fierce times + open hands

by Tania Zimmer in ,

// today. 

with these little humans i live with... 

we talked about receiving. and as always, what it looks like when we are anticipating and waiting for those things that we want so badly that we feel it to the deepest of our core. we all looked at our hands, frequently on this day that needed frequent observation and pause. 

 and we watched as the magic of waiting began to unfold,...... watching, with our hands open...its pretty vulnerable. you could be rejected? you could not get that ribbon that you wanted and asked in your most vulnerable way. it is VULNERABLE to ask and wait with open hands....

for our sister, our lovely friend to notice and see, that little tired probably teething ball of energy was trying her bestest to receive that silk.... so she effortlessly, simply dropped the scarf in her little hands. today isn't the first day we talked about our lovely receiving hands. of wanting things and how different it feels from taking and grabbing, what it might look like if we waited for our friend to put it in our hands when they are ready or finished with whatever thing/clothing/pieceoflint/hairtye/feather/pen  but it's the most important thing at that very moment. right now. right here .// i get it. this is their work. they aren't fighting to spite me. many, if not pretty much most days they interact amazingly. they are humans that have developing brains and developing habits. 

//so much in childhood is about relationships and experiences. today was a true testament to my ability to sustain my relationship as an 'adult' and not break out in my freak out in the 'i've had it with the nonstop tiny voices of constant revolt against every little thing sister 1 and sister 2 and vice versa have done to this that and the other and want to lock myself in the bathroom and pretend i'm pooping for 3 hours until dad is home so that i get some piece and quiet' type. BUT. i had to push that inner child/rebellion "Oh you're back here again, hello my friend" and model.   model patience and be supportive to the fierce engagement that was practically non stop from the moment i picked them up from school. i failed around 5pm. i heard my voice from the kitchen whip out and say in the 'typical mom is fucking over it voice: GUYS! its just napkins, can't you use another one Amaiiiiiiiiiia! *exasperated squeal* immediately judging myself and shitting on myself about how that was annoying, loud, obnoxious, and i'm tired its been a long day and i should have gone and done a little 5 minute time out while they yelled, but someone could have pulled someone's hair out .......bljksdhkufgkdfj.............. 

but then i started again. it is possible. it is not easy. it takes strength and courage. it takes commitment to awareness. but it is possible. i came to eye level. i used yoga breathing WITH BOTH of them, instantly. we were all back in the room. i had them close their eyes, and visualize a big pool and glittery blue water, and etc etc retrospect, the fight over 'the glittery napkin', or who gets to 'smell my coconut oolong tea', or who gets to 'listen to each other's stories' first is a drop in the big ass bucket.... this conflict resolution time is priceless. my learning curve, my own awareness of buttons being pushed, thanking them currently as they sleep away for the gifts they keep on giving - on confronting my vulnerabilities and finding courage to be the human being i want to be and seeing the effects of that imprint onto them, wise little souls they are. as our relationships together will ebb and flow in these imperfect moments that when faced with vulnerability, courage and reflection can most certainly impact in ways for us all. i believe that. 

// i needed to also have a refresher of opening my own two hands, and allowing for whatever i have worked for, whatever i have looked to have in my life, to come into my life. not wishfully, not judgingly or unrealistically. but opening the channels in my physical body allows me to step back and see what is a priority. to receive. it is hard to realize where we store things in our body, how we can be furiously working for something and not notice the tension, and the closed circuit of energy that begins to go round and round and round. stop. breath. open palms, receive. i am undoubtedly in awe of the things that come my way when i do this. magic. magic hands. receiving hands as i say to these two hurricanes. 

opening my hands to my children, to say come here - i am your mother, i am human, i am vulnerable, i make mistakes, but i am here - with you, every step, i am open to all your feelings and accept for all that you are, for you are more than these things you are going through right now... as am i. 

opening my hands to invite, opening my hands to give gratitude, opening my hands to just being open. opening my hands to my head, and resting my forehead - for my limitations are manifestations in my head that i fixate on, and my hands are there to hold this stubborn head of mine, and to lovingly say 'another day, another wonderful opportunity' 

and the beauty of childhood : these kids don't ever hold onto that burning coal. what love truly means. seconds after such tumultuous torture, they love each other again. 


p.s. i haven't blogged on here for almost a year. i've been gone on my photography page and also in yoga work. i plan on coming here for me. and hoping they all intersect in some sane way. 




what home means

by Tania Zimmer in

for an expat and third culture child/adult, home is a very heavy word. where you come from is also a heavy word. i don't want to talk about it so much right now. the images of my home, what i consider to be what home was to me, is always changing. different places have found room in myself and are part of my tapestry. but there is a place where my family has lived its longest and where i went to for awhile that makes this place more special than other homes and countries mean to me. singapore the country is definitely a home. but this actual home has meant a lot to me and my sisters. they moved from this place at the end of the summer and it was emotionally asphyxiating to deal with. i finally looked at the images of this home and miss it so much. these homes, known in singapore as black+white homes, are also disappearing in singapores landscape, a reminder of colonialism and history, whatever it means to a country that has become so fast forward busy and running far from its past. they date back to when the british army was very present, and these buildings were offices and homes for many of the officers. its been protected mostly by the singapore government, rented out to mostly the u.s military presence and new zealand military. theres a few that civilians rented out, and we were one of them, funny how back then i grew up around many navy kids and didn't know much about military life, there are definitely some similarities, but being a third culture kid is entirely different than moving around the united states. this is where i stayed put for a whole high school block (9-12th grade) at the Singapore American School, where I was a teenager, where I fell in love with photography and film, and where my golden retriever recently passed away. I'm glad I was able to take my kids to this place in the last summer we would ever spend there. fleeting moments. home means a lot of things. one of those things is 135 queen's avenue. 


by Tania Zimmer in , , ,

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
— Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

my girl is 4. these kids grow up don't they. 4 years we have spent getting to know each other, separating ourselves, untangling ourselves from the moment she grew inside me. we share this intimate event of trauma and beauty wrapped up in one ~ she did not want to come into this world the way she did. and she sensitively reacts to it daily with every act, defiantly proclaiming her ability to choose. to say i made this decision. some big experiences to process in such a little body and a little mind that seems wise beyond her years, and always grappling with the inability to run with the wind and melt into the ocean, or running with wolves as i see her so naturally doing. her birth day is a day that has been painful to relive the last four years, but regardless of that, i cannot describe the growth and the humbleness that those events have created for her and for me. that's the only way to go through that. find the strength and the vulnerability and live in the little joys. every day. yet, i feel so strongly about how women birth and how careless our society is about how we bring people into this world. how not everyone is the same, and how intimate the act of pregnancy, labor and birth is. how women have been doing this for years, and how we have somehow lost our ability to trust ourselves in something that is so primally ours. how some of us are so much more impacted by these events, based on our histories. our own traumas, and how delicately things can unravel when we don't care for each other. i will forever be vigilant about my daughters' birth experiences, how they can see the beauty of such things, the natural and normal process of such things, the knowledge needed in women to understand the responsibility and awareness it takes to go through this death and rebirth of themselves. the tribe needed. the village needed. the softness and courage of their dependence on their tribe so that they can be whole too. that first birth forever changed so many things in me. and my second birth was so peaceful, so right, so me, so veda, so loving, so healing, so bittersweet. our birth imprints how we view how the world embraces us. it starts at birth. 

so much was lost between amaia and me. so much numbness that occurred within me after our birth, so much pain watching her feeling every single excruciating drugged man made  contraction, so much of her struggling through her day to day, her sensory overloads, her fight or flight always fighting. so much of that oxytocin that i never had when she was born, and she never had when she was laboring. i became more so focused on setting things right after. of erasing or fixing that violation of our first moments. and more so i became entrenched in the misery and pain of that experience, of how she is changed too. but her resilience shines through, and when she is older i fear talking about how that experience broke me. every day more doesn't seem to fade those experiences,  as with her. i am grateful for the ability to heal and make peace and hold her hand in her process of dealing with how she was greeted, how it shaped her and how much of how we've been able to heal and still struggle with, how i felt powerless in making those changes yet had no idea the power i had, the consent i wasn't aware i had. birth is so powerful. you know i hadn't planned on divulging so much of this, but it makes sense that these birth days bring out so many emotions. i love this sweet soul!

I wasn’t prepared for the emotional complexities of being a mother. I expected to love my child, and to be loved in return, but I didn’t anticipate the intricate shapes that our love, both hers and mine, would assume. I believed, naively, that our mother-daughter relationship would be simple until she reached her teens. Instead, it has been complicated since the day she was born.
— Laurel Hermanson

and. so.

we started the day off spending a few hours at the beach, something this girl loves. came home and did a small celebration meal, with her favorite things she wanted for her birthday: . i didn't have time to get a lot of pictures, trying to enjoy the moment. we had a very small, intimate, family birthday just so that we could be with her dad while he was in town. this fairy was quite smitten with the pies she requested, and the fairy wings. such simple things that give such joy.

the menu:

a roasted coconut curried lemongrass chicken and 'mashed' potatoes, with a salad tossed in olive oil, lemon zest and good salt and pepper. 

i used against all grain mixed berry tart recipe. i created my own banana black bottom pie with a maple butter custard to top it off - i couldn't believe how yummy it turned out. i think i will have to do a recipe post just for that one. all the desserts were sweetened with raw honey, dairy free except for the pastured butter uses for the banana chocolate pie. and of course grain free. 

amaia loves guava kombucha so i mixed that with sparkling water, ice, infused with fresh berries and mint from our garden. 

it's so simple to focus on the things they love, and throw a fabulous intimate party. our gifts to her was the time we spend, the food we lovingly prepared, and the memories we created on this day. she did get a new sketch pad and stickers. she loves to draw and stickers are always a hit.