Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On Parenting

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My child is a unique individual: thoughtful, perceptive, wildly inquisitive, fiercely independent. And while I believe I played a part in enhancing these traits and allowing them to flourish, I don't believe I am responsible for them. Oh no! He came here that way. Those things are just what make us compatible mother-son partners for his journey. I understand these aspects of his personality, and the truth of who I am allows me to relate to him, and to test him and to help him push beyond his limits. You see, I don't believe that as parents we are meant to try and turn our children into miniature versions of ourselves. Sometimes, it happens that way naturally and exhibits itself in certain aspects of their personalities. But children come into this earth as their own people, with their own personalities in place and their unique journeys already unfolding. We parents are meant to just teach them the rules of living while they are here, so that they can decide to live within them, run outside of them, or break them into tiny little pieces (and certainly I mean those rules applicable to limitations and fear--not the laws we have to abide by that could land them in compromising positions legally). We have to protect them from evil, because their innocent minds make them easy prey for those that mean them harm. We have to expose them to new things and show them what the world has to offer so that as they experience these things, they might recognize something that calls out a truth they see in themselves.

We are bombarded daily with "to-do" lists for parenting: "this is what a good parent should do; a good parent never does that; your children aren't getting enough of this, or doing enough of that". Isn't parenting difficult enough without everyone trying to shape themselves into the same cookie cutter mold? It just feels like an impossible task when there are so many different types of adults and children involved. And the end result is that we end up feeling guilty for not living up to these expectations that are imposed upon us, or to what our neighbor/sister/friend is doing in her family. We end up feeling that if we choose to spank our children, or if we work outside the home, or if we don't make our own baby food in a food processor, or if we can't volunteer at our child's school etc (the list goes on and on) that we are not good/great parents.

So maybe it will be easier if we let ourselves off the hook for being these super human, all important figure heads of dictatorship and authority, and judges of right and wrong...and just enjoy our children. We can show them what love, loyalty, trustworthiness and responsibility look like and let them follow suit. Show them how to make healthy choices to nourish mind, body and soul, and then watch them make healthy choices on their own. Maybe my child doesn't keep his room clean, but he's a straight A student-well that's my compromise. Maybe your child won't eat vegetables with every meal but you can sneak them in once per day and that's your compromise. It's all about deciding what works best for the unique spirits that make up our own family units. I think we could save ourselves a lot of stress if we see ourselves as responsible only for teaching our children lovingly as they develop; guiding them gently to better choices when they inevitably make wrong ones and hugging them until our arms hurt so that they feel safe. Because in the end, they are God's children/children of the earth/children of the universe. Their purpose is already implanted in them--we are simply temporary stewards and seed waterers. The control is in the hands of a higher power and just as we trust it to bring the best for ourselves, we should trust it to do the same for our children.

Well, that's just what I believe...
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Prayer for Beauty

by Anita Revel, from The Goddess Diet, See a Goddess in the Mirror in 21 Days.

I goddess, ask for the willpower to take charge of my life, my body and my habits, for the sake of my health, peace of mind and self-respect.

I goddess, believe my body is sacred, a treasure and a pleasure, a luscious wonder and miraculous manifestation of the respect I have for my magnificent Self.

I goddess, am ready to receive blessings of dignity and grace during my transition, good health, and renewed energy to do anything I set my mind to.

With love to myself, and for myself.


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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Be About It

Remember how people used to talk smack on the playground when you were little? One of the things you could taunt that made you sound tough and fearless was, "Don't talk about it, be about it." Meaning "I'm not afraid. Do what you will. Bring it on!" As children, we had no idea of the power of those words, but lo and behold they actually ring quite true into adulthood. We have to be just as unafraid now as we were then, challenging life to "bring it on!" and do what it will, because we can certainly handle it.

When you're going about making changes in your life, or reaching for your dreams, don't just talk about it, be about it:

If you're sure that relationship isn't for you, and you know you need to move on--do it! Don't wait. You're wasting valuable healing time.

If you're ready for a new job, stop complaining and put a plan in place to find one. It may take time, but at least you're working toward a goal.

If you're serious about your dream, then be serious about it! Visualize, research, plan, sow seeds, network, take a class, get that degree. Whatever you need to do to make it happen, do it!

Whatever your struggles or your desires, you have the power to affect change in your situation at any moment you decide to. So stop talking about it and be about it!

Ready for change

*Learn more about feeling the winds of change and transformation through the goddess, Oya.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Do you see what I see?

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Your imperfections? Your big this or small that? Do you see a reflection of criticism, thoughtless comments and judgments?

Is it easier to perceive your uniqueness as unbecoming than it is to own it as oh so right for you? Do you long for thicker hair? straighter hair? clearer skin? smaller waist? larger breasts?

Do you see all the things you can't afford, haven't accomplished and the vices you have yet to overcome?

Do you see all the people who have told you that you can't, you won't or you shouldn't? Do you see all the moving obstacles in your path? Are your eyes deep with the pain you have seen and felt?

Do you see a victim that has been lied to, betrayed, misunderstood and cast aside? Do you see someone who has fallen short? Do you see defeat?

...Or do you see what I see? Beauty is a state of mind, you know. So for beauty to spring forth from your mind, you must think it before you can see it.

When I look in the mirror, I see how far I have come. I see the little girl that I used to be and the grown woman that I have become. And I see beauty in the evolution that is me. I see an inner peace that makes my blemishes fade and my hair shine.

I see the loving hugs my long arms have given, and the smile that has brightened many spirits. In my eyes, I see the sparkling perserverance of a spirit that won't quit.

There are familiar roadmaps etched on my face, mama scars on my belly, and dancer's feet in my shoes. And I love the comfortable gangliness that signifies my walk and even manages to come through in my talk.

As the image in the mirror changes over the years, I vow to see what I believe - love, faith and peace - for there is nothing more beautiful than that.

If you don't see your own good, then who will see it?

Believe it. See it. Celebrate it. Share it. Love shines when all is dim.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

About Labels

Often, when something happens in our lives that elicits a strong emotion like joy or excitement, we label this thing that has happened as "good". Likewise, when something happens in our lives that elicits a strong emotion like sadness, hurt or anger, we label this thing that has happened as "bad". The thing to remember though, is that these are labels, created by imperfect humans, that do not speak to the true definition of a thing.

Often, we feel hurt or sad because of our attachments to people and things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with attachment as it is a very natural human thing. But, we have to be able to let go of these same things when the Universe says it is time--and this is where we tend to feel emotional. The key is to remember that the very things that cause us to feel hurt or sad are often things that Life is trying to move out of our way to make room for things that are bigger and better for us. Sometimes we see the end result and have understanding of why Life made certain changes, and sometimes we never know. The key is to acknowledge and accept that we may not be aware of the bigger picture. We have to get to a point where we are accepting of the fact that life is always working on our behalf and that we sometimes cause our own feelings of hurt by working against the natural ebbs and flows (cycles) of Life.

So what to do. First, stop labeling things as good or as bad. Say to yourself "this is the thing that happened." Second, say "this is how I feel about what has happened". You're human--you are going to feel a certain way about it. State that feeling out loud, feel that feeling way down deep in the pit of your stomach, live with it, revel in it, and then let it go. Also, be sure to state that this is how you feel--not who you are. For example, "I FEEL hurt" as opposed to "I AM hurt". See the difference? When you put out that something is a part of your being, you label yourself, and you become that emotion. Emotions are powerful, but they are temporary. Give yourself the power to let them go. Third, be open to change. Life is made up of a series of events, occurrences, challenges, opportunities etc. It is a journey, during which we are meant to do many things, meet and touch many people and embrace a host of experiences. Be open-minded and open-hearted. Be fearless.

The bottom line is that you'll be able to live a much richer life if you refrain from passing judgment on your life and instead embrace whatever comes your way--not as a good thing or a bad thing...just a thing.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Art of Silence

By nature, I am a quiet, laid-back, thoughtful person. I’ve been called everything from shy and reserved to stuck-up and conceited, because at times, my silence makes people feel uncomfortable. I used to think something was wrong with me for being this way and that I should change myself to make others feel more comfortable. Over time, I’ve grown to appreciate my ability to sit back and peacefully observe people and situations. I try to choose my words thoughtfully, because once they are out of your mouth, you can’t take them back. We should all ask ourselves before we speak, “Is it thoughtful, is it kind, does it improve upon the silence?”

Food for Thought:

You don't always have to have something to say.

Every time we open our mouths we release a powerful energy. If we could learn to hold onto that energy, it could be used to nurture our dreams, heal our bodies and fuel our minds. But we always have so much to say. Talking can take us off track, knock us off our center and kill off our dreams when we speak mindlessly. Talking is something we must learn to use, not something we must always do. That is a power in silence that energizes the mind, body and soul. Think of the sun, moon and stars. They all appear silent and never fail at their job. There is wisdom in silence. Think of the mountains and trees. They never have anything to say, yet it takes great effort to bring them down. There is love in silence. Think of the womb. Perfect timing, order and completion accomplished in total silence. Silence is an art, a tool of the wise. When we perfect the art of silence, chances are we will get a lot more done.

~Author Unknown

Disclaimer: At times, my silence has been more a function of insecurity than confidence. This is why silence is an art that must be learned. It is important to feel the release that only truth and communication can give you. Find the courage to express what you really want and articulate your feelings in a thoughtful way.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spend Little, Live Much

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It's that time of year, lovelies! Holiday shopping is in full swing, and I don't know about you, but I am not trying to overspend this year. I am on a mission to simplify my life. I am the only one who can do it, because I am the only one guilty of making it complicated. That's hard to admit, because I so badly want to point fingers, but it's true. I came across the following post at , one of my favorite self-development and empowerment websites.

It's kinda long, so I've shortened it for PLPT. To read the post in its entirety, click here. It's definitely a worthwhile read to help you get your mind right heading into this season. Enjoy!

There are two challenges that people face when choosing to live a more simpler life: owning little and wanting little. Yet people fuse these challenges together into a larger “live simply” goal.

Unfortunately, they’re two different beasts that need to be tamed in their own ways.

Owning little requires a practical approach – systematically decluttering your life and eliminating the unnecessary. Wanting little on the other hand is focused on the way in which we think, a far more blurred aspect of simplicity.

Sincerely wanting little is difficult. It goes against our firmly rooted desire for certainty, for ownership. To cut through this psychological attachment requires more than step-by-step processes or following a list of tactics, it requires a shift in your thinking, a shift in the way you approach your day to day life and how you make decisions.

1. Have a vision for your life. Goals are somewhat useful tools to get from point A to B, but they often lack depth, emotion and meaning, and without those three things there’s a deficiency of purpose and drive.

Think about the lifestyle you want as a whole instead of simply focusing on your desire to want very little. What do you want to own? How will you spend your time? Where will you be? Be specific.

This outline acts as a funnel. Desires for more may attempt to flood your life, but because you’ve clearly defined what matters to you, only the things conducive to your aims will make their way through this funnel. It becomes much easier to say “No” to something when you’re certain it’s not apart of the bigger picture.

2. Find your motivation. What is your why? Why do you want little? Because it’s trendy is unfortunately not enough to quench your lust for stuff. Personally, I want little because I have dreams of traveling the world for months on end, and stocking up on gadgets and gizmos doesn’t exactly gel well with that.

3. Experience the benefits. No matter how many times you hear the benefits of wanting little, or visualise your motivation with all the intensity in the world, experiencing an uncluttered lifestyle will always be the best way to switch from a “want more” to a “want little” mindset.

4. Be noncommittal. Decisions become scary when they’re set in stone. In other areas of life a little fear could indeed be a good thing, but it’s unnecessary and undesirable when striving to eliminate the desire for more – the challenge is difficult enough without adding further resistance.

5. Understand the psychology of influence. Marketing and sales are apart of this world and it’d be silly to chastise those sectors because in reality we’re all marketers and salespeople – all livelihoods are fueled by being heard and mutual exchanges. But that doesn’t mean you need to fall into the trap of cheap psychological tricks.

6. Grow into it. Start with small victories. Be mindful of all your purchases and desires and regularly ask yourself “Does this fit into my vision?” You will stumble, it’s the nature of the beast. The world wants you to want more, and the world is a mighty challenger.

7. Lose yourself. Purchasing is a process we lose ourselves in. First something catches our eye, then there’s the inner conflict (should we buy it?). If we convince ourselves that we should part with our money, there’s that little buzz you get of claiming ownership. You take the product home. And then you use it.

It’s an exciting sequence of events – full of uncertainty and possibility – that we get swept up in. But the problem is, it mostly ends with buyer’s remorse, a dented bank account and all the other costs of owning stuff.

What you need to do is learn to get lost in activities rather than acquisition. Instead of being strung along by the latest gizmo, learn to transplant that process into an outlet such as writing, music or drawing. Focus on doing interesting things rather than buying interesting things.

8. Crunch the numbers. It’s likely that you have a passion that has expenses (like travel or reading) or, at the very least, you would like to put away some money for a rainy day. One simple trick I use to avoid acquiring things is compare the cost of the particular thing in question, to the expenses of my passion.

For example, backpacking through Thailand is something I dream of doing. Now, say it costs $25 per day to live in Phuket. If I were to see an Xbox game selling for $50 I’d ask myself “Is that game worth sacrificing two days in a foreign culture?” Most of the time the answer will be a resounding “No” and it’s in those instances where you’ll be dodging a purposeless impulse buy.

If the answer comes back “Yes,” nothing is wrong with that. Wanting little isn’t about depriving yourself of what’s important to you, but eliminating all the clutter that makes its way into our lives. But make sure you’re being honest with yourself.

Read more from David at his blog, Adventures of a Barefoot Geek, or subscribe to his feed.
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