Unlocking our Connection

I recently finished reading Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur. It was recommended to me by my daughter. She is ten. Usually I am doing the recommending. Usually I am gifting books or strategically placing them in her path so we can share in some of my favorite stories. This was one of those not as frequent moments where she read a book and tossed in my lap and said, “read this.”

Now I don’t like following the commands of my ten year old. However, when it comes to connecting over books or stories she has written, I am all in.

Eight Keys hit me hard from the first chapter. It felt familiar and lovely while also gritty and uncomfortable. All those complex things that start to happen when you are crossing over from simply being a kid to adolescence. It’s a tough time in all of our lives. It is a tough time especially for kids who want to hold onto their imaginations and play with the world while it seems like everyone else is trying to fit into a page of a magazine. This book explores layers of friendship as they evolve. I was delighted at the self examination the main character goes through and begins to think about her role in her relationships. This is not an easy thing to unpack with my kiddo without some tension. This gave us a key to unlock some of what might be happening for her and her friends.

Eight Keys is tender and has characters that are independent, thoughtful, and complex without being too mature or relying or sexual tension to drive the story. The characters felt real and their struggles felt authentic. It touched on loss, trauma, fear, relationships, identity and empowerment. I am grateful for my daughter’s suggestion. I am even more grateful for the chats we have had about the story. I love that she has a friend who “must read this” so they can talk about it. I am thinking about getting some copies to leave out for my students to find and pass on. -Just like the keys…

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Sass Factory

My daughter has taken to rolling her eyes at us. It was something she did only every once in a while when she was really upset but now, now it is like breathing. It is almost as if everything I say is triggering a conveyer belt of ocular motion. She is ten. Almost eleven. It makes for some difficult mindful communication practice. I want to fall into some defaults of my childhood; scream, threaten, ignite, ignore with disdain or get snarky. This morning, I am breathing in the scent of my tea and imagining a cartoon conveyer belt of eyeballs rolling and replacing the old ones. It helps me stay calm and joyful through her moment of disgust with me.

Talking about Tuck

This summer I read Tuck Everlasting by Katherine Babbitt. I have read it many times before. However, this summer I suggested it to my daughter. Sometimes when I suggest a book, she is reluctant and resistant to read it. I don’t know why. It is silly of her really because EVERYTIME I suggest something that she reads, she finishes it saying, “OMG that book was amazing.” Every. Time. Tuck Everlasting was no exception. I suggested it. She said Meh. I got it out of the library. She ignored it. I brought it on vacation with us. She turned her nose up at it. So I started re reading it. In the evening I took the book from her bedside to mine and read. When I was a few chapters in she could hold out no longer. She casually borrowed it and began ‘looking at it’. Before I knew it she was walking out of my room into hers still reading. She didn’t stop until she was done. When she finished, she ran to find me to tell me “OMG that book was amazing.”

We spent some time this summer off and on referencing and talking about the story. And then I surprised her and got the DVD out of our local library. I generally am a read the book first kind of person. If possible. She was so excited. We sat and watched it. We got to have in depth conversations about director’s choice in editing the storyline and casting and locations. But most of all I love the fact that we got to have all over again the talk. The Tuck Everlasting question of would you drink the water and why? Listening to her unfold the reasoning and layer it with her new connections to these characters and their acting choices, nuances was magic. We spoke about what being together forever might mean for us or what being alone forever might mean for one. We will continue to explore what we old dear in relationships with nature and humans. I am so grateful for this. I can’t wait to read it with her again when her brother is old enough to read it to himself. And so on.

listening to water

today i am listening to water
today i am listening to water and i am thirsty for answers
i am still and quiet
i am allowing the rhythm and the flow

to enter my breath and awaiting transformation and direction
nothing is happening

no answers are here
more questions have arisen
i am more unsure of what is next

and yet more confident that this is the way to figure it all out

Lists

I am really great at making lists.

I can make a list for anything at anytime.

I list the lists I need to list.
Sigh.

I don’t think this list making skill is a true resume builder or asset to my future fabulous self.

The lists are not currently serving me up into greatness.


I know, I know. There are some who say that the lists are a mere distraction from the action that I need to realize and create.
The lists are an avoidance of fruition.

Perhaps.
Perhaps, they are a clever trick to look busy while I am truly floundering into madness and despair.

There is also the chance that my next list will be THE LIST.

The list that launches me into a state of getting it done and making the dream a reality.

To Do with Joy

For a long time I have made checklists.

For a long time I have also been embarrassed of my need to make checklists. For some reason I felt that they were more of a signal that I couldn’t manage things. Or perhaps they were a tell tale that I am determined to set myself up for failure.

I now realise that the above statements are simply a frame of mind that I held and wasn’t the truth and certainly didn’t need to be my forever mindset. Checklists and To Do lists are something so valuable in progress. I have worked with students creating To Do lists with purpose, intention and joy.

I have guided others in projects and have facilitated sessions of setting intentions and working towards completion of these checklists. This became a more powerful tool in my teaching as well as my personal life when I unloaded the previous mindset and reframed the whole experience. I got honest with myself and saw that I was indeed making lists of things that I couldn’t possible accomplish. I was making lists miles long that felt overwhelming and self destructive. I knew I needed to shift.

The lists are important. I know now that they need to be with purpose and intention and focus. If I am helping someone on a project, we need to target what we know needs to be done, what we know needs to happen in a specific period of time, and then what questions do we have.
Recently I reflected on the power of my To Do list practice. I learned that making these lists help move me forward help me progress. And then it hit me, I wanted to start making To Do lists with Joy at the center of it all. Joy. Yes. simply add Joy and see what happens…To Do with JOY. What would your list become? To Do in Joy…what would your list becomeI

My to do lists sometimes have items on it that normally are NOT associated with joyful feelings, like laundry. And yet, I tell myself I am going to do the laundry with joy. How does that look? Well, try it and find out. Finding the joy in the routine of life is magical. It is a shift of heart that redirects the soul to the purpose. It sounds hokey perhaps. I learned that creating list of things I want to do with Joy has pushed me forward, kept me looking ahead to more joyful times. It has also empowered me that I can create my joy in the most obscure places.

Now as I am diving into this next season, I wanted to recommit to some goals and energy. Here is a formula I started using. I have a morning meditation and then write.
Five things I want to do (in joy) this year. Three things I want to do (in joy) this season. Two things I want to do (in joy) this month. One thing I want to do (in joy) today.
the choices can change everyday or you can see patterns arise. I give myself space to be joyful and specific in my intentions. I make it realistic as well as aligned to those little whispers of desire. Here is is one more time:
This year – five things
This season – three things
This month – two things
Today – one thing

If this is overwhelming – I take a breath and write down or come up with 1 thing I want to do in Joy.

Then I do it.

Then breathe and pick a new joyful thing.

I admit I use this tactic more often than the other big list. It feels great.

Honor

My new routine involves me creeping out of the house in darkness. I attempt to move as swiftly and silently as possible so not to wake everyone sleeping. I ascend the steps to my car in darkness with some moonlight and the sound of the River singing the day arise. I drive to work in contemplative thought and discussion. Once at work, I go to my room and sit in darkness. Sometimes with some oil diffusing and sometimes with some music. I sit and drop into my willingness to be with the day in the best possible way. I practice yoga until it feels complete. Then, I sit again with the newness of myself.

And now I have added to this routine. I write.

I firmly believe this is more ritual than routine. I am connected.

Today my heart, body, and mind converged on a concept of Honor. Today I am charged with honoring the love. I am discovering that I want to be thankful for the love I have received in all forms at all times of my life. I want to honor the love I have given. In reflection of this I feel my breath deepen and know that this giving and receiving of love is breath. It is as essential and simple as breathing.

I am so grateful for those that have loved me throughout my journey. I am so grateful for the immense displays of conventional love as well as the man that stood in the rain and held the door for me this morning. The security guard that hollered “watch your step the floor is wet!”. I am grateful for such love. The love that came from the sleeping student in my class yesterday. I am thankful that he felt safe and comfortable enough to surrender to his needed rest. I am thankful for the kisses from my children as they recharge my soul and send me flung into the universe on a comet of love.

I am honoring myself for the love I have given. For the letters written, the drawings, paintings, and things made with love. The food I have prepared for others and myself. The presents, hugs given, and kisses shared. I honor the love I showed myself when I have stumbled out of despair to rise one more day no knowing why until now. The love that was bound in countless Yes’s and a few No’s. I am capable of such wondrous love and see now the intense beauty it has and the path it will take, the spiral and link to the love I have received and will continue to receive as long as I breathe or have someone’s thoughts breathed about me.

A dear friend said this morning that he is trying to live in the honor of someone whom he loved that recently passed. I think that is possibly one of the greatest things we all can do.

Live in honor of Love.

Give and Receive

Breathe

Love

Magic of Foxes

Not too long ago, we noticed a large dirt mound on our hill. It had not been there before and it was strange how it seem to simply appear. My husband climbed over the railing of our steps to take a closer look. He reported back that it was a large hole, like a den some animal has built.

Then the most amazing transformation happened to our household this week. An adorable family of foxes emerged. From what we have seen there are four babies. They tumble around the woods and race around with their lunches hanging out of their mouths. It is exciting and soothing all at once. Everyone in our family is so in love it is invigorating. Yesterday we spent most of the day watching them race around and watch us watching them. It is wonderful what they have released in us. I am so grateful for this new bit of life and joy in our world.

My daughter desperately wanted a fox from Santa Claus. A real fox she could have as a pet. We convinced her that it would not and could not happen. She kept believing that a fox would come to her. So this experience has caused a sense of hope and universal connection for us all. She believes they are there because of her wish.

We have been doing research and learning about foxes. We have told the children that we are going to do our best to live in harmony with the fox family. We are happy to learn that they will help limit the rodent and tick population as both of these felt out of control. Maybe the Universe answered my pleas for help on both accounts. The foxes are here and we welcome them with open hearts to our River Cottage.

Always Learning

Every day we have a series of opportunities to learn more. This can be down to learning a trade, skill, craft, discipline. It can also be about learning/discovering more about yourself. I love to learn. Love it. I say this because I forgot that about myself for a brief moment. I forgot how much I am a lover of learning. I have always been able to say this about myself but for a brief moment I forgot that this is truly a huge part of me. Recognizing this, reclaiming this brings the focus back to where it is needed. Love, Learning and self are at the center of a new journey.

Last night, I bought new shoes.

 

June Poems: #2

I watch her sleep

envisioning the stretches

the changes

that will happen

over time.

How will she look

in ten years time?

If I am too busy

it will feel like it all happened

in a blink.

For now, I soak up

that angel skin

and soothing snore.

Take a deep breath

and pray for more.