Monday, February 29, 2016

A Little Bit Salty - A Little Bit Sweet

I like things a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. Like dark chocolate covered salted pretzels, ice cream with salted popcorn, or salted caramel. It's the perfect combination and balance. Not sick to your tummy sweetness overload, and not give you a heart attack block of salt. Just right.

I had a realization this morning in the shower as I was washing my hair. A lot of things become so clear to me while I'm in the shower, usually when I'm lathering up the locks. Hmmm interesting...maybe a post for another day. Anyway, as I was scrubbing, I was playing over the events of the last week. Moments that stuck out to me amongst the day to day stuff. That's when the title to this post came to I remembered the way I handled a particularly sticky situation, and realizing how differently I would have addressed it if it would have happened even two year prior. Because two years ago, I was much more salty than I am now. Or, well, there wasn't a harmonious balance between the salty and the sweet. Waaaay more salt lick than cupcake if that makes sense.

The aforementioned sticky situation was a little uncomfortable, but turned out to be a wonderful learning and teaching experience. Learning, because I got to see the changes that I've been making inside show up to the party. Teaching because I was able to demonstrate to my boys how to have a disagreement while still imploring grace and respect. Grace and respect both for the other person/people involved and for myself. I was in a situation where I felt that my integrity was being questioned and I believed I was being treated disrespectfully. My former salt lick self, would have responded with fists up and cannons blasting. I would have made a point to drive home my side of the argument at all costs and made sure that it was understood and agreed with. It wouldn't have been pretty. I would have been fired up, kickin' ass and taking names. Now, don't get me wrong, some fire in the belly, a bit of feistiness, that is still with me, part of who I am, and it's not a bad thing. It's just tempered a bit more now, it's softened, less aggressive. This time I was able to respond to the situation with straight forward honesty (that has never been hard for me), while expressing my discomfort and disappointment gracefully (that's the new part :)). No yelling, arguing or blaming. Just basically " I feel disrespected, this isn't working for me, it feels yucky, and thanks but I'm going my own way." Done. No dwelling, or over thinking. No residual anger or upset.

I, for now, have found a better balance between my salty and sweet. I say for now because we are always changing. I am not any better than my former salty self, just different. I'm not more enlightened than my salty friends or family, just perceiving things in my own way. I'm not stronger than the candy sweet cupcakes out there either. We are all strong in our own ways, and with work and attention, we can build new strengths. I just found myself noticing how differently I react to life now. Why? What has changed? What has enabled me to find a new balance that I wasn't able to find before. What has made it possible for this former type A, perfectionist, control loving Scorpio, to let go a little. To except and embrace NON perfection, and to add some sugary sweetness to the mixture that is me?

Yoga, meditation/prayer, self reflection and self acceptance. Fiiinnnaaally, opening up to my own soul. Living from my heart and soul instead of from my head and ego all the time. Allowing myself to feel uncomfortable things without pushing them away or fighting against them. Giving myself grace and compassion finally allowed me to give the world around me the same thing. Working to find alignment and strength with my physical body, helped me to find alignment and strength with my spiritual body.

If you haven't given yourself the time to learn to just be in stillness, I encourage you to do so. You will be amazed at who you find inside the quiet <3

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What we need to teach them NOW.

Friends, there is so much happening in our world today. I know at times it can be overwhelming, way too stimulating, and hugely distracting. Distracting from what really matters and what this life is about. We have jobs, maybe kids, so many responsibilities. We have technology and gadgets coming out our you know where, begging for attention and sucking at our life force (a little dramatic? Yes, but TRUE). We go about our days, trying to check things off our lists (for some, numerous lists), so we can feel like we accomplished something. So we can feel like we are doing our part. So we can prove we are responsible, level headed, contributors to society.

We are focused on the wrong lists. We are pushing ourselves towards goals that aren't infinite and eternal. We are spinning our wheels, doing the best we can, but (sorry I have to say it and you know I don't pull any punches...) failing...terribly.

You also know by now I like to contribute to the positive outlook, the good vibes, to bring the light. So that last sentences is not meant to hurt or to discourage. Just to maybe stir you a little. I know it may have stung for a second, please know I said it out of love, and, that I am included.

We are a divided world in so many ways. Conservatives vs Liberals. Republicans vs Democrats. Mainstream Educators vs Homeschoolers. Same Sex Marriage Advocates vs Heterosexual Marriage Advocates. Christians vs Muslims. Pro Life vs Pro Choice. Group against group against group.

Our children are trying to blossom into their true selves in this place. They are growing and trying to find their way in a broken world. And they are struggling. They are faced with challenges that are beyond their years and wisdom. They are being held back by systems, religions and people who are meant to be there for "their own good", for their safety and their growth, but are like weights on their ankles. They try hard. They want to be good students and friends. They want to fit in to the damn boxes we designate for them. They want to please us.

My heart is breaking for our babies. They deserve more. And I know so many of us are doing the best we can. We think we are giving them what they need. But we need to look again. Little souls who are desperate for understanding and acceptance are killing themselves. Children who feel like they can not BE who the ARE, and still be accepted, are hiding themselves, dying inside, so we can be proud of them. Boys and girls are loosing their way, and feeling like it's okay to be a bully, to segregate, and tease. They feel entitled to their behavior for some reason with no concern for the affects of their words or actions. More times than not, those incidences are being looked at as phases in youth. "We all did it to an extent. They'll grow out of it. They'll be kinder when they are over their hormone fluctuations. The other kids are just being to sensitive and need to get over it."

I'm sorry, but NO! The other kids are not being too sensitive. The ones inflicting the harm will not grow out of being unkind or hurtful. They will only learn to get their way in life through bullying in all it's different forms. And if the boy or girl who was the recipient of their action decides to find hope in life and keep living, they will likely have enormous walls built around their hearts and deep wounds to heal.

I am not writing this because one of my children is being bullied. I am not writing this because one of them is being mean or unkind. I am writing this because there are things we can teach our children NOW that can change this. And I really don't see it as optional you guys. We put so much weight on their grades, on their sports, their music or dance, their Sunday School, their test scores and their "abilities".  It's time to teach them about their heart. About the way they impact the person next to them in the classroom. About little things that they can do for themselves when they feel anxious, afraid, or out of control. We need to teach them about intention, and compassion. How to love themselves so they can love other people. And not just some other people, not just the ones in their group, all other people.

We may need to teach ourselves the same thing. If we haven't been living intentionally, if we haven't been living from our hearts and our souls, we need to learn it together. We can change the direction of this big dark cloud. We can bring the light and our babies can bring the light too.

So where to start? Anywhere! Just start making a point to turn your attention to the heart of every matter, instead of the appearance. Instead of the "what will people think?" Talk about feelings. The ones that feel good and the ones that don't. Talk about how the littlest things can make a huge difference. About how even a smile and a wave to the kid on the playground that has no playmates can help. About how we all have different strengths and weaknesses, and none are "better" or "worse". Try to see your babies for who they are in their hearts and souls, not who you want them to be. We all do it. Every single one of us. We think, "it will be easier for them to fit in if only _____" ...or "they would be so good at ________ so I'm going to make them do it even though that is not where their heart is." We may wonder why they are this way or that way. And I am learning to say, "Because that is who they are that's why". They are "this way" because "this way" is wonderful, and hard, and not perfect, and amazing.

My littlest dude's teacher happens to believe in this theory. That there are things we can learn now, in second grade, about being flexible (physically and mentally), about learning to stop and breathe, about taking care of ourselves so we can take good care of our neighbor. That we all have gifts, we all have struggles, and we can use them all for good things. I am beyond grateful for her heart. She and I are working together to bring a little more light into their awareness. For 15 minutes twice a week, we get to teach them how to stretch, and breath. How to cultivate gratitude and compassion. How to be healthy in their minds, body, and spirits. Wow, if more teachers could see the impact and the importance of those 30 minutes each week, could you imagine the changes we might see in our children?!

So my lovies, please know this isn't a lecture because I am right there with you all. I am not intentional every single day. I mess up a lot. I sometimes forget my boys are amazing individuals and don't need to be like other kids. I loose my temper. I say things that are hurtful. Sometimes, I suck. But I do my best to bring my awareness back to what matters every time. We are all in this together. We are all doing our best, in the ways we know how. I am only asking you for this...when you pick up your kid from school today, look into their heart. Imagine the world from their eyes. Be intentional with your words and your love. Give them your absolute without any doubts acceptance. Let's teach them by example.


P.S. Remember the Whitney Houston song "Greatest Love of All"? Yep, been singing it to myself the whole time I've been writing. Haaahaa.

So much love