Fly, Birdie, Fly!

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“Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.”  Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love

As a mother, I am amazed at the moments when my three-year-old daughter eagerly jumps out of my arms into a room full of little girls she has never met. I am shocked when my six-year-old son actually likes the teacher I find to be cold and distant.

In these glaringly obvious moments, I realize as silly as this may sound, that my children and I are different entities. Inherent in this fact is that we have unique emotions and reactions to the world around us. Although, I use the example of mother and child, it is true with any relationship.

How we perceive our world has to do with any number of factors; our cultural environments, how we were raised, innate personality traits, etc. When it comes to perceptions and our subsequent emotions, we must allow others to experience their unique emotions and maybe even harder, we must experience ours too.

Emotion is simply feeling in motion. I believe allowing our feelings the freedom to express themselves is as vital to our health as anything else we do. If we are always stopping our tears as they flow, not letting our anger do its angry dance or shunning our fear for peaking out from under the covers, we stop these creative expressions midstream, stunting a therapeutic release. (If you have ever urinated somewhere you maybe weren’t supposed to, and had to stop “midstream,” then you understand this feeling very well. It’s unnatural and it hurts!)

When we grant our emotions the freedom to be felt, we usually feel magically better. It is when we stop them “midstream” that we get stuck. Then our emotions get really pissed off because we didn’t allow them to do what they are here to do. These stuck emotions can turn into more complicated variations of themselves or worst-case scenario,  unfelt emotions can manifest as illness. It’s like Woody Allen said, “I don’t get mad, I grow a tumor.”

I am telling myself this because I am wondering if unsavory displays of emotion like tantrums (my own as well as others around me) are probably best dealt with by allowing them to just have their way with us and then leave our bodies. It’s like a trapped bird frantically caught in a house desperately seeking a window or door so it can escape to return to the openness and possibility of blue sky.

Whether its your own emotion or someone else’s, be like a bird watcher. Sit back and watch the bird spread its wings and fly.

Feeling is healing and by addressing our own individual boo-boos and the emotions swelling up around them, we will help ourselves and also in the most authentic way possible, help others heal as well.

Below is a poem that brings to mind the idea of taking care of our own internal wounds, allowing others to experience theirs and then letting them go. It’s from the very informative book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christine Northrup, M.D. Whether you are a mother, or have a mother, we can all relate.

Mothering the Mother by Nancy McBride Sheehan

In a society preoccupied with how best to raise a child
I’m finding a need to mesh what’s best for my children with what’s necessary for a well balanced mother.
I’m recognizing that ceaseless giving translates into giving yourself away.
And, when you give yourself away, you’re not a healthy mother and you’re not a healthy self.

So, now I’m learning to be a woman first and a mother second.
I’m learning to just experience my own emotions
Without robbing my children of their individual dignity by feeling their emotions too.
I’m learning that a healthy child will have his own set of emotions and characteristics that are his alone.
And, very different from mine.
I’m learning the importance of honest exchanges of feelings because pretenses don’t fool children,
They know their mother better than she knows herself.

I’m learning that no one overcomes her past unless she confronts it.
Otherwise, her children will absorb exactly what she’s attempting to overcome.
I’m learning that words of wisdom fall on deaf ears if my actions contradict my deeds.
Children tend to be better impersonators than listeners.
I’m learning that life is meant to be filled with as much sadness and pain as happiness and pleasure.
And allowing ourselves to feel everything life has to offer is an indicator of fulfillment.
I’m learning that fulfillment can’t be attained through giving myself away
But, through giving to myself and sharing with others,
I’m learning that the best way to teach my children to live a fulfilling life is not by sacrificing my life.
It’s through living a fulfilling life myself.
I’m trying to teach my children that I have a lot to learn
Because I’m learning that letting go of them
Is the best way of holding on.

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Perfection

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“Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love — and I mean love, not lust — is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person peaks through, say, ‘This is a challenge to my compassion.’ Then make a try, and something might begin to get going.”

Joseph Campbell from Pathways to Bliss

Sometimes I really want my daughter, Phoebe, to wear one of the cute new dresses one of her grandmothers has given her. Her sense of style, however, does not permit this. She prefers leotards, bathing suits, leg warmers and shoes too big for her little feet (like a pair of my red Toms wedges she sauntered around in recently.) Today at breakfast she wore one flip-flop and one gold ballet flat (also way too big) with her brother’s Rays baseball cap to top it all off.

While I have never thought of myself as a perfectionist – and any of you who have seen my house, my handwriting, or what I wear all week – know this. I have my moments. And it’s usually when I venture out of my comfort zone.

It’s ironic striving for perfection because perfection, of course, does not exist. It’s an illusion. We are all imperfect beings, and we are perfect because of this! And thank goodness we are imperfect because it makes us far more interesting.

I’ll never forget my first lunch as a junior in high school after just moving from Arizona to New Jersey. I can’t remember exactly what was being discussed, but I was having a conversation with some girls when a perky pony-tailed girl across from me said sarcastically, “Oh, so you’re normal!” Ha! I wanted to stand on the table in that depressing cafeteria and shout, “NO, AS A MATTER OF FACT, I AM FAR FROM NORMAL AND THANK GOODNESS FOR THIS.” I didn’t do that, I just continued on with my pork roll (those unfamiliar with this delicacy, please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_roll) sandwich and giant ass cookie. (And yes, I’m trying to make up for some of these food choices now by drinking kale smoothies in the morning.)

The problem with striving for perfection is that usually in the midst of such tomfoolery, we aren’t being very kind or compassionate to ourselves. I’ve heard it said many times before, “Perfection is the antithesis of compassion.” 

If I’m having a day where I’m feeling bombarded by my imperfectness (and these days happen often,) it helps me to remember this: Often our imperfections are tied to our greatest gifts. (Thank you Michael Mervosh with the Hero’s Journey Foundation for sharing this insight.) And people are drawn to us because of these imperfections. Furthermore, these are the people we really want in our lives because they love of us and appreciate us for who we really are, right down to our very core.

While reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, I was reminded of a deeply touching story I heard on Oprah years ago where the great author, Toni Morrison, speaks to the price of perfection. Below is an excerpt from her book talking about letting go of the critic and instead allowing love to shine through.

Ms. Morrison asked, “Does your face light up?” She went on to explain, “When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up…You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face and say ‘What’s wrong now?'” Ms. Morrison goes on to say, “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”

So this morning as Phoebe danced out of the restaurant, I smiled to see her presence making so many others smile. People were actually looking up from their cell phones and tapping one another on the shoulder to get a good look at the little girl with the mismatched shoes. She was so happy, free, and completely unaware that people were watching her. And for the first time, I truly understood the greater purpose for her wacky fashion choices and why I should never let it bother me again. Imperfection is far more fun for everyone!

Get a Peace

ImagePraise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.” – Buddha

“Everything we do is infused with the energy in which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace. Our internal state determines our experience of our lives; our experiences do not determine our internal state.” Marianne Williamson from Return to Love

This past weekend I took a yoga class and in the middle of it, I had an epiphany about practicing peace. In between the postures on the floor, we laid still in corpse pose, also known as savasana. With feet flopped out to the side and palms facing up to the sky, I smiled deeply when I heard the teacher say, “Get into savasana quickly because it’s only twenty seconds long.”

Although I was attempting to still my thoughts in addition to my body, a golden realization sprung to mind about what a great metaphor for living this was. Life is short and goes fast so we need to find our sweet, soft spots quickly.

This morning while I was walking my wildly energetic puppy, I took her off leash when she saw her best puppy friend, Maggie. Maggie’s owner and I watched on the sidelines as the two puppies frolicked happily on the grass of a yard they play in often. Next door is a sprawling yellow house where a man I have never laid eyes on stepped out to pick up his newspaper. He resembled Mr. Clean and looked pissed.

He kept his door wide open and before I knew what was happening, my well meaning albeit crazy puppy took off and went right through his door. I should not have taken Poppy off of her leash and I understood why he was mad. I ran up to the house as he yelled at me to get my “f’in dog” (He used the real word and repeatedly I might add) out of his house. He was big and angry with smoke spiraling out of his nostrils screaming, “Do you think this is o.k?” Do you think this is o.k.?”

Of course I knew it was not o.k. I desperately wanted to spit at him and yell back but I knew it would only make matters worse. I also knew it was my ego that wanted me to act in a manner equally abhorrent as his. Egos don’t like to get hurt or humiliated. Thank goodness, the wiser and bigger me found my voice and apologized. A lot. As we were walking out of his house (both the dog and I with our heads down), I was completely shocked when Mr. Clean said, “If your dog ever does that again, I will shoot her.”

Maggie’s owner stood in disbelief. As the incident unfolded he also had the peace of mind to refrain from reacting with violence, either with fiery words or a fist. Maggie’s owner, shaking, walked me home as I burst into tears. I hate witnessing cruelty in fellow human beings. It’s scary and makes me very, very sad. My hopeful heart felt a little broken.

However, in this same heart, I also know we cannot fight fire with fire. I cringe to imagine what could have happened if I had allowed my anger to spiral out of control like he so effortlessly did. Right now I am honoring my sensitive soul and allowing my feelings to be felt. I will not let that curmudgeon ruin my day. Life is too short and I work too hard to be peaceful to just throw it away in an instant.

This is precisely why I meditate and practice mindfulness. The neutral awareness we find when practicing mindfulness helps anchor me in the moment and also to the stillness in my core. I still get upset, overly dramatic and highly irritable as evidenced by how I’m feeling now. I’m sure I always will since I’m only human and a highly sensitive one at that. However, I do believe with consistent practice, when I feel thrown off from this center by turbulent situations, maybe I will arrive more quickly back to the heart of my soul.

We have to practice what we want. If we want more love, kindness and peace, we need to be more loving, kind and peaceful. It’s like my daughter says, “The best way to make a friend is to be a friend.” (I must admit this lovely saying came from something she heard on T.V.)

If we are having an ugly or a lonely moment and feel there is nowhere to go, we can always turn inward and focus on the still center star within us. Peace is always here for us to be with.

At the end of my yoga class last weekend, the wonderful and prophetic teacher said, “Don’t let anyone or anything steal your peace.” Whether its is my daughter screaming at the top of her lungs madly trying to open the dryer which hold the black leotard she so desperately needs, or Mean Mr. Clean acting badly, I will remember these wise words.

I hope every day, little by little, I become more peaceful. I know forgiveness sets us free so I will forgive Mr. Clean and maybe even thank him for giving me the opportunity to practice what I preach. I also truly hope Mr. Clean learns how to get a peace. We would all benefit if he did.

We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve

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We accept the love we think we deserve.

“What we are teaches the child more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

“We accept the love we think we deserve” is from the book and movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It struck a chord deep within me when I heard Paul Rudd deliver the line. And it’s not just because of his puppy dog eyes. There is so much truth in this simple sentence.

Now this is nothing new and we have heard it before, but I think it bears repeating. (If you are anything like me, sometimes it takes a few hundred times to really let a message sink in.)

A big part of this seemingly simple equation is taking care of ourselves. Treating ourselves with brave kindness, unconditional compassion, and authentic love is an essential piece to our overall happiness.

If we want others to love us, we have to love ourselves exactly for who we are in this moment, supposed flaws and all.

When I share this message with a friend, a family member, or in a yoga class, I sometimes get the feeling there is a bit of eye rolling going on, or worse, I hear the voice of the Stuart Smalley character from Saturday Night Live. I see him looking in the mirror declaring, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

Speaking to ourselves gently is just one way to be kind to ourselves. Sometimes it means taking time off, saying no to an invitation to go out, taking medication, seeing a therapist, exercising, going to a sacred place like church or temple, getting fresh air, eating healthy, not over drinking, etc. It always means listening and honoring our intuition.

The other day, I read an article posted on Facebook by a friend, called, How to Talk to Little Girls by Lisa Bloom. It’s about opening conversations with girls about topics other than their appearance. The author talks of refraining from commenting on girls’ looks and instead choosing to discuss books and other worthy subjects. If a child believes their worth is all about appearance, it could be detrimental to their developing self esteem. This hit home for me as I often talk to my daughter about how adorable she looks. Oops.

This article was really insightful. I also think while it is hugely important how we speak to our daughters, and children on a whole, it is crucial, as well, how we speak to ourselves. Trust me this is not easy for me, but when our little ones witness us smiling at the reflection in the mirror, treating our own bodies with respect, they in turn will do the same.

Much of a young girl’s self esteem comes from her mother’s self esteem. We can teach our children how important loving oneself is, but practicing this yourself will reach them in a way preaching never will.

This brings to mind a recent story. At the end of the school year, Will, my six year old son, was working on a writing assignment. I was sitting with him completing my own assignment for school when I noticed the tears in his eyes. He was beyond frustrated with how messy his handwriting was.

I casually told Will to pause, put his pencil down, and take a deep breath. I then pointed to the center of the collage I was making. There sat a picture of the Buddha. I pleaded with Will to remember this very important message. Buddha said, “You, more than anyone else in the world, deserves your love and affection”. To that, Will turned and said, “Now why don’t they teach that in school?”

It is true, we accept the love we think we deserve, and each and every one of us deserves a whole lot of extraordinary, life affirming, sunbeam bursting, unconditional LOVE!  Love is not reserved for a handful of lucky people, we all possess this brilliant love within us. It’s where we come from, and it ‘s where we go back to.

One more thing…We are smart enough, we are good enough and doggone it, people not only like us, they love us!

 Bloom!

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 “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  Joseph Campbell

A friend of mine shared these words, “Bloom where you are planted”, with me after I had moved to Tampa. I am not sure where the phrase originated, but like a petulant weed, it started popping up everywhere! I resisted this idea for some time, but as many of us have heard before, “What we resist, persists.” It was time for me to accept where I was. However, unbeknownst to me at the time, I had to accept who I was first.

It’s no surprise to many of you reading this that my relocation to Florida from California in 2004, less than a month after getting married, was a hard one. Living in Santa Barbara was like a love affair for me. My husband, Josh, and I, moved there on a whim and ended up living there for close to eight years. Although, no place is perfect, Santa Barbara felt as close to it as any place I had ever been.

I fell in love with the green, soft, gumdrop-like mountains which hugged the city on one side as the Pacific Ocean lay majestically on the other. The Pacific and the way it smelled, the waves and tide pools where sea urchins and anemone lived, as well as the misty mornings were all supremely intoxicating to me.

I also adored the random people I saw almost every day walking down State Street or in my favorite coffee spot. Some I knew by name, like an elderly man named Harvey, who used to say he worked for Walker and Turner. I can see his sweet smile now, his broaches on his shirt, and hear his voice declaring, “I walk the streets and turn the corners,” in response to me asking what he was up to. Our time in Santa Barbara felt spontaneous, fun, and free.

Once I moved to Tampa, however, everything started to feel a bit different. I was meeting people who all seemed so much more grown up than I was. The walls in their homes were wallpapered and the conversations centered on concepts like owning a house or having a baby, things I couldn’t wrap my head around yet. I wasn’t ready to grow up!

There were complicated emotions stirring in me begging for acknowledgement. I kept blaming my unhappiness on where I lived. I eventually saw a therapist who helped teach me how to access some of these innermost feelings lurking in the shadows. She kept telling me to look inward. “The outside is a reflection of your internal situation,” she would say. This is exactly what I did not want to hear. In fact, sometimes this was so annoying to me, I dreamed of throwing tomatoes, maybe not directly at her, but certainly in her general direction.

However, as I traversed along, getting a job and meeting great people, Tampa still didn’t feel like home, and I was pining to move. However, it was not a time in my life for moving; it was a time for staying put and laying down roots. I knew this was what I wanted but wasn’t sure I could get there while being here.

Once when Josh and I were visiting Santa Barbara, we were having coffee with a friend and mentor. I told him how I was feeling. He gave me great advice about getting creative about our situation. This clicked for me in a way nothing else had. I had to figure out a way to honor my feelings but to also move on. I had to start working on creating my life the way I would create a collage; moving some pieces around, getting rid of pictures that no longer fit and making room for others.

One of the recent changes I made to the overall picture was a decision to go back to school this past year. As I was reading a book for one of my classes, called, Transitions; Making sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges, I was struck by how cyclical life was beginning to feel. When talking about change versus transition, Bridges writes, “One of the most important differences between a change and a transition is that changes are driven to reach a goal, but transitions start with letting go of what no longer fits or is adequate to the life stage you are in.”

I think there comes a point in life for us all (hopefully) when we stop comparing ourselves to others and also to the life we imagined living when we were younger. We have to let go of the expectations and stories of our past to fully inhabit who we are. I believe we have to do this before we can ever really accept where we are.

This idea of acceptance not only holds true in regards to where we live but also to our jobs, relationships, physical and mental illnesses, learning disabilities as well as losses and gains. What happens to us does not define us. We get to define ourselves.

It’s almost eight years later now, and while I may not be grown up, I certainly feel more responsible. After a multitude of changes and transitions, I have come to own the fact that I am the only one responsible for my life.

I am also realizing where I live may not be as much of a factor to my well being as how I live. For that matter, I’m happy I didn’t throw stones or tomatoes at my therapist because tilling the soil of my soul was the best way for me to sow the seeds of happiness.

Now when I see brilliant flowers blooming all around, I think to myself, as much as I love Santa Barbara, Tampa is looking pretty great too these days.

Scary Joy

 

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“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero

The uplifting, all-out feeling of joy in the body is almost indescribable. For me, joy feels like goose bumps, laughter, and happy tears all at the same time. It is hopeful and exciting, enthusiastic, and even heavenly.

However, something often happens in the throes of joy that can turn happiness into feelings of despair. A little sneaky thought surfaces and reminds us that joy can’t last forever. Sometimes, I feel this impending kill joy as a nagging anxiety in my heart and throat, grabbing me out of the moment I was just in love with.

Recently, when I brought a new puppy home from the Humane Society, I was overwhelmed with how much I instantaneously adored her. She was soft and sweet, loved to play, and had delicious smelling puppy breath. We named her Poppy.

Colliding with the emotion of joy, however, was an ugly blanket of fear trying to suffocate all the goodness I was wrapped up in. “What if something happens to Poppy?” I questioned. I had cause for concern after all. We didn’t know her early whereabouts and there was still a fresh wound after just having lost our last dog, Floyd. He had only lived with us for a year and a half and at the tender age of six, died in our bed of an auto-immune disease. I had to remind myself that this was an entirely different experience.

Upon contemplating this, I realized that no matter how normal or common the fear of loss is, allowing it to destroy joy is not acceptable to me. Consequently, I was relieved when I started reading, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, because she addresses this very issue. The book is brilliant, and Dr. Brown’s research on vulnerability is fascinating as well as helpful. Her definition of vulnerability, most simply put, is showing up and allowing ourselves to be seen. To be vulnerable takes truth and courage. I highly recommend both, the book and being vulnerable.

One of the most interesting sections of the book for me was the discussion of joy. Brown explains how we sabotage joy by trying to get to vulnerability before it gets us. Sometimes she says we even rehearse tragedy as a way to safeguard ourselves against being caught off guard. However, waiting for the other shoe to drop does not protect us, it just takes us away from the beauty of the moment.

Consequently, we have all experienced the ups and downs of life. When we are up, it is great, but it is a little frightening too, because we know deep down in our souls, we inevitably must come down. We just hope and pray with all our might that we don’t fall too hard, but, rather, slowly drift down to the soft ground only to bounce back up again soon.

The good news is, while we may not be able to stop this feeling of impending doom in the midst of our joy, we can do something to turn it around. And once again, the answer lies in the practice of gratitude. Brown learned in her research that participants view these moments of vulnerability as an invitation to practice gratitude. She found that people who kept a gratitude journal or practiced any kind of outward expression of gratitude built up resilience to being taken out of their joy.

Now the sadness I felt associated with bringing my new puppy home makes a lot more sense.  Loving openly and freely certainly makes us more susceptible to pain and suffering, but I believe it is also the only way to live life to the fullest.

Without allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we build up walls attempting to keep out potential harm. The problem with this tactic is we then miss the luminous light seeking to break through and light us up from within.

I propose part of our purpose here on Earth is to feel joy to the fullest and then share it with the world. Although joy may be scary at times, more than anything, it is contagious and well worth the price of being vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

Peace Begins with Me (and you too)

 

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When my son was three, in addition to being cute and funny, he was exhibiting some really annoying behavior. It helped at the time to know Will’s defiance was a normal stage of development, but still, I was exhausted. Something had to change.

During this time, it was increasingly challenging to get him to go to sleep. My husband, Josh, and I were trying really hard to not give in to Will’s desire to sleep on our floor or in our bed. We were afraid of starting a bad habit. So instead of that habit, we created another one. Strange as it may seem, he chose to sleep on the wood floor in the hallway outside our bedroom, and to get him to fall asleep, we made up songs. He would tell me what style to sing in. My favorite request which I heard often, was, “Bob Marley and Opera.” A particularly interesting request indeed!

Continuing to feel like I was losing my marbles, I decided that perhaps it was time to take a meditation class. I had attempted seated meditation in college as well as in various yoga classes. However, I had never had any specific instruction. In fact, in college, when I tried to meditate, I found it more anxiety inducing then relaxing. Years later, when I was sharing this with an older, wiser, and more meditative friend, he laughed and said something about people in their early twenties weren’t supposed to be meditating. He said we were supposed to be having fun. I recall him mentioning how our brains were too busy thinking about the opposite sex to meditate. Although I hate to admit it, I think he was right.

I’m not in my twenties anymore, and as luck would have it, a wonderful therapist in town was leading an eight week long Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class. Right when Josh and I felt like we were reaching our breaking point, we signed up and arranged for his mom to come watch the kids every other Saturday. MBSR is a particularly effective and well researched program started by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is a great tool for learning how to sit in silence and also for bringing a steady and non-judgmental awareness to every day activities. It is very helpful for certain medical conditions as well as for anxiety and depression.

I promise I am not being dramatic when I say this class (and the subsequent practice of meditation) saved our lives! And still does to this day.

After our first class, instead of begrudgingly trying to get our son to sleep, we started meditating. Previously we would mindlessly flop on the couch and watch television or get on the internet, but we were committed to bringing about more peace in our house. This new practice consisted of us sitting for fifteen to twenty minutes in our little front room and breathing together in silence. Will could see us from his hallway “bed” and I think watching us in this silent way was reassuring for him. The peacefulness we practiced came straight out of us and right into him.

What happened over the course of the next couple of weeks felt nothing short of miraculous. Will never seemed to find our sitting in silence odd, and furthermore, he was now falling fast asleep without any fuss. This happened night after night, and the more we sat, the more our perspective seemed to change as the energy in the house shifted too.

Why it worked, I think, was because we needed to change. Not Will. Instead of trying so hard to get him to sleep, or reading blogs and books about what we should do, we just relaxed, listened to our own intuitions and let go of all of our expectations. We started to react less and enjoy our time with him more. I told myself he would most likely not want me to sing, let alone speak, in his teenage years so I kept up my operatic/Bob Marley inspired songs and did so with a smile.

Although, sitting regularly is something I still struggle with, it is also a practice I always come back to. When I haven’t had a seated practice and then start one again, I am always amazed at how wonderful it feels and wonder why it took me so long to bring it back.

As soon as I learned via MBSR that I didn’t have to clear my mind to meditate, I was able to relax and not worry about whether or not I was doing it right. I quickly felt the beautiful benefits of meditation while I was sitting and often throughout the day. A veil of clutter seemed to lift and I found a bit more space in my heart and head. I still had a million thoughts racing through my mind, but as Eckhart Tolle discusses in his best selling book (and one of my personal favorites,) The Power of Now, I started to notice the space between these thoughts was growing. This felt like an ocean of much needed and much appreciated bliss.

These days, our kids, ages six and three, will even sit with us and meditate on occasion. We don’t ask them to, but they just do. This morning while I was sitting, my daughter came and sat on my lap. When she asked me,  “Now what do I do?” I told her to just sit, listen and find her happy place. She said, “You mean my sun?”

I’m not sure if our kids will meditate as they get older, but I do think they have learned something about the importance of stillness, silence, and getting to know the internal and eternal suns residing in each one of us. I know I certainly have. As for Will, he now sleeps in his bed, in his room, every night.