"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flow and Learning to Go With It

Today I was supposed to go on a really cool outing with my bestie. We do not have the time to hang out all day for the most part so it was going to be amazing. We carefully planned it several weeks ago. At the last minute, her son became ill. This kid is almost never sick but sick he was and our day was cancelled. Was it disappointing? Yes, but not nearly as much as it would have been even a few weeks ago.

Why? Because I have been learning to let go of expectations and just go with the flow. Go with the flow of the day, the visit, the whatever. Live the moment as it unfolds. I have been trying to just show up and see what happens without having a preplanned script or scenario mentally typed up in my head. Let's just see what happens.

This may sound fairly mundane to many of you but to me, it is huge. I am a recovering overacheiving perfectionist and control freak. Thoughout my life I have had the intelligence, charisma, manipulation skills, and sheer stubbornness to get my way in most things. I could orchestrate and steer a situation to give the desired outcome. But it cost alot. I was not as kind, loving, or gentle as I wanted to be, as I knew I needed to be for my own peace and contentment. Manipulation sucks and does great wrong to others. Also, what did I cost myself in experience? If I had not been so controlling and had let things develop naturally, I think the outcomes may have far exceeded my narrow minded scenario.

Not very long ago, we had some freaky money stuff. Let's just say, it could have been very scary and rather detrimental to our overall financial health. There were two ways of handling it, freak out and worry and see which one of us could manifest ulcers first, or.....let it go. Each day we did what we could to make the best of the situation and then just let it go. It wasn't going to make anything better to dwell and fret. In fact, I can easily see where it would have made the whole thing worse. I am so grateful for that amazing learning experience!

So now each day I wake up and we have our plans and routines but if they don't come to fruition or if something comes up, I am very flexible on letting it go and see where the day takes us. It has resulted in some amazing experiences we would not have had if I had stubbornly insisted we hold course.

I highly recommend this just going with it and see where the day, the moment takes you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Backeward Thinking, Wisdom of Hannah, and the Perfect Ordinary Moment

I find myself with much to say. So much I could easily just start babbling and lose anyone brave enough to follow, or attempt to follow, my thoughts. For this post I am going to stick to three things. Three things this week with profound effects on my life.

First, the meditation thing is going amazingly well. It is so perfectly simple while being incredibly hard. I keep showing up. I am getting in my time practicing "tush on cush". Seriously peeps, this stuff is just life changing and amazing. I had an insight this week I wanted to share. My dear friend and I were talking about meditating and she said, "I need to learn to quiet my mind so I can meditate." In a moment it was so clear. I told her that was exactly backwards, you need to meditate so you can learn to quiet your mind. The things is, you can't get to perfect and then start. No, you have to start exactly where you are, wherever that happens to be and hop on the path from there. Oh, and it seems to be working.

Second thing left me breathless and feeling pretty happy about our parenting. But you must hear me out. Logan and I have not been sleeping. My precious two year old all boy and I do not function well under these conditions. It is imperative for the sanctity of our home one of us sleeps. But it is not happening and we had been battling.

I promised I would be authentic in this blog so understand I am NOT proud of this behavior AT ALL. After a very rough morning, Logan grabbed hold of an open yet full sippy cup and threw milk all over my kitchen. Since I had obviously passed the land of rational thinking, I yelled at him to get out of my kitchen and out of my sight. I then grabbed his hand to take/drag hime out. Of course, he dropped to the ground and I had to let go because I was at least sane enough to not drag him around. He was crying. I was furious. Hallmark moment, you know?

I stomped into the living room and there sat Hannah. She looked at me sternly with not a little disappointment in her eyes. She took a deep breath and said, "Mommy, it is not okay to yell at Logan. It upsets him and it upsets me. It is not acceptable." With those words I came back to myself. Oh I was ashamed. I said, "Hannah, you are absolutely right. Mommy is tired and frustrated and I am taking it out on Logan." Without missing a beat she says, "Mommy, it is not okay to yell and take out your big feelings on someone else even when you are tired and frustrated."

I know many people would have be furious with their child rebuking them. Me? I was thrilled. You see, she was repeating what we have been teaching our children since they were born. It is okay to have big feelings. Happy is not the only acceptable emotion. But we are not to take it out on other people. I was so stinking proud of my brave little girl standing up to her angry mommy and protecting her brother. As ashamed as I was for my actions, I was ecstatic our parenting is working. I was gentle disciplined by my child who has been gentle disciplined. Win. Just win.

Later after I apoligized to everyone I told Hannah how proud I was of her. I told her to never hestitate to remind me of the rules. I wanted her to understand that mommas make mistakes and bad choices but they still must be held to the house rules.

Seriously, that girl rocks my world.

Speaking of rocking my world. I am learning to recognize and savor those perfect ordinary moments. Do you know what I mean? Those quiet everyday moments that hold perfect love and joy. Again, amazing.

The other night we were all dancing in the kitchen to one of my favorite songs, "Dance Me To The End of Love". (Sorry Jen, must be Leonard Cohen and NOT the Civil Wars.) After a bit I looked over and there John and Hannah were dancing together in a world of their own. He held her in his arms and they looked deep into each other's eyes. I cannot beging to do justice to the look of pure love I saw pass between them. They quietly danced, snuggled, hugged, and gave each other little kisses. They just loved each other. And me? I sat quietly and cried with the overwhelming feeling of joy I felt. I was so privleged to catch a glimpse of something so wonderful.

And Logan? I think he was destroying the medicine cabinet reached by standing on one of the dogs.

Perspective, you know?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quiet Change

Yesterday on a relatively ordinary day two things happened without fanfare, without noise that could very well my change my life. It is strange to sit here calm and content with the knowledge that something quite large has occurred. Strange but lovely. The two things were we decided to go vegetarian and I went to a meditation seminar.

Let's tackle the easier of the two first. I have been a vegetarian on and off for years. I think the longest was 5ish years. I don't really know. My mind prefers to not think in an overtly linear manner. Hee hee, it seems my mind has a mind of its own. Oh yes, I do think I am funny. Anywho, yep anywho, I just prefer it. It is the right choice for me. I am not going to start on a crusade to let you know why you need to join me. Nope, I am not about that. Each person makes their own choice. But for me I feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually. Maybe someday I will go all wild and crazy and go vegan. Or maybe not, this is the right choice for this moment.

Okay, the second is just really hard for me to put into words. I am fairly sure that whatever I say will be very simplistic, childlike even and that is okay. The truth is I am a total newbie at this stuff and I will treat myself with great deal of love, compassion, and laughter. It is best, don't you think? But I will give it a whirl to even start putting this into words.

Yesterday I went to a meditation seminar. I have really increased and deepened my practice in yoga and this seemed the natural next step. I have caught glimpses of what could be in shiva asana but it was rare. Rare but beautiful and enticing to learn more. So off I bee bopped to learn to meditate.

I could try to lay it out step by step, moment by moment but I don't think I will. I walked out of that studio a changed woman. The depth of my calm was astounding. What I experienced is very hard to put into words that won't deprive the experience of the magnitude that was. I think one thing to say is that for fractions of seonds, very very small fractions, I achieved clarity. About what? No idea. But it was there and it was absolutely breathtaking. Silly to write a blog post about something you don't have words for but there you go. I do love me some silly.

This morning I awoke calm and content. I wish I could report I stayed that way but no I did not. First off, we had become vegetarian!! That meant a complete menu change. Also, for us that still means whole food vegetarian which translates into alot of prep work. I spent my day cooking, cutting, prepping, and cleaning. I found myself easily frustrating and irritated. My emotions threatened to swamp and overwhelm me. Then I realized the problem, I had experienced something huge yesterday. That kind of experience is often followed by the dredging up of big, not always pleasant emotions and can leave your overwrought and wrung out. Must have grace for oneself!

Thankfully I found some time to myself this afternoon. I was able to do a short yoga session and then meditate for the first time on my own. It was hard! It is going to take alot of discpline, loving, kind discipline. My mind cracks me up as it flits and prances here and there. I set a timer so I would not have to look at a clock. I made it, I stayed there until my timer went off. I feel exponentially better.

Who knows, this may be a fad for me. I think it is not but I cannot guarantee it with certainty and I won't try. I do believe I have the discipline and mental brawn to stay the course. It also feels like a very natural progression in my path.

My path has really been opening up and evolving lately. Each day I become more who I am meant to be. I find myself going back to my liberal, hippie-ish roots and I am so very happy here. I feel my life, heart, and spirit blossoming and expanding without the bonds of social conformity. I would not have believed I was conforming but each day I see that I was and I just don't want to anymore.

Peace and Namaste

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Life Thus Far....

Doesn't that sound deliciously pretentious? I rather like it. It is somewhat right on point however. Since leaving the world of social media I have felt as if my life has returned. It has been much fun and made me a bit sad I wasted so much of it. But no reason to fret about the past. This is about the present.

Well, first I fell into a bit of a funk. We have been having some rather large life stresses here at the Elvert household. They have resolved themselves rather satisfactorily for the most part but now the anxiety and other negative emotions have sort of crashed down out of their holding pattern. We are systematically digging our way out of that mess and joy is returning in full force.

I am beyond excited because my absolute bestie Jen has become a sahm. This move has resulted in many wonderful changes in her life. She is loving it. But since the world, or at least this blog, revolves around the brightest shining star in the firmament, namely me, the greatest benefit I see is I have been able to spend much more time in her beauteous presence. This is a wondrous and beautiful thing. This woman flat out nurtures and refreshes me. She is the person I never mind how much strength, joy, or positive energy she may need from me because she always returns it tenfold. Glorious I tell you. I am a better person for knowing her. She is the bomb, you know?

Another big thing is I am really into the whole unschooling thing. I LOVE it. I want my children to be life learners. Now whatever objections you may have, I must be honest, I don't really care to hear them. This method works for our family now and we will change direction when it stops working for us. I think that should be the motto for most families, don't you?

One off shoot of this knew found love of an unusual education philosophy is the new proliferation of classic literature in our home. You must understand something, I love classic literature. Shakespeare, Dickens, Milton, Homer, and so many more are old, old friends of mine. But in the years following the birth of my children my brain turned to something more resembling warm mush than a steel trap filled with lightening fast intellect. If you don't know, classics take quite a bit more work than my fave trashy urban fantasy reads.I have to think more. So hard, don't you agree?? But unschooling means I will strive to live out the notion that I will strive to be the person I want my children to become. So be it, enter the challnging literature. I think I am going to learn Italian next year. I will be going the Rosetta Stone path. I have heard good things and there is a dearth of classes in my immediate vicinity. Hopefully in a year my children will occasionally allow me 15 minutes uninterrupted. I doubt it but hope springs eternal.

What else? What else? The weather is amazing for February but I am hungering for the true warmth and earth- scented green of spring. It makes my spirit sing with joy and my soul come alive. I fairly hum with beauty of it and I LOVE it.

Finally, I am very excited because we bought tickets to Quiddam by Cirque du Soleil. I am giddy because they are floor seats. The are stomach turning expensive but we only do this once a year and it is an ultimate pleasure for me and it seems my husband just really likes for me to be happy. I danced for two days after the purchase. Now i just have to wait 4 months (seriously???) for the date to arrive. Patience is good and all, right?

So there you have it. A little rambly, slightly silly, and quite babbly but I guess that describes me right now so it is apt.