pausing in the tender spots

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I am chasing my two-year-old around the park as she tearfully chases another little girl with hair the color of the sun, proclaiming that she needs her stick. Of course I try to show her all of the other desirable and lovely sticks on the ground. But she’s not having it. She is in full on tantrum mode.

The mother of the stick holder looks on, not with a frown per say, but not with a smile either. I look to her for comfort, praying that she will say, “Kooky kids, don’t you hate when they act like little asses?” But she says nothing of the sort and I am left to soothe myself. Let me be honest, I don’t looove playgrounds or the majority of interactions I have on them. So I wrangle my little lovey muffin hellcat into her car seat as she arches her back and I feel mean and like I am at a rodeo wrestling a wild boar. Are there wild boars at rodeos? Clearly, I have never been to one.

I am also working on a website, rewriting an article, watching a video of my sweet brother being traumatized as he is sung to by a drag queen dressed as Bea Arthur on his birthday and dealing with a menacing zit on my chin that looks like a mini boob. So it’s no surprise when my son asked if he could go to floor hockey tonight, that my answer was, “If the angels are conspiring.” I’m in no mood to drive anywhere or think about dinner. Baseball is outside and relatively quiet which my sensitive soul can handle but floor hockey is in a gym with loud buzzers. Not good for a gal like me. And Mercury is in retrograde (I think), and I am menstruating (that is the proper term because I learned this in a 5th grade sex ed video where the young lasses from yesteryear had to use pretty powder blue belts to hold up their feminine napkins).

On Tuesday during yoga (which feels like it was 10 months ago) I smiled deeply when I heard Charlotte tell us to pause in the tender spots. Of course this is easier to do when I am on a floor in a dimly lit room with sweet smells instead of diaper aromas wafting in the air. But I have paused a few times today and let whatever was happening tenderize me. And it helps. Pause. Breathe. Welcoming all. Feeling what is sacred. Breath again.

As for my sanity, I plopped my little noodle on the couch and put the T.V. on so I could write. And it was fine. I give thanks to the powers that be for surviving another day mostly intact and the angels that are conspiring and helping me take my son to hockey.

 

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let’s be real

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A mother at my children’s school sent out a text the other day requesting help. In a moment of vulnerability, she asked the other mothers if they could take her kids for an afternoon during what was to be the busiest work week of her year.

We all responded that we were happy to help.

Then, on a different text, a friend wrote that she too was feeling overwhelmed and had cried to someone she didn’t know very well earlier in the day.

It must have been in the air because I too felt a kind of overwhelmed and had sent out a request. I was feeling a bit lonely, sad, and disconnected. I needed a plan in place to see some friends. I needed to laugh, eat, and relax. To not do anything or accomplish anything other than connection.

It felt freeing to take the initiative. To speak up. To say what I needed and not wait for an invitation. So much can shift when we articulate what we need. It sounds easy but why does it feel so hard?

For me, I fear seeming too needy, too selfish, too sensitive, too not put together. And what if I am all of those things? So what?

Life is overwhelming. And sometimes it’s not. But when it is, we can only focus on doing the next right thing. The thing that feels true.

Glennon Doyle Melton, author of The New York Times bestseller, Love Warrior, talked recently to Oprah about divulging her true feelings when another mother at a play date asked her how she liked being a stay at home mom. Glennon revealed that she felt like a dormant volcano, calm on the outside but boiling on the inside with hot lava that could erupt at anytime and kill everyone in the vicinity.  The other women in the playgroup looked back at her wide eyed and speechless. So she backtracked and told them how grateful and fulfilling it all was.

“Ok so we’re not doing this here”, she thought to herself. We’re not doing real here.

I think we have all been there before, spoken up and then felt completely humiliated. But the thing is, I think we are ready to stop backtracking. It feels to me, whether it is our age or the age we live in, that we are really ready for real.

When I received that first text from the mom at my kid’s school, I was like hell yes I will be there for you. I was also like thank you for being honest and vulnerable and for letting me know when the tides turn and they always do, that I can call you and be real too.

Yesterday, real looked like my baby sitting on the floor putting tampons (straight from the box in case you are totally freaked out) in her mouth. Real looked like an oven mitt set on fire on the stove while I attempted to make dinner. Real looked like me missing my mom and missing my friends who I hadn’t seen in awhile. Real looked like shit all over the floor. Real looked like a disastrous mess.

But we survived and I can kind of smile at it now and feel thankful that my house didn’t burn down and that my baby didn’t swallow a tampon. And that in this instant, my mother-in-law has the baby, the older kids are at school, there is a candle glowing next to me and I can breathe.

Too often we struggle alone. We silence ourselves. We don’t want to talk about what is going on, we don’t want to bring it into the light. Maybe we fear looking bad. Or we don’t want pity. We don’t want to burden anyone. Or we feel guilty complaining because it could be so much worse.

And it could be so much worse! We are so fortunate in so many ways. But it doesn’t mean that our personal struggles and sorrows aren’t real.

I am grateful to the courageous trailblazers out there like Glennon. And my friends. And all of those before us who took risks to be real and speak their truth. Because real is beautiful. We need real. We need real desperately. We need intimacy, tears, connection, courage and kindness too. We need collaboration not competition. We need truth. We need empathy. Not, poor you, but I hear you. Because you matter and how you feel is real. And real is beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what I’m up to

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Earlier this summer, I wrote my first post for the Tampa Bay Moms Blog called, Please Excuse My Appearance. In a nut shell it is about my inability to leave the house looking put together. I keep putting my clothes on inside out and then parading around like everything is normal. And since I wrote the post, I actually did it again. Maybe it is a sign. I have always been someone to wear my emotions on my sleeves, maybe my sleeves are just meant to be inside out with the stitching showing.

It is the same thing with selfies. I also find the word selfie really annoying. Whether alone or with a friend, I look like the biggest goofball! Pat Conroy wrote in the book Beach Music that one of his characters had the kind of beauty that didn’t photograph well. Whenever I see a photo of myself, I pretend this is the case.

Perfection is the antithesis of compassion they say. So I’m trying to be nice to myself by embracing it and finding humor in the absurdity of it all. If we are smiling then who cares if there are milk stains all over my shirt and a large seed in my front teeth?

If you missed the post, below is the link. I hope it makes you laugh!

Please Excuse My Appearance…

 

 

 

 

 

 

melodius

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There is Love in holding, and there is Love in letting go.”  –  Elizabeth Berg

“To see thee more clearly. Love thee more dearly. Follow thee more nearly, day by day.”  

This morning I woke to a sleeping house. What a rare and amazing gift! My husband was already awake and meditating so I decided to join him. Lord knows I need it.

We sat on the floor of our dusky bedroom while tiny dust particles mingled with the determined morning light. *We listened to the sweet subtle voice on my husband’s phone  as birds chirped along in the background. The gentle voice guided us to name our feelings.

Anger, anger, frustration, disappointment, anger, fear, sadness. And then…identify any sensations you are feeling and where you are feeling them...warm, warm, hot, hot, face, tight, stomach, throat, bubble, tight, tight, TIGHT!

By repeating the name of the sensation, the sensation itself starts to melt, losing its hold, losing its power and making room for more space. The sensation, neither good or bad, just is and often goes as quickly as it comes.

But first, it needs acknowledgement. Not judgement or understanding, just acknowledgement.

Then we soften because we allow. We feel it. Even if it stings and hurts.

Much like getting stuck in an undertow while swimming in the ocean, when we swim against the current, we lose our strength. But when we swim with the current, we find our breath and are able to let go and stay afloat.

We breathe. We flow. We keep going. We must keep going.

After my daughter left for camp today, I drove my son to his camp, and then took my baby girl to a coffeehouse I hadn’t been to in over a year. I went there yesterday too and then went back again today because it is just that warm and welcoming inside.

I felt comforted just by being there. Maybe even held. And as I was about to leave, I made a new friend.

She told me I was her hero when I said I had 3 kids. After telling me that she was a social worker with two kids who started her own business helping developmentally challenged adults and is also currently getting her Master of Arts in Psychology, I told her she was my hero! I could feel courage, confidence, and kindness emanating from her like the beaming sun.

Then we hugged. Twice.

Joy Joy Joy. Warmth. Grateful. Heart. Heart. Happy.

I’m not sure I would have had the space in my heart for joy, gratitude, and a new friend had I not allowed the anger and sadness the space to just be first.

We breathe. We flow. We keep going. We must keep going.

*We used the app for our phone Calm: Mediate and relax with guided mindfulness meditation for stress reduction at http://www.calm.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

special delivery

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The other day I got scolded by my mailman while walking with my baby and looking at my cell phone. “You are with her but you are not with her, leave that at home.” Who was he?  The Dalai Lama of the postal service? I was so annoyed. He should mind his own business for Pete’s sake! And so I huffed and puffed and almost blew my house down. The best part? I was researching mindfulness programs!

Earlier that day, I had been asked by a friend to teach a series on mindfulness meditation. My first reaction was YES. Then the barrage of thoughts like determined little leaf cutter ants came marching along screaming at me that I need more training and more experience in order to do this. I would certainly benefit from more training. But I have been down this path before and at what point is this train of thought really just an excuse to avoid putting myself out there? There is always another training and another certification or someone more adept at doing the job.

But I have learned from experience that often the missing piece is less about a lack of knowledge and more about a lack of confidence. So often what is really getting in our way is our ability to believe in ourselves and trust that we are enough.

We already possess that which we are meant to teach.

And they say that our most important teachers are the ones that push our buttons. The ones that reflect back to us what we most need to pay attention to. What was most annoying about my scolding from the mailman? He was right.

stay close

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Stay close to what nourishes you, it said. Wrapped up with a sprig of rosemary and lavender and a burlap colored journal with no lines. How I love journals with no lines…the possibilities, the freedom!

Stay close to what nourishes you…to the sea, to the quiet, to wind chimes, to hope, to horizons. Salt water. To breezes tickling the leaves and palm fronds. To sunsets and sunrises that blanket the sky with soft colors of orange, pink and purple. To afternoon thunderstorms.

Stay close to what nourishes you…to freshly washed cherries, strawberries, watermelon, iceberg lettuce – crunchy and clean. To water. Cucumbers, mint, basil, and something sweet.

Stay close to what nourishes you...in bed with my daughter; our skin sun kissed. Our hair, wet. Reading children’s books; stories of imagination and flight. Of magic and kindness and beauty. Of rainbows and truth, of fairy tales and places far far away.

Stay close to what nourishes you…hugs and kisses, the “sweet spot” on the back of my baby’s neck, her rolls around her thighs, the top of her fuzzy head. Hearing laughter; my own and the giggles of my husband and children.

Stay close to what nourishes you…imagination, creativity, freedoms, silliness. Dancing. Singing. To space and time. Chirping crickets, twinkly stars in the night sky, and freshly cut green grass. How the air smells when it’s about to rain.

To bats cracking balls and soft commentary – a baseball game on T.V. Summer sun. Falling snow. Changing leaves. Showering pink cherry blossoms. Bougainvillea petals. The scent of jasmine, gardenia, and plumeria. The full moon dancing on the water.

Stay close to what nourishes you…Stan Getz and Reggae. Zap Mama. Music from India…mysterious, haunting, wonder tears, chills and a lump in my throat. To songs of unity, peace, and bliss. True stories of humor, wit, and wonder. My blankie.

Heart to Hearts with friends over coffee or on the phone. My chest beaming with fullness, bursting with brightness. Feelings of wholeness, gratitude, oneness and connection.

Being there for someone I love or someone I just met. Witnessing a broadening of their chest and smile, a dropping of shoulders. Transformation. Transcendence.

Stay close to what nourishes you…authenticity, warmth, twinkly eyes, laugh lines, fingertips, my dog’s paws. My son’s amber eyes and the sound of his voice saying Mama. My husband’s freckles and his back, his shoulders, his smile, his absolutely everything.

What, my sweet friends, nourishes you?

 

 

stick and smile

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“She looks like she is trying to smile in a sticky situation”, says my daughter when she sees this photo of her baby sister from breakfast yesterday. Between the enormous flower perched on her head and the pureed pears and raspberries glued to her little knuckles and wrists, it is definitely sticky.

I laugh to myself thinking that this would be an apropos name for a book…Smiling in a sticky situation; A memoir.  I mean last night when out to eat with some girlfriends, the waitress said there was flan for dessert. I commented that while I like flan, it reminds me a bit of nasal secretions. Oops I did it again. The encounter got awkward fast since she did not find this amusing. What else was I to do but smile and order the damn flan? So I did and it was good. And sticky.