Posts Tagged With: acceptance

Immune to the view?

I woke this morning to the loveliest view.

As I sat this morning and wrote in my journal, I pondered the question of whether or not my family is immune to this view. Whether or not I’d become immune to this view if it was what I woke to every day.
I love to observe the marsh, the tide coming in and going out. The wildlife. The smell of the pluff mud is uniquely Charleston. If I was here every single day, would it hold the same fascination? Would I take it for granted? Or worse, would I begin to ignore it completely? Would I become

These are interesting questions.
How much in our lives do we take for granted?
And why?
Sure, ‘life gets in the way’. But then I’m over here like, life gets in the way…of life? (WTF kind of sense does that make?)

Life is lovely, even the crap bits.
Gotta pay attention.
Gotta be grateful every single day. And not in that basic girl ‘hashtag grateful thankful blessed’ kind of way. I mean truly accepting what is in your world then choosing to embrace it.
I don’t know, it may seem a rather ridiculously simple point of view, but .
Pay attention.
Accept the good and the crap as it comes and be grateful.
Be grateful because it’s your life.

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

the power of forgiveness

As far as I can tell, this holds true for each and every one of us.
It’s easy to want to rid yourself of the ‘bad things’. It’s actually rather simple to begin the process. But what happens when you just destroy your monsters without really examining them? I agree with Erin. I think you have to really understand your monsters before you can kick them in the ass. With examination comes the ability to truly understand. Understand not only your monsters, but yourself.
Knowing and understanding oneself is a pretty scary concept. I think that’s why it’s simpler to choose to destroy that which we don’t like about our selves. Destroying those monsters (or demons, or whatever you like to call them) is freeing! We’re so strong! To rid yourself of the absolute worst bits is a truly empowering experience.
But it’s fleeting, y’all.

Let’s be real, the majority of the monsters inside you originated externally. They were formed in childhood, they exist as part of your belief system. But at some point these monsters are nourished by you. You’ve grown accustomed to them. Sometimes so much so that your belief system becomes dependent upon them.
The most elaborately designed catch 22 in the history of all catch 22s. You and the monsters are trapped together, woven into one curious being because of mutually conflicting and dependent conditions.

Once (most of us) realize we’re dependent upon these monsters that conflict with our concept of self our simplest solution is to rid ourselves of our monsters for good.
Destroying your monsters without accepting and releasing them leads to more chaos down the road. To know the monsters, to really know them is hard and scary work. Most folks aren’t brave enough to tackle that.
Here’s whats tricky. That bravery is really reactivity in disguise.
As humans, we tend to be reactive.
What we need to be is mindful.
I get it, y’all! It really does feel brave to destroy those monsters. But going about it all willy-nilly, slashing and stabbing and standing over your (seemingly) dead monsters is a delusion!
They’re not really gone.
Sure, you may feel victorious, bathing in their heart’s blood as empowered as you’ve ever been, but I promise you they’ll be back. It may seem different versions, but it’s the same old monsters dressed up all shiny and new. And because they exist based on rigid belief systems they come back stronger and meaner than before. This fight will never end.

This is where being mindful comes in.
Until you understand and make peace with your monsters, you’re destined to lather, rinse and repeat for your entire life. (And after bathing in heart’s blood, you better be washing that gore right out of your hair!)

The monsters don’t function from their own cognition. They function from the oldest patterns. The monsters aren’t actively malevolent. They’re just doing what they’ve always done. What they were trained to do by others before we learned to take over that job.
Destroying your monsters will ultimately destroy the precious me inside you.
We cannot truly embrace the me inside us unless and until we accept and understand our monsters.
It’s the most difficult work you’ll ever do.
That is what makes one brave.
It’s easy to slay dragons (monsters)! That’s just a bit of blood, sweat and tears with a sharp blade at the end.

But to examine those monsters, to do the hard work to understand their very existence, that is real bravery. By being mindful and doing the most difficult work, we can accept and release our monsters.
Forgiveness is harder than slaying.
The monsters didn’t create themselves. They simply exist.
We must forgive those who may have created the monsters in the first place. We must forgive that part of ourselves that fostered the monsters growth.

The most precious part of who I am is that me. By learning to embrace and celebrate that me, I was able to understand and accept my monsters. I work each day to forgive them, even though it’s not their fault.
I promise you, I’m a better me for it.
A better human for it.

My bravest moments are ones of forgiveness. (even though I didn’t feel particularly brave)
Yours can be too.

Stop looking outward. Stop pointing fingers and laying blame. Stop picking up your sword.
Forgive your monsters and set them free. They’re just as much prisoners of the belief system as you are.
Forgive yourself and accept that your me wouldn’t exist without your monsters.
Embrace and celebrate the me.
Be the me inside you with grace and humility, and as much love as humanly possible.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

at one with myself

Today, for the first time in a quite some time, I wrote a long stream of consciousness email to my friend Jack. In the process of that, I had a relatively quick text conversation with my friend and mentor, Jessica.
I’m sharing them here this evening because I’ve been moved by the power of my own thoughts and feelings.

I sometimes wonder if I enter this sort of ‘calm before the storm’ mindset before all hell will begin to break loose. I say that partly because after a three month term break, I’ve no choice but to start a new school term in June. I’m so over it and my heart isn’t in it anymore, but I’m no quitter. So I’m going to get it sorted as quickly as possible and finish up and be well shot of every bit of it. It’s strange to be in a degree program I’m no longer passionate about. But I’m so close to the finish line now and I absolutely refuse to trip!
And partly I sometimes think I’m not terribly successful at loads of “free time”. But, the last time I had loads of free time, I was sick and miserable and depressed and just over all pretty pathetic.

Or perhaps I really am ready to tackle all the things I’m excited about along with this six month term I’m not.
We’re about to find out.

(excerpt from email)
I’m feeling healthy for the first time in literally years. I know I’m finally ready to get crack-a-lackin on doing what’s good for me, for my life.
I still struggle with how sick I was and how much it negatively impacted my life. My sense of self. My over all well being. Even the people around me.
Feeling well, feeling healthy, well, it’s a gift really.

I think I’ve been in crisis mode the entire time I’ve lived here. First I had to adjust to leaving my friends and job I loved. Leaving my children.
Then my child “disowned” me.
My father suddenly dropped dead.
My child officially moved here but left again in six weeks.
I had surgery on my foot.
I started planning a wedding (yay but stressful)
Then I got sick.
My daughter’s wedding.
Then the huge upheaval with YBW that threatened to change everything.
And finally I’m coming out the other side of all of that.
This all happened since August 2103.
I’ve been in survival mode for nearly four straight years. AND been sick through half that time!
It’s no wonder I’m feeling as though I’m not in control of myself or my life. I’m finally able to feel like I can tackle living my own life!

Now, there were amazingly good things in this time too, but some of them were also stressful.
I’m realizing I’m not considering these as “bad” things, just things that were stressful. Things that kept me in that crisis mode. Never truly moving past that initial survival time.
I think if I hadn’t gotten sick it would have been different, but I did do. And I’m finally feeling less and less like a sick person and more and more like a real person!

So while I’m conceptually ready to consider taking on the world, I’m smart enough to know that I can’t just jump in with both feet. That I can’t attempt to tackle too much all at once. That will overwhelm me and send me into a downward spiral. So I’m seriously creating a “daily schedule” for how my summer days should go. Just as if I was still running a preschool classroom.
I’ve not yet put it to paper, it’s still in my brain. I have anxiety about putting it to paper just yet…once I write it, it will be hard to adapt and change it. I feel more comfortable planning a bit longer.
Though, quite possibly, I would benefit more from getting it down on paper and seeing it. I’m a visual learner.
To write it and see it would make it real.
If it needs to be changed I simply start again. By erasing. By chucking it in the recycle bin and writing a new schedule.
I’ll most likely need to tweak it as I go in the beginning because it may not work the way I have it planned out.

Yes. I must write this schedule out for my own review. To see what I expect of myself each day.
Here’s the thing, with the exception of course work, it’s all stuff I love and want to do!! It’s freaking summertime! I have nothing pressing that isn’t a choice I can make!
I’ll write. I’ll do lula. I’ll garden. I’ll do projects around the house. I’ll have to do school work.
But over all, these are things I love! These are the ways I long to spend my time. I oughtn’t feel pressured by scheduling them so I can maximize my time and abilities.
Yes! I think that’s it.

Wow!
I’m having this ‘conversation’ with you and I’m having a text conversation with Jessica about Thing 2. In both conversations I’m really introspective. I’m aware of where I am, yet not feeling compelled to “over function” in either situation.
(end of email excerpt)

In the case of Thing 2, I told Jessica:
I kinda wanted to update you on the Thing 2 situation. I sent this text late the following morning:
It’s important you understand that I’ve not responded because I’m not sure how I’m going to respond, and not that I’m not responding simply out of spite.
She responded later in the afternoon:
It’s no big deal if you can’t, really. Don’t worry about it

Jessica replied:
Interesting. What is your gut telling you?


Then I wrote:
I think that should worry me, but it does not.
Jessica responded with:
I urge you to stop judging your thoughts and just begin to notice and accept it. The ball is in limbo. Be patient. You will know when to go forward.

Seriously y’all! This is the kind of introspection I’ve got going on today. And it feels good. It feels really really good.
I feel at one with the universe. But even better, I feel at one with myself.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

drama is seventh-grade but I’m not

You know what I get sick of?
Drama.
And I’m talking some serious next-level-seventh-grade drama. Only the participants are not really seventh graders, but adults.
I’m not going to get into specific details, but I’ll say that someone I dearly love is being treated to a ‘mean girl’ extravaganza. She cut the perpetrators from her life, so then they began to work on her college age daughter. She can’t stop that without tipping her hand. The daughter must learn for herself what is going on.
You know how kids are, you can’t tell them anything. They have to experience everything for themselves. Sitting back and waiting for the other shoe to drop is particularly painful for the mother of this young woman.

We’ve all been there. Caught up in chaos. Some of it our own making, some of it we’re simply chaos-adjacent. A mother’s instinct it to protect her young. But there comes a time when the young must learn lessons not taught by their mother.
That’s downright painful.
The mother can fret and get all spun up or she can close her eyes and wait for it to be over.
I know of what I speak.
I’ve done both with both my girls and I promise you both suck.
Staying back, whether it’s with eyes closed or completely spun up, is the only way to get through it. When the child comes out the other side, she experienced something she couldn’t be protected from…but she learned an invaluable life lesson.

I’m one of those strange women that doesn’t actually like drama. I have little patience and can’t abide something outside of my control to have that much impact in my life. Chaos-adjacent is bad enough.
I know people who thrive on the drama. Love to swim round in it until their fingers are all pruney. That is not the life for me. I don’t need that kind of attention. I don’t need that kind of adventure. I don’t understand that desire for constant chaos.

Do we sometimes make bad choices in who we choose to let into our world? Sure. Should we blame ourselves to the point of complete loss of power? Nope.
My beloved person living in this chaos said to me:
I can’t believe I let someone in my circle that easily, what the f**k is wrong with me. I made a stupid mistake and now my people are paying for it.
I responded:
This is not entirely your fault. You must stop blaming yourself. The only choice you have it to accept the way it is. I know it’s easy for me to say that. But if you let every little thing get to you, you’re going to lose your mind. You can’t lose your mind because then the 7th graders win! You’re stronger than drama! You know who you are. Dig deep and find that nugget and use it to your advantage.

We all have that nugget of power deep within us. Sometimes the way to wield that power is to do nothing at all. That’s the hardest action…non-action. Sitting and waiting for the inevitable to play out. Knowing someone you love will get hurt.
Life lessons can be harsh, but we all need to learn them.

There’s one more thing…it’s called karma. And that bitch doesn’t mess about. If you’ve got it coming to you, eventually it will catch up with you. The trick is to be aware. You may not be on hand to witness karma serve a comeuppance, just trust that it will happen.
karma
What kind of person do you want to be?

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What are we doing?

My heart is heavy today.
Partly it’s because Thing 2 left yesterday.
Her being here brought me much anticipated joy! We did all the goofy things we wanted to do. We almost snuggled enough. We had good heart to heart talks that included tears and laughter. I’m glad she was here. I’m glad she went home to her friends, I know she was missing them. She’ll be back in a month and we’ll do it all over again!

Partly my heart is heavy because things feel weird with YBW.
We were being goofy in the kitchen a few nights ago and he thought I was hitting him with the dish towel so he leaned over and licked me from chin to hairline. A big, spitty-cow-tongue kind of lick. So after I wiped off my face and got the saliva out of my ear, I punched his upper arm.
When we went up to bed I was being silly and he didn’t want any part of it. That’s when he told me I had really hurt him.
He did everything he was supposed to do. He told me he didn’t like that I hurt him, and please not to ever hit him that hard again.
Then he fell asleep.

I haven’t slept in the same bed with him since that night.

The next morning I brought up the situation. I wanted to clear the air, make sure we could talk about it and understand each other’s points of view.
I apologized for hurting him.
It was clear that I punched him with intent. But I had no intent to hurt him. I think it was just one of those punches that lands much differently than anticipated.

We talked about what it means to be physical in non-sexual ways.
YBW tends to be very “handsy”. He is quick to touch or tweak various parts of me as we pass by one another. He’s quick to pet my hair or cradle my face in the palm of his hand. I quite love this about him. That small, silly physical demonstration of his affection for me.
Yes, sometimes it becomes difficult. There are times I’d rather he not randomly tickle me or grab my bottom as he follows me up the stairs.
In this conversation, I expressed my displeasure that it’s a one-way street. If I try to be playful and tweak at him he doesn’t like it. Now this is mostly because he’s extremely ticklish and most times it feels less tweakish and more ticklish to him.
But sometimes it doesn’t seem quite fair to me.

This conversation was…tricky. I knew bringing it up would create a scenario in which neither of us would want to touch the other for fear of crossing this imaginary line. I actually said as much.
We’re still working on hearing what the other says and not falling into old patterns of hearing what’s been said to us in our previous lives. I didn’t want to bring it up because I knew what would happen. But while we were near the subject, I needed to say what I was thinking.
That’s what grown ups do. They talk about ‘all the things’.

So, where that left us is days of no physical contact. Precious little eye contact. And me not being able to sleep next to him.
I’m just so uncomfortable around him. I don’t know if he’s uncomfortable around me or not.

Last night I was brushing my teeth and he was in and out of the bathroom. Normally he would run his hand across my bottom every time he passes me, but not last night.
He was already in bed when I got there.
I said: I’m going to try and stay in here all night.
He asked why I was leaving. I told him I just couldn’t sleep. Which is true. I lie there and simply cannot sleep so I get up and got into the other room. I don’t sleep much better in there, but I don’t feel quite as anxious as I do lying next to him.
He asked: Am I doing something to keep you from sleeping?
No.
Then I told him I kept waiting for him to touch my butt while I was brushing my teeth. I told him I didn’t like where we were. I pointed out that I asked if I could lean on him while we were sitting on the couch early in the day.
He replied that he still didn’t know when or how he could touch me but assured me I could touch him.

Two nights in a row I curled up behind his sleeping body, my face pressed against his back. Just breathing his scent trying to feel connected to him. Then got up and left the room.

I don’t know if Thing 2 being here inhibited us being connected, I was focusing most of my time and attention on her. The boys are here too, I don’t know if that inhibits us from being connected, YBW is focused on Thing G.
I’m not sure it’s as much them as it is us.

I honestly believe something shifted the night I punched him.
That however playful my intentions were, it landed in a very real way.
I don’t think he wants to really talk to me. I don’t think he really wants to have any sort of physical contact with me.

It’s hard to have an intimate conversation when there are kids in the house, but I’m going to try again to bring it up when he comes home today. We may have to wait till Friday when the boys go back to their mom.
I believe he’s struggling with this too. I don’t think it’s all in my head. But I’m going to have to take the initiative, because I can’t sit with it much longer.

One good thing about Thing 2 leaving is that I can go downstairs and sleep in my cocoon instead of the upstairs guest bed. At least that will be more comfy until we can figure out what the hell we’re doing.

Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

standing at the crossroads

I’m conflicted about how to move forward with this Thing 2 situation. YBW and I have been talking and we’ve come up with two scenarios. The first is we can make her come back here, force the legality of the custody agreement that says she lives here full time. The second is we tell her to come get her belongings.
I’m getting feedback from people who love me who are just trying to be supportive. These are some of the points of view I’m receiving:
“If it were me and this was (child’s name) I would hold her accountable for the decision she made.”
“I quite quickly come to the point that she is the child and you are the adult. Make her do what you and (her father) agreed to.”

Interestingly enough, I agree with these points of view. I believe she should be held accountable. It’s the actuality of executing them where I get lost. I can easily force her to be here, but I she is the variable. Or rather how she chooses to behave is the variable. I have no idea what she will be like upon a forced return. Will she make everyone’s life miserable? Will she choose to take out her dissatisfaction on the people who live in this house?
See, if she makes me miserable, I can handle that. If she makes the boys miserable it’s something completely different.

If we just have her come get her things, she goes back to the stagnant life she left. The life that made her feel she lost a year. The life in which everyone around her, her beloved friends, are moving forward and she is standing still. The fact that she’s gotten her GED only means she’s no longer truant. Her friends are in school all day, she’ll be at home waiting. This is exactly the same situation she lived the last year. How long before she’s back against the wall, desperate and miserable and in need of change?

I can’t answer any of these questions. I still don’t even know how to feel about the situation.
I am, however, in a place where I no longer have the desire to worry neither do I have a willingness to “fix” the situation for her.
I’m certainly all about “the principle” which means holding her accountable for her decision to make a home and life here.
But I’m unwilling to squander any more energy or tears for someone who isn’t ready to look or move forward.

Being a teenager is hard. There is no denying that. I was a teenager…actually I was a teenager who was moved against her will during her high school life. It was hard, my God was it hard. I was sad and angry but I persevered, I got to start again. I have realized it may have actually been what was best for me. So I think Thing 2 should find her gumption. She should rediscover her survival instinct, the one that saved her life twice before she was two months old. She should straighten her spine and march headlong into her fear.
She didn’t really try.

I was finally able to talk to my friends and mentor, she liked what I said about respect, that Thing 2 asked to be respected, but was not respectful. She told me the angst was all in the wrong place. That it needed to be placed on Thing 2 where it belonged. She should be sitting with it. Whether it changed her point of view or not…well it didn’t really matter. She asked if I told Thing 2 I thought she was a coward and a quitter. I don’t think I did.

I called to talk with Thing 2 yesterday, she was “busy” could she please call me back later? Has she? No. I will call her again today. I will say what I have to say about respect, I will tell her I think she’s a coward and a quitter. I will wish her well in her endeavors. With a heavy heart.
My heart is heavy because she’s cutting herself off at the knees. She’s pushing opportunity away with both hands.
My heart is heavy because she betrayed YBW, who has been kind to her from the moment she showed up.
My heart is heavy not because she hurt me, but because she hurts people I love, most specifically herself. I can’t protect her from herself.

I’m still standing at the crossroads. Arguing each side against the other and still not sure which way to turn. But I’m going to start moving one way or another, simply to be rid of the angst. Without a doubt it is in the wrong place. It’s not mine to carry. So I’ll drop it at the crossroads and walk away slowly.
Wish me Godspeed.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

connecting over life’s lemonade

I’ve been thinking quite a little bit about my friend and mentor lately. Actually, I’ve been thinking about connections…making initial connections, staying connected over time and space, renewing connections, and why these are so important. Somehow this train of thought makes me think of her. I say somehow like it’s a big mystery to me…she’s the most actively connected human being I know. She’s one of those people that make other people say, “I want to be J when I grow up.” I know her well enough to know I don’t want to be her…but I do long to be more like her.
She has this uncanny knack for freeing herself enough to engage with most anyone she comes in contact with. I am awed by her.

I first knew her when she was the director of our church’s preschool where Thing 1 went starting when she was 18 months old, she was kind and caring but she was not yet my friend. When Thing 2 started there at age 14 months, we’d known each other for three years and had gotten closer because I was on the school’s parent committee and the chair of the fundraising program, I remember wanting so much for her to like me.
Three years later, the summer before Thing 1 starts second grade and Thing 2 starts her last year at this truly spectacular preschool I get a phone call from J asking me if I want to teach in the toddler class. And that was really the beginning of us becoming close.
The time I asked rather loudly at a faculty meeting if she was on crack may have sealed our friendship fate.
My friend and mentor has so much love in her and she’s unbelievably generous with that love. She’s filled with joy and verve and a positivity that is truly something to behold. She’s a teeny little woman who is the biggest bundle of energy in the most positive sense of the phrase. She’s one of those ‘turn life’s lemons into lemonade’ kind of people, and let me tell you it’s the damnedest thing because I’ve seen her make the most delicious lemonade when she’s up to her ass in life’s lemons.

She is the reason I blog. She asked me to write with her on her blog (She’s an early childhood education specialist.) because she hates to write. Those collaborations lead to therobynbirdsnest. (Merci beau coup.)

She is a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor, she’s a consulting educator, she’s an educator of educators and parents of young children. She connects every day with teachers and administrators and parents and teaches them how to really connect with young children and how to teach and learn with them through those sincere and authentic connections.
She brings that level of intimacy into her everyday life too, that immediacy, that authenticity is a natural part of everything she does. That’s what I want to be when I grow up, you know?
She is such a gift to we who are lucky enough to have her in our lives. She is connected to each of us in her own unique way, connected not only with a desire to be connected to the people she knows, but sincere passion for the connection itself.

Can you learn to open yourself enough to develop that level of connection or do you have to be born with the gift? Are any of us willing to invest what it takes to develop that level of connection? Making connections and being able to remain connected and reestablishing connection if there is a disruption…this is one of the most positive and rewarding skill sets we can master. And if we can’t master it then we can emulate it by trying every day to show up and open up and be authentic in our interactions with the people around us.
I believe my friend and mentor was given this gift with birth. I cannot describe how lacking my life would be had she not.

I want to be more connected…not only to those around me but to myself…I need to look at myself and judge less and accept more…I need to pour a big old glass of life’s lemonade and connect with the most authentic me.
lemonade
Bottoms up.

Categories: education, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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