Archive for January, 2010

t minus one

tomorrow morning we will wake up and get in the car and drive the 2.5 hours to the airport. then we will get on a plane and fly north. then we will collect our baggage and get in a car and drive the forty-five minutes or so to our house.

tomorrow we go home.

i am filled with mixed emotions. i am so excited to see sofia, and our yellow house, and the bedroom that flash painted while we were away. i am looking forward to reconnecting with my friends who live in my town and their children who feel kind of like more of my children in a funny way. i know that as soon as we leave the city roads on the drive home, as soon as we get off the highway and onto the roads i have been on since the days right after i was born my whole body will respond in the softening kind of way it does when i am home.



on the roads in the area i have called home since i was born. driving to the exact town i have called home for the last fifteen plus years. i feel like the land and my spirit are tied so tightly together that they ping back together with the electricity of a stretched rubber band when i return. suddenly everything shifts back into place and i feel so clearly that i can remember who i am.


the funny thing is that for the last few weeks flash and i have tossed around the idea of relocating to a different area. to an “easier climate.” and it has felt so much less terrifying than it would ever have felt to me before. i have said to him over and over though, i have to tell you how seriously open to it i am while i am here because i know i will get home and tell you the whole idea is crazy and i will never ever ever leave home. i simply cannot do it.

or maybe i could. but i don’t have to decide that now.

yes, it will be nice to see my bed, my couch, my sewing machine, my desk, my ball that is inflated to the right size for me, a sweatshirt besides the ONE i packed for myself, my favorite bagel store, the meat from my csa share in the freezer waiting for me. it will be so nice to look out the windows and see my own yards. i know i will spend time just sitting there looking around and greeting everything.

but oh, how we will miss some things here. these doggies. the horses and donkey right in the backyard! the days with no coats on. the wide open sky. the sounds of my mom waking up in the morning and the joy with which the children turn to me in the bed and say, “gran gran is up! i hear her! i hear rhyson and lacey! let’s go see!” we will surely miss her – gran gran – the main attraction down here. cafe rio blanco. the sandbox that came into being while we lived here. our afternoons outside helping with poop pick up and hay pile making. the local yarn shop that i have come to like so much. the sun shine in the afternoon on the back deck. impromptu ice cream parties on the front porch at four. the occasional kids dinner time outdoor picnic. the occasional afternoon back porch beer and pretzels. the occasional walk off the property into the woods behind. the moments out in the front paddock jumping the cavaletti (on foot). the way the kids find poop, name who probably made it, and run to find gran gran to she can clean it up. “gran gran, we found a poop. a doggie poop! i marked it with a pinecone!”

i will miss the way my time here always speaks to me of possibility. some how, leaving home behind and living here for a bit makes me see what i could be. who i could be. where i could be. instead of just fitting into the old versions of me like a hand in a glove i feel all this space open up to create other versions. refined versions. believing versions. emboldened versions.

so it is t minus one. we leave in the morning. i need to wake up the pea and finish packing. i need to find a way to say good bye.

there will most likely be some silence here as we travel home and get settled in. or else, i will be on all the time writing my way through the transition. either way, i hope you’ll hang with me.

peace to you and yours as we say good bye to january and welcome february. peace, love and joy.

~ woowoo of the mama varietal


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pipe down

funny face at the center for the arts

in the last few weeks my beanie boy has taken up a new version of a temper tantrum.  this must be the almost four year old version.  when he gets upset about something (usually not something big) he has a screaming crying fit.  the thing is, the crying is forced (not the old aligator tears of the two year old tantrum) and i have the feeling he is just expressing his upset with vigor – not vigorously upset.  if that distinction makes any sense.  i will admit that it has been a very challenging thing for me to hang through.  there are a few reasons for this:

i don’t handle prolonged loud noises well at all (i was always the first one out of the dorm when the fire alarm got triggered).

being that we are living with my mom it upsets me that it is irritating her.

i know he could (emotionally speaking?) be quiet but he is choosing to scream and cry instead.  literally scream.

it upsets me that things are not going “my” way.

i feel confused and frustrated that he is tantruming like he used to when he was younger.

i have been flailing around in how i respond to these tantrums as my frustration with them builds.  sometimes i would hold him and try to make him feel loved.  other times i would try actively to distract him.  of course there were several times when i got so well triggered i went ahead and yelled at him, “stop screaming!”  (this is SO effective.)  i had no theory behind my reactions and nothing i was doing seemed to be helping him or me.  frustration continued to mount.

i mentioned my struggle in this particular area of parenting to a friend of mine in an email the other day and asked for her advice on it.  in her reply she made the distinction between how she handles things when she is “centered” and when she is “not centered.”  i read her reply and it made sense but it wasn’t until a few hours later when bean launched into the day’s first scream fest that i suddenly got the importance of her words.

what i want to do is fix the situation so that bean is not so upset so that he is not screaming so that i will not be upset by the screaming.  but, i am so so so far from getting there.  i am utterly lost.  in the face of being so lost the best thing to do is the same answer that is always given in response to any issue that arises in relationship – i can do my work.

in the moment of being a mama to a screaming, crying, carrying on like all get out, almost four year old, spirited, sensitive, boy, what i can do is try to silence all the voices in my head that are freaking out about his freak out.  i can not let his upset get me so upset.  i can remain truly, seriously, honestly, calm and balanced while he spins out of control.

because i am some one who really likes details when it comes to the nitty gritty of  how to parent i will tell you exactly how this went.  when bean started his tantrum i was standing about two feet away from him.  i walked to him, wrapped my arms around his waist from behind, and pulled him into my lap on a bench that was right there.  i held him silently while i had a chat with the voices in my head.

ok, the bean is screaming and we are going to see if we can stay calm.

i don’t feel calm.

you feel worried that this tantrum is somehow not ok?


what if you decided that it is ok?

maybe.  but, i know it is really bothering my mom.

well, it might be bothering your mom but that is her problem not yours.  your only problem right now is you.

ok fine, i don’t like how he is screaming.  the noise is upsetting me!

if the loudness is bothering you too much we can find a way to walk away from him and get some space without removing our love.

ok.  well it feels better knowing that.  but, i am also annoyed because i want to be getting us ready to go outside now.  because that is what we are doing next.  soon it is lunch time and i don’t want to miss our time outside because of this.

ok, well you don’t have to miss outside time.  going outside if part of the rhythm and it is ok, probably even comforting, for the bean to know the rhythm carries on.  so you can calmly give voice to that or you can just do it.  you can start to get the pea ready and then perhaps bean will be calm enough to get ready.

ok, this feels much better.  i feel much better.  i am not as upset.  but wait!  he is still screaming and upset.  maybe i am failing as a parent because i have not managed to make him feel better.  maybe i should sit here and try to convince him to calm down for his good.

maybe.  we don’t know that for sure.  but we are not going to get upset again because that might be better.  you want to try to stick with the rhythm and see how that goes.  you will have many chances to try handling this different ways.  right now try the way you want to try.

ok.  ok that might be ok.  i feel removed from his screaming.  i am not freaking out about it.  oh, there is my mom again.  i bet she is really annoyed that he is still screaming and crying.

well, that is her thing.

right.  nice. *

at this point i took a break from talking to myself and took action.  i gently transfered the bean to the bench we were on and i told him very quietly that i was going to put pea’s shoes on so we could get ready to go outside.  i told him i would then find his shoes so he could also come outside.  i walked away from him and he continued to be upset but he didn’t get more upset.  i got pea ready and then i walked past bean on my way to finding his shoes.  he quieted immediately when i passed him and he said, “i want to go outside too.”

i said, “yes, we are all going.  i am getting your shoes.”  i grabbed his shoes and helped him put them on and he remind very quiet.  we stood up and he held my hand as we walked to meet the pea at the door.  when we got outside he let go of my hand and within a few steps he was smiling and skipping around.  i caught up with him and gave him a hug and told him i loved him and then we all went to the sandbox area and played.

i am not saying i have this all figured out or anything.  i am not saying this is the final solution of how i want to handle his emotional tantrum moments.  it is surely a work in progress.  but this experience, this ability to not get sucked in, to talk down my own anger, to handle my self better – it felt like a huge step in the direction that is right for us.

it turns out that i as much as i want him to pipe down i don’t need him to.  i need me to.

*note: as i read this over before publishing it occurred to me that a lot of what happened during the internal conversation was a shifting of feeling inside me. tension releasing in my body as i expressed my upset and found ways to answer to it. a lightness taking over in place of the dark anger that was first arising. a feeling of being detached in a freeing way – instead of being sucked into the turmoil which made me react in ways i was not happy with (like the yelling). i am keeping the conversation above strictly verbal but i wanted to add the note here about the emotional and physical components that were also taking place incase it wasn’t clear enough from the dialog.

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on my mind

healthy food and thinking more about the ways i nourish my family. do i want this book?

knitting up a scarf for my dad for his birthday.

coming up with a way to add some mama-om type meditation to my life. (if you are not already reading her practicing peace series go there now and read it. do not pass go. do not collect $100.)

packing for home. no link available. just something i really need to get going on since we fly home on saturday. (gasp!)

making the rosemary potato rolls with salted crust from my new book healthy bread in five minutes a day. this one has been so fun to explore and bake from over the past few weeks.

what makes us get sick.
how we draw the spirit more fully into the body.
acupressure points to help with motion sickness for horses.
when and where to offer my opinion on things.

where to find the perfect little girls dress pattern to use to make the pea a dress. this will be my first ever real sewing project (i am not counting the blankets i have made since they are all straight lines) so i need it to be simple simple simple and i have some really cute fabrics left over from custom diaper orders that i would love to use up. if you have any suggestions link me please!

oh, i am also in the market for an apron for myself. i guess i’d be willing to buy it or buy a pattern and sew it. got links for that anyone?

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more oldies

my one year blogiversary came and went with zero fanfare. i guess it just was not that big of a deal. but i did want to finish off the process of sharing a few of my favorites from my first year posting:
black and white isn’t true
bold for life
one fall day
let us in
co-sleeping with my bean
gratitude transcends
flow like water

sorry for the onslaught. just trying to finish up this little year in review. don’t read them all in one go!

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shape for shifting

playing in a circle of tree stumps last summer

early on in my spiritual learning i was at a workshop where the teacher told us to pay special attention to our dreams that night. i have a very active dream life in my normal day to day life and when i am in an intense learning situation it is only more so. that night i knew almost none of what i know now, literally, about my spiritual path. i had a dream in which all the animals i had called “my own” during my life up that point were with me. i was in a large round field of grass surrounded by the forest on all sides. i was digging a huge trench, the sides were so high i could only see the sky and the animals that were with me. they were telling me i had to simply keep going and i would see the lesson. keep digging keep digging keep digging.

so i dug and they followed behind me and on my sides taking away any pain or fatigue that may have arisen from all the work. the dream went on and on with this digging until suddenly the ground in front of me broke through and i was right where i had begun. we had dug a circle. there, they told me, there is the lesson. the circle.

when i shared the dream with my teacher he eyes lit from within and she said simply, “yes.” later that day an animal i was working with told me that the circle was the meaning of everything and that i would see it reflected again and again and again on my path. “the snake biting his own tale” she called it and the image was seared into my being just like the dream.

it would be a few years still before i was introduced to the shamanic traditions. before i sat in a circle or was invited to a circle or heard the term healing circle spoken. it would be a few years before i would sing:

i circle around, i circle around, the boundaries of the earth
i circle around, i circle around, the boundaries of the earth
wearing my long winged feathers as i fly
wearing my long winged feathers as i fly
i circle around, i circle around, the boundaries of the earth

i would hear though, from animal after animal after animal about circles. about the power of the circle, of creating a circle, or working in a circle, of literally walking in circles. energy moves in circles, and life moves in circles, and balance come from circles. the circle would come to me over and over showing me forever how it held the power and the truth of life. the circle of life.

today in the sandbox we traced circles with our fingers and dug circles out with our shovels while the circular sun shone down upon us and the wind whipped around us her circular dances of power and i thought about all the different versions of my life that could come to be some time in the future. i wondered and day dreamed but i kept my fingers firmly working circles in the sand. walking the circle of now. trusting the power of my connection to circle medicine. a spiral dancer.

if you feel off balance today find a way to walk a circle, even if you walk it with your finger tips around the tufts of your carpet. let the circle bring a stillness to you and soften the edges of your reality so the peace can sneak back in.

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a few examples of the tiny little ways and places i fit the woowoo in to a normal week.

in the morning i will try to do one of the following shortly after waking up: ten deep belly breaths. state my intention for how i will be that day (peaceful and energized for example). a minute or two of stretching/sun salutation type stuff.

during outside time i will keep myself open to any animals that come near where we are. i will say hello, encourage the children to say hello, and if it seems like the animals are near us for a more important reason i might ask if there is a message.

during nap/quiet time i might take a moment to do a mini meditation. i might take a moment to check in with my guides. i might try to get some work done for a client. i might do some more focused writing to help me work through an issue i am struggling with.

kids going to sleep time tends to be the time of day when i consistently do something woowoo every day. i am not sure why this timing works out so well for me but it does. the lights are out, the white noise is relaxing to me, the motion of being in the rocker gets me into a space i can use for journeying work, or meditation, or some direct communication work. since adopting this as my go to time close to six months ago, bedtimes have become much more pleasant as well. i used to be in the room rocking and rocking and wishing the kids would hurry up and fall asleep so i could get to whatever was waiting for me outside the door. now i am sometimes so deeply involved in my work that both kids have fallen asleep and i haven’t even noticed until the time is right for me to stop rocking. then i put z down, kiss them both and leave them to their dreams feeling peaceful myself. it is awesome!

occasionally i have a mother’s helper come to the house to help me with the kids for a bit and then i might do some more concentrated work for a client or i might spend the time on the phone with a client. i prefer not to be “working” like this after the kids are asleep because i want to give myself some down time also but the world is not a perfect place so sometimes i am doing this kind of work while they are sleeping and before i go to bed myself.

often as i lay down to fall asleep myself i will take a few moments to meditate on each of my kids. i usually ask to be shown something. i might ask to be shown a way to handle something i am struggling with in my interactions with one of them. i might ask to be shown something they need at this point in their life. i might simply ask to shown something we did that day that really worked well for them. if i feel stuck in a bad cycle i might use this time instead to visualize the next day with them filled with love and connection. if i feel like something is going on that i can’t put my finger on i ask for healing to come to us as we sleep.

in the last week or so i specifically:

– did some work with a horse for a client while i had a mother’s helper here playing with the kids (in the other room).
– spoke on the phone with the client after the kids were sleeping.
– did some focused white light work for haiti while during kids bed time.
– did a more traditional shamanic journey for haiti during kids bed time.
– wrote up the details of the journey after they were sleeping.
– did some past life journey work for another client during kids bedtime.
– wrote the work up after kids were sleeping.
– spoke with that client while the kids played in the sandbox (she has children too and was open to this timing).
– did some healing work with my own inner child, talking to her about ways she was feeling hurt and bringing healing to the situation during kids bedtime.
– did 10 – 30 minutes of yoga sometime in the morning about four times. i don’t take it too seriously and then i don’t mind the kids interrupting me, climbing under over and through the poses and or nursing.
– did my falling asleep meditation on the kids each night.
– tried out the soft belly practice that mama-om wrote about in her recent series several times a day.
– touched in with three hawks who circled right above us screaming one afternoon.
– used my fingers to figure out flower essence remedies for my mom and one of our horses.

i also set my intention at the beginning of january to bring more joyful movement into our lives. to this end in the last few weeks i have found tiny ways to move more and enjoy it more. one example: today coming in from the sandbox for lunch time instead of walking in and directing the kids to follow me, i started singing a little tune with no words (you know, doo doo da da da da da) and then doing this silly dancing around and spinning towards the house. both kids immediately jumped up to join me and we made our way in, more slowly but with joy and way more movement!

sorry this is a bit dull and list like but i wanted to share some of the ways i fit my practice into my life as a full time mama. if any of this was unclear or raised any questions at all please don’t hesitate to ask!

yours in ways to do woowoo
the mama

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i want to take a moment to dig a little deeper into the joy of so what?ing. i think there is a distinction to be made between blowing off things that are important to you and freeing yourself from the bondage of negative self talk. the version of so what?ing i am going for here is the one where you forgive yourself for not always living up to the standards you hold for yourself.  forgive yourself for not always achieving things that are important to you. love yourself despite the moments when you slip into patterns that do not match your true potential for greatness.

the voices in your head that are screaming at you, or whispering at you, “why bother trying since you are already failing?” are the ones i am aiming to silence. for me, this is powerfully freeing work.  i tend to freeze up when i feel like i am not doing everything i want to. then, instead of chugging along slow and steady i sit on the couch feeling terrible about myself. the books i want to read pile up, the tv stays on too long, it becomes more than one glass of wine. once i can realize i am upset with myself and then forgive myself i suddenly have space again. the space to breath, the space to feel ok, the space to actually do something.

saying “so what?” doesn’t mean that i am no longer aiming for my goals. it just means that i am saying, “don’t worry that you aren’t there yet – just keep trying.” that is what makes me breathe again.

the other side of the power of so what?ing is finding ways to make peace with things out of your control. things that are making you so upset, that are stressing you out, that are bringing you down, that are sucking your energy right out of you and making you crabby as all get out and wondering what is going on with your life. you know those things? in this case so what?ing is kind of like putting the wide angle lens back on. it is zooming back out to the bigger picture so you can reconnect with the powerful essence of life.

i will give you a simple example, my kids woke up at 5:45 this morning. i was tired, it was pitch black out, i have gotten up with them every day for the last three weeks.  i wanted to go to sleep.  i was irritated, then annoyed, then angry. it took me a few hours before i could truly find the ability to feel my so what. so my kids woke up and it is not ideal for me but i will survive.  it is not the end of my world, they just woke up.  so what?   when i realize, truly realize to the point of feeling it that it doesn’t matter – that i am ok – that is the power of so what.

as soon as i was over feeling sorry for myself about being up so early and being tired and being a single parent for the last few weeks and feeling burned out, as soon i realized that was all i was feeling and i was able to so what it away the voices crept in. while, if we are not angry about it all then we better start to feel guilty about what a crab we were with our kids. so the exercise continued with forgiving myself for being in a funk for a few hours and for the ways that surely affected my children.

be nice to yourself, do your so what?ing, let loose your ships, keep working on being grateful for the worst parts of your day.

forgive yourself for the moments you don’t get quite right, love yourself despite your flaws and weaknesses, and keep seeking your path, your road, your best actions and best version of your self. let go of doing it all and embrace where you are now so that your heart and spirit can vibrate with the joy needed for you to put the work in and get to where you can be.

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