers haven’t meant much in the way of change — the kids continued in their home-based day care, Anthropapa and I continued with our work, and the kids went for only short times at day summer camps. This year we have BIG plans.

Immediately after the school year ends, the kids and I will jet off to Los Angeles to visit with my parents. Both sets of parents have asked about Disneyland. I’m not automatically opposed to the idea, but I am opposed to my kids becoming embroiled in the Disney Industrial Complex’s marketing schemes. I think I could manage it so that we had a fun time doing age-appropriate things without focusing on buying character-driven products, but I’m not completely sure!

Then later in the summer the kids will be going out to the Seattle area to stay with other grandparents for a few weeks. Yes — they, the kids, will be staying. We, the parents, will not. We’ll take the drive out and do some things with the grandparents for a few days, and then we’ll leave them there for the grandparents to return to us later. Now, SillyBilly has stayed with his grandparents for a short time before, but we’ve never had both kids away and not for so long a time. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself. (Other than sleep in, of course.)

5. not inhabited or populated

Over the last year or two I’ve developed a short list of editing clients: a scholarly publisher, a publisher with a scholarly imprint and a trade imprint, an author who has self-published several books, and a few authors working with a scholarly publisher that doesn’t offer editing services in-house. This has kept me steadily working with a good variety of projects and keeps me on my toes as far as working with different types of clients.

Over the last six months I’ve not worked with any authors — the one author took a break from his writing schedule, and for various reasons I haven’t gotten any work from the others. During the winter holidays the scholarly publisher slowed down quite a bit.

But . . . the two-imprint publisher approached me during the holidays with a new agreement. They had lost an in-house editor and wanted me to help them by taking an increased workload. They agreed to pay me a regular amount every single week (based on the budgets for all the projects combined) and I agreed to a rather full three-month schedule of editing and proofreading projects.

Now, the one thing I really dislike about freelancing is the uncertainty of my cash flow. This agreement has taken that out of the mix, and I feel like in a way I’ve died and gone to freelance editor heaven: according to the IRS, I am still freelancing because the publisher does not substantially control how I do my work, I am free to take other clients, I work off-site, they do not withhold taxes, and so on. And yet I am receiving a regular paycheck.

So now the only concern I have (because there has to be something to worry about, right?) is that I am letting my other clients slack a bit. I haven’t been bugging the scholarly publisher for new work consistently. I haven’t been seeking out new clients. This is making my client list a bit uninhabited, and the danger lies in the possibility that this wonderful agreement could come to a close and my cash flow will be in danger again. (This hasn’t happened so far, and in fact they just asked me to extend another three months. Whew!) But putting all one’s eggs in one basket is not a good idea in the freelancing world. So maybe when the kids area away I’ll drum up some new business, or learn a new skill I can add to my repertoire.

(Did you make it this far in my ramblings? Bless your patient soul!)
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28 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Crafting, freelancing, life, Napoleona, papa, Religion, SillyBilly, travel, waldorf education

28 responses to “Unsettled

  1. I actually did make it this far in your ramblings and enjoyed them. I love that blogging rules are really that you can write whatever you choose, and someone else can choose to read or not read them. I’m a bit of a lurker on your blog, coming around more and more frequently to see what’s going on. As a Waldorf-inspired mom, acupuncturist, and editor, I often identify with what’s going on with you. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I also made it, and enjoyed it all. Great news about your new freelancing gig – I don’t think you should worry, but relish it.

  3. When I read Steiner it has to be in short amounts and it has to just rest in me until it’s sort of living there. I would never be able to explain it for an audience–you do a nice job articulating his ideas.

  4. I made it! (but I had to grab a cup of tea). I feel similar about explaining Biodynamic agriculture to people, I always come out feeling like I sound like a complete flake.
    I have a new found interest in Christianity lately but have been looking at everything through anthropop/buddhist colored lenses, it actually has made the whole Christian thing much more accessible to me. I have been hesitant to actually go to church though. I always read the bible at a hotel before I turn on the TV, too.
    I say Cheers to your regular gig and enjoy it while you can.

  5. tanyainidaho

    Wow, great thoughts for a Sunday evening. We went to church in the think of the snow storm, also. My family had to speak, and the snow didn’t help the hair. You are way to hard on yourself!! I learned SO much. About felt and Waldorf. I loved the discussions and I felt like you just put ideas out there for us to think about. I also loved that the eggs were lumpy, because we were able to learn TWO felting tecniques. If the first had worked out, we would have only learned one!!
    I feel so lucky that you live close to me, and I am looking forward to our next meeting.

  6. Mon

    Yeah, what is it with Spring popping its head out and then retrating again??

    Wow, the whole religion/spiritual thing sounds like you have exploring to do.
    Mianstream Christian leave an awfully bad taste in my mouth, but there are many, many types of Christianities out there, right? Or we simply take from various religions, what speaks to us.
    As far as church, it’s a place for reflection. So a person can tune out what doesn’t work and use the time for connection.

    That’s great news about the regular paycheck, but I understand what you mean about all eggs, 1 basket. I’m sure you’ll work something out you resourceful thing you.

  7. Tammy

    Well I enjoyed reading all 1400 words! I think there is truth in all religions, and we are able to find those truths that speak to us in the place we are at the time just by opening our hearts. I’m glad you’ve found a place that is filling your soul. I sat in our church yesterday and watched the rain turn to snow, and really quite enjoyed it. Last year it snowed the first of June. It didn’t last though. 🙂

  8. My grandfather was a Missouri Synod Lutheran Minister, and he still gave sermons in German until he retired. Once when I was two my Grandma took me to one (I guess to let my parents have some quiet) and in the middle I yelled out the word “Dummkopf,” or “Dumb head,” which my dad would say teasing me. Somehow my little mind recognized that it was the same language my Grandpa was preaching. I like to say I expressed early skepticism of organized religion.

    I was raised in and confirmed in the Missouri Synod, and still have my Grandpa’s old materials (including an old German Bible). It is very conservative, though also avoids some of the extremes from the more emotion driven “born again” Christian movements. But I’ve left the church and Christianity, even though I agree with many of its moral principles. I just don’t agree that there is one right religion. That gives me a challenge — I want my kids to learn about the Bible and its traditions, many students never learn that any more. But I also want them to learn about other religions in a respectful way (respect faiths, don’t demean them as atheists often do). I think I’m going to start a “Sunday School” of my own for my kids or any of a similar age who want to attend, and use it to go over world religions and ethical thinking, increasing complexity as the kids age.

  9. I enjoyed reading your ramblings as well. 🙂 I attend a very mainstream church…the same one I grew up in and my mom is a pastor at. But recently, I’ve been sneaking away to a conservative Lutheran church when I can. It’s quite different from what I’m used to. I find those traditions and hymns so beautiful and meaningful.

  10. Rachel: I didn’t know you were an editor!

    Charlotte: I’m trying — it’s good practice to counteract my normal anxiety level.

    Sarah: Thanks. Of course speaking off the cuff is a bit different than writing a blog post 🙂

    LisaAnne: One of the moms there is a gardener with a biology background. She mentioned thinking BD sounded kinda fruitloopy, and I didn’t get a chance to say too much about it. I hope I get a chance to talk to her more about it, though the best would be to go visit a BD garden to see for herself.

    Tanya: I’m so glad you enjoyed and learned from what we did. Thank you for hosting! It was a good lesson for me in preparation, which is generally one of my weaknesses. I’ll send out a message on our Yahoo group soon.

    Mon: I’ve been exploring my whole life! This is just the latest branch of the path.

    Tammy: I think getting choked up in church was a pretty strong sign of something in my heart opening up, so that’s why I’m pursuing it. We woke up to a few inches of snow and high winds this morning . . . good thing my nature table is inside!

    Scott: That scene with you yelling out in church was funny — “dummkopf” — not the strongest of epithets but not what you’d want to shout in church 🙂 So far I can go with most of what is being presented in this church, though their general beliefs on social issues (homosexuality, female clergy, etc.) don’t sit well with me. Also this pastor in particular emphasizes the loving relationship between us and God/Jesus and gratitude for that, much more than fire and brimstone. I want my kids to learn about a variety of religions too, and we’ve done that quite a bit at home already. And since I’d like them to go to private school, this seems like a good opportunity. I love your idea of doing your own Sunday school!

  11. Oh, and 250 words?! I can’t even keep my introductions that short! 🙂

  12. Dawn: Wow, that’s daring! I like traditional hymns a lot, and last Sunday we also sang the ancient Te Deum chant…that gave me chills.

  13. …and I didn’t know you even knew who I was 🙂 It’s a funny world in here…

  14. It took a couple days to get back to reading this whole post, but I loved it. Thanks for sharing so much.

    I recently re-joined the Lutheran church because of a few reasons. One, I was looking to get back to my roots. Two, I was looking for opportunities to serve the poor and church is the best place for that. Three, my church is starting a community garden and I HAD to be part of that because it’s a passion of mine.

    I would say the ELCA Lutherans might be a better fit because they’re more open to homosexuality, women clergy and leaders, and other belief systems. However, where you’re comfortable might just be the church you have connections to, and you don’t have to believe EVERYTHING they teach. I mean, who does? I too like more traditional church services, and they can be found (or not) everywhere, regardless of denomination.

    I’m so happy you love your job so much! I think doing what’s working now is good, and things will work out in the end.

  15. Lisa Z: The Lutheran school that I attended as a child is ELCA, and I see there is one in Pocatello, too. Maybe I’ll check it out! But it does also make sense to affiliate with the one I’m already connected to. I’m looking forward to learning what social activities this church has, both interpersonal and charity work.

  16. I didn’t feel that I “made it” to the end of your post … I felt that I’d had the luxury of wandering through your mind with you, which is something I always look forward to.

    I’m particularly intrigued to see what happens with your church situation. It seems that there is a lot of scope for growth and discovery in your discomfort … and I’ll be interested to see where that goes.

  17. I am grateful for following you from the David’s blog since I am preparing myself to do something very powerful which I need to do for my own personal spiritual health (recovery) and it was nice to see the peacefulness you seem to feel regarding spirituality. Thanks. I’m looking forward to feel the same soon.

  18. Well. Of course I made it to the end. As a blogger who breaks the “rule” of 250 words on a regular, almost daily basis, I have no fear of a long post. Actually, I didn’t know there was a rule!

    I think anthroposophy is difficult to get across in words to people because so much of it deals with an awareness of energy. Talking about energy and energy beings and devas and angels starts sounding like utter balderdash except for the part where we KNOW we actually feel the energy flowing and DO sense the presence of the entities. Communicating with them requires much stillness of mind and patience, and trusting that what you are “hearing” is actually real. Unfortunately, when I start to talk or write about this sort of stuff, I feel like I sound like the crazy woman down the street that has voices in her head.

    As far as main stream religion goes, I left it a very long time ago, and I find myself uncomfortable and very much not a peace whenever I enter the doors of a church. This is because I cannot set aside my deep belief that churches are all about power over the congregation, authority, and money. We have a church in the area that requires you to provide them with your 1040 forms each year so that they can assure themselves that you actually tithe the correct 10%, and if you won’t give them the info you can attend but not be a member. If you don’t tithe what they want, I’m not sure what they do since I’m not a member and probably never will be.

    I find my peace and connection with deity when I am out in my garden with my hands in the dirt nurturing my seedlings and making space for them by removing weeds. I have been known to state that I spend more time on my knees in a state of worship every day than most people do all month.

    Now, I’ll bet my comment alone is longer than the requisite 250 words.

  19. David: Mwah! You’re sweet. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    Samo: Welcome, and best of luck to you on your journey.

    HMH: Yes, that’s part of why it’s hard to get across. It’s all very interrelated and complex. And then you start talking about gnomes, and helping plants grow via fertilizing their etheric bodies, and reading to the dead, and people run away! I have heard that about some churches, and I don’t know what this church does. Financially they seem to be pretty solid though there have been some problems lately along with everyone else in the US. The pastor strikes me as quite humble — he often mentions how he needs to learn and grow as much as anyone else — so I’m not sure how much authority will come into play other than the overall structure of the denomination.

  20. Oh crikey – 250 words? That’s not much from my rambling pov (although recently I’ve been very short), I often leave comments longer than 250 words 😉

    I’ve been enjoying working back through your blog 🙂

    From my pov, I’ve found myself developing a new relationship with Christianity through my reading of anthroposophical subject matter.

    My mother was brought up within the Lutheran church (not sure which branch) although her wider family are Seventh Day Adventist. However, religion never played a role in my own upbringing (apart from brief encounters with wider family – hard to miss really if you’re staying with Adventists for any length of time, although very confusing for a child with no home-experience to base it upon).

    I wouldn’t consider myself to be Christian, if anything I am more pagan-leaning and have quite a hefty mistrust of ‘organised religion’ (down to another very negative and rather scary experience at a group I attended for a while as a child). But over the past 5/6 years that I have been interested in Steiner Ed. and through that, anthroposophy, I have found myself re-evaluating my views and moving forward.

    I think that sometimes it is important to challenge ourselves on matters that cause us disquiet/discomfort. Certainly through this I have found myself moving forward with some of rather long-held prejudices.

  21. Dottyspots: Welcome and thanks for your comment (and I like long comments!). I think studying anthroposophy often tends to cause a lot of reevaluation, of many things.

    I’ve been thinking about how to reconcile anthroposophy with mainstream religion. I think you have to pick and choose, because not all religions are going to “allow” the idea of actual reincarnation, for example, or the idea of the centrality of the Christ event in human history. My husband and I were talking about how you don’t have to believe in reincarnation to work with the Waldorf/Steiner curriculum, but you do need to accept that people have a spirit that incarnates gradually into the body after birth at least this one time, and that the child brings things with them from the spiritual world in that process — not a tabula rasa.

  22. One of the first books I read re. Steiner pedagogy was Rahima Baldwin Dancy’s “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher” and it was a comfort to me to find a book on Early Years that resonated with me (in that it recognised that there’s something ‘more’ than the purely physical). It was a step away from what appears to me to be a very materialistic approach to Early Years (I still work part time in the Early Years field in England).

    I actually had little difficulty with the centrality of Christ within Anthroposophy. I have spoken with pagans who are interested in Steiner ed. and again, the idea of Christ as the ‘middle way’ between two extremes makes ‘sense’. I think that even if one is not Christian, one can understand the analogy.

    I think possibly that it would be the atheist who might have the most difficulty with elements of Steiner ed. If one believes only in the physical and equates all human action with the physical (e.g that love is the result of chemical reactions within the body and the need for the species to survive, etc) then anthroposophical ideas are going to be a huge challenge.

  23. In reading what ‘healingmagichands’ wrote, I’m struck again by the two kinds of “spiritual folk” who are out there. She is the kind that connects spirit with soil, nature, and gardening. I’m the kind that doesn’t really like dirt, can’t understand gardening as a hobby (it’s extra work!), and tends to think more abstractly. But we need a balance, I think. Still, I am more and more noticing the two “personality types” — earthy vs. abstract. I am in the abstract category, but think the earthy ones probably have a better grasp on reality. I can fall victim to my own fantasies.

    Given what I’ve been reading here, I can’t wait to read Steiner, his ideas as talked about by you all sound intriging, but I need to actually read him myself!

  24. Scott: Steiner talked a lot about the two extremes and our search for balance in the middle. Not to get too esoteric in comments, but he believed in two “adversarial” spiritual beings, Lucifer and Ahriman, who represent the two sides of the “devil”: the side that wants us to renounce the earthly for fantasy (Lucifer) and the side that would like us to so fully embrace the earthly that we forget the spirit entirely (Ahriman). Steiner saw Christ as the archetypal human being in perfect balance between the two — in a true, universally spiritual way, not merely as Christian truth.

    And Steiner thought that we can work to achieve this state of balance through enlivened, conscious cognition — thinking as a spiritual activity!

    I do think it’s better to read Steiner, and then also the work of others inspired by him, to get a fuller picture. I’m certainly no expert and am only giving my perspective.

  25. I hope that Scott is coming back here to check up, because I have to respond to him. He is right, my spirituality is based in connection to the earth, but there is plenty of abstraction in here. (!) Perhaps that did not come across in my comment. But really, talking to and working with energy seems more abstract than earthy to me, and I do both.

    Also, I just have to say that my gardening habit is far more than just a hobby! You could say it was a second job, or perhaps an obsession (especially when you start looking at the daffodils!). Aside from the fact that by working on our two acres I control how many chemicals I am exposed to on a daily basis (to some extent — I realize there is a lot out there that I can’t help but breathe), I create a beautiful surrounding for our life. However, there is a very practical side to our gardening activities. We have not had to buy any vegetables for a year, and in the past year the only fruits we have eaten that did not come off the place or from a u-pick facility was some canned pineapple, the raisins and craisins we eat. Soon we will be producing all the wine we drink as well.

    Is it extra work? I’m not sure. How much money does it save us? I don’t know exactly, but it was money that I did not have to earn through my massage work, or by sitting in an office or whatever it is other people do to earn money. Does it even out in the long run? Hours work in the garden vs. Hours worked in office/factory/wherever to provide the same amount of food would be an equation that perhaps someone should figure out. Anyway, my overall level of health is high, my stress level is minimal, and my carbon footprint is small. How do we quantify that?

    Now, I have to go out and take the mulch I used to protect my baby lettuces, beets, mesclun and stir-fry mix from the snow we had yesterday. Y’all take care now.

  26. henitsirk: Yes and actually this was what made ‘sense’ to me, that life is about balance between extremes, not a dualistic one-or-the other. I read a fairly interesting article online somewhere (I’ve since lost the link) about Lucerferic influence in the arts and how, whilst it can bring about great creativity, without a counterbalance it brings self-destruction, it was a very interesting article, wish I could find it again.

    healingmagichands: I think when it comes to gardening (especially kitchen gardens) if you factor in a price for all the time and attention then you probably aren’t saving money, but that isn’t really the point is it?

    In my (rather limited) experience, there isn’t much better to top your own home grown tomatos, for example, just as some of the best eggs I’ve eaten have come from friend’s hens. I think this has a lot to do with the care and attention lavished on them (both the plants and the hens).

  27. Those old, ancient hymns have power. I grew up in a church like that; but it is no longer in my life. When I went through my Mom’s house, one of the things I took was her old hymnal book; she was the organist for our church. I thought, someday, this will comfort me.

  28. Interesting post, as always. I’m playing a bit of catch up…

    I grew up going to Catholic school…attended the school so went to mass 2x/week, worked in the rectory for 10 years, helped the nuns often, sang in the choir, worked in the nursery and helped with Sunday school. Great experience. Left school, and that was it! I have no interest somehow since then in Christianity. I have been a mostly practicing buddhist for 20 or so years. I find that buddhism fits me so well, but there isn’t a culture of buddhism which includes the whole family, kids, events, life, kind of thing (at least around here) – just me, a solo endeavor. So we wonder at times what the world is like out there in churches…people actually get to KNOW people, have friends, build community. Not a good reason to ‘join’, exactly (he he), but interesting to ponder. 🙂

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