Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Anger is one of those emotions that really, really, really triggers me. Whether it be the anger of an adult thrown my way that I feel the need to duck and hide from or the explosive anger of my child that I feel the need to manage, it triggers me. 

My oldest son feels things in a big way. Ever since he was born, when he is pissed off, it comes out with what to the external observer can appear to be rather violent. As he gets bigger things have started to look scarier. And for some reason the scarier they look the more I feel the need to get in the way of it all and manage it. Even though in my rational mind, I know for sure when he is in the place that makes him through a Wii controller across the room, he most certainly can not hear a thing I have to say. And if he is yelling and throwing things about his room, me yelling back is not the thing that is going to restore any sort of peace. 

Just yesterday, I got to thinking in the way that I hope turns in to some sort of shift. The first step for me was rather humbling. I realized, I was asking of my son, something I had yet developed the skill to do. "Please, when you get that mad can you just walk away and cool off." I don't do that all the time. Heck, I had just been right there in the living room yelling alongside him. Check that little piece of reality. 

The next step logically for me, was to admit to my son, that what I was requesting of him appeared to be beyond my abilities and was likely not the path that was going to take us away from yelling inappropriate words as the top of our lungs. 

So, we talked about anger and what it feels like. "It is like something just takes over my body and I can't control it." Wow, this is good information for me to know but more importantly for my son to know about his own physical reaction to anger. 

And the hardest part for me at this stage of the discussion, is to shut up and listen. I don't need to give him information about what he should or even could do when that happens. I can offer compassion for how challenging it must be to be in a body that feels clearly outside of your control and I can ask, "is there anything I can do to support you when feel this way?"

"YES, leave me alone and get out of my way."

I am sure that my heart beat could be heard from a few miles away. It was quite literally pounding inside of my chest. I want to help, in that do something way, and my eight year old has requested, I back off.  Alongside my teary eyes, was a hint of amazement as I realized he had just the skill I wished for earlier in the day. The ability to recognize what anger feels like in my body and to know what I needed those around me to do in order to give me the space to adequately process it. 

The challenge, for me to remember this conversation in the heat of the moment. To feel my own anger and my own urge to help and still give my son the space he needs to fully experience the anger coming in to his body, going through and inevitably leaving. Cause heck, who wants to carry that kind of nastiness around in your body clear in to your adult life. 

I thank my son for showing me, anger isn't something to be afraid of, it's just a feeling or emotion, that needs to find it's way through your body, in order to be fully released. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Tribute to Father's

I had a wonderfully imperfect father growing up. He did the very best he knew how to be a father to me. I could have chosen to spend the rest of my years, picking apart his imperfections and how they tainted or stunted me. But you know what, who he was and how he was are sewn in to the fabric of who I am today, and heck I am bold enough to admit I turned out pretty darn well. Father's day gifts, were always my favorite. As a little girl, I adored pouring on the love and telling my dad just how fabulous I thought he was. He was in fact that first man I loved, and he single handedly had my heart for a very long time. In fact, when he died I discovered in his closet a box of letters he had kept, from when he worked away. They were letters I wrote to him for everyday he was not home, a collection of love letters with the sweetest declarations of adoration ( I digress).

As a woman, Father's Day was a time for me to share with my Dad how some of the offerings he shared with me had shaped the person I am. I completely admired my dad's ability to continue to grow, examine himself and learn new things. The most touching example of this came in his sixtieth year of life. That was the year, my dad changed from the Catholic church to the Untied church. This was a big move for him and showcased how his religious up brining wasn't going to determine his spiritual practice in his later life. Shortly after joining the united Church the congregation began a discussion on whether they would perform gay marriages. My dad had a strong opinion on the matter, and attended the first discussion to share his thoughts. He boldly declared, that marriage was a sacrament and this was the driving force behind his opposition to the proposal. The minister kindly turned to him and explained, "it's not in this church Rick." And my dad's opposition was stopped in its tracks. Many weeks later, my dad called to share a personal moment with me. He explained that during the minister's sermon declaring why the church would know openly accept and perform gay marriage, he was brought to tears. "It's all about love Shan, how could I have ever been against that." It was one of the most tender moments I shared with my father, the witnessing of a crumbling wall of a belief no longer needed.

In my father's 62nd and final year of life, he joined his first choir with me by his side. He declared to me that he figured he had been a closet singer his entire life. And in fact, the day before his life ended my dad sang with gusto in the church choir on the one and only day his adored grandson's choice to check out this church.

So my tribute here is to honor each and every Dad out there and the tender loving moments they share with there children. Cause even with in the most imperfect of people there is love. And I dare say that this love is the only thing that reaches out and lives beyond our physical existence.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Sleeping

I was super moved after reading this post by Swiss Army Wife, that when I started to leave a comment I realized I might have a little more to say then just what can be summed up in a post blog comment. So here goes. 

Before my first son was born, we created a Jungle themed room for him complete with a brand spanking new crib bought by proud Grandpa to be. We found the cutest bed set and got it all ready. In my pre  momma brain, I just figured when the baby was sleepy I would put him in there and he would sleep. I mean that is what I had witnessed time and time again on the large number of Baby Story shows I had been indulging in. 

When my son did make his appearance in to the world, born at the foot of our bed, we instinctively curled up in bed and cuddled for days. I kept waiting for the moment when it made sense to put him in his crib to sleep. And it simply never showed up.

There were times when daddy needed more sleep, so we put a double mattress on the jungle room floor and baby and I slept there. The crib was a great place to store toys and more then once I put baby in there so he could hold on to the edge of crib and bounce up and down up and down. He really enjoyed that.  It just never made sense for him to sleep there. 

This chance to sleep with my children for the past eight years, has come to open up a pretty cool world to me.  We now coin sleeping in our house as, playing musical beds, just because you fall asleep in one bed, you are not guaranteed to wake up in that same bed !! 

A night terror could send you running in to the warm place between two adults, or a crick in the neck could send you searching for the emptiest bed. Every bed in our home, is open to whomever needs in when they need it, no questions just loving arms to welcome you. 

My oldest has night terrors and often asks, "how did I get in here" upon waking or, "tell me about last night's terrors." He is absolutely fascinated by the fact that while he sleeps peacefully we bear witness to him screaming in terror and seeing things that are beyond our scope of vision. I am comforted in those moments by simply holding him, loving him and eventually drifting back to sleep.

The other treasured gift that sleeping together has given me is the best pre-sleep connection times ever! This is the time in the day when I get to lie with one of my boys all to myself. We talk about the stuff that floats around in their minds right before sleep. We get to dispel myths, remove worries and reassure each other of our connection. We laugh a lot about silly things we saw, jokes we have made up or just at the kind of things you say when you are drunk with sleepiness. 

In these precious moments I know my boys on a deeper level. I get a milliseconds peek in the busy minds that are theirs. And we talk about the kind of stuff that can keep ones mind up with worry. 

A favorite of mine to hear, "mommy can you put up the catcher and make sure it is full only of all the things and people I love." There was a time when sleep eluded my youngest as he was sure he would have a bad dream. So, we talked about dream catchers and there role in different cultures. He was drawn to this idea and asked me if I could put one up for him. In my adult mind, I thought this meant searching out a handmade dream catcher and affixing it to his bed. To him it meant using his and my vivid imagination to create a protective shield a top the bed, to stop anything yucky from getting in to his sleep world right now!  And so that is what we did and do near every night since. 

I have been asked night after night to recreate stories, original of course with the starring characters being my boys. This has opened to me a passion I have for the telling of children's stories. And I will admit that even on the nights when sleep presses heavy on my eyelids, I can always be perked up by the request for a "pretend story." 

Some nights are trickier then others as we negotiate our way through four different personalities and the circumstances life tosses our way.  But is just keeps making sense to find away for every to fall asleep happy and all loved up .... 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Conference Crud

I saw a few facebook posts of fellow Life Is Good conference attendees referring to conference crud. And as my house filled with the sounds of sneezing, coughing and the odor of explosive rear ends I knew just what everyone was referring to.  It hit the boys before slapping me upside the head.

My head was still so jazzed from all the connections and inspirations from the conference that while lying in bed I got to thinking, and thinking and thinking a little more about this thing called conference crud.

I wondered to myself, could it be true that after my soul was so enriched my physical body had some toxins it needed to expel?

It began to make sense to me that guttural explosions (from either end) could indeed be my bodies way of aggressively purging those deep seeded fears that for survival needed to be expelled from my body. Their fast and furious departure mirroring my commitment to release all and any roadblocks holding me back from living in freedom with my boys each and everyday.

And that slow and annoying nasal drip (post and non post) could be indicative of lingering beliefs that are so habitual I near miss them when they trigger me.  The kind of things, that truly need to be wiped away in order to see they are there. Perhaps these fall in to those should or would categories of beliefs that require a good .... long hard blow to eradicate.

The sore throat and cough perhaps my voice, crying out to speak its' truth. Reminding me of the little girl who so early on learned to be silent and not rock the boat.  And encouraging me to tune things up so the message my boys hear is one that encourages the full living of every passion that ignites them.

So in hindsight I thank the Conference Crud, if for no other reason then making me lie down and think about the stuff I was ready to purge from my life.