Some of the seeds planted in the springtime garden are just bearing fruit for us to enjoy and share with loved ones on these crisp autumn days. Similarly, the rhythms and rituals instilled around that time have manifested into sunny memories of fleeting summer days and the time and space for true family connection and bliss to flourish.
Each season offers its own cadence of schedules, traditions and opportunities to simplify in basic areas of our lives. As the sun-kissed shimmer on my children’s skin starts to fade away, I am reminded to consciously pause and consider the seeds to plant today for a smooth transition into this season of inner reflection.
Here are some of my favourite places to plant these simplicity starts:
The Layering Patch
Contending with unseasonal or outgrown clothes is a symbolic yet practical way to kick off this shift in seasonal flavour. It also offers a much-needed dose of fine-tuning the mechanics of our attempts to leave the house with small children as temperatures start to drop.
Ours is an annual ritual of pulling out woolens to carefully wash by hand. Each child helps in the washing of their own hat, mittens, scarves and any wool under layers with a gentle wool cleanser and the final squeeze in a fluffy towel to dry.
This also provides a warm and fuzzy opportunity to take stock of layering essentials that are missing in action, outgrown or in need of mending. It’s a good idea to keep your Ravelry account on hand to neatly queue your fall knitting projects for easy reference.
The Garden of Pause
We save our dinner candle lighting ritual for the autumnal equinox or Michaelmas. In the spring and summer months we sing a verse sans candle and, alas, I’m usually the only one belting out “Blessings on the Blossom”. But when the candle component is thrown in the whole family is captivated by the luring effect of the light, my voice (though they won’t admit it) and offers the whole table a moment of pause in the hustle of what may have been a busy day.
Over the course of this growing season, this one little seed offers a whole harvest of much connection and comfort as we cycle into, then once again out of, these slowly darkening dinner times.
The Orchard of Free Time
Here we have a whole garden bed to play with for hobby farming openings in our family’s schedule to simply stay closer to home when possible. It’s my stance that school is an extra-curricular activity in itself and since we will be experiencing it for the first time this year, my mama bear knees are bent at the ready to protect our children’s lives from getting overrun by too many activities that will pull some of us away from our sanctuary of just being.
The kids’ interests are growing like beneficial weeds as they seemingly randomly sprout up all by themselves. Despite their burgeoning interest, I am being mindful to limit them to one lesson or project at a time to save up on this important currency called free time.
We’re saving a fuller schedule for warmer times when growing conditions are more favourable for longer outbreath type activities.
The Festivals Greenhouse
With an abundance of festivals to celebrate this time of year it can feel overwhelming to take them all on. The simplicity garden growing tip here is to take it one at a time. If you consider them all in one sitting you may just freeze — and that, dear mamas and papas, may lead to frost damage.
Consider and select only the festivals that resonate most with your family and have fun playing and interpreting the essence of these through story and play. Anticipation is half the fun in the children’s realm so the celebration need not be an elaborate, grandiose affair; the simpler the better in fact.
A story, a craft that even the youngest can participate in, or perhaps getting together with like-minded friends for a potluck can deliver the magic and soul speaking wisdom from the ages without causing undue stress and overwhelm.
Design your simplicity garden specific to your family’s needs today. Challenge yourself to make the changes small; small as a seed in fact. That way there will be less resistance to implementing them, more room for inner work to blossom and more harmony to the recharging energy of this phase of life. Before you realize it your bounty will be delivered straight to the harvest table of your family’s soul.
Kathy Stowell is a Mama Bliss Coach and Certified Simplicity Parenting Leader living in the backwoods of the Kootenays in British Columbia, Canada. You can pick up a free copy of her ebook Handmade Time where she shares her strategies on squeezing in more blissful crafting time at her site.