Monday, August 23, 2010

Mindful Monday: Leaping

It's official. We are going to homeschool. Yesterday many of my favorite people gathered to swim and play and celebrate the beginning of a new school year at our old school. But we didn't. Tonight many of my favorite people will gather to go to the orientation of the school that has been our community, our home, for three years. Making the decision to homeschool was not easy, not without doubt, definitely not without sadness. It frankly caught me off guard. When I think of the faces I will be missing, it's easy to wonder what the hell we were thinking. But I know it's meant to be our path.

In the sweeter moments I see a beauty in it all. The beauty in helping my children learn what fascinates them, of helping them follow their hearts, listen to what their souls are whispering. In darker moments I think "I'm going to be lonely. And burnt out. They're going to drive me crazy." And I have been a parent long enough to know all those things are true. I've also been a human long enough to know all those things are fleeting. Just like my time with them.

In a week, when we begin in earnest, we will start with trees. Trees are big and beautiful and give us breath. When you hug the big ones, you can feel their souls. We will let the trees open us to the beauty around us, the bigness of life, and the serenity of being still. And then, when we are ready to move on, we will see where the ride takes us. The trees with their reaching branches, they will point the way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Six Months Home

Yonas has been home six months today. When I look back at how far we've all come as individuals, as a family, I am amazed. And proud. I will not write a long post today, nor will we celebrate in an external way. But I will celebrate quietly and internally. Today I celebrate:

Ava, and her ability to help and love and tolerate Yonas. Her siblings adore and idolize her with good reason. She is a demi-god.

Eden, who is often better at re-directing his behavior and extinguishing potential fires than I.

Safa, whose ability to forgive and grant him love and affection when he's been awful to her puts me to shame.

Erik, for his support and strength, his humor and battlefield camaraderie. He has been an anchor for me when I felt adrift.

I celebrate myself for digging deep, being honest, asking for help and coming out the other side to find myself six months later celebrating and loving my son. I celebrate myself for knowing I still have a lot of work to do.

I celebrate Yonas for the boy he was when we met him, the boy he is now, and the boy he is becoming. Yonas feels a home-ness here now. The amount of trust and release and surrender it took on his part to get where we are now is not lost on me. It is humbling and beautiful and heartbreaking. A deep bow of respect to you my son.

May the next six months bring more healing, laughter, and peace and bring us round to celebrating a year together as a family of six.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Providence Joins Us

I was going to title this post: "Fodder to Get Us Off Our Asses", but it wasn't very romantic and I like the romantic notion of Providence. Maybe you're already off your ass and don't need this quote. And you can call it Providence or God or Karma or Inspiration or your Muse or Being Aligned with the Universe. Call it what you want, but when we make a commitment, something akin to magic happens. Showing up is the hard part. Sit down to write, pick up that paint brush, put on those running shoes and the flood gates of soul support open up. There is mystery here and I don't take it for granted. (Liz, I double dog dare you to read the book.)

The following is a quote from W.H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition:

"Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: 'Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.'"

Wordless Wednesday: Babes in the Woods

Monday, August 09, 2010

Mindful Monday: Resistance

When I was in my early 20's I wrote "Nulla dies sine linea" on the inside cover page of every new writing notebook: "Resistance always has meaning". Then I made a true effort to Become a Writer in my mid-20's. At least, in my mind it was a true effort. It certainly felt like one at the time, and I received enough rejection letters to prove I'd made a bit of effort. Then I stopped writing. And I didn't read any fiction for 6 years.

That was a long time ago, and since then I have tortured myself by not writing every day. I have had long stretches of not writing for weeks, months, even years. And lately I have not been writing this blog and I haven't been writing any fiction. And I feel shitty and restless and guilty and small and angry when I don't write. So the question is: If not writing makes me feel like hell, WHY DON"T I JUST DO IT??????????

Because Resistance ALWAYS has meaning.

I am re-reading a book called The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. It is a book I should never stop reading, one I should pick up every day so I don't forget. This book is about kicking Resistance in the ass and getting on with your work, whatever it is. The idea is that if you are trying to elevate yourself in any way; spiritually, physically, emotionally, morally, then you will meet Resistance. If your are trying to make art of any kind, if you are an entrepreneur, trying to lose 20 pounds, you will meet Resistance.

Now here's the cool thing: Fear and self-doubt are great indicators of the action we should be taking. They serve to illuminate our path. The more intensely we experience Resistance, the more we can be sure that it is important to us and to the growth of our soul.

So. What's a miserable non-writing writer to do?

Write, I guess. Show up and let go of the rest. Stand up for herself. Fight the good fight like a warrior every day. Make a commitment and then get out of the way of herself. Stand tall in the face of the greatest fear of all: the fear of success. And I don't mean money and certainly not fame. I mean the success that is born from showing up for your life and giving the world what you've got.

So here I am. I hope to be here more often. I leave you with this abridged quote from Marianne Williamson that is often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Are you getting buried under the weight of Resistance like I am? It always has meaning.

Let's get to work.