Saturday, January 15, 2011

Moving over

.. to a new place to blog. I hope to move all of these posts once I figure out how. For now new posts can be viewed here

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In sickness and in health

I so don't enjoy watching my children be sick. At the start of any illness I seem to kick in to doer mode. Like a tornado through the house attempting with all my efforts to make it better. For folks who know me in general my parenting style is a hands off follow my children's natural lead sort of way. However when sickness arises in the house I turn in to some all knowing vitamin pushing drink this eat that military commander.  I dose my children with information I think is true about healing and health. I hide immune boosters in their drinks and food and then sit near by and remind them every 30 seconds to eat up or take sip.  I also start to clean fervently, every surface must be sanitized.

It was when my oldest son first said "mom leave me alone"  and later when my youngest nailed in on the head, "mom can you just cuddle me," that I started to pay attention in a different way.

When I stretch back in my memory I can see that from a very young age my oldest son has known what to do when ill.  He puts himself to bed and he sleeps until he is better. He asks for close physical contact and lots of popsicles.

Learning to trust in my children's abilities to know just what they require in any given moment and obtain it has been easier for me in some areas over others. The trick to it for me is truly seeing them outside of my stories and fears. And continuing to be the mom they need me to be in each given moment (as opposed to the mom that I think should take charge and eradicate the home and their bodies of foreign invaders).

There is a way I think that our world is set up to believe that the adults know all and the children know little. And many would go as far as to say our role as adults is to fill these empty vessels with information. However, many of my most humbling moments have arrived when I embrace the opportunity to learn from my children. Whether it be to unlearn something I thought to be truth or to see the world through their brand new fresh eyes I am often brought to me knees in deep gratitude.

This time around the lesson is just that in sickness and in the health my boys need the freedom to hear and respond to their own bodies. And that I get to stand by with offering loving arms to embrace each request.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I am a recovering

.. good girl.

I learned early on that it was best to keep my mouth shut and fly below the radar. I have a very clear and detailed memory of being chosen to feel the stomach of my pregnant teacher since I was "the only one sitting so quietly" I don't in fact remember feeling the baby kick or move or anything of the sort. But I remember clearly the message. sitting quietly and not rocking the boat will bring rewards. This message served me well throughout my school life.

Out here in the real world I have painfully learned, that rewards aren't randomly assigned to those of us who sit quietly and don't rock the boat. Now don't get me wrong I am not talking about changing in to   a super loud hell raising kind of gal (though I can see the value and reward in that) I am talking about a more subtle switch.

I will expand. My example shared here encouraged me from the ripe old age of six to look outside of myself for reward, validation and perhaps even guidance of how or what to be or do in the world. This message was validated for me over and over and over again in my school career. I create something hand it over and someone else decides if it has value or not and goes so far as to grade the value it has.  I was really good at this way of existing.

The toughest part though is out here in the bigger wider world folks aren't so generous with the praise and grading and its way harder to discern just how to properly meet everyone's expectations. Cause that is the other piece of the puzzle, with in the confines of school I was able to figure out just what folks expectations were and meet them. I met them with grand praise. I was rewarded with top marks for my skills at this.

Being in the world like this for the length of my school career seriously set me up for some patterns that have since come back to shall I say haunt me or bite me in the ass.  I continued to believe that affirmation, validation and guidance came from an external source. I trusted others to build me up (or alternatively knock me down) for I had no reference base of any other way to be in the world.

In looking so far outside of myself for ways to be in the world I lost the ability to dream for myself. The kind of dreams that lead to the grand manifestation of wildest freest happiest self.  I went along with folks, who I trusted and loved and ideas that made some sense to me. And don't get me wrong, on many levels this has lead me to the treasured life I have.  It is just that I keep bumping in to this place where a little girl inside of me is screaming "when is it my turn." And the more times I meet this little girl the harder it becomes to ignore her.

Parenting and living an unschooling life with my boys continually forces me to do the inner work that will bring my best self to our relationship. It is hard work. It is intentional. And it is taking me down some paths right now that involve some serious figuring outs and rediscovering.

As two young people who have never been forced to live by the external controls of others my boys are clear about how they would like their worlds to unfold. They are resistant to pressure from external controls such as guilt and manipulation. They are living for their personal happiness and the ripple out effect this shares with those they live with. Cause you see, living for you own joy and passion doesn't have to happen at the expense of others. In fact I am coming to see that quite often in can co-exist right alongside the living out of others joys and passions.

It is through their living experiences that I am coming to hear the tantrums of the young girl inside of me and nurture her. To pull of the ties of old thought patterns and welcome the journey with in. I can now work tirelessly to look with in for acceptance, affirmation, guidance and to trust what I find there.

I suspect my discoveries will continue to mirror the thoughtful, caring, optimistic person I am. I suspect my previous outward searches and discoveries have fueled my internal desires (even if I wasn't so acutely aware). I think what will shift and change in the most dramatic ways is my ability to dream and create from the place that is authentically and independently me! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Canadian Thanksgiving

Living in a different country has caused me to understand Thanksgiving in a new way this year. Puck and I have been hearing some different opinions on Columbus Day around here and wondered aloud, "is Canada's Thanksgiving in celebration of Columbus?" I know at 38 I the answer to this should be immediate. But the truth is in the past, Thanksgiving always meant to me a day to sit in gratitude for all that I was blessed with. Truly, I had never wondered beyond that.

This year, I did and here's what I uncovered, in nutshell,

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (Canadian French: Jour de l'Action de grĂ¢ce), occurring on the second Monday in October (since 1959), is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. (from Wikipedia)

There ya have it, I can get down with those origins and am once again proud of my Canadian roots.

With this ever subtle shift, so has come a shift in how I have been reflecting on my gratitude. Don't get me wrong, I am still drop to my knees grateful for the freedom that is mine each and everyday. And that the worries that plague my mind have nothing to do with personal safety, poverty or failing health.  And that the love I have in my life multiplies with ever breath I take. And .. and .. and

Today my reflections took me to consider what I had harvested that I am grateful for at the end of this season. What seeds did I plant, tend to and harvest?

So here's my this years, Thanksgiving Thankful list with a new spin

I am thankful for a courageous husband who said yes to a journey that has pushed me to the very edges of my own comforts so I could blossom.

I am thankful for the friends I sought out and opened my heart to so I could experience the support that comes from walking the talk.

I am thankful for children's confident in who they are continually pushing me to examine my own issues in order to shed the stories that no longer serve me.

I am thankful for the opportunity to sit in quiet reflection and quietly tend my internal garden that is continually growing my wildest dreams.

I am thankful for an unfolding heart that is strong enough to seek connection in the least expected places.

To to all my Canadian and Non-Canadian friends may you to sit in reflection of all that you have harvested this season.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Broken Youth

It is hard not to think about the youth in our world lately as media streams stories of early death, heartbreaking attacks and a general loss of innocence. One article, titled "School Boards tackle Social Media Issue," brought me to write this post.

The gist of the article was, how were school authorities going to control the use of social media from spreading hurtful information. This was in light of recent gang rape photos that had gone viral. Yes, that is right photos of a girl being sexually assaulted by more then one person, had apparently spread like wild fire throughout the local community and beyond. And not only that, it was littered with comments about how the girl deserved this and other disgusting terms.  As well, there had been a bullying episode, similar to a cock fight, caught on tape. A mother fearing it would go viral had destroyed the video and any chance of showing her son had indeed been attacked and forced to fight.

As shocking as these two stories are, what I find more shocking is the response of school authorities. "We need to find a way to control how kids are using these social media outlets. This is a new area for us and we just aren't sure how to police it."

Seriously, something as heart wrenching as a young girl being repeatedly sexually assaulted and  boy being made to fight despite his inability to stand due to injury while an audience takes photographs and video and then takes that information and spread it around, and the conclusion is we must control social media. There are some serious issues here that exist with or without social media. And perhaps social media has brought them to our attention so we can deal with them.

I am blessed that I live with in a community of people who have made a commitment to put their relationship with their children above all else. However, that does not give me a free pass to turn a blind eye to the youth who are crying out for help. To ignore that there are sad, heartbreaking, devastating things happening to what I dare call our richest resources.

Whether you send your kids to school, school them at home or unschool that common space we share is that we are parents. We have birthed the next generation and we have the opportunity to do parent in a way that shapes a future worth living in .  We can do it differently then generations before us by tossing out sayings such as, "that's just kids being kids. It will toughen up."  We have the chance to make an impact.

And it doesn't come from controlling youth access to Social Media. It comes from turning that finger of blame around and pointing it at ourselves. Instead of looking to youth to see what it wrong and how we can better control them how about taking a good long look at our own core values and how we are living them.

It is super easy to say, "my family is the most important thing." To truly live that in a way that says it to not only our children but the world at large is whole different matter. If  Mr/Mrs Boss person continues to dictate how we spend our time, then our children will continue to look for other places and ways to be heard, validated and understood.

If we continue to rule over youth by controlling what they can and can not do, say, access, play with they will continue to look for ways to feel in control and powerful. They will seek out ways to feel empowered and lots of times that looks like hurting someone else. Why ?? Cause they are hurting themselves.

When we hear of children taking their own lives or spreading messages of hate about through social media outlets its cause they are hurting. They have unmet needs. And when parents are too busy, stressed or simply unconnected peer groups quickly step in to take their place. Which if we lived in a world where all people were raised in unconditional love and respect it might not be such a harmful replacement. However, in this world that often replaces family value with social status things can get pretty messed up.

I am not suggesting any really radical changes to how folks are living their lives. I am just pleading with parents to take a long deep breath and on the slow exhale to truly examine how they live in relationship with their children.

It's in action like, going in to work an hour late once and a while so you can have breakfast with your child, that we say you are more important. And it's in feeling important that are children feel valued.

When we care more about what our children think of us then what the neighbors do that we show our children their opinion matters. And when their opinion matters at home, they are less likely to change their opinion in other situations.

When we sit down and watch a TV show or play a video game with our children, we show them that the things they are interested in have value. And when our children feel their interest are valued they are more likely to pursue them in in the face of external judgement.

And when we show our children unconditional love and respect we set them up to do the same for others. We give them the courage to say, "hey that's not okay with me."

When we create a home space that serves as a moral barometer for our children they are able to go out in to the world and make big decisions knowing we have trust them. They are able to tackle heart breaking situations and know we have their back. They are able to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means going against the grain.

So I say to that those poor confused School Authorities who aren't sure what to do in the face of social media, use it in a way to shows youth they truly matter.

Friday, September 17, 2010

In the eyes of my child

.. I see more deeply who I was once

.. I see more clearly who I want to become

.. I see more love then my heart can hold

.. I see more compassion then I have experienced

.. I see more possibility then I have known

Sometimes life gets busy in the doing and being and the exploring that I forget to stop and do some seeing. And by that I mean more clearly probably gazing. You know the kind of gazing where all you feel and see is the pure brilliance of the object of your affection.  I do adore those moments when something halts me and I simply stop and gaze at one of my children. In those moments all I see is pure love and possibility.

They often turn to me with that sort of "what are you lookin' at?" look on their face and sometimes they even say "what?" in a slight irritated way and I just say, "oh I'm just lovin' you up." And the day moves on.

The secret really is, that sure the lovin' them up likely gives them a feeling of security in the world, a trusting that all will be well and the sort. But I think I really do get a lot more out of it then they do !! I get filled up, filled up to brimming over and then I take that extra and I spread it around. Some times it even lands on an unsuspecting stranger who might, just might have been having a less then perfect moment.

Dare ya, to take a few moments today and gaze adoringly at someone you love like crazy, just to see what happens. I think the world could possibly be better for it !

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time In

Often the world around us sends a message that when the going gets tough, we need a time out. Whether it be commercials for tired parents, who need a vacation from it all or mainstream parenting books that insist that a trouble child certainly needs a time out to regain their composure (or more honestly behave the way the parent would prefer).

Recently, through my own tough moments, I have begun to recognize that time ins actually work much more smoothly to restore peace. Time in connection with my children fills me up and reminds me just why I want to spend some much time with them. Time in connection with my children heals the places with in me that perhaps were undernourished.

Time in one on one relationship with each of my children feeds a need with in us both to blossom and grow in our awareness of one another. Time in relationship with my partner heals the rushed moments and unthoughtful comments that have passed between us in hurried interactions.

Time in reflection with myself restores my commitment to live fully, joyfully, respectfully, lovingly and passionately.