Maya, my delightful sprite of a daughter, loves stopping by the little free libraries on the sides of the streets, wherever we are. They are a source of new information that carries the potential to make her life a little bit better. You just never know what you may discover! Each time, as she eagerly opens the little door, she is excited as if she were searching for precious gemstones. She loves picking out books for herself as well as for her little brother Mikey. She rarely forgets to choose something for him as well.
This time, with a bit of my help and prodding, “we” chose a few classics. One of them was a children’s adaptation of the book Little Women. Goodness, God knows how much I enjoyed this book and many other classics when I was a kid! I was ecstatic! This was my opportunity to start introducing her to literary works that gave me so much joy, hour upon hour.
I used to hide myself within a story, letting go of all the hardships of life, of all the bullying because I was different, primarily for simply being a girl from another country; a little Ukrainian that dressed funny.
Great stories were a lifeline to me. Adjusting to a different country was fraught with complications and misunderstandings. Mostly, I felt that the kids were afraid of me because I wasn’t born in the States, as if I were an alien in human form.
Needless, to say, books became my best friends. They never threatened me, and I could be wherever and whenever that the books took me.
But I digress, as I often tend to do in my blogs as I travel down the memory lane…
I couldn’t wait to start reading to Maya, 6 and Michael, 3, the story of the Little Women. If you don’t know this book, look it up right now! That afternoon, we proceeded to indulge ourselves in a story that had its setting in a time and place very different to our own, hundreds of years ago…and yet we could connect to it because we all experienced the growing pains every child must go through as they discover their voice, their identity, and their power.
As I looked deep inside myself to process why I was so desperate that Maya would connect with this book… I glimpsed my own desperation to connect to a time that represented simplicity … even though, paradoxically, the book started off by introducing us to Mr. March, the father, who was away at war.
The chaos of the last month, the war in Ukraine has been affecting me personally, as I have family in Ukraine. The emotional stress, on top of the physical stress I’ve been experiencing recently, almost drove me to a breaking point a few days ago. There has been so much information saturating my atmosphere that I had to choose to protect myself from that bombardment on most days. Ergo, the need for simpler times, a desperate craving really, has been brewing within me and was exposed by this children’s book.
Books have magical powers… They connect us with the whimsical, a fairytale-like state. They can bring us back to our inner selves and our deepest desires.
So, what did I learn from this deep dive into my soul? To me, Simpler Times represent not only the connection to whimsy and having the space to imagine and create, but also the dusting off the values that had the ability to carry so much weight in my present state, a prescription for my personal healing. So, as I dive deep into understanding and creating Simpler Times in my current, often chaotic, life, I will be prioritizing the values of Fancy, Freedom, Movement, Exhilaration, Dreams, Easy Beauty, Vision, Sparkle, Delight, Joy, Faith, Belief, Justice, Adventure, Fairy tales and Florals.
As I mine deep within my life for these precious gems, I hope as well, that I find that connection to all the women of passion that came before me, are here now, and will come after me. Women of Vision and Whimsy, women that create magic no matter where they find themselves, no matter the wherever and whenever.
As I build upon what was once discovered, I hope to add to what will once be discovered by generations coming after me. And so I hope and pray, that my children will add that bit of sparkle to the ones around them, as I engage them within a story that was written long ago, hopefully never to be forgotten, always ready to be enjoyed, as what is precious and beautiful must never be lost as it navigates the turbulent times and chaotic events.
Wherever you find simplicity, may it often grace your homes and hearts. Your quest may be different to mine, but passion is what I hope we can agree upon. Without passion, we are not moved.
May you have lots of passion to pursue what you truly need at this moment. May you find your own Simpler Times as you escape into the whimsy and the fairy tale of your own making!
~by Olga Pyshnyak-Lawrence