Enduring

Sometimes the path is hard. It feels hard to put one foot in front of the other. The bushes along the path scratch up your arms and legs. You stumble and trip on the rocks on the path. You fall down and cry. You sit in the middle of the path, sobbing.

You also know that you must go on. You know that the path won’t always be so difficult and you must put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, even if you don’t progress for a while because you keep backtracking to see what exactly led you to this hard path. In the end, you’ll get there.

-—————————

My planning is done. Everything is tidy. Our first day of school begins today. Grades 1, 4, and 10.

Last night was very hard. Parenting teenagers is not for the faint of heart. My first reaction is to cancel today and feel angry and sad about my plans being derailed. But I know my other children would be so upset to not begin, they are so looking forward to today. And I don’t want to wear the martyr hat. So, I remember I’m the captain of the boat and I put one foot in front of the other and navigate into unknown territory. I let go of expectations and just jump in and see where it goes.

I’m sure tonight I’ll post plenty of pretty pictures that will make some out there feel less-than or jealous that I have it all together. This is why I’m sharing this blog post. I think sharing our struggles, the truth behind the pretty pictures, is a gift to others. We are all human. We all have our struggles and fall down on our face sometimes. It’s easy to pretend it’s all roses with the internet. But the truth is: life is hard sometimes. Parenting is hard sometimes. Mothering can sometimes makes you feel like your heart has been ripped out. We must endure and push forward. Feel it all, give ourselves a hug and keep putting our feet down for the next step. That’s all there is to do.

Censorship

Yesterday, I was getting all riled up about Facebook censoring certain video links. I was trying to post a link to this video (go watch it, it’s important info) and FB would not allow me to link it, saying the link had been blocked as containing unsafe information.  Whoa. So, I tried and tried, and nope. No way. If I had any doubts about the truth behind FB truly censoring posts and trying to manipulate information others are trying to share, they are gone. Now, I see the truth.

But, it got me realizing something more personal about censorship. I’m guilty, too. I do it all too often. I haven’t been posting much to this blog because I was feeling vulnerable about sharing my truth. You see, when I set up my blog, I decided to make it so that my posts are automatically shared to my Facebook profile. Well, this led to me filtering what I shared, because all my FB “friends” would be seeing it and my mind imagined all the ways they would judge me.

While I long to share my thoughts and feelings with others, to connect, I also have always been scared to allow the wall to drop and be totally vulnerable and honest. Ironic, since that was the point of this blog: to help me move past that and be raw and honest. I believe we are in an age where being vulnerable and speaking our truth is more needed than ever. Thus, beginning today, here I am. Unfiltered. I’ve disabled my Facebook sharing setting to get me started, though I am building up the courage to share with anyone one day. My blog remains anonymous for now, but that may change in the future as well.

Furthermore, I’ve decided to move my homeschooling talk to my old blog. This blog will be about my journey coming home to love, the one truth. Inner work abounds, mystics’ poetry, realizations and discoveries. If you are reading along, welcome. Otherwise, I’m writing for myself here as I don’t expect to have any readers.

Bewilderment

There are many guises for intelligence.
One part of you is gliding in a high windstream,
while your ore ordinary notions
take little steps and peck at the ground.

Conventional knowledge is death to our souls,
and it is not really ours. It is laid on.
Yet we keep saying we find ‘rest’ in these ‘beliefs’.

We must become ignorant of what we have been taught
and be instead bewildered.

Run from what is profitable and comfortable.
Distrust anyone who praises you.
Give your investment money, and the interest
on the capital, to those who are actually destitute.

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
I have tried prudent planning long enough.
From now on, I’ll be mad.

-Rumi

 

Inspiration

The last couple of weeks have been challenging, in my own little world and in our shared big world. I’m not going to go into the details right now, but I feel called to share some of what inspires me at the moment.

#1 The three humans who are walking and running across multiple state lines to get to the Democratic National Convention at the end of the month. Seriously, these guys are an inspiration to me daily right now.  Here is screenshots of some of their FB posts.

imageimageimage

Wow.

ok, #2 John Lennon

image

I think about him nearly daily lately. And his two songs, Love is Real and A Working Class Hero, run through my head frequently.

#3 Love.

I know this is broad, but just remembering that the definition of a miracle, according to A Course in Miracles, is chosing love over fear. That is a miracle. I’ve been thinking of this almost constantly, as I wade through the deep waters of parenting, and watch what is going on around the world and in our country. I saw this quote today by one of my favorite people/authors, Kyle Gray, and wanted to scream, I loved it so much.

image

Yes.

I’m so grateful for the inspiration that surrounds me when I just open up my eyes and pay attention.

In the words of my favorite contemporary poet Mary Oliver,

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

Growing

This week has been full of ups and downs. I took the kids camping alone with some homeschooling friends. It was their first time really camping. Between being on-call for births for 9 years and then being pregnant and having a small baby/toddler, camping just never happened for our family. But, the kids loved it and we’ll be going again very soon. I’m taking them camping for four nights to fiddle camp in a few weeks, and then we’ll be taking a family camping trip in August sometime. (We need a pet sitter, though, so if you are local to me and know someone , let me know!)

The camping was good.

It was the recovery that was hard. Of course, we had the usual mess to put away, laundry to clean, and sleep to catch up on, but it was the meltdowns that were trying. I assumed that my oldest, I., would not have any issues once we got home since he seemed just fine during our trip. How wrong I was…

It may have been the break in his usual rhythm, or the lack of sleep, or something else. I don’t know. Within about an hour of being home, he totally lost it at his brother and then spent the rest of the evening angry at everything and lashing out at everyone.

I spent a good part of the night crying. I know my own thoughts are what cause me the most anguish. Thinking about how he’s 12, and we are still dealing with his lack of control of his words; worrying that it’ll never get better; feeling like I can’t take him anywhere since the meltdown just isn’t worth it; even wondering in what ways have I screwed up so that my 12 year old can’t handle life.

But. But, I have to lift my head out of the vat of those kinds of thoughts. It took a while, though.

When I went to say goodnight and talk about everything, he said something that triggered me all over again. I went to sleep devastated to have heard him say that he can’t change, that this is just how he is.

Thankfully, when I woke the next morning, my head was clearer and I realized something important. He said that because he doesn’t believe he can change, not because he doesn’t want to change. Such a simple shift in how I saw his statement, but it really helped me to have perspective.

Perspective to realize that my job is to hold the space for him, and never waiver from affirming to him that he can change and it will happen. When I told him later that morning that I know he can change, he sadly said, “You think so?”

I know I have to believe in him enough to not give up on him.

This is hard at times. I have three children whom I love desperately. When one is attacking another, even with words, it takes every bit of commitment and effort from me to not lose it at the offender. Because, he’s also still my baby. I can remember holding him when he was seconds old. The desire to protect the other children is so strong, though. And I must protect them. But not at the expense of the offending child. Because I know all too well that when he’s acting like that, it’s because he feels bad inside, and the meaner he is to his siblings, the worse about himself he feels. The last thing he needs is me to tell him (or convey to him without saying it directly) is that he is bad. That is throwing gasoline on a fire.

I don’t always succeed. I’m human. I have my moments, or days, even, when I miss the mark. But this is where self-compassion comes in. And forgiveness. Forgiveness for myself and towards him. That’s where I’m at today. Remembering that in the end, all there is is love and I can return to a place of love anytime. Letting go of thoughts of the past (what he’s done) or worries of the future (what if he never changes?) is the most loving thing I can do.

Be here now. That’s all.

Falling into love

I’ve taken to reading some pages of mystics’ poetry  just before drifting off to sleep. What a wonderful way to end my days! I come across many, many, many that I want to share. But, this one by Rumi last night was just perfection. (Translation by Coleman Banks).

Buoyancy

Love has taken away my practices
and filled me with poetry.
I tried to keep quietly repeating
No strength but yours, but I couldn’t.
I had to clap and sing.
I used to be respectable, chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?
A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That is how I hold your voice.
I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
quickly reduced to smoke and ash.
I saw you and became that empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence.
The sky is blue.
The world is a blind man sitting beside the road.
But whoever sees your emptiness
sees beyond the blue and the blind man.
A great soul hides, like Muhammad or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city where no one knows him.
To praise is to praise
how one surrenders to the emptiness.
To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.
So the journey goes on,
and no one knows where.
Just to be held by the ocean
is the best luck we could have.
It is a total waking up.
Why should we grieve that we have been sleeping?
It does not matter how long we have been unconscious.
We are groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness around you.
the buoyancy.

Living with Zen masters

“True spirituality doesn’t happen in a cave or at the top of a mountain. It’s down here, wiping a runny nose playing yet another round of Candyland, or rocking a colicky baby at two in the morning. The Buddha is crying in the next room. How you handle that is as evolved and as spiritual as it gets.”
– Susan Stiffelman, MFT

Susan Stiffelman is one of my favorite parenting resources (right up there with Dr. Laura Markham). This quote of hers has been in my head all day.

I like to joke that I’m lucky because I don’t need to go live with monks up on a mountain, because I have three of my very own zen masters under my own roof. They are masters at being in the moment and demanding the same of me. I get to practice this stuff in real life, not in a bubble. And if I mess it (often), don’t worry. Here’s another opportunity coming at me right…NOW. (Repeat all day long.)

Synchronicity brought this awesome article  into my feed today. Thank you. Just what I needed to read today.

Some days

This journey of parenting and homeschooling and being home with our kids full time is awesome. And yet, some days, it brings me to my knees and makes me question everything. That was my day today. So much crying, screaming, fighting, and other big feelings, it almost knocks the wind out of me. I saw this today and thought, YES! This is only sane way for me to move forward though days like this.

image

A child screaming that they hate me?  Accept it, as it is what is happening. (Doesn’t mean that I like it, of course). A child crying LOUDLY for 30 minutes in my arms because she wanted to stay longer at the park?  Accept it, as it is what is happening. Embracing the moment actually does help me to move through these hard moments and not give in to my desire to go hide in my shell, in the quiet (if only I was a turtle).

I went through a dark period a few years ago where days like this would have me in the depths of hopelessness and overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy, and it would linger for days or weeks. I’m very grateful to have navigated my way beyond that trap of my thoughts and into a new reality. We still have these sorts of days, and I still have dismal thoughts pop in my head while we are in the midst of them.  But my spiritual practice is my lifeboat now. Meditation and prayer, self-empathy, and embracing what is (letting go of resisting), remembering we are all whole and perfect (imperfectly perfect, that is) including my raging child, and that my thoughts about what is happening around me is the source of my suffering.

So much gratitude for sleep each night and a brand new day each morning!