November 14, 2016

Know When There's Love

Because when it's absent, it hurts. 

Pay attention to those little moments - when your children are so excited for cookies and milk, when they think you're the best mom ever, when they want to hold your hand as they come back to Earth after soaring through dreams all night. 

Savor the moments of family time - whether it's some extravagent vacation or an afternoon hike. Watch the sparkle in their eyes, the joy in their laughter, the kinship with their siblings. 

Pay attention to those little moments - when their hugs are so deep, when they won't leave for school without saying good-bye, when they make you feel like you are the luckiest parent in the world. 

Do not take love for granted. Do not let it go unnoticed. Set aside your things to do and your busyness - and bask in the love that is your children. 

November 11, 2016


The act of making something better. 

Did you know that?  I did not. Until I looked it up. The word was used in an essay my son wrote explaining how he likes to share information with friends in order to better - their lives? The world? I'm not sure what, but he does place lofty expectations on himself. 

What a good word it is though. And, no matter where you are in life - rethinking a career, celebrating or cringing after the last election, or just going along doing your own thing - we should all always be engaged in amelioration. 

"It's all good".  Whenever I say that to a certain friend of mine, she insists it is not all good. And, I know what she means. There are certain things you simply cannot call "good".  They are not good, nor will they ever be good. 

But stewing in their badness doesn't serve us either. And, believe me, I've been there. The tragic, early death of a friend might inspire one to seize and appreciate every moment, to love and live more deeply, to pursue joy more fearlessly. Me, however? I turned more cynical, somewhat bitter, and fearful of getting too close to anything or anyone. 

Living in that "it's not all good" space is not healthy. Nor is it fulfilling. And you certainly won't find much joy there. In times that wear us down, scare us, or make us feel hopeless - we must find the "good". We must work to turn the evil into better, to let the sadness lead us to joy again, to overcome fear and live loudly. 

We must engage in amelioration - the act of making something better. Don't accept that "it is what it is". You have the power to make it something different.  Find the peace in sorrow. Find the fire in grief. Find perseverance in fear. And move it all forward into something better. 

October 21, 2016

Magic Answers

When things are difficult, we look for the magic answer... the immediate "cure" - or, at least, the method by which we can lure a change.  

We attempt to coax change when we try to persuade our infants to sleep through the night, when we battle toddler tantrums, fussy eaters, a bad back, or a relationship that feels stuck.  Sometimes, we laugh - once we are past the moment - at how difficult we thought it was at the time.  Other times, we leave that moment worn out - hoping it never returns again.

But, something else will come to take its place for us to wage battle against, attempt to overcome, and hope - that we come out on top - all the better for the experience.

There are no magic answers.  There never were.  We collect the data from our village, from the professionals, from our souls - but, in the end, we must navigate this moment of life on our own.

October 5, 2016

My Wish For You Meditation

Today's wish for you, my children....

May you delight in the pursuit of wisdom. 
May you embrace simple pleasures. 
May you always see light in the darkness. 
May you find growth in pain. May you receive joy. 
May you stand strong in purpose. 
May you pursue with calm persistence.  

August 5, 2016

Make Your Mama Proud

I'm somewhat shamefully admitting that we've watched a lot of TV in the past few weeks. America's Got Talent, Chopped and other cooking competition shows (Cake Wars), and American Ninja Warrior have been top on our viewing list.

I've noticed one rather disturbing consistency. Aside from the fact that it's basically the same show over and over again.... Many of the contestants are in the show to "make someone proud".  

The contestants are on the show to make their children proud, their deceased mother, family in the country they've left behind, their boss at the very well known and famous restaurant....

And then they "lose".  "I just wanted to make my children proud."; "I wanted to show my family I left for a good reason."; "I let them down."

Do these people - these adult people - truly believe that it is their winning that makes their families proud? Is their mother not proud simply because they've taken a risk in the first place to come on the show? Is their family not proud of the fact that this person is following their dream and doing the best they can?

I hope that most of these people return home and realize their families are proud of them just for being themselves. I hope they are not berated for not winning, and that they receive massive points from their family members just for trying!

The smartest solution is probably to stop watching these shows, but - when you're tied up in bed - they are an easy time-filler. Instead, I've made it a habit now to point out the ridiculousness of this act to achieve pride. I always remark that I hope their families are proud of them for coming on the show, for doing what they love, and for being who they are. 

And, I always look for the opportunity to tell my children how proud I am of them - not for the things they achieve - but for the people who they are!

July 23, 2016

Two Weeks Notice - Effective Immediately

"Come here," I beckoned to my husband from the bed where I have spent most of the last week and a half. 

"I'm watching you," I said, "be - both - the mom and the dad... I don't want to be the mom anymore."

"I don't get it," he replied. 

"It's stressful," I whispered, about to lose all that is stuffed inside of me. 

"And you don't even drink," he said as he walked back out to face mothering and fathering duties, "I don't know how you do it."

Sciatic pain is keeping me from doing pretty much of everything. A slow return of a pain that led me to surgery two years ago when the founder of the SW Naturopathic College - known as Dr Anti-Surgery - asked me if I was afraid of dying on the table has come back full force. In fact, I think it is worse than it ever was. 

I have spent the past few months trying to remain neutral toward the erupting feeling of my leg being caught in a metal-spiked bear trap. I have thought and prayed and contemplated the deeper meaning and reason for my pain. What is my body and soul trying to tell me? Meditation will bring me into oneness with the pain - oh! I'm not even supposed to call it pain. Journaling will help me rise up to what it is I'm trying to tell myself. 

I've contemplated everything. Is it my marriage? A new career fear? Self-hate? Am I psycho? Out of touch? Too in touch? 

It's not difficult to lose energy when you spend most of the day lying down. It gets comfy in the pit. It's dizzying to stand - not to mention painful. I'm aware of every movement and how it feels. I was before the pain returned - grateful for every step that was a normal step. And now - when most movement carries pain. 

Just a week ago, I could not get to the bathroom without crying, seering, and tearing pain. 

On the other side of this tug of war between my soul and my Self is a worn out, tired, and pained self looking for the immediate fix. Turn it off. I don't care what it takes. I'll contemplate my soul and take care of her and nurture her when this is over. I promise. 

I can't do this anymore. As much as the Mommy-Time-Out might be 'nice' (did I really just say nice and sciatic pain in the same sentence?), it's not really that nice. And the longer it lasts, the harder it is to make my way back. That takes energy. Motivation. Stamina. 

Baby steps. Through the pain. To the answer. To life on the other side of sciatica. 

June 7, 2016

I Dropped the Hearts of Palm

I don't know about you, but the hearts of palm was what I was most looking forward to in my make-your-own-salad-salad-bar we served at a family gathering the other day. I love hearts of palm, and I had sliced and diced the entire mega-jar of them. 

The bowl was covered and they were placed carefully into the refrigerator along with all the other salad toppings. One opening of the fridge door - and that was it for the hearts of palm.... And the bowl that was holding them. 

And I just started bawling... And swearing.  David had to come help. I couldn't bend down. The already excruciating pain I had running down my leg exploded. I started to hyperventilate. I got dizzy. I had to go sit down. 

It passed quickly. Was that a panic attack? My first panic attack was over hearts of palm?!? 

It was my mountain piling over. We all have our mountains, and - as high or low as they may be - you never know what will make it come crumbling down. 

I regrouped, made a spectacular salad, and am still ever so greatful that someone (David) was there to help me pick up the pieces - literally and figuratively.