Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letting go...again and again

~Wrote this a while back and forgot to post it...may have been a bit of on. :)

I frequently share my parenting philosophy of letting go with other moms. Talking about it helps me remember to practice it and I right now I really need to hone my practice.

I am facing another big letting go. It's one I thought I was prepared for and doing well with, but has recently rattled me quite a bit more than I expected.

Walkingstick has turned 14, somewhat daunting in itself, and will be going to high school in the fall. High School! We've been talking about this for a couple of years and quite a bit through the summer and fall. I have been very practical, discussing options, pros and cons, class offerings, etc. I asked about his worries and concerns, but realized recently that I have been conveniently avoiding my own.

This week we went to a freshman showcase night and the following morning walkingstick made a decision on which school he definitely wanted to attend. In that moment I began to feel anxiety and fear rising up from my core in a completely unexpected way. "Wait, this is really happening!!" my inner voice said. "Will he be safe? What if someone is mean to him? Is this really the right place for him?" were the questions blazing through my head. The same questions, I realize, that I worried over when finding a day care, a preschool, a kindergarten, an elementary, and a middle school.

Hmmmm...I think I see a pattern here. :)

As I make this connection, I am realizing it is okay to feel anxious, that's my cue that this is a bigger and important kind of letting go. I also acknowledge that I have been here before and each time we have found the right place or made changes when things went awry. Walkingstick has learned many lessons through these experiences and has become a strong advocate for himself in school. He stands up to rude behavior from peers, communicates well with his teachers, is an active and interested learner, and I can trust him.

That is what this boils down Trusting that we have given and will continue to give him the supports he needs to be successful, that the school will provide what he needs, and that he will make good decisions. I won't put on blinders or rose colored glasses, which I have a tendency to do that at times as well. But will let go a little more, tune in a little closer, and try to be present in each moment as we take this next step in the adventure.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to School Haiku

Over the past few weeks as school has started, I have heard conversations, read blogs, and seen social media posts from countless parents talking about the transitions their children are experiencing and the impact for both parents and children. I offer this little haiku in support.

Marking each milestone
Letting children go to grow
The journey unfolds

May each little letting go bring the potential for more balance in your life and the opportunity for your child to shine a little brighter. 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Parenting by Looking Inward First

Wrote this to a friend yesterday struggling with a particular behavior her daughter was exhibiting,

"The bottom line in parenting for me is if I want my kids to change their behavior, I have to change mine. I try to figure out what can I do differently to support the behavior I want to see more of."

Thought I'd post it here to remind myself when I'm struggling that I can make a difference by looking inward and starting there.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wisdom Practice

I'm so proud of family today. We all had the chance to completely lose our cool and each of us found the space and wisdom to do otherwise.

Here's how it played out...
I received a text from walkingstick this afternoon telling me that he just realized he left his computer at front of the a laptop bag that looks like it holds a pricey little laptop. I texted back, "Seriously!!!Where is it?" Then dialed his number before he could reply. I felt my face flush with heat as he answered and took a deep breath before asking him what specifically had happened and where he thought he'd left it.  Defensive whining and escalation began, but stopped abruptly with a calm reminder - not sure how that actually came out calm...more breathing.

I realized I was thirty minutes away, he was at least twenty if the sitter took him back, but my husband might be about five minutes away if he was in his office. Walkingstick was not thrilled with the idea of getting Dad involved, but knew the situation called for all hands on deck. I rang the school first to see if someone could go out and check, but the phones had already been turned over to voicemail. Walkingstick was envisioning the grim reaper coming.

I called my husband and interrupted a high level, relatively stressful meeting. Realizing this was about the worst timing ever, I decided I'd drop it and take the risk of heading over there myself. He insisted on me telling him what was going on since he'd already stepped out of the meeting. I told him and could practically hear the explosions going off in his head...the computer is only a month old.

He left the meeting, headed to the school, and called me as he arrived. No computer bag in front of the school. The front door was locked, but a staff member saw him and let him in. No computer turned in at the front desk. He headed over to the after school care building...No computer bag there. I was sure his eyes were nearly popping out of his face and steam was coming out of his ears. I worked to keep a calm voice and think of alternatives for where it could be...more breathing...long and slow...sending all that calm energy to him.

I called walkingstick to see what students and staff members were still outside as he was leaving. He told me he thinks he could have set it down in the parking lot when he opened the door to the sitter's car. Flames begin licking my ears. I breath more and call my husband back.

We decided he'd go to the classroom to see if a teacher picked it up. He'd call me back. I was certain I could feel the vibrations of his shoes pounding down the tile hallway from across the city. I was back on the phone with walkingstick working other possible angles and keeping his anxiety down when my husband rang through.

The computer was sitting beside walkingstick's desk...the whole time...he'd never even taken it outside!!! Dad was livid and I was possible scenario! Whew! He doesn't want to see or talk to walkingstick after all of that. Fortunately, he needs to return to his meeting which gives him some space.

I called walkingstick to tell him the news. He was relieved and grateful, but terrified of what his consequences would be and of seeing his dad. He was sobbing into the phone, apologizing, and ...

I arrived home to a somber house with heads hanging low and bloodshot eyes. I couldn't believe how calm I felt. I was so relieved we found it that I didn't really need to be upset. I talked with walkingstick about apologizing to his dad, showing gratitude for his help, and a plan to keep track of his computer a bit better.

Distraction, time, and space were a blessing for all of us when my husband came home and said he realized that walkingstick had already said to himself all the things Dad would say, so he was letting it go. No lecture, no tears, just lessons learned ~ by all of us.

...I wrote this post months ago, but never got around to publishing it. Reading through it I'm amazed at our collective self-control and ability to keep things in perspective. It was, afterall, a missing computer, not a missing child. Wisdom!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Power of Perspective

I am always amazed at how perspective can completely change an event or interaction. My boys retaught me this lesson again last night.

We were searching around for a holiday movie to watch when we stumbled upon The Polar Express. This has always been one of our favorite holiday books to read, which I cannot complete without choking through tears on the last page. However, our thoughts on the movie had been just the opposite.

The movie came out in 2004 when the boys were two and four. Loving the book we decided to see the movie on the big screen. Big mistake! The boys were terrified of all the suspense and danger and freaked out by the animation. Consequently, we wrote it off as a bad adaptation of a good book and went on our merry way.

Fast forward to last ten and twelve they absolutely loved it! The suspense was adventure and the animation didn't seem so creepy on the smaller screen. They were mesmerized by the entire movie and grinned ear to ear when it was over.

They raved to their Dad about it and he was as surprised as I was given our recollection of the first viewing. I noted that it is a much more enjoyable movie to watch when you are not trying to calm two terrified tots.

I'm so glad we gave the movie a second chance through a different lens and our new perspective is that it's a great movie to watch as a family with older children.

Wishing you peace and love this holiday season!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Breaking Hearts

When your own heart breaks it is excruciating, but watching your child's heart break is nearly unbearable.

Difficult decisions that seem unfair and unreasonable on so many levels have brought us to the point of causing this heart break in our little one. In the end we believe he will be much happier and successful, but right now it just feels bleak and sad.
(photo credit)

I wish I had a magic wand to make it all different, but alas that magic escapes me...again.

And now I'm reminded through my sister and my aunt of the wisdom to "wish that each moment happens exactly as it does." It is one of the most difficult things to do when their is pain and suffering involved. It is much easier when all is well. 

Allowing ourselves to be in the moments of pain and sorrow, to be with the ones we love in these moments without trying to fix it, smooth it over, make it better is so hard but so essential in our lives. It is the manifestation of the practice of lovingkindness and compassion...honoring all of who we are, all that life brings, and all that is possible...trusting that that the pain will end and through the darkness light will come if we can just be in the moment.

My favorite Buddha quote jumped off the page at me as I opened my blog today and seems so needed through these difficulties -  Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal truth.

May lovingkindness fill your heart in each moment of each day. 
Namaste - Lisa  

Post script...I wrote this about six weeks ago, but couldn't bring myself to publish it as it was all too raw. Things are still challenging, but the light is beginning to shine through.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I've been rolling this post around in my head for the past twenty-six days, since my aunt died. Each day my thoughts have grown and developed and on some occasions caused floods of tears to crash over me.

My dear aunt, Marguerite Broyles, died on December 6, 2011. That hard fact crushes my heart every time I acknowledge it. Today the fact that we've started a new year and she isn't in seems unbelievably daunting.

On the other hand I'm am so grateful to have had a wonderful relationship with her and countless memories of joy and love. While her cancer was brutal, it provided an opportunity for me to spend more time with her over the last two and a half years than I would have otherwise. We did yoga and energy work, had pedicures, ate yummy lunches, read poetry, laughed, cried, and spent many hours exploring the meaning of it all. She was also able to get to know my boys even better and inspire and foster their own creativity.

In October we had a little send off party for her as she ended her cancer treatments and headed off to get the most out of the time she had left. Along with laughing, eating, wearing sparkly bracelets and bindis, we wrote her a note on sweet little scrolls my stellar shopper cousin discovered. It was hard to get started, knowing it might be the last thing I ever wrote to her.

I laughed at myself as I realized all the memories I was writing were about food...a giant (to my little girl eyes) wooden bowl full of cherries in her kitchen, summertime Coke Slurpies on the way to lake in the huge Pontiac Bonneville I would later drive as a teenager, crusty bread and chunk of Jarlsberg cheese, Christmas Eve shrimp (in my pre-vegetarian days), and biscuits and egg gravy on Christmas mornings, yum!

When just over a month later we realized she was in her last days, I was so fortunate (thanks Mom!) to be able to spend a few days with her holding her hand, chanting to her, giving her Jin Shin treatments and just being with her. I was also blessed to spend those days with my dear cousins, my other fabulous Aunt and Uncle, and playing princess and doing "crafts" with her darling granddaughter, Madi.

After returning home we decorated for Christmas and the many holiday gifts she had given us over the years flowed out of our storage boxes. My aunt was a gifted artist and had a knack for finding or creating fabulous holiday decorations of which I was so often the benefactor. It was lovely putting them out, honoring her gift with each placement.

The kicker came this weekend as I began taking down the decorations. It was as if I was saying goodbye with each item I packed away, a task for which I was not prepared. Talk about an opportunity to practice letting go!!

I'd been in an emotional fog for the past few weeks, having noticed Christmas Eve that it had lifted when I hadn't even really known it was there in the first place. I just knew I could only process a day or two at a time, so planning for holiday gatherings was a bit of a challenge.

The process of packing away each item, each little piece of her, allowed me to truly grieve and release so many of those tears that had been waiting around for me to notice them. I was both heartbroken and full of gratitude, knowing that each year all of those pieces of her will return to our home surrounding us in her light and beauty.

Now, as I walk around my house I continue to see her everywhere, in places I hadn't noticed in awhile. The little driftwood house on the mantel made from her beloved beach in Puerto Morales. The metal and rock person sitting above the desk from her scrounging through hardware store days. The quote on the bathroom wall - "Go in the direction of your dreams, the universe will support you." The countless beaded necklaces and bracelets she made me for my birthdays over the years. The art she made from a silly conversation with my boys this fall, "Peace, it's what's for dinner," and "Got Peace?" And finally the Colorado key chain she made in the 1980's that I touch and carry with me every day. Her diverse and boundless creative inspiration has decorated my life.

In the hospital one day during her battle with the ovarian cancer, that finally took her life but ironically gave me many wonderful hours with her, she asked me why everyone kept coming to see her. She was truly astonished that she meant so much to so many. I told her, "It's because you accept us all as we are, unconditionally."

She was that person for so many of us. The one whose face lights up when she sees you, has nothing but good things to say about you, is always interested in and excited about what you are doing, and who never doubts that your dreams can come true. She had her many flaws as all of us do, but she was perfectly herself and we couldn't ask for anything more. We all need that person in our lives who gives us the gift of loving us for our true authentic selves. I am honored and grateful and blessed to have had her as my adventurous, creative, smiling, laughing, dancing, singing, amazing aunt. 

I am saying goodbye to her body, but not to her spirit. It lives on through her beautiful art and through each of us. May we pass that grace on to others in our lives, offering a shining light to them.

With gratitude and love, Namaste my dear Aunt Mag.