For a very long time my partner in the Waldorf Community Exchange Journal, Anya and I discussed “meeting at the clothesline” and using this as a metaphor for building community with like minded mothers. Sadly, we have parted ways but the dream and inspiration lives on. Pioneering mothers, who are forging the path for many others have wonderful stories to share. They have great wealth in their experiences and new mothers look to the supportive words of those who have come before – to inspire them and give them strength.
For the past year or so, I have been working on a book of essays from natural, radical, raw, unschooling, homeschooling, etc. moms sharing their experiences, daily occurrences and simple joys…
The idea for this upcoming book reflects the following:
The importance of our daily work.
The very act of hanging up our clothing, caring for our “matter” so to speak, is a way in which we may directly show our love for our families. In Latin, the word matter means mother. Daily work has nearly been forgotten in our fast paced society. Each new invention is intended to make our lives easier and yet we feel more and more stressed and cut off from… something… we can’t even put our finger on it anymore. As we hurry home from work and carpools, toss the TV dinner in the microwave and pick up our clothes at the cleaners, we feel empty somehow… We are missing something, but what? Think for a moment about some of these quotes: “It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.” (Thomas Jefferson) “Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.” (Anne Frank) “When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight.” (Michael Bridge) Consider also my personal favorite: “Work is love made visible.” (Kahil Gibran) Our work is what we give of ourselves. The daily work is what we give of ourselves each and every day. Make it special, sign it with love, enjoy it and be grateful that you have this blessed work to do.
The connection to women’s work from generations past.
The women who came before us were like us in so many ways. Yet often times I believe that they were more whole, because they did have so much more time in their daily tasks to contemplate, to breathe in and out the very rhythms of the seasons, of the trials of life, of their entire lives. They stood under the clotheslines with their sisters, mothers, and grandmothers sharing and passing down their ancient wisdom and recipes for living. They did not have the modern “conveniences” which we have today, allowing them time to pursue careers. They did not have the chance to have a career, the right to vote, to own land… In many ways they were not free, and yet freer than we’ll ever be.
An opportunity to connect with the sense of spirituality we each carry within ourselves.
When we are at the clothesline, we are alone and yet with our maker. The faith we practice and our beliefs are not important at the very moment of completing our work. As we repeat each step of lifting the garment to the sky, clipping it to the line and reaching down to the basket for another garment, we are allowed the time to think, to dream, to meditate, to pray. We are with our God/Goddess at that moment. It is an opportunity for us opportunity to practice sacredness. What is the difference between this act and the act of kneeling in a church running fingers over the rosary? The act of striking the chime in the midst of a Buddhist chant? The act of stirring and powdering herbs while speaking an ancient Pagan spell? The act of lighting the candles at the Sabbath? The very task of being out there alone, under Heaven’s splendid sky with Mother Earth’s soft grass below our feet is divine and sacred.
The very simplicity of life.
What could be simpler, more meaningful than to go out under the big open sky and feel the elements all around you… To see the blueness of the sky with the clouds slowly drifting overhead and feel the breeze and all of creations breathe all around you. Our moods as women are like the elements. Some days the wind is strong, we are fighting just to hold on to our garments, other days it seems that the time simply stands still and we are frozen in a moment of quiet contemplation. This is it. This is what life is all about. Caring for the one’s we love. Showing gratitude for each new day. Being responsible for the tasks, which show we care for ourselves, our homes, our children. As parents who follow Steiner’s Waldorf philosophies, the simplicity of moments such as at the clothesline, are the finest and most important gifts we can give to our children.
PIONEERING SPIRITS WANTED!
Have you ever had a friend share a story which made all the difference? These kinds of stories and inspirations often find their ways into women’s lives just when they really need them. I know that when I felt hopeless, frustrated, tired, burned out – the answer was always just around the corner. I am still seeking & accepting submissions for this work and am reaching out to ask if you can help. Please look through your journals, diaries, old letters to friends or awaken your inspiration and consider sending in YOUR story and sharing YOUR intimate feelings about the journey.
Submissions should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org