Saturday, June 6, 2015

"Unfold in a Generous Way"

     For all of the things in my life that no longer have a place, church is one I've never needed to forgive.  It was exactly what I needed it to be, exactly when I needed it.  It was a place where I could come together with a group of people who had hearts of a similar nature and thus feel like I belonged somewhere- like I had this loving extended family.  I was drawn to the idea of community and love and helping one another achieve the highest form of healing.  And I was not forced by my parents to go.  On the contrary, I was the one who invited my dad and he became a part of the same church as well.  And though transformed, it has become what I need once again.  I'm not talking about the church as a building and a routine that is involved, but simply the edification that comes from encounters and (for me personally anyway) conversations with what Anne of Green Gables would call "bosom friends."  And just as she did, I'm beginning to find that there are far more in the world than I thought possible.

(Yes, I did just finally watch Anne of Green Gables for the first time ever, and I LOVED every moment!  I feel we have much in common.)

     I've come upon a time in my life where my reflection on who I was and who I am is coming full circle.  I spent a large portion of my younger years grasping on to any inkling of positivity I could find in the known world and thus running away from all negative emotions as if they were some plague I didn't want to catch.  I've spent a lot of time over-analyzing  those negative emotions when they've surfaced, as if they were some sort of equation that if I could only solve I'd be rid of once and for all.  I have tried to completely remove myself from a path I've seen so many in my family follow, that I began to misunderstand just what those emotions were really for.

     I do believe that there was a time when that is exactly what I needed- to cling to the positive and reject the negative.  But as I've grown, if nothing more than into adulthood, the role of those things has changed.  I went through an adventure in awareness around 25 years of age, and it felt phenomenal!  I began to understand who this person was, swamped with all of this internal clutter and chaos.  I began to understand the roots of why, even.  I was starting to get somewhere, and it felt good!  

     But still, there was what I feel was a misunderstanding of those negative emotions.  In becoming so aware, I also couldn't help but become so very self-analytical.  Though I had begun to understand, my focus was still on solving the equation as if something were wrong with it.  I had come this far toward healing, but my internal voice was still set to attack me.

     Then came a time of decline in my spiritual high.  I had other things to focus on.  I sort of leveled out, and let go of those revelations to go on and deal with changes in my life such as motherhood.  As someone who has never been too good at juggling, those things just were not able to co-exist for a while.  It actually took a series of rather intermittent explosive conversations with my lovely loving spouse to allow a path to open back toward healing self exploration.

     I now know that when I first started avoiding all of that chaos inside, it was meant to be that way for a time.  It was a mechanism within me that saved me from proverbial drowning.  I also now know that, in the transition into dealing with it all, though understanding had begun to illuminate my life, I was still clinging hard to the fact that in order to NOT become what I had seen in life as "defective" I had to find a way to squash it.  I had to find a path that would lead me to a place where those feelings would no longer be a part of who I was becoming.  I now know that I was not entirely wrong, but maybe a little misguided.  Though more open-minded, I was still clinging to the way I had always thought it to be, AND I was still focused on the NOT.

     Most importantly, of all of these things, I NOW KNOW that I HAD to have those feelings surface in order to know what I needed to forgive.  I really did try very hard to figure out what made me have those negative feelings and why.  I still believe it was and is an important part of any healing self exploration.  I knew I felt anger toward my mother for not being a source of comfort to me- EVER.  I knew I felt anger at her expectation of me to be some sort of comfort to her having not given that to me.  I knew I felt guilt at being upset, knowing that most of her hurt toward me had come from a place of hurting herself.  But I also knew I did not want to feel these things.

     My daughter is almost 2.  Before she was born, I found myself naturally taking inventory of who I was and what kind of role model I would be to this life I would become wholly responsible for.  Becoming a mother really causes you to take measure of yourself in a way you never have before.  It also causes you to re-prioritize; and re-prioritization is not always easy to accommodate when riding the coattails of guilt and self doubt.

     Only after Flora was born did I start to realize I didn't just feel sorry for my mother, but I truly was very angry with her.  I became accepting of these emotions, but still didn't like having them.  I still felt an obligation to try to be there for her and take care of her on what levels I was capable, but it conflicted with my feelings to put my daughter first.  It was as if my mother, too, was a child I had been trying to care for, and I no longer had the resources within me to do this job for both of them.  So, in my frustration, I let myself fully feel that anger toward my mother.  I gave in totally to self-pity as well.

     Then, after about a year of that (coming to the very recent past half year or so) I kept having these encounters that were pushing me to think more about my own personal truth.  I started to find myself again looking for that path toward healing.  A lot of the motivation came from the fact that I do not want Flora to pick up some of my more negative traits.  I consider those things: lack of organizational skills, lack of self-confidence, lack of internal peace, lack of decision-making skills,  lack, lack lack lack..... (you see where I'm going with this).

     This time, the path inward was taken at quite a hard angle.  I went so far inward that I was truly alone; so much so that my husband was feeling left out of our relationship.  I never meant to leave him out, but that is sometimes what happens when we become too self-centered; even if we are seemingly doing it for our own good (and what we think to be the good of others).  I wanted so badly to fix it ALL: how I was feeling, how he was feeling, how I didn't functioned with normal tasks on a daily basis (especially since all of these things are now in front of a very impressionable 1 1/2 year-old angel).  I had tried so hard to make myself the bearer of all the bad that I got stranded, and left someone very important to me in the same predicament.

     Then came the (so far) final explosion.  Thanks be to the ALL for pairing me with such an incredible partner.  This explosion was the catalyst that all of this transformation had been leading up to til this point.  I think we both felt lighter afterward, and I suddenly was able to not only gain a new perspective, but apply it!  It truly is easier said than done sometimes.  Sometimes you can know all of the right things to think and feel, and why, but the final step- the applying- is so hard to figure out.

     And while what few readers there are out there are wondering if I strayed from the path of my intent for this blog, I am now coming full circle.  I needed to truly know forgiveness within myself to be able to apply the healing mindset I knew I could have.  See, I learned a long time ago (coming around to that church thing, guys :D ) HOW to ask for forgiveness.  But I have only recently learned how to ACCEPT that forgiveness.

     So I've forgiven what I thought was wrong against me.  A lot of that has only come about because I now realize that in thinking it was wrong done to me I was actually feeling sorry for myself.  I have also forgiven myself for victimizing myself through those feelings.  I even took a day to experiment in not complaining out loud- AT ALL.  Talk about a life changer!

     This more peaceful path toward higher healing exploration started for me almost 2 weeks ago, and already I have had days that were trying; already I've had days where I failed the tests of my character.  But you know what?  I don't beat myself up over it any more.  I see it for what it is- and that is my soul's chosen path.  If something is suddenly out of my control, well being in control is really just an illusion anyway, right?  So why get so upset?  Maybe it's not going my way because that is not the way it was meant.  I finally understand what it is to "let go and let God"- as the saying goes.  

     And while I could wonder why I ever spent so much time worrying about it, I am now more than willing to just accept that it was the way it was meant to be to get me to this point.  May I never stray from this path! 

     I am currently very excited about what the future holds, and I in no way expect to always be on the smooth path (as I did before).  My husband and I feel stronger as a team than ever before (or at least in my book- I'll have to ask him what he thinks ;D ).  I can actually see my dreams coming true- and not just because I'm forcing myself to!

     I don't know when I'll feel the urge to sit and write like this again; it seems to come in spurts.  However, whoever in the universe comes across this, I hope it touches some kindred part of your soul that is traveling the path of this earth with me and all other living beings.  Please, also, feel free to share stories of your path whether you know me or not.  Bosom friends need only meet once to have an edifying effect on one another.  Thank you for existing :D

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Is Your Kid a Bad Kid......Or Are You Just a Self-Involved Parent?

     Yes, that's right.  I said it.  You may be a self involved parent.  You may not even realize it.  Does that make you a bad person?  No.  But I have a few things I want to say about it.

      I am writing this today because I think I just need a place and a way to talk about these things without feeling there would be some sort of personal confrontation over it.  It is something that is close to my heart as an issue.  I am a very emotional person- I just really feel things very deeply sometimes- so I always approach the way I look at things from that perspective (I just can't help it, you guys).  I can look at my life now, and look at my life as a child, and see from where some of my defectiveness internal conflict may have stemmed; so I suppose I feel more sensitive to that in others now that I am aware of it.

     This inner dialogue started today after a conversation I had with a parent and her boyfriend here at work.  Let me see if I can get the point across without writing a book (though I can't promise anything-haha!):  The woman comes in and is asking if I know of any programs that might help her daughter enjoy reading.  Apparently said daughter is in 4th grade and may end up failing.  At first I thought this was just about her daughter's reading skills, but the more the mother complained talked, the more I began to read into the situation.

     According to mom, this child "can do the work but is just lazy,"  likes to just "mess with her," will perform better for others (because when she's with mom she just wants mom to do the work for her), and hates to read.  According to the boyfriend, "she likes white people better"...... (I'm only throwing this in so you can hopefully grasp the ignorance.)

     The fact that she is still talking to me, and venting in this way, I can't help but to react to the situation as if she was asking me for help.  So I started putting my feelers out, asking questions like: "Do you think she's been made to feel inferior at school or in her learning environment?"  I never really got much of an answer, mostly just more complaining about the child.

     I do want to interject and say: I get it.  Sometimes a child plus all of the regular daily responsibilities of being an adult can be overwhelming.  Sometimes you just need to talk to someone and it doesn't even matter if they are listening- you just gotta blurt that garbage out.  Kudos!  It's way better to get it out and not lash it out at your child.  Sometimes I think parents really are just overwhelmed and they don't know what to do to control it, so it gets directed at the child.  I think this was a case of the latter.

     I based this mostly on the fact of mom's freely given info about herself- "I'm old school and I just ain't gonna put up with it.  I'll knock her out and she knows I'll knock her out.  I just don't have the patience when she starts doing that."- I ask, "Do you think she just needs more patience?"  Mom is kinda huffy, but not at me so much as her exasperation with the child.  Apparently having patience is not in mom's bag of tricks.

     I tell mom, "I'm not judging you, I just know that even though my sister and I were raised by the same parent- our mom wasn't around, our dad raised us- that we still had different ways of dealing with things.  I always sort of rolled with things, but, around the same age as your daughter, she started making bad grades and getting into trouble.  I didn't realize until I was in my 20s that my sister was not a bad kid, she just needed a different kind of attention than I did."

     Then, later, when she comes in with her daughter I get to see the interaction.  I don't think people always realize how much they tell on themselves with just simple words and gestures.  I see her talking down to her daughter; I see her literally smack her for asking to check out a book????  (Wasn't she WANTING her to get better at reading?)  Then I see, when I pull her away and ask her what she likes and I start showing her books that she might be interested in, she perks up.  She is VERY interested in what I'm showing her.  I almost see an excitement in her eyes.

     So, I give you this short story length situation just to come to this: every person is different.  Don't be so self involved that you can't see that your child may need something different than you did when you were raised.  "I'm just old school" is no longer a valid excuse for not being an emotionally supportive parent.  Also, when you say you have a bad kid (are you ready for this?  I'm gonna say it....)  YOU ARE TELLING ON YOURSELF.  You are telling whoever you are complaining to that you are too self involved to recognize the needs of your child/children.
     Whether 2 or 20, if someone is "acting out," there is something deeper and conflicting going on within them.  We may not be able to reach out and heal the whole world, but  I feel like it is our job as parents to be in tune to our child enough to recognize their individual needs.  I am not saying that a parent should never have "me time" or should be infinitely patient (I certainly know I'm not....).  I'm not saying you should be chastised if you want someone to watch your kid to have a night out, or if you want them to be quiet long enough to finish watching your favorite show.  I'm not saying you should be an emotional martyr.  I am saying that instead of approaching your child from the view of what is most convenient for you, you should approach them with the question "What is it that he/she needs from me?"

     You don't have to be a bad parent to not meet your child's emotional needs.  Sometimes I really do think it is just trial and error.  We can't always get it right on the money the first, second, or even third time; what we can do is stop and analyze the situation from the view point of the child.
    I mean, when we chose to have children, didn't we also acknowledge that our lives would no longer be totally in our control anymore?  Didn't we also step up to the plate to raise responsible and (hopefully) stable human beings?  I am not saying that we need to win the perfect parent award (does that even exist?).  I just would like more parents to be aware, and think, that if their child is getting out of control, maybe they should take a different approach instead of just trying to remedy the fact that it is inconvenient to them.

It just completely breaks my heart to see a child looking to the only anchor they have  (the parent) and to not see that parent doing what they can to secure that child's emotional vulnerabilities.  Like I said, I may just be more sensitive to it (and I am around a lot of parent/child interactions where I work so I may just see more of it), but it makes me hurt for a child when I see that.  Physical needs like food and shelter are not enough.  Every person, especially in childhood, should not just survive, but thrive.

So let's all try to be more sensitive to our children's needs.  Let's all take a step back and breathe when they throw that fit for the hundredth time while you're trying to finish supper and vacuuming at the same time, or when they hit puberty and all of a sudden you feel like the enemy.  Just because they are no longer an infant does not mean they know exactly how to communicate- or heck, even understand- their needs and emotions (I'm 30 and sometimes I STILL don't....)  So let's not take it personal and just ask ourselves "What does my child need from me?"

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Big Smiles Happy Moment

     I just wanted to share one of those over-the-top-smiled-so-big-made-my-face-hurt-happy moments.  Last night our Little Lady had two firsts that filled me with such joy that it has burst over and carried into today.

     I just love the mimicking stage.  It is so cute to watch them learn and grow and grapple with new words, actions, and even concepts.  So, unavoidably, Flora has really been getting into being helpful around the garden.

Let me tell you, she watered the heck out of those wheat grass seeds.

What kid doesn't love water play?

     So, anyhoo, this is what she did: 1) She put on her little rain boots all by herself (seriously guys, I didn't even notice she was doing it....).  Then she went and climbed up to the dining room table (NOT a first) and grabbed a packet of newly purchased seeds (purchased from here ), walked to the door and 2) said "Plant seeds!"

     We definitely have a little nature baby.  Hopefully she will grow to be a nature kid, and thus a nature person.  Our fingers are crossed!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Brief Interlude

     So I've been away for quite some time now.  I could use excuses like: 1) I moved; and 2) I only recently reestablished internet at home.  However, it is probably better to just admit that I am a terribly inconsistent person.  I won't even cut my hair because I'm afraid I'll freak out when I get in the mood to do an up-do (but dang is it tempting sometimes......).

     A lot has happened in these last seven months: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, my mother-in-law moving in and putting her house up for sale, my mother-in-law moving back into her house and NOT having to sell it, found a site called Vinted, met a king snake on my stairs, Easter, ***SPRING SPRING SPRING*** and some plant sales, met a salamander...

     My wonderful husband has done so much work transforming our new yard into a yarden.

  (With only minimal help from Tuut)<3 i="">

He started back in the fall with the Fukuoka-style hugulkulture beds and has made a lot of progress this spring.  He has even started a little greenhouse out of some donated windows.

     We also got a membership with the Arbor Day Foundation and received some trees in the mail.  So our sustainable food forest and mini farm IS in the works you guys!

     Also, at about age 25 I went through an awakening of personal awareness and it was beautiful and wonderful and all things great,  I feel like I might be going through a second stage.  It is a little tougher this time, however, as I am aware of so much still, but feel like I have less control of it all.  I do think that a lot of things I've been dealing with internally for so long now are starting to surface, and though it is difficult, the growth from it all will be amazing.  I say all of that to say this:  this blog may become a small source of therapy for me.  So prepare for some things to get really real-haha!  I'm sure the transformation of both my home and of me and my family will be beautiful. :3

Well, until next time, happy spring everybody!!!!