Of Sadness & air plants

For the first time, until two minutes ago I forgot what my blog looks like.

I have within the last three months mislaid my detachable keyboard to my Surface, not knowing exactly where it might be, as it isn’t necessary for Netflix binging.

I had to dig my journal out of a box this morning and go on that familiar hunt for pens.

Fortunately I haven’t developed cramps in my fingers in typing thus far, but this all goes some way towards explaining the aching agony of my soul of late to say that I have not invested any time in writing. Writing reminds me that I don’t do it enough and that makes me feel guilty so I don’t bother. My head tells me there’s nothing interesting to say.

ArchesBut dammit I’ve spent the last year moving, from the UK to the East Coast and across the states to the Northwest. And that surely must be tell-able. But it feels like nostalgia and not something that will help in my present, especially on days like yesterday when my five year old bursts into tears at not painting a dog’s mouth the way she wanted it and I know instinctively that this has little to do with the art project. I see the photos of friends we’ve left behind which she has pulled off her cork board to look at and I know she is feeling the same way I do: lonely and sad.

Here’s a story: we downloaded three films for our 6 day drive cross country – Coco, Ferdinand and Inside Out. The first two I’d seen, but not the latter. She would never watch Inside Out to the end, saying that it made her ‘hot’. Only a few weeks ago I realized it’s the story of a little girl whose parents moved across country and she had a hard time emotionally dealing with the sadness. Parenting fail on a grand scale.

So we watched it together in bed yesterday, curled into a blanket. Like a typical 5-year-old she didn’t watch it with great attentiveness all the way through, but I had to leave the room to ‘pee’ for fear that I was going to turn into Sadness in the flesh, on my face on the bedroom floor. And did I tell you (no I didn’t since I forgot about my blog) that I have had one celebrity encounter while in Portland? The one and only voice of Sadness (and also Phyllis from The Office (US)), smiling sweetly at me over a display of shoes at my store.

I knew that this move would be hard, really I did. And it has met every expectation in that regard. I thought it would take a year, and a year it’s been (5 July). But I didn’t really factor in the two-step move we’ve taken on, only just settling in Portland in April, so really that countdown button has been reset and I’m bracing myself that it’ll be next spring before all feels right again. So how do I cope, let alone thrive, in the meantime?

Thinking of rootedness and settling down, it just doesn’t feel like something that can be forced, while hoping that we will move to a new neighborhood instead of The Pearl (which lies just outside of Downtown) and that we will transition as jobs come into place. This brings to mind those air plants that are trendy right now. They don’t require dirt to grow and thrive, though in the wild they do need a substrate and the right conditions of course. Perhaps life right now and indeed over the last year, and maybe even eternally in some ways, for the Schellerts has been lived within a terrarium to protect and nurture us til our roots meet our new home (read communities, neighborhood, contextual identities). In the meantime, I know for certain I need soul watering that keeps me going, and that includes writing as a form of self care.

Til the next post, homies.

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Of Sadness & air plants

In Praise Of… leaving home

There are many ways in which I’ve changed in the span of 13 years of living in the United Kingdom. In part it’s down to the life changes I’ve gone through of maturing from a mid-20-something, of marrying and becoming a mother. But also it’s due to the course of my life and the decisions I’ve made and those who I’ve surrounded myself with. It’s come down to jubilations and crises.

I think if there was any piece of wisdom I, in my 38 years, could offer to anybody willing to listen, it would be to travel*. Get out of your place of comfort, away from the people you feel safe with, and let life beat you up, polish you up and change you utterly – away from home. In order for this to happen you have to spend a good while away though, not just a long vacation, not just a ‘mission trip’. But truly imbibe the new culture to which you’ve relocated, however temporarily. Don’t pine for the place you’ve left, don’t solely partake of the offerings given from your native place, whether through entertainment or reading. And given our new globally connected reality, this is easier said than done. Don’t surround yourself with only nationals of your own place who have also relocated. Become one of the locals, let it get into your bones. Talk differently. Even if you do sound like an ass to begin with.

I remember that at Bible College, before being sent to a foreign nation, the message was grafted into us, don’t become one of them, wherever you go. Always come back to the states yearly so that you don’t ‘go native’. I call bullshit. Go native. Be brave enough to let yourself become conflicted in your identity. After all, your identity shouldn’t be first and foremost as a national of any nation. But as a human, and if you subscribe to such ideology, as a child of God. Go native as a child of the universe, and smash the lenses you’ve been nurtured to wear. In less kind language I could say, the lenses you’ve been brainwashed to look through. But that’s just culture, it’s how we are, it’s what we do.

I have changed politically. I have changed in my relationship to food. My relationship to transport has changed. I garden and don’t always kill things. My faith has changed drastically. My understanding of God has increased wonderfully, even if it’s left me more puzzled overall. I have met people in this multicultural society I never would have encountered deeply – I’ve seen all continents from this place. I’ve made friends, lost friends and seen friends die. I’ve met new souls in the shape of babes. It has been rich. I am incredibly wealthy as a result.

I hope that I can share some of my impressions of living in Europe via a series of blog posts, In Praise of…

These things might exist quite obviously elsewhere, but in my journey they’ve been found here, in the United Kingdom. They’re things I’ll forever carry with me, unless my next cultural experience challenges them and allows these things to morph as well.

*As a caveat here, I realise, not everyone has the privilege to travel, not for indeterminate periods of time at least. It’s my hope that in writing this series and making suggestions about how to take advantage of our globally connected world, that wherever we find ourselves, in whatever situation, we might be able to challenge our conceptions, to live more expansively and to get out of our comfort zones, even if just by discussing a talk by a foreign speaker or reading a book by someone with an opposing view to our own. Life’s too rich not to explore.

In Praise Of… leaving home

July (flew by!)

Only after returning home in early August did I realise that I spent half of July away from home. Half of the away time was spent at Buddhafield Festival with the SPEAK Network. We brought our yurt to share our campaigns and to get to know people there. It was a really cool festival with great people and interesting conversations. Really chilled and enjoyable.


The following week I went with Rob to Freakstock Festival in Germany where he participated in a service, doing some storytelling on the theme of pilgrimage. He told the story of Tom Joad through the eyes of Woody Gutherie who wrote a folk song about Tom’s journey during the dust bowl. It was great seeing Rob on that stage in front of so many people and speaking with such confidence. The festival was a great time to see old friends and make some new friends too.


We spent the following three days in Berlin, site-seeing and shopping in the alternative district of Kruezberg. It’s good to be back in London now though, I must say! Enjoy some photos from our trip!

Friday Service @ Freakstock
Friday Service Crowd
Rob storytelling
Storytelling about The Joad Family and Pilgrimage
Impromptu gig  by band Praiser
“Peace Out”- Jesus Christ

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

Brandenburg Gate
Checkpoint Charlie
Near the River Spree
East Side Gallery
So true.

Alexanderplatz

Part of the old wall

Photo Opp
July (flew by!)