is there such a thing as too much quiet?

It’s Sunday, my family has been away since Thursday morning. That’s a whole lotta “me time”. And golly am I loving it! But…. is there such a thing as too much quiet? I realised, as I kissed my husband good bye when they drove away on Thursday morning, that I’ve never in all my life been home alone ALONE for so long. One or two nights here or there, but nothing more… When I was younger I travelled overseas on my own, but a young woman in Europe – it’s not so quiet amongst the noise of museums, trains, art galleries……

The thing of having no one to account your daily goings about to. No one needing food, or talking at just that moment when you’re deep in a thought process, no one bickering in the other room. That’s the quiet I do so like, ever so much. But then – no one rushing in on Easter morning with giggles and excitement, no one hugging you for simply no reason except pure love, no one to set the table and sit down and share a meal with. Those things.

I have listened to podcasts, watched dvds, chatting on the phone to my family, but I have not seen a person for 4 days (except the people driving along the road who nod at me when I go for a daily walk). That seems epic doesn’t it! Ha, not!! 4 days without seeing a soul. Wow – I wonder what I’d be like as a little old lady living on my own.

So, anyway…. this quiet thing. I’m finding it’s a balance. Like the motherhood & artist balance. Which isn’t a balance at all, is it. It’s a juggle, a sea-saw, a ying&yang …. or whatever other thing you might call it. Is it divided, I’m not sure that feels like the right word for me. But maybe that’s because I feel like I want to work out how to make it not divided. I want to work out to make the quiet & the noise work together. Is that possible?

How to make the silence & the noise work together. I needed to say that again. For myself. Because I’m realising more and more that that’s journey I’m on. To be able to have one sit beside the other. To delve deep into my quiet reserves while kids climb on me, hug me, moan at me. So I can laugh and play and giggle with them AT THE SAME TIME as I thought process my creative practice. Is that possible?

To turn the noise down, but have it still playing. To turn the creative thoughts up so they speak louder. To be able to write a blog post while someone talks loudly right beside me. Or conversely to tune into those beautiful thoughts and voices and words from my children, and ask the other voices inside me to please be quiet for some time. To tune in & out of each voice > of their voices, and my voices….. I’m sure I can’t solve this in one life time – I know all over that creative mothers are trying to work through this, around this, in this, out of this. To make it work.

To love our children deeply fully connectedly, but also to have space to love our creative practice deeply fully connectedly. Like the way we love each of our children as deep as possible, not one more than the other, all fully with our depth of heart. Each child takes up the whole heart. How can you fit them all it? We just do don’t we! A heart expands to fit in all the love. But sometimes we have more connection, affection, patience, noticing, time spent on one child and then on another. We shift it about moment by moment, day by day, year by year. Is that right? Do you know what I mean? You love all your children, but some days one shines a little brighter, other days another one days. So :: the creative practice, the artist child inside us fits in the same. Some days it’s quieter, other days it’s noisier. Yet the heart expands to fill them all; to love them all as deeply as possible.

Though, for me…. I think the challenge is not the heart, but the head. The mind. The thoughts. Separating a conversation with my daughter or my sons from a conversation with myself or my weaving or my hands {&cloth&thread&….}.

There’s no conclusion for this. For me. It’s a journey. But sometimes speaking it out loud, writing it down is a step along that journey. A slow half-step towards working through it. Understanding it better. In the meantime, here’s a few ways that I’m currently working around/through/in/out of this ying/yang of motherhood & artist ::

  1. Focussing & dedicating time to each: When I’m with the children, I tune into them fully. I focus on them. I listen to them, I fully fully fully take in what they’re saying. I tell those creative voices to shush down a minute please. And yes, that might mean sometimes they flit away. Often they flit away. But truth is my children are flitting away too.
  2. Asking for & taking time alone for me, with me, with my creative practice: This long weekend for example. Not feeling guilty or selfish that I didn’t go with Sam & the kids to my in-laws for Easter weekend. Knowing in myself that this is vital and important. And that loved ones will understand.
  3. Being honest with my children: Telling them & asking them, please right now to leave me in some peace and quiet. Of course I have a toddler who does not understand this (or doesn’t want to agree to it), but the bigger kids do to a certain degree.
  4. Realising and giving in to where I am right now: I have young children. That right now is my life, and my focus. When I settle peacefully into that role then I feel less anxious about the artist role I’m letting sit quietly. I feel fuller as a mother, more connected & connective. I’m realising that now is so brief and short. And one day I’ll be fully at home alone again with my practice and my own quiet voices. Now is the time of my noisy life.
  5. Working with what I have: Quiet moments to delve deeply are rare and few at the moment, but when I get them I jump in and settle deeply in. Sometimes that means I start creating with my immediately, other times it means that I sit quietly and let the thoughts chatter loudly. I take and give what I can when I can.
  6. Store up all the thoughts: Either by writing them down, or holding them securely in my heart. This means that when the time comes to jump into it all, my creative thoughts are ready. I’ve spent many hours of playing lego or reading mindless books on a mindful practice. I can play lego and chatter, while another part of my brain/heart works on other processes. Is this a divided mind? I’m not sure. Perhaps.
  7. Be joyful & content with what I do have, rather than what I don’t have: look around and feel at peace with all I’ve been given. Children & a creative practice together is more than one lifetime of joy. I’m not longing for months of quiet to create a body of work; I’m content & joyfilled with moments of time here and there amongst all of life. The fullness and wholeness of life.
  8. Use one to guide the other: A big part of my creative practice is my mothering story. I would have a different voice, and another way of expressing myself if I wasn’t a mother. Motherhood guides me in the way I think and work. The quiet role of mothering has brought me to the quietness of stitching and weaving. And when I fully immerse in those stitching or the weaving process I feel motherhood talking to me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or ideas on motherhood & artist. Is it a Divided Heart for you, a divided mind, or a ying&yang, a balance, a sea-saw….???

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