Amy Childs is creating a wonderful world
23

patrons

Hello Lovely Person -

Thank you for your continued support as Amy shifts her focus towards renewing her relationship with herself and those close at hand - we know this isn't what you signed up for!!

You are, of course, welcome to modify or cancel your donation at any time =]

.. but as long as you would like to stay connected with us thru this evolving journey, please feel free to follow our weekly video updates - we would love to hear your thoughts and feelings!! <333


With blessings & gratitude ~
Captain Bluebird 🐦✨
+++++++++++++






Retirement
Years ago, driven by the necessity of feeding my family, without a college degree, and needing to work from home, I invented a job employing my unusual set of talents and experiences. I built a website and called myself a Happiness Consultant. I taught people about parenting; unschooling; creating community; unconventional lifestyles and relationships; living a good life without religion; working for a better world; and generally how to make the best of whatever you have. I’m honored to have been an intimate part of hundreds of people’s personal journeys, holding so many hands through heartbreak, witnessing so many breakthroughs, celebrating and laughing with so many precious people around the country and world. I’ve always known I was incredibly lucky to have a job where I felt I had both much to offer and much to gain by being deeply connected to many special people.

The living I’ve made has always been an extremely meager one, barely making ends meet, year after year. Thanks to a few extremely generous and supportive friends who made sure my kids and I didn’t end up on the street, my miniscule income was enough to keep me going and helped us make it as far as we have.

For the past seven years I’ve been renting out my house, living on the road, traveling from couches to spare bedrooms to campsites to friends’ houses, in order to afford this far-less-than-lucrative career. There have been many sweet and lucky things about being housed by the generosity and kindness of others, but I’ve grown drop-dead weary from living for so long in this constantly transient state. In the last few months I hit the end of my rope, and knew I had to find – and to be able to live – somewhere that was really home.

I opened my Patreon account at the beginning of this year, hoping to stabilize my income stream. Rather than daily wondering if I’d have enough work to pay next month’s bills, I thought gathering a group of committed supporters would enable me to live in a more confidently steady way. I said that if I had 50 patrons by the end of 2018, I’d take it as a sign that I was still on the right track, and that I’d be able to continue to work as a happiness consultant.

It is now the end of the year, and I do not have the number of patrons I need. Looking at this bare fact--along with other more subtle mystical, emotional and financial signs--it has become clear that my days as a happiness consultant are over.

However, this is a story with many endings, not all of which are sad ones of failure or loss. One of the best parts for me of 2018 has been discovering that my oldest child, Jonathan (preferred pronouns they/them), has for years secretly been a “happiness consultant” in training. And with fewer expenses, no dependents, more energy and enthusiasm, better ideas, a smarter brain, less trauma and exhaustion, they are poised (excited, even!?) to continue “the family business,” such as it is. I am thrilled to be handing off to them full ownership and control of my websites, podcasts, mailing lists, intellectual property or whatever else they want out of all that I’ve created. I cannot express the pride and joy I feel that they understand all I’ve been working on throughout my life and unconventional career, and are eager to pick up where I’m leaving off on this strange yet deeply moving path.

Another happy ending is the part where Kara Tennis – my oldest friend, closest confident, podcasting partner, workshop co-leader, biggest fan and unwavering supporter of my life work – has asked me to live with her and her husband in her beautiful home, in her beautiful neighborhood, in my favorite city, until we die of old age. Both Kara and Mark are therapists, holding all the same values and commitments that I do, and I am so grateful that for the first time in my life, I can imagine a stable future, at home, growing old together in “the Healing Center of the Universe,” as I have come to call their (now our) house.

It is clear that what I need next is to fully retire from the old, take deep personal stock of all that is true, and center myself in a radically new way. I will be devoting my 2019 to this significant transition – to the end of my old career, and to planting and nurturing the seeds of whatever might be next.

Cloistering
How to put into words my vision for 2019? The Cloistering.

Is it a vision? A hope or dream? An intention, plan or goal? Or an exile or sentence?
Maybe it’s a calling….

The words all sound either too grandiose, or too sad, or too indulgent, or too punitive. Not saying anything about it would avoid the traps of language, but saying nothing would be too much of a lie. It is not nothing, it is very much something.

But exactly what kind of a something, I can’t quite say.

A calling is probably closest. And….it is just time; the hour has come; this is what is next.

This morning I learned that a praying mantis can molt up to ten times in her life. I like knowing this, and feel myself to be a kindred spirit. It’s time for yet another shedding of my skin. I don’t know what new things will come, which both scares and excites me.

My earliest memory of dreaming was when I was about three. I was pushing a baby in a shopping cart, and can still feel the thrilled satisfaction on waking up of knowing that in my dream I was such a good mommy. My life passion was born.

I had my own children when I was still a child. Caregiving has been everything-- my youth, my career, my deepest desire, my business, my meaning and validation.
Without caring for others, I don’t know what or who I will be. We shall see.

I know almost no details, but I understand that many cultures, philosophies and religions offer or require a place and time of solitude, pilgrimage, meditation, prayer, devotion, commitment. Inspired by this, and by something deep and unexplainable, I’m called to take 2019 as a year of deep inner exploration, healing and self-discernment.

With help from my closest and dearest, I’ve made a beautiful cradle-cloister-sanctuary in the third floor of Kara and Mark’s house—what I call “The Healing Center of the Universe”-- two blocks from the oasis of the Wissahickon woods. My bed faces east, and most mornings I watch the sun rise out my window, above an altar made of wood and whiteness. I will spend 2019 exploring the spiritual practices of reflection, meditation, art, music, reading and writing. I will be seeking greater self-knowledge, courage, honesty, strength and humility. I will be caring for myself—body, mind and spirit--with the devotion of both mother and mothered, the dream baby in the cart as well as the mommy who pushes her.

There will be some visiting hours and some outings. There will be rituals and routines. Kara and Jonathan will help me create, navigate, understand, and breathe. They, together with Mark and Richard, will make sure I am cared for, safe, fed, watered and loved.

The rest will become clear in its own sweet time.

Cloistered, in the Healing Center of the Universe.

FAQ
Do you need anything from me?

Thank you for asking, you’re so incredibly sweet! Let me just bask in the question for a moment.

Ahhh :-)

I don’t need anything, because Kara is already tending to my every need, but there are some things I’d like if you did them:
  • Support Jonathan (prefers they/them pronouns and would love to chat with you about gender, pronouns, etc) in their first official year in the business. Hire them, recommend them, promote them, house ‘em, feed ‘em, encourage them, hug 'em, dance and especially sing with them.
  • Thank Kara for taking such amazing care of me. She is the absolute best.
  • Do magic for me--whatever kinds of magic you like to do.
  • I like getting love letters.
  • Take care of each other. Please.

Are you really planning to stay in your cloister for the entire year?
I think the more important use of cloister is as a verb, not a place. I intend to spend the entire year “cloistered,” but I will sometimes leave my beautiful physical cloister, for appropriate reasons to go to appropriate places with appropriate people.

Who are “appropriate people?”

As I am learning to focus on myself in a way that I’ve never before been able to, it will take careful consideration and focused attention to be sure that I spend time only in the presence of people who do not require my caregiving, who can be neutral at least and enthusiastically care-giving of me at best.

Will you still be seeing clients?

Probably mostly not, unless Kara or Jonathan tells me they think I should.
Speaking of Kara and Jonathan, if you miss talking to me, you might like to try talking to them instead. I think you’ll find they’re at least as smart and helpful as I ever was, and maybe even more.

Are people allowed to visit you?

I deeply want to find ways to share my space, my altar and my process with my beloveds, and hope that if you are drawn to spend time with me we will find a way for a good kind of communion. Besides having regular contact with Kara, Mark and Richard, I’ll stay in touch with my sisters, kids and parents, and will hopefully have special visits from them when they are in a cloistering mood.

Are there any cloistering rules?

Jonathan summarized the basic rule as: “Amy’s not allowed to focus on anyone’s problems but her own.”

I’ve also made a rule against TV/movie/Netflix-watching (with possibly a couple of exceptions for special shows with special people at special times), and any kind of social media.

What will your daily life be like?

To begin, I’m thinking about the first three months as its own phase. In March, I’ll think about the next quarter, and so on. My daily routine in the first phase will be something like:
  • Waking up before dawn, meditating and watching the sun rise
  • Making and drinking morning coffee
  • Reading and reflecting on all the writing I’ve done (thousands of pages, starting in 1985)
  • Listening to music for at least an hour
  • Spending at least an hour in the woods, walking/running, listening to birds
  • Making and drinking afternoon tea
  • Doing art like a 4-year-old for at least an hour
  • Leaving messages for Kara and/or Richard about my process
  • Mediation, bedtime and dreaming

Once a week, I’ll be going to Richard’s, where I will be doing many of these same things. Additionally, we’ll sometimes have a guest for an hour or two, do something out in the world for an hour or two, maybe watch something on Netflix, or have an occasional, very-mini, adventure.

What will you do when you feel lonely, sad and panicky, or doubt your sanity?

Cry, breathe, sing, dance, howl, run, or ask Kara, Mark or Richard to hold me.
Then, I’ll see what happens next.

Again, why are you doing this?

A new kind of being is waiting to be born inside of me. It is time.

Part of the cloistering year will be to find out what a cloistering year is, so it’s hard to know ahead of time all that it will be, or even why it’s happening. If you want to hear about the unfolding journey, including updates about visiting hours, rituals, rules, reasons and rhythms, let Kara and/or Jonathan know.

Tiers
Show your support <3
$13 or more per month

Keep all of Amy's wonderful podcasts and websites up & running while she transitions into a new phase of renewal, research, & development ~

Goals
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Hello Lovely Person -

Thank you for your continued support as Amy shifts her focus towards renewing her relationship with herself and those close at hand - we know this isn't what you signed up for!!

You are, of course, welcome to modify or cancel your donation at any time =]

.. but as long as you would like to stay connected with us thru this evolving journey, please feel free to follow our weekly video updates - we would love to hear your thoughts and feelings!! <333


With blessings & gratitude ~
Captain Bluebird 🐦✨
+++++++++++++






Retirement
Years ago, driven by the necessity of feeding my family, without a college degree, and needing to work from home, I invented a job employing my unusual set of talents and experiences. I built a website and called myself a Happiness Consultant. I taught people about parenting; unschooling; creating community; unconventional lifestyles and relationships; living a good life without religion; working for a better world; and generally how to make the best of whatever you have. I’m honored to have been an intimate part of hundreds of people’s personal journeys, holding so many hands through heartbreak, witnessing so many breakthroughs, celebrating and laughing with so many precious people around the country and world. I’ve always known I was incredibly lucky to have a job where I felt I had both much to offer and much to gain by being deeply connected to many special people.

The living I’ve made has always been an extremely meager one, barely making ends meet, year after year. Thanks to a few extremely generous and supportive friends who made sure my kids and I didn’t end up on the street, my miniscule income was enough to keep me going and helped us make it as far as we have.

For the past seven years I’ve been renting out my house, living on the road, traveling from couches to spare bedrooms to campsites to friends’ houses, in order to afford this far-less-than-lucrative career. There have been many sweet and lucky things about being housed by the generosity and kindness of others, but I’ve grown drop-dead weary from living for so long in this constantly transient state. In the last few months I hit the end of my rope, and knew I had to find – and to be able to live – somewhere that was really home.

I opened my Patreon account at the beginning of this year, hoping to stabilize my income stream. Rather than daily wondering if I’d have enough work to pay next month’s bills, I thought gathering a group of committed supporters would enable me to live in a more confidently steady way. I said that if I had 50 patrons by the end of 2018, I’d take it as a sign that I was still on the right track, and that I’d be able to continue to work as a happiness consultant.

It is now the end of the year, and I do not have the number of patrons I need. Looking at this bare fact--along with other more subtle mystical, emotional and financial signs--it has become clear that my days as a happiness consultant are over.

However, this is a story with many endings, not all of which are sad ones of failure or loss. One of the best parts for me of 2018 has been discovering that my oldest child, Jonathan (preferred pronouns they/them), has for years secretly been a “happiness consultant” in training. And with fewer expenses, no dependents, more energy and enthusiasm, better ideas, a smarter brain, less trauma and exhaustion, they are poised (excited, even!?) to continue “the family business,” such as it is. I am thrilled to be handing off to them full ownership and control of my websites, podcasts, mailing lists, intellectual property or whatever else they want out of all that I’ve created. I cannot express the pride and joy I feel that they understand all I’ve been working on throughout my life and unconventional career, and are eager to pick up where I’m leaving off on this strange yet deeply moving path.

Another happy ending is the part where Kara Tennis – my oldest friend, closest confident, podcasting partner, workshop co-leader, biggest fan and unwavering supporter of my life work – has asked me to live with her and her husband in her beautiful home, in her beautiful neighborhood, in my favorite city, until we die of old age. Both Kara and Mark are therapists, holding all the same values and commitments that I do, and I am so grateful that for the first time in my life, I can imagine a stable future, at home, growing old together in “the Healing Center of the Universe,” as I have come to call their (now our) house.

It is clear that what I need next is to fully retire from the old, take deep personal stock of all that is true, and center myself in a radically new way. I will be devoting my 2019 to this significant transition – to the end of my old career, and to planting and nurturing the seeds of whatever might be next.

Cloistering
How to put into words my vision for 2019? The Cloistering.

Is it a vision? A hope or dream? An intention, plan or goal? Or an exile or sentence?
Maybe it’s a calling….

The words all sound either too grandiose, or too sad, or too indulgent, or too punitive. Not saying anything about it would avoid the traps of language, but saying nothing would be too much of a lie. It is not nothing, it is very much something.

But exactly what kind of a something, I can’t quite say.

A calling is probably closest. And….it is just time; the hour has come; this is what is next.

This morning I learned that a praying mantis can molt up to ten times in her life. I like knowing this, and feel myself to be a kindred spirit. It’s time for yet another shedding of my skin. I don’t know what new things will come, which both scares and excites me.

My earliest memory of dreaming was when I was about three. I was pushing a baby in a shopping cart, and can still feel the thrilled satisfaction on waking up of knowing that in my dream I was such a good mommy. My life passion was born.

I had my own children when I was still a child. Caregiving has been everything-- my youth, my career, my deepest desire, my business, my meaning and validation.
Without caring for others, I don’t know what or who I will be. We shall see.

I know almost no details, but I understand that many cultures, philosophies and religions offer or require a place and time of solitude, pilgrimage, meditation, prayer, devotion, commitment. Inspired by this, and by something deep and unexplainable, I’m called to take 2019 as a year of deep inner exploration, healing and self-discernment.

With help from my closest and dearest, I’ve made a beautiful cradle-cloister-sanctuary in the third floor of Kara and Mark’s house—what I call “The Healing Center of the Universe”-- two blocks from the oasis of the Wissahickon woods. My bed faces east, and most mornings I watch the sun rise out my window, above an altar made of wood and whiteness. I will spend 2019 exploring the spiritual practices of reflection, meditation, art, music, reading and writing. I will be seeking greater self-knowledge, courage, honesty, strength and humility. I will be caring for myself—body, mind and spirit--with the devotion of both mother and mothered, the dream baby in the cart as well as the mommy who pushes her.

There will be some visiting hours and some outings. There will be rituals and routines. Kara and Jonathan will help me create, navigate, understand, and breathe. They, together with Mark and Richard, will make sure I am cared for, safe, fed, watered and loved.

The rest will become clear in its own sweet time.

Cloistered, in the Healing Center of the Universe.

FAQ
Do you need anything from me?

Thank you for asking, you’re so incredibly sweet! Let me just bask in the question for a moment.

Ahhh :-)

I don’t need anything, because Kara is already tending to my every need, but there are some things I’d like if you did them:
  • Support Jonathan (prefers they/them pronouns and would love to chat with you about gender, pronouns, etc) in their first official year in the business. Hire them, recommend them, promote them, house ‘em, feed ‘em, encourage them, hug 'em, dance and especially sing with them.
  • Thank Kara for taking such amazing care of me. She is the absolute best.
  • Do magic for me--whatever kinds of magic you like to do.
  • I like getting love letters.
  • Take care of each other. Please.

Are you really planning to stay in your cloister for the entire year?
I think the more important use of cloister is as a verb, not a place. I intend to spend the entire year “cloistered,” but I will sometimes leave my beautiful physical cloister, for appropriate reasons to go to appropriate places with appropriate people.

Who are “appropriate people?”

As I am learning to focus on myself in a way that I’ve never before been able to, it will take careful consideration and focused attention to be sure that I spend time only in the presence of people who do not require my caregiving, who can be neutral at least and enthusiastically care-giving of me at best.

Will you still be seeing clients?

Probably mostly not, unless Kara or Jonathan tells me they think I should.
Speaking of Kara and Jonathan, if you miss talking to me, you might like to try talking to them instead. I think you’ll find they’re at least as smart and helpful as I ever was, and maybe even more.

Are people allowed to visit you?

I deeply want to find ways to share my space, my altar and my process with my beloveds, and hope that if you are drawn to spend time with me we will find a way for a good kind of communion. Besides having regular contact with Kara, Mark and Richard, I’ll stay in touch with my sisters, kids and parents, and will hopefully have special visits from them when they are in a cloistering mood.

Are there any cloistering rules?

Jonathan summarized the basic rule as: “Amy’s not allowed to focus on anyone’s problems but her own.”

I’ve also made a rule against TV/movie/Netflix-watching (with possibly a couple of exceptions for special shows with special people at special times), and any kind of social media.

What will your daily life be like?

To begin, I’m thinking about the first three months as its own phase. In March, I’ll think about the next quarter, and so on. My daily routine in the first phase will be something like:
  • Waking up before dawn, meditating and watching the sun rise
  • Making and drinking morning coffee
  • Reading and reflecting on all the writing I’ve done (thousands of pages, starting in 1985)
  • Listening to music for at least an hour
  • Spending at least an hour in the woods, walking/running, listening to birds
  • Making and drinking afternoon tea
  • Doing art like a 4-year-old for at least an hour
  • Leaving messages for Kara and/or Richard about my process
  • Mediation, bedtime and dreaming

Once a week, I’ll be going to Richard’s, where I will be doing many of these same things. Additionally, we’ll sometimes have a guest for an hour or two, do something out in the world for an hour or two, maybe watch something on Netflix, or have an occasional, very-mini, adventure.

What will you do when you feel lonely, sad and panicky, or doubt your sanity?

Cry, breathe, sing, dance, howl, run, or ask Kara, Mark or Richard to hold me.
Then, I’ll see what happens next.

Again, why are you doing this?

A new kind of being is waiting to be born inside of me. It is time.

Part of the cloistering year will be to find out what a cloistering year is, so it’s hard to know ahead of time all that it will be, or even why it’s happening. If you want to hear about the unfolding journey, including updates about visiting hours, rituals, rules, reasons and rhythms, let Kara and/or Jonathan know.

Recent posts by Amy Childs

Tiers
Show your support <3
$13 or more per month

Keep all of Amy's wonderful podcasts and websites up & running while she transitions into a new phase of renewal, research, & development ~