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during the day i’ve been dancing.
when i first got down here i noticed how gigantic my belly has gotten and began the downward spiral that noticing belly growth can bring on. i was wondering why, i was feeling sorry for myself, i was feeling embarrassed, i was sad.
i decided i needed to be moving more (the tennis and yoga i had been doing at home wasn’t enough?!) and i asked my zumba-ing friend if she could recommend a dvd i could try. meanwhile i found online this video by a yogini i like (shiva rae) called, yoga trance dance.  (the kidlets affectionally call it, “dance trance pants.”)
on a whim it was ordered.
the day it arrived i put it in and the kids and i danced through several of the prearranged half hour options. the next day we started building our own chunk of dancing fun using the matrix option. somehow this yoga dance video feels like a fascinating melding of my youth with my present day self. the yogic aspects, the shamanic feeling of the drumming are from my current life. the free form wild dancing remind me of my time spent spinning wildly through the audience at this or that live show back when i was unguided hippie. the two of me are weaving themselves together as i dance and stomp around my mom’s living room in south carolina parroting back at shiva, “dance for love! dance for joy! dance for truth!” as i twirl and bounce and kick and stretch and do whatever else happens in the pulsing music.

the first day i was euphoric.  leaping and swirling around the space with the kids. drumming my feet and hands into the soft carpeting. dancing with them and apart towards and away. i felt like huge chunks of stress and discontent were breaking free. i was sweating and my heart was pounding and i was happy and i couldn’t believe i had somehow stumbled upon exercise and spiritual cleansing wrapped up tidily into one moment.

this kind of shedding feeling carried on for a few days of dancing. like the dancing was shaking off layers of mental, emotional, spiritual gunk. i was shocked and humbled by the ease of it and the intensity. it felt a little life changing.

then one day it was less — perfect. i connected with my team and asked for guidance. i asked if there was something i needed to know.
you need to work to bring your awareness to the energy you have in your body.
i need to build energy?
no. the energy is already there. you need to notice it.
can you help me?
yes.
is there a way i can move that will help?
yes.
can you prompt me so i know how to move?
no.
if i just let go can send the message to my body so it knows how to move.
yes. don’t think about it. let it arise.

so i danced for healing. i danced to find the energy i already have. it was different.

the next time i had a moment again where i suddenly felt i was missing something.
would it be good to let you direct my body again? is there a way i need to move?
no.
what is this about today? what do i need?
connection.
connection?
not escape, connection.
with who? with myself?
yes.
with the kids?
yes.
with my body?
yes.
with the present moment?
yes.
with…?
with everything. with everything. stop escaping. stop being fearful. truly be here. connect.

today the kids ran a few errands with my mom and while they were gone i decided to dance. i connected with my team and asked for guidance.
just dance.
just dance?
yes.
ah, what?
just dance. not for exercise, not for release, not for healing, not to break of chunks of stagnant energy. just dance to move forward. just dance to dance. dance.

so when shiva coached me along, “dance for your loved ones, dance for truth, dance for joy…” i called out, “dance to dance! dance for dancing!” my heart pounded and i was sweating and bouncing and spinning and stomping and opening and closing. just to dance. i felt free. i wasn’t working, i wasn’t healing, i wasn’t processing or getting through anything. there were no rules or directions.  i wasn’t striving for anything except to dance. just explode into dancingness.

“this is freedom,” i kept hearing. “not reason, not should, not need to. this is freedom. this is freedom.”

tonight i left one of the shades open in my room. it is a full moon. i kept noticing her tonight and somehow, somehow, it feels related to all the dancing. like all my twirling and stomping and leaping and shaking has rhythmed me right into my body. my womanly, curving, created by nature, real body. and like somehow that pulls me closer to the place where you can look out your window in the darkness and feel the moon. feel it.

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the pea’s belly still curves away from her body in a satisfying bulge of kissable tummy – like a proper toddler shape – although in all other ways she seems so growing up.  the other day as i was getting her undressed for a lavender bath i leaned over and kissed it, kiss kiss kiss.  once i had begun to kiss the expanse of little girl skin i couldn’t stop.  i was loving her and her big belly so much.  she was giggling and pushing at me with a huge grin on her face – enjoying some end of day love.  as i lifted her into the bath i suddenly wondered what it would be like if i could love my own belly – in its imperfect oversized softness – as much as i love hers.  or even just a fraction as much.  i wondered how much my life would change if i could just bring love to my body which works so hard for me each day instead of constantly judging it as lesser than some other body that some other woman might have.

a few days ago i was driving home from a quick trip to the grocery store feeling incredibly happy.  i had decided on the spur of the moment to zip to the store and get a few things we wanted even though i didn’t have a big shop organized.  the bean stayed home with flash putting up some outdoor holiday lights and the pea and i went to the store.  we cruised once around the perimeter of the store grabbing apples, grapes, lettuce and some fancy cheese as a treat.  there was no line and we hadn’t spent too terribly much.  on the drive home the fading afternoon light was nice and i was feeling good.  so good.  it was kind of inexplicable and i got to thinking about it.  i was feeling good about feeling good.  i was thinking about how nice it was to feel so happy and right just unconditionally not based on any specific experience.

drive drive, nice light, kid riding his bike, the pea singing herself a little song, cheese in my grocery bag — wait!  cheese in my grocery bag.  who am i to be buying more cheese?  that means i’ll be eating cheese!  i have eaten too much rich food in the last few days and i am going to get fat from all of it!  i shouldn’t have bought that cheese.  

the thoughts just kind of jumped into action and somehow i was able to observe them as them tumbled through in a dedicated attempt at self sabotage.  then i wondered, why can’t i just allow myself to feel good.  somehow, as soon as i notice i am feeling good my thoughts land upon something i could potentially feel bad about instead.

i don’t want to feel bad about the cheese.  i want to just enjoy feeling good.  i try.

there is so much to get done these days it seems near impossible to find time to write while also honoring the other choices i have made in my life.  getting enough exercise, homeschooling, being an assistant at our kindy coop two days a week, not using media for the kids, spending time reading for myself.  i miss the writing but the time for the practice of it seems to have slipped down my internal list of what matters and days and weeks pass without me taking a moment to type anything out.  i struggle with finding a balance all the time.  what deserves time?  what do i dedicate myself to?  what is the healthiest and best for myself, for my kids, for my family?

i also just fall into a rhythm and that rhythm seems to shift through the months and years that pass.  sometimes i am knitting a lot, sometimes i am writing a lot, sometimes i am reading a lot, sometimes i am working with a lot of clients, sometimes i am doing a lot of spiritual self study, sometimes i am watching a lot of junkie television in the evenings, sometimes i am baking my own bread.

i am sure there are all kinds of thoughts forming about the ways in which that is not ok.  if i give them the space and attention they will shape up right now and spill from my mind right into my finger tips.  they will be written.  i don’t want to though.  i want to sip my baby kale, grape, carrot, cucumber, chia seed, blueberry juice and feel alright.  i want to accept things are beautiful as they are.  i want to kiss big bellies.

i have been reading (the second edition of) MAP by machaelle small wright over the last few days.  i had read another book of hers over 10 years ago and i think i enjoyed it at the time but i wasn’t hooked.  i started using some of her flower essences about 2 years ago and found i liked her products very much.  i have slowly moved more and more in the direction of using her essences and balancing solutions to assist us in our general health.  then suddenly on saturday morning i got my hands on the book (borrowed from a friend) and it was like the timing was perfect.  i have cruised through reading and started my own personal MAP program.  i am certain that now is the time for me to do this and that earlier it just wouldn’t have been right.  i feel like this is one of those moments where you just sense the universe aligning for you to make sure you get information you need for your life right exactly when you will see it for what it is.

i sense that i am changing again.  energetic shifts blowing through my system and helping me come closer to what i am meant to be.  i could turn my thoughts loose on it all and toss about sarcastic self depreciation and doubt.  that will always be possible for me though.  right now i’ll not.

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when i was little the world around me was huge.
i remember walking around lake waban feeling like the trees were touching the heavens, the stretches of grass were far reaching meadows, the lake itself a vast body of cool dark water.
i remember my back yard going on forever, the top of the hill seeming like another place entirely. the blue stone patio a world of flat rock.
i have always thought they world was larger because i was smaller. you know, only a few feet high. that the world i lived in simply appeared to be larger because i was looking at it from lower down.
today in my meditation i realized suddenly that when i let go of my single minded way of living – my non meditative, non grounded, non spiritual way – my world suddenly grows larger.
i feel myself expand, i feel my energy expand, but i also feel this sense that the world is huge, spacious, awesome.
do you know that feeling? oh my it is so comforting and freeing and energizing and calming.
then i understood that the world was larger when i was a child because i was living from a more present, real, connected place. because i was just alive in this amazing universe and that was that. because my ego hadn’t yet developed it’s powerful ability to shrink my world into should’s, should not’s, have to’s. because i wasn’t protecting myself from the expansive universe i was just soaking it in. the world was larger when i was little because of where i was living from not because of my height.
so in the meditation today i allowed myself to stay with this sensation that arose. to feel it deeply. to have the full experience of this largeness of universe. then, before my meditation ended for the day i told myself, “you can get back here in an instant. now that you have been here you can return anytime. just set your intention and you can arrive in this big expansive world.”
once i was done i thought about this a little bit.
what if instead of simply trying to be silent at the time when i feel out of balance, at times when i want to yell, grumble, snip and snap at those around me (especially the littles) – what if instead of just being quiet i reminded myself, “the universe is so big.” what if instead of only being quiet i connected myself to the much much greater peace available to me?
so today i found myself saying several times, when other words wanted to come out instead, “the universe is large and expansive. the world is so big.”
the benefit of spending the day with your children is that you can discover them painting the playroom couch, start to get upset, and then say to them, “the universe is expansive,” and they just kind of roll with it. they don’t say, “what kind of a crazy person are you?” they just turn their large blue eyes up at me, “yup.”
“the world is such a big place,” i’d chant and then feel myself moving back toward the feeling – the belief in this sense.
then i wouldn’t need to yell anymore. and even if there was some discipline that had to happen it was coming from an entirely different person and place.

even now, feeling slightly overwhelmed by the final tidy up of the house and making my own dinner, doing the last push for pajama’s, stories, and sleep – even in the low of my day i can whisper to myself about how big the world is and know it is true. and in that big big world my own misplaced grievances seem to shrink to nonexistance and my heart seems to grow and spread open with love.

so, for now, it’s my mantra.

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scarcity

then i got a cold. the bad kind that knocks you on your butt and makes you call your mom and beg her to take the kids for a few hours so you can crawl into bed and sleep.

now, a few days later, it is all but gone with just that lingering chest congestion and coughing that makes for long nights spent willing your self to gain control of the hacking for a few minutes of sleep.

this morning i decide that yoga class would be a good thing. it would get some energy flowing and perhaps provide that last push towards healing. we did a lot of continual moving between two poses while breathing work. at one point i noticed that i was holding so much tension around the belief that i didn’t have enough breath. that somehow i wasn’t able to breathe enough. “i can’t breathe i can’t breathe!” oh and really, “i can’t breathe and also be doing this right and i really want to do it right. i want to get this right and i can’t breathe!”

i asked that scared voice to pipe down and i tried instead, “there is plenty of breath in your body. you are filled with breath. you are breathing well and easily. there is plenty of breath.” i noticed the dichotomy of my scared thinking – scarcity of breath – and my calm thinking – abundance of breath. i noted the difference and tried to let it all go.

about a half hour later we were in shavasana and i was all blissed out and relaxing when suddenly the thought of pizza popped into my head. we are planning to go to a late afternoon pizza playdate today and i was thinking, “how will i stick to the vegan cleanse? will i stick to the vegan cleanse? will i really want to eat the pizza? if i really want to eat the pizza should i just eat it or should i stay vegan? which is right? which will feel better? if i don’t eat pizza what do i eat? can i ask to order a vegan pizza? should i bring my own vegan food? what if i am not enjoying my vegan food as much as i would enjoy indulging in a slice of pizza?”

then i reined my scared self in once again and i thought, “there is an abundance of truly enjoyable plant based food to eat. there are so many lovely things to chose from.” i felt a huge release in my chest when i had this thought. suddenly i was able to clear my head again and get back to deep relaxation. just by assuring myself, once again, that there is plenty.

i wonder how much of my own internal stress is based on my unchallenged belief in scarcity. when i worry about being an “outsider” in a group is that because i do not believe they have enough friendship to share? do i think there is not enough time to build relationships i care about? when i feel i do not fit in is it because i believe there is only enough space for a certain number of people to feel ok?

i feel like i am ready to move on from the scarcity model. i want to release the belief that there is not enough and embrace abundance. energy is everything. we create. i create enough.

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i recently attended my fifteen year high school reunion.  right before i went i confessed to a friend of mine that i was concerned about the moment of telling people what i do.  i went to a really lovely private high school and i feel like the graduates who are highlighted in the schools graduate news publications are writing books, starting their own business, saving the world and so on.

my confession lies in the fact that although i love my life and i wouldn’t want anything different i am not sure that even i truly respect my work.  the work of being a full time mother and homemaker.  sometimes i want to find other words or language even to describe my days.  as though mother and homemaker are already so easily dismissed i need something other language to make my days (and nights) more worthy.

it is hard to expect other people to truly believe that what you do is important when you are doubting it yourself.  i mean, not in the doing of it do i doubt it (but wait, do i?) but in the sharing of it.

i want to insert here that i deeply respect all parents who work a paying job and also are parents (and homemakers).  i am just going to go forth then, with that said, and write out my thoughts and feelings without worrying so much that what i share might be offensive in some way.  i think everyone has a different path, a different way, a different life they are meant to live.  i do feel pretty deeply called to be living my life the way that i am and i also think it works for my family.  i don’t think it is a better choice than any others.

so here i am.  a full time parent.  stay at home mom.  homemaker.

i put a lot of time and energy into thinking about, reading about, talking about how i want to do this job.  i read parenting books and i read about educational philosophy and i do a lot of introspection – believing pretty firmly that the best way to be a strong capable loving mother is to continue to discover ways to walk my true path and love myself.  when i am ok i bring that shinning okayness to the parenting.  when i get all dark around the edges i bring rigidity, emotional disconnect, and of course some yelling and unkind words and actions.

right around the time lucky crossed over i signed up for kris laroche’s magical mothering course – on a whim.  slowly, as i processed through my grief over his death i realized the timing was kind of perfect.  here i was saying goodbye to one creature who i believed loved me unconditionally.  it left me feeling much less secure.  and it opened me up to see the space i could walk into – to try to learn to be the one to love me unconditionally.

the course began last week and it refocused me on how i want to be towards myself and my children.  with those thoughts and feelings swirling around inside my head the other evening i was watching one of oprah’s final shows and i felt like suddenly a small piece of self respect clicked into place.

i can’t quite remember exactly how this arose but i suddenly saw that practicing empathy, kindness, love, peace, calm, joyfulness and so on in my relationship with myself and my children really does have the possibility of being big.  i mean, big like rippling outwards beyond my home, beyond my simple daily life, and into the lives of each person we come in contact with.  its like good germs almost.

the other day flash and i took the kids out for brunch.  the people at the table directly next to us felt grumpy to me.  i can’t say exactly why but i noticed again and again that i was feeling on guard.  after about ten minutes two woman sat down at the table two away from us.  they appeared to be a mother and daughter.  they talked cheerily with the server, smiled at each other, and seemed generally happy.  i immediately noticed myself relax and cheer up.  i said to flash how amazing it was that the people in a restaurant can so deeply affect your experience of the place.  having nothing to do with the service, the food, the ambiance of the actual restaurant.  just the people you are seated near can make or break your meal.

so oprah, you know, you can take her or leave her but i have a deep respect for the kind of conversations she has brought to the mainstream of american culture.  in sharing her all time favorite guests on a recent show i kept getting that these were people who sort of steadfastly followed their path, followed their calling, and through just that act they inspired others and changed the world really.

i don’t have a clean wrap up here.  i am a constantly shifting work in progress.  yesterday i was teetering on the edge of the darkness for some reason.  i felt cloudy and crabby.  this morning at yoga i set my intention to use the practice to brighten myself out.  i was seeking the bright shiny light that comes from within and without.  i was looking for my life force and my joy to settle into place.  i tried to tell the darkness i understand why it comes, i honor its existence.  then i just said, “heal me up light.  heal me up.”

i want to be my true self.  i don’t think i would i want it nearly as fiercely if i had not had these beautiful amazing inspiring children.  i want to be done thinking that being a mother is small.

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creating silence

i think, in the backlash of losing lucky who really ranks as one of my best friends i unknowingly set up a small tent of silence around my heart.

having just discovered the tent i am working to investigate it, to get close to it, and not to pass too much judgement on its existence.

loss isn’t the easiest thing to live through and i have found again and again in this particular experience that the work that does allow some sense of ease is the act of accepting where i am at.  at first it was accepting how sad i felt, how long i felt so sad, how many times i found myself crying.  then it was accepting my sudden shift to feeling ok.  allowing myself to feel better instead of thinking it meant i had not loved him enough.  accepting that i was moving on just fine.  now, today, it is trusting that slowly i may figure out how to unpitch the tent.  how to open my heart back up to the world a bit.  how to live with the loss and sadness instead of riding a pendulum swing between all nerve endings and all okayness.  somewhere in the middle is where i want to land.  for now, i will just sit here by my tent in silence.

the day after lucky crossed over i sat down with castle james and asked him to step up his role in life.  “my number one animal teacher is gone now and i need you to become what we are meant to be.”  i have thought all along that this dog has potential to be more for me that the over zealous, athletic, kind of goofy guy that he comes off as if you simply watch him in the world.  i think he has a deep nugget not just of knowingness (like lucky had) but of healing ability (like soyala?) that is slowly rising to the surface.  that i will work alongside, learn from, lean on.

this morning the kids started to have a fight over a small piece of paper advertisement that fell out of a magazine.  there was some yelling and tugging and ripping.  that was followed by screaming and crying and hitting.  you know, they were rolling out all the good stuff.  i wanted to sit down with them and react first with empathy (i am trying to learn this art!) so i took a deep breath and immersed myself in the noise and giant feelings.  as soon as i sat down with them castle james got off his bed and walked over.

he crossed too far into our space for the beans liking and licked him right on the face.  my first reaction was to tell the dog, in no uncertain terms, to go back to his bed!  (if i can’t yell at the kids i can still yell at the dog right?)  instead i sat silent.  i checked in to see if anything had shifted for me when he joined us and i noticed, as soon as i connected with him, that he was this strong vibrating grounding energy.  connecting with him i felt like a pillar of strength, the strength to stay calm in the eye of a storm, shot up my chakra’s.

ah, good dog.

it took some time but we got from one side to another of this sibling breakdown without me yelling, threatening, or belittling either one of them.  and castle james stood near by the entire time – holding my ground in silence.

i feel a little bit more like myself when i write.

maybe that is that.

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everything is energy

yesterday we drove about a half hour away to meet some people organizing a waldorf homeschooling co-op.  we met them at a mass audubon site that i had never been to before.  while there some kids ran around a small garden area (mine were plastered my my side), we sat at a picnic table in the woods for a snack, and we spent some time observing a robin we found near  the public restroom available in the original home on the property that now seems to be offices and classrooms.

on the way home there was a conversation about what things are made of.  tap tap on the car window, “is this made of plastic or glass?” and so on.  perhaps inspired by our morning immersion in nature perhaps just weary of answer questions i stumbled up the answer, “everything is made of energy.”

and then the conversation shifted, “is a duck energy?”  yes.  “is a mailbox energy?” yes.  “is my carseat energy?” yes.  “is the road energy?” yes.  and so on and so on.  it sounds monotonous but it really was kind of soothing.  because everything is energy and somehow i find that truth mostly makes me feel light and free.

thoughts are also energy and i do believe that each thought we have has its own affect on the energy that is our universe.  every single thought.  based on this belief i find that i am drawn to the idea that sending white light and positive energy towards the area experiencing a natural disaster or a person who is struggling is much more helpful than feeling pity or overwhelming sorrow.  i believe that and i try to act on it.

but sometimes your horse is sick, and each time you think he might be getting better it seems to turn out that he is not.  sometimes you are trying to help your mom decide if it is worth the enormous expense to admit your horse to the large animal hospital where they might have a better chance of figuring out what is wrong with him.  then you will be deciding if it is worth treating.  what his quality of life will be like.  or also, is the trailer ride to the hospital too much?  and also he is going to hate the hospital and being away from his herd.  and also if he is going to be euthanized i want him to be on the property he knows in south carolina not at some animal hospital georgia.

then despite your belief in positive energy you find yourself feeling heartbroken, overwhelmed by grief, lost and confused and shocked that suddenly these are the decisions you are making.  wasn’t i just riding him the other day?  wasn’t i just down there and he was fine?

so you go into the playroom where there is a couch that your kids are not already sitting on and you have a good long cry.  what is there to do but cry.  and as you are crying you also knowing that the energy you want to send to this being that you love so much that is currently in pain, suffering, struggling is not the energy of grief and heartbreak.  you want to lift him up with the power of the healing light you are sending him.  you want to send him strength and love.

as you cry you also start to pray, “all loving universe please transform the energy i am creating into healing white light for lucky.  please transform the energy into clean strong healing energy.  all loving univerese please transform this intense heart ache into love and lightness that brings him some peace and comfort.  please please transform and heal.”

then you smudge his alter again, throw away the lunch you can’t eat, and make some tea.  everything is energy and all energy is transformable.  i do believe.

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