ROW80 2012 Round#1 – “Sima Garo Provides”

Photo by Shan Jeniah BurtonSima Garo is a philosophical practice, among the Tacivaarii Huntstribe of the planet Aletris.  You say you’ve never heard of Aletris?  That’s okay – I created it, but haven’t yet widely shared with the people of this world.

It is centered upon the certainty that all that is needed in any moment will be supplied by that moment.

However, one must be open to it, else one might miss the offerings.  Sima garo is not forceful, it simply unfolds, in the manner of natural things.

There is no point in praying for specific things to happen.  Sima garo will indeed provide, but the provisions may be of a wholly unexpected nature.  One must be willing to act on instinct, and faith, and to keep one’s mind, soul, and heart open…..

It’s deceptively simple. It came to me one day, fully formed, in this sentence, the touchstone of the philosophy:

Sima Garo Will Provide.

Montana quarry, Summer 2000
Facing my fears in Montana, Summer 2000

That sentence was the key to the character and approach of Jeniah, a Trueborn  Tacivaarii who had, for much of her early adulthood, been Huntleader.  Once I knew that she had come, through many trials, to believe in sima garo to the depths of her being, it was much easier to know what she would do in any situation…..

Sima garo will provide; one must only be open to it.  Sima garo works best when one is poised and ready to act purposefully,  with less attention to following a preordained plan, and more to presence and full awareness not only of the factors required to achieve a goal, but also of why one is pursuing the goal, to begin with.

Sima garo works in concert with instinct, free will, personality, purpose, circumstance, and relationships.  It is infinitely flexible, and it is always there, in every moment, providing what is needed, although not every goal is attainable in every moment….which is why I’m telling you about sima garo right now.

It’s been a week of disequilibrium here,  with familiar patterns of all kinds being cast aside.  There seems little predictable about the flow of our days, suddenly.

I suspect both children are going through a physical and/ or cognitive growth spurt.  They seem suddenly bigger and more capable than they were only a week or two ago.  They’re watching programs and playing games that were too much only a month or two back.  They have a new array of freshly-minted skills and perspectives.

And, in the hurly-burly of that growth – they are an odd mixture of supremely helpful and intensely messy.

The nature of children is change.  Every parent knows it, although we, as adults, tend maybe not to think about it while we are making our plans and assuming we know who these children are and how they operate…..

Supreme goofiness at home (winter 2009?)....

Maybe these periods of intense growth are less chaotic, when children are enrolled in school.  Or maybe, with the children gone during those hours and the parents busy with their own jobs or plans, it’s just less noticeable.  Or maybe it comes out in other forms – falling grades, fighting, sleepiness….

Because Jeremiah and Annalise  have never attended school, I’ve been witness to and participant in every one of these sudden surges.

And yet, every time, it seems I need to remember it again, as I desperately try for balance amid the swirling, metamorphic energies all around me.

Sima garo will provide.

Every time, I struggle.  I battle my way upstream, against the tide of chaos, clutter, and emotional disarray.

I’ve been exhausted from my futile struggling, and so also crankier than I usually am.

Cranky moms do not help children find a safe center within the storms of growth…..

Sima garo will provide.

I don’t need to do it all.  Some days, like Monday, when there is nothing left but the energy to be, I don’t need to do any.  I can give myself a day to rest, to not drive forward, to stay still and feel what it is that sima garo is offering.  Time to listen to my instincts, and question my expectations.

Jeremiah, up close, listening to Irish Folk Music (Sterling Renaissance Festival, Sterling, NY Summer 2010)

Time to realize that, sometimes, growing is all-consuming, and huge messes will be made – not because of a lack of willingness or care for those they share living space with, but simply because there is no energy for anything but growing.

Time to turn to my growing-up children, my daily companions in the adventure of life, and remember that I know only who they are and have been.  I can’t know who they will be; I ought not impose my own agenda upon it.

Annalise inspects the unintended consequences of art, (making herself into a war horse) 2009ish

Time to wait, quietly, and observe.  Who are they becoming, in this frenzy of growth?  What are they learning?  How can I best support them- gently and lovingly?  How can I meet my own needs for order and rest and a certain degree of predictable flow to my days and responsibilities?  How can I do this in love, in peace, and acceptance for who we all are?

I’ve been a little short on kindness, the last day or so.  Deep within, I am growing, and changing, too.

While I let those thoughts and the feelings that go with them simmer in my soul, while I wait for what I am just beginning to sense sima garo is offering me, I am going to go ahead and celebrate my actions toward achieving my goals:

Round of Words 80 Goals – Round 1, 2012:
I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly.
  • With my last post, I had completed eight of the ten essays I planned to write to complete this goal.  Five more, including this update post, are in progress.
  • I have several more ideas brewing, and much material to mine out of previous writings.  I expect to complete this goal, and surpass it, within the next two weeks. =)
I will complete all necessary homeschool reporting (2010-2011 end-of-year assessments; fourth request for approval of 2011-2012 IHIPs , and Second Quarter Reports-  all items for both children).  These will be completed and submitted as follows:
  • 2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 25, 2012
  • 2011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – January 31, 2012
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012
  • I’m moving forward on the assessment forms, having completed Annalise’s except for a final edit.  Jeremiah’s form is nearly finished, as well.
  • I am going to tweak the dates.  I had intended to take the assessment forms to our homeschool co-op group on Thursday, but the kids and I were all drained and a little sniffly, and Lise had hurt her foot.  By mutual consensus, we stayed home.   Since the forms need to be filled out by a peer review panel, that will need to wait until next Thursday.

The new deadlines are:

  • 2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 31, 2012
  • 011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – February 15, 2012
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012

 I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to
Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.

  • It seems as though I have been working on these two for a very long time….but….
  • The Tiny Buddha post is very nearly ready for submission.  I need to do a final revision, focusing on one still-rough passage, and to add a few pictures and perhaps links, too.  I will have it submitted before Wednesday’s check in.
  • The Sunday Surf  post is nearing its conclusion –  I feel there are a few more paragraphs to write,  and revisions to do.   I’ve begun to import the edited photos into the post. Not in time for this week, but I will submit it to next week’s surf.
  • Additionally, although not part of this goal, I have written about half of a rough draft for Sibling Love”, my post for the Unschooler’s Blog Carnival.  I have also found a treasure trove of online photos of the kids together, from baby days up to this week.  Loving the idea of getting into those  to edit -ohboyohoboyohgirl!!!!
  • I have also revised (again!) the guest post for Cooperative Catalyst and given some consideration to what I want to add as links and photos-  slideshows of kid art, the in-progress interviews with both children, and the days I itemized last March (on The Unfettered Life, but still needing editing.)  I expect to have this done by the end of January.
I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel, Chameleon’s Dish.
  •  I completed Chapter 15, although I felt it floundered some, with lots of energy oozing off in odd directions, and with lassitude beneath, kind of like our lives this last several days.
  • The next chapters will likely also have a bit of an identity crisis, as I learn things and the characters make their choices, and are acted upon by outside sources, as well.
  • Just as I am practicing being present with the children’s growth and change, I am practicing being open and present to the story, to not attempt to force anything, but to simply be the conduit for the story that wants to be told…
  • At this writing, I am 1453 words into Chapter 16,Blood and Breath“.
  • I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of the middlin’ end of the middle.  No, it just doesn’t get any more specific than that –  I don’t have an outline, just a sketchy story arc I keep in my just-now- muddled head. =)
I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  •  Still letting the erotic poem rest, for the moment. I am considering writing a flash fiction piece based upon it.
  • I have taken some steps for my private writing enterprise by beginning to investigate accepting online payments – eventually, I may link to my service from here and The Unfettered Life.  It’s a small, simple project, but it would be fun to have rather than a donate button.
  • I also investigated and then signed up as a creator at The Unschoolers’ Emporium.  Over the next several days, in moments between other projects and activities of life, I will be writing my ad, experimenting with pictures, and setting my pricing….
  • So, an announcement of what it is will soon be appearing here and there –  but not until I get the ad in and am ready to go…..
  • I have been collecting resources for market research, and, once I get a few of my pending projects finished up, I will begin narrowing down and preparing for my third submission, which may possibly be something for
  • Gradually, the “What-the-hell-do-you-think-YOU’RE-doing?!” feeling is fading, as I simply move toward this goal of four submissions.  I am realizing that I have as much right to submit as anyone else, and that there are indeed those out there who are willing to compensate me financially for my words.
  • In this area, sima garo has provided richly.  I had thought, for years, that finding markets was a business so tedious as to approach impossibility.  Now, with my trusty Sweet L’il Lenovo, I can grab any appealing site, scan its guidelines, then post it to my Facebook Writer Page until I can investigate it more fully.
  • I intend, too, to bring the most appealing of these sites here, to post in my  Markets for My Writing  category, on this blog.

I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page, and I will  update, edit, and post to both of my regular blogs on at least a weekly basis.

  •  I have been doing really well with this.  I am really enjoying learning more about how blogs work, and all the nifty little things I can do here.
  • I have been adding here and there…widgets, categories, menus, tags, and links.  I’ve had some ideas.  I have lots more to do, oveer time…I don’t want ot rush it, but rather to create an organically evolving place for my writings to live.
  • I’ve also made some adjustments and additions to The Unfettered Life, and to my Facebook Writer Page.  I anticipate that these, too, will continue to evolve and grow as I do……
  • Through personalizing my blogs, I am developing a better sense of my own writing passions, and finding a growing network.  In the past week or two, both of my blogs have gained some new followers.
  • Here at Shanjeniah, I am honored to welcome the following new members.  Find a comfy place to settle, and feel free to give me your drink orders – I loved my days as a waittress!
  • And a special, “Thanks, and welcome!” to my very first follower – —
  • If you click any of these names, you will be carried, (on gossamer wings, of course!) through the magical rainbow skies of the Interwebs, to land dreamily within a blog I really enjoy.  It’s like a bonus, for everyone!
  • I’ve known Eden since we were 4.  She’s not like a sister to me, she is my Syster.
  • And, now, I have four more people to learn about and from.  Life is good, indeed. =)
Annalise loves strawberries, especially from the walkway patch! Spring 2011

So, back to this sima garo thing….

Friday was a particularly grouchy day for me.  I was woken early by Jeremiah leaning over me, saying,”Mommy?  Number one, your computer is blinking, and, number two, I have no idea where Daddy is.”   Groggily, I answered that I knew about the computer, and that Dad had probably gone to get milk, because we were out. Almost as I said that, Jim and Annalise returned from the store, and my abrupt awakening became irreversible.
Physics, history, and fun on the Crow's Nest at the Renaissance Festival, summer 2010
A few moments later,  Jim and I were having coffee  when the children began screaming at each other.  This wasn’t a simple disagreement; it was a rare call to war.  In attempting to defuse a suddenly hugely volatile moment, Jim and I got screamed at, too.
That didn’t set a lovely tone for the day.  I was overwhelmed by input – a lot of it loud and really angry -from the instant I was awakened.  Normally, I enjoy relaxing my way into a state of readiness for my day – coffee and conversation with Jim until he heads off to work, then reading my daily meditation from The Book of Awakening.  This week, I’ve also been reading essays from A Quiet Place.  The disruption jolted me too awake, too quickly, and then it was hours before I was able to settle to do my reading.
The suddenness and chaos of that awakening was still with me when I stumbled out to the living room… find that the cleaning I had done the evening before had been erased, and more chaos resided in its place.
I struggled all day – against the mess, against the kids, against my own emotions.  Nothing seemed right, and I let the kids know – repeatedly and at length, and not, on the whole, very nicely.  I let them know in a way I have not done for months.
I was exhausted from struggling against what was, what already existed.  The mess was there, and the kids were unsettled and grouchy –
And so was I.
Outside the New York State Museum (Albany, NY), November, 2008
It wasn’t until after the kids fell asleep that I realized the truth –  I had simply been refusing to accept that day just as it was, and, by refusing to accept it,  I added resistance to all the difficult emotions we were all already feeling.  Sima garo will provide – no – even that isn’t quite right.
Sima garo provides,  in every moment, whether I am paying attention or not.
At the Butterfly Conservatory (Oneonta, NY, February 2009
Saturday was easier.  We all found our flow, and moved through the day with the energy we had; not resisting, just floating along.  I managed to do some cleaning, and some writing, and to spend some time enjoying both of the kids, and Jim, when he got home.   The children were far more generous and helpful than they had been on Friday.  Lise helped with pet care, dishes, laundry, and did some tidying.  Miah cooked – twice! –  for all three of us: toaster oven grilled cheese sandwiches and French toast.  He also did some dishes, helped with laundry, and did some general tidying-up.  Together, they made a pot of coffee.
At seven, Jeremiah read many, many books. These days, he prefers online reading, much of the time - research is easier that way. (Winter 2008).
Sima garo provides.  I need only be open to it. Whether it is the time to write, resources to help me toward my goals (writing and otherwise), patience and understanding, renewal and rejuvenation, love, affection, acceptance……it’s all there, all the time, if I only choose to see it and open myself to it….Does that mean every day will flow as smoothly and easily as yesterday did?  Of course not.  Already, today has been more challenging.  We are all very tired, and that leads to crankiness and conflict.  Jeremiah is missing a piece of gaming equipment he treasures, and which he loaned to Annalise yesterday.  He insisted she lost it; she insisted she returned it, and he got very angry, very quickly.  Without warning, we were thrust into a storm of emotion….
Photo by Jean Dorsey. Annalise gets to know the ocean (Rexhame Beach on the Atlantic, Marshfield, MA, Spring 2009).
 Life is a messy and tangled business.  Life as a parent is exponentially more so.  Life as a parent who strives, with each and every interaction, to respond from a place of peace and partnership can be the knottiest of tangles, the most overwhelming of messes.
But sima garo provides, even if it is only in the simple knowledge of my purpose, as a mother and a woman and a human….to leave things a little better than I found them, and, when I can’t, to release them.  Even if it’s just the knowledge that the boy screaming so furiously at his sister was, a few minutes before, confidently trying his hand at frying bacon.  Or that, once he remembers to breathe again, he will settle quickly and make things better, and he and I will be able to discuss better approaches for next time….Or the knowledge that no moment, no matter how unpleasant and trying, lasts forever, and each new moment brings with it new realities, new possibilities, and new understandings….
The kids and I outside the Mayflower II, ( Plymouth, MA, Summer 2010)
They are all there, waiting, in every moment.  I need only be open to them.
Sima garo provides.
See other ROW80 Blogs here….
The family that laughs together - some time ago, on our couch, in a pile.


  1. I loved this, Sys, And I understood it all too well. Your Friday? For too long it was my every day. I’m beginning to slow down and take the day as it comes. It’s not always easy, but we get there.

    • Sys, you know it was my every day, too, when the kids were small. I was so overwhelmed, especially when I was working early mornings – there was never enough of me to get through the day, let alone find time to fulfill my own dreams and needs….

      Thankfully, mercifully, these times are fewer and shorter these days…I haven’t figured out how to just bob along with the waves, quite yet, but at least, after I realize what’s going on, I stop struggling against it, and that really helps.

      Sima garo provides. And that Jeniah is one smart woman! =)

  2. It is indeed a challenge to live in that moment with kids! I have two sons myself, and things often don’t happen the way I originally expected. You’ve done great with your ROW80 goals. I’m impressed with you balancing the homeschooling, the research, and the writing. Here’s to an amazing week of progress! Best wishes.

    • I’ve been working hard at it for three years now, and it’s getting more natural to be present, to be not just “Mom”, but a PERSON to them and with them. There are some principles to follow, yet there is no way to do that without really seeing them as they are….and maybe that’s the catch, when they are growing so quickly – my perceptions of who they are get a little too entrenched, and I am seeing them less than my idea of them….

      I’m adjusting. =)

      As for the homeschooling, a distinct advantage of our unschooling approach is that it paradoxically takes no time and all the time. It’s life-based learning, and everyone in this house is a fiercely independent learner. Mostly, I am here to facilitate, to share my passions and share in theirs, to help them get and do what they can’t do for themselves.

      If I lived in a state that didn’t have reporting requirements, all the effort would be delightful. I haven’t yet reconciled myself to the reports.

      The research is easy to sneak in in odd moments, and the writing……well, I write constantly, in my head. I bought a new, smaller laptop a couple of months ago, so now I can carry it from room to room. That helps, and so does staying up all night, many nights!

    • Thank you. Today was filled with laughter, shells and cheese made by Miah. Lise said “I can make DNA with my rollerblades”. Jim and I were invited to a “dinner party” on a makeshift table covered with a blanket, in the living room. They waited on us. =)

      At the end of disequilibrium is growth, and, hopefully, we will all find our balance again….

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I found peace in writing it, and like it enough that I intend to repost it over at The Unfettered Life (minus the goals stuff in the middle…..).

      Thanks for taking the time to post!

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