Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Someone Else Thinks Of Me, Good Or Bad, Is Not My Business

There are certain things about one’s child raising that one is grateful for, and yet others that one is not. The ones that I did not like, I attempted to make changes with, in my own parenting. However, one aspect of my growing up that I am utmost thankful for, involved my parents never offering me any advice unless I asked for it. From a time when I was quite young, I made my own decisions, stood by those choices and basked in the glory or accepted any consequences surrounding said choices. As a young adult, when someone offered advice to me on any occasion, without me asking for it, I was incensed and insulted. Who were they to think that they could offer me suggestions with how to live?
At 50 years of age, I have learned that it matters not whether someone offers me advice on how to be, but on how I receive her or his intent. I needed to learn that the way in which someone views me and whether or not she or he is favourable to how I live, is of no importance. What is significant, is whether I am approving to the way in which I live.
It was difficult in my young adult years when someone freely offered me advice. I actually wanted to do the opposite just so that I could stand up for my own way of being. I was not obsessed with people pleasing in any way, and yet, I did not carry this behaviour over into marriage. I am thankful that I fell in love with, and married a sweet, kind soul who loves me and put me on a pedestal, but he had been raised in a household where people just fit in, complied with society at large and offered advice freely to each other. I felt as if everyone was living in my back pocket judging every choice I made and yet I was busy raising my own two babies in a way that contrasted with this. These two ways of being began to collide, eventually demonstrating to me that one was not right or wrong, just different.
A passage stated by many and that has shown up in my life over the last few years that has helped me to let this go, is finally beginning to sink in,

What someone else thinks of me, good or bad, is not my business.

While the particular happening was not advice offered, it did surround “taking offense” when the other evening a friend queried whether she had offended me by asking me a delicate question. I actually chuckled, smiled warmly and let her know that I am rarely offended by anything, but that on the occasion that I am, I look to myself to see what it is about me, that I would allow another’s words to have that kind of power over me. I am a human being and when I am presented with a feeling that is contrary to how I typically feel, I start to peel the layers back of my being, in order to understand, detach from and release, and be at peace ready to enjoy life once again.
Before I close this writing off, I want to turn back to why I have made the decisions that I have made, and that part of the challenge with making choices lies in the society that we live in and how the people within it respond. I mentioned that I basked in glory or accepted consequences of decisions, because as much as I have tried to separate myself from what another thinks, there may still be rewards or glory surrounding particular choices, which in turn may fuel the next decision I make. In the past, all of these positive and negative responses from others became muddled with each other until I reached a place where I irrevocably knew that a decision was not necessarily right or wrong but that it just – was.

Face your challenges or don’t and make your own decisions – it’s YOUR choice.

Soar by Christina Aguilera 
Now in life there’s gonna be times
When you’re feeling low
And in your mind insecurities seem to take control
We start to look outside ourselves
For acceptance and approval
We keep forgetting that the one thing we should know is
Don’t be scared
To fly alone
Find a path that is your own
Love will open every door.
See in your hands the world is yours
Don’t hold back and always know
All the answers you will unfold
What are you waiting for?
Spread your wings and soar.”


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On Clearing Chaos and Clutter...

Come and find the quiet centre in the crowded life we lead
Find the room for hope to enter, find a frame where we are freed…

As I sit here with my pen in hand, this familiar and favourite Hymn from Voices United reveals itself, again.  
I am not sure how long it has been that I have consciously worked on improving myself, but as I turned 50 this year, I would like to say that it has been for 50 years. It has not. I know that in my teenage and young adult years I was egotistical and thought that I was at the top of my game and that during my 40’s I found myself lost, floundering and unraveling for a time. What I do know, is that I learned to meditate when I was 18 years old and for this I am utmost grateful. It saved me during my University years when the stress to perform, lack of sleep and desire to be free, took its toll on me. For some reason, and for a time, I forgot how to meditate and when I fell into a dark hole following the death of my mama, I had to learn it again. Meditation is now a part of how I live daily.
I am writer and I typically write daily, several times daily. When life circumstances are such that I am not able to be in my sacred space, writing, a lump forms in my throat and waits for me to pick up my pen. Through the practise taught to me by a few teachers, I have learned to clear this lump. But it always returns unless I attend to it and write.
A year and half ago, the lump in my throat reached a frustratingly large size. After only experiencing the discipline once, and not feeling that it did anything for me, I decided to give Reiki another try. Odonata was suggested by a friend, and because the name appealed to me, I made an appointment. When the practitioner and healer, Krysty, asked me to describe the lump in my throat, I told her that it was like I had swallowed a grapefruit, that it seemed fleshy and ruby red, and that I too connected with it being about the size of a grapefruit. As she worked on me, I felt it soften and was moved to tears at the beauty and diligence with how she worked. Afterwards, she enlightened me with the knowledge that it was indeed red but that it was much more delicate and larger than I had described – more like a Red Throated Frigate. You know those birds where the male has a large red balloon-like throat? Krysty also said that I could heal it myself and that it wasn’t for her to do so. How did she know this I wondered, as she proceeded to tell me that during the treatment it was my hands that guided her and told her how to soothe me…
In order to continue to soothe, heal and clear this throat of mine, I write. But here it is a year and half later and my throat still fills. I have begun to look at other activities or practises besides my writing, that may clear this blockage and offer me clarity. Once again, as has happened over the course of this life of mine, Yoga calls me, but this time I roll my eyes. How am I supposed to find a Yoga class living here on this farm in rural Alberta? I have taken Yoga classes before and not once did I feel that any minute part of the class resounded within me. However, I have learned to honour what shows up in my life and so I started to pay attention and Voila! I receive an invitation to join an online book club that is to be lead by a woman who just happens to be a Yoga instructor. Hmmm…. I am not really interested in adding yet another thing to my life but because it is going to be BrenĂ© Brown’s book The Gift of Imperfection that will be read and discussed, I say yes and I fall in love with the book, the club, the members and the guide, Holly. Time goes on and Holly moves to a nearby city and then one grey and cool afternoon I get an invitation for a 3-evening package of Yoga classes. I’m now very nervous because I want so badly to go but I also do not want it to be like the other classes I have taken. With encouragement from Holly and a few others, I enroll.
Sunday night was my first evening class and although I did not want to travel the 30 minutes it would take to get to the venue, I did, and it was spectacular! I was welcomed with kindness and warmth and although the poses were challenging, I soon felt as if I belonged. The Sat Kriya was such a powerful position and pose for me that even though it was difficult, I was compelled to stay with it. This one class cleared me of many toxins, the spinal cord stretches, the Sat Kriya and the practise of chanting Sat Nam as well as the collective energy that emanated, that I arose in the night feeling nauseous. I knew better and before sleep, should have consumed copious amounts of water, but at that hour and with a soft smile on my face, I instead, breathed my way through the upset tummy, and for all of this I have utmost gratitude.

Clear the chaos and the clutter clear our eyes that we can see
All the things that really matter be at peace and simply be.


Monday, November 7, 2011

On living with teens...

Thanks to The Yummy Mummy Club for once again posting a writing of mine. I am grateful for that wonderfully rich site!

Teens can be challenging beings but they are also are so much fun to be around. The thing is, you have to be with them, lots, and you have to let them know that you love being with them. For me, this means biting my tongue often and reminding myself that they have different lessons to learn on this earth than I had or have and that although I am friendly, I am not yet one of their friends.

I am their mom, one of their guides. My advice to parents of teens, is to keep them busy with something they love and then support it by finding a way to love it too. One thing that my teens love is music.

Jillian studied classical voice for seven years, is enrolled in her ninth year of piano and sings in her brother’s rock band. Max played piano for six years, took drums for one year and has played with a teen rock band for four years. For countless years, the kids jammed and practiced in our basement and I continually praised them for their unique beats and musical sessions even though there were times I wanted to wear ear plugs. This caused them to practice here more often and call on me to listen to particular riffs and sections. And I persevered with a warm smile because I knew where they were and that they were being creative. They recently have found a more permanent practice space and I actually miss them.

Because they are music lovers, I let them DJ whenever we travel together in the vehicle. They love introducing me to certain songs that they are learning, or just ones that they love to sing. When we are faced with a long road trip ahead, my 15 and 16-year-old start getting excited about the new music that they have just discovered and want to share, knowing that I will honour it.

Are there times when I would like to turn to the familiar and soothing sound of Stuart McLean or that I want complete silence?
But I know that that is coming all too soon.

How do you envelop living with teens - I would love to hear your stories.


Teen Theatre Group Voltage! that I had the privilege of directing. (Max and Jillian included.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Have Faith In & Gift Children with Independence

Thanks to the Yummy Mummy Club for once again printing an article of mine.

Dr. Martin Brokenleg who co-wrote Reclaiming Youth at Risk, impresses upon his readers that in order for children to grow into responsible adults who follow their hearts and are at peace, they must feel that they:

Are Masters of Something
Know Independence
Consciously Choose Generosity

Many years ago, I enveloped Dr. Brokenleg’s strategies and used them with each age group that I was teaching. With all students, including those in kindergarten, I wanted them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they not only belonged in this place called school, but that they belonged with me. If they felt that they belonged with me, then I knew I could take them those extra steps toward greater confidence with ease rather than force.

Being a master of something is important to youngsters and assists in building great confidence. It is crucial to delve deeply and assist in discovering each child’s gift or talent and then having the faith in him or her to work with this and persevere with a deed, through practice. It is okay to buy Velcro® fastened shoes for 5-year-olds while they are learning to tie but it is also fundamental to continue to teach them to tie. The confidence that this offers a 5-year-old is immense and builds on the next success as does riding a bike, zipping a Ziploc® bag, and opening and closing containers.

My young Kinders held such belief in themselves when they could successfully cross the playground on the glider. I deemed it an important learning and stood and helped them and guided them across never letting them fall except into my arms, until they had mastered it and even though it may have seemed like a minor accomplishment, I knew it was great.

My advice to parents is, as your children grow, it is more than okay to have faith in them that they can perform age appropriate tasks, and to support them in mastering each little feat, as those achievements become overall triumphs that help them to be independent and in turn choose to be generous with their gifts and talents.