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Posts Tagged ‘inner demons’

i have held back on writing much about our possible homeschooling on this blog.  partly because we are undecided and i just wasn’t sure i was ready to defend something i am not even certain about.  partly because i am pretty sure i want to try it for kindergarden and i yet i hesitant to find out how that will be received by friends and family.  i don’t know, i guess there were a lot of reasons i held back and all of them were fear based.

 

yesterday i took the plunge and just threw it out there.

we are thinking about homeschooling.

amber commented because she is the number one best commenter in the universe.  and then an old friend of mine from a million years ago left his comment on my facebook page.  in it he said, “Send your children to school as learning how to cope with the ‘outside’ world and get along with others is essential…”

there is a lot of truth in that statement.
and.
gosh it made me feel hurt and angry.
and attacked.
and misunderstood.
and shoved into a freak corner.
and labeled as overprotective and neurotic and stupid.

it made me feel so so many things.
surely more than warranted by a simple response to a post i put up sharing that we were considering the home schooling option and then asking “anyone else?” as the end — opening up a conversation really with that final question.

it is amazing all the buttons we carry around that can be pressed. amazing what the fearful parts of us can lead us to feel.

i sat down last night and wrote in my journal about how i was feeling, about how triggered i was by this old friends comment, and about why i truly did not need to be. i wrote my way through the hurt and angry voices on my management team and then i found another part of me waiting in the wings. a grown up, confident, strong, powerful woman. a woman who is not sent shuddering into the dark corners of the room by someone else’s opinion. a woman who is not stuck part way through life needing someone to cheer her the rest of the way up the mountain. no, this woman is doing just fine on her own path. she is actually happy, brave, proud and also she is a good mother.

and yes, she is blessed.

we might homeschool. i think if we do it will be because we truly believe it is the best fit for our family. a choice made from a position of love, strength, and belief in abundance. not a decision made based on fear or a feeling of not wanting to connect with the world.

i do invite your comments. and i promise to do my best to keep my own inner demons from responding to them. (sorry mike.)

walking in beauty,
r. aka woowoo mama

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to look back in there

my mom cleaned out the closet of the room that was “mine” from the ages of fourteen to twenty-something the other day.  oh it certainly was not the first time, perhaps the fortieth since i officially moved out.  she found a small pile of my things still tucked in there and amongst them was a little green notebook.  on the cover i wrote, “the book – the artists way: a spiritual path to higher creativity.”

that pretty much explains what it is.  when i was about eighteen my brilliant therapist presented me with the book (the artists way, by julia cameron) and encouraged me to do it.

i believe that this small green composition book has within it morning pages writings that probably cover several months at least. perhaps there are other written exercises as well. i can’t tell you because i haven’t read it yet.

well, that is not entirely true.
i flipped it open to a random page in the center and read about three sentences. then i closed it back up.

i remember myself at eighteenish. i was full of darkness and self doubt. i was disconnected from the loving universe and from my own powerful ability to love myself. i was lost, depressed, and eager to lean toward self loathing.

i have traveled a long long way from that place. i have healed time and again the wounds and worries that i held dear during those years of my life. i have come to love and embrace not just the present version of myself but also that past one. i was imperfect, i made mistakes, but i was deeply loveable — even though i could hardly begin to see it then.

so the book sits on my desk. unread.

do i want to peel back the layers of time and meet that young woman again?
would it bring healing to hear her innermost thoughts spelled out from my present perspective?
was the book suddenly found so that i could read it?
or
have i come to a place where i know that girl without needing to read?
have i reached the point where i do not, on some level, long for the intensity of feeling i had then and the way depression fueled my creative writing?
was the book found so that i could realize that i do not need to read it?

eventually i will journey on this.
eventually i will ask the spirits what learning this book holds for me and i will trust their direction.
eventually the book will be read, or burned, or recycled, or tucked away in a box somewhere.
eventually.
for today i will gaze at the cover and allow myself the space to sit with things.

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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?

yes.

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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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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the other day i wrote about some of the realizations i took away from a local yoga class. i mentioned the ease of allowing the goodness in that the teacher encouraged and how her message was so timely for me. the pace of the class moved slowly through each asana which allowed me the time and space to breathe and connect more fully with my present state and with my body.

connecting with my body has been a focus for me in the last six months or so and one i continue to struggle with. i have a tendency, personally, to live in my mind more than my body and even to flee my physical body more often then not – floating away into the space right above me. if you are someone who is closely tied to your body you might have no idea what i am talking about but i have a feeling that i cannot be alone in my struggle.

a part of my recent dedication to working out has been about having a way to reconnect with my body. at times in my life, i have had the time to dedicate myself to a regular yoga practice which was a pleasure and did me a world of good. for some reason, this spring, pure yoga is not what called to me. i found myself loving the act of pushing myself through a cardio class at the gym – kicking, jumping, sweating, pulse racing, getting strong.

some of the work i have done in recent therapy, talking with and moving towards healing some of the hurt parts of my self has left me feeling like it is more possible for me to live in my body. but it still does not come naturally to me. i spend time breathing and calling myself to be more aware of how i am physically located in my flesh. i pull my self down towards my feet and encourage awareness of the body as a part of being present in the now.

in the yoga class the other day, as we slowly stretched ourselves into simple asanas i took a moment to invite myself more fully into my physical body. i was feeling alive in my body as i thought about how to move and position and i encouraged my spirit to come on home into this. the words that arose for me were simple, it is safe to come into your body now.

safe?

i was surprised at my emotional reaction to this word. i felt overwhelming sadness as i repeated the phrase, it is safe here. you can come into your body. nothing in this space can hurt you.

why would i not feel safe in my body?

as soon as the question arose i was in a scene. seventh grade and i am about twelve or thirteen years old. i am tall and thin and angular with none of the roundness anywhere on my body that i wish i would develop. i am in a black skirt that fits snugly from my waist down until it ends above my knees. i am also in a blue sweater that used to belong to my mom. it is a bright lapis lazul blue with a high neck and buttons down the back. i am in the small space that we have to use for free time at my school. i attend a private school and there are only twenty five of us in my grade. our “hang out” room has a couch that fits about four of us and a window alcove area, a small desk and a book shelf. it is across the hall from some teachers offices and it has two entrance/exit doors. both of which are supposed to stay open.

but in this moment neither door is open. i am the only girl in the room with three boys and they have found a way to jokingly surround me and get a few of my buttons undone. i am hot and worried about what is happening and thrilled that i am worthy of attention. i am looking down and someone’s hands are slipping through the undone button space at my back and around to touch the tiniest sprouting of breasts that i have. my cheeks are burning hot with shame about how small my breasts are and i am wishing for this moment to end somehow without it being awkward and without me messing anything up. the hands are there and gone so quickly and then a teacher is pushing the door open and telling us sternly that it should be open at all times and i have slid down onto the couch so my undone buttons don’t show.

you are safe in your body now.

this all must have happened before my first friend was raped. at least before i knew about my friends being raped. this was just a glimpse of the beginning of what being a woman would mean, in part. being a woman in a body that can be violated. being a girl growing into a woman’s body and hearing of all her friends bodies that have been violated. not knowing where the line between pleasure and violation lies yet. not knowing where the line between wanting to be desired and not wanting to be touched lies.

later that sweater was missing a button and i used to continue to wear it with a safety pin holding it closed instead. i don’t know when i lost the button. i don’t know why we didn’t sew a new one on. i don’t know why i loved that sweater so much. i can’t remember who closed it back up that day.

i know that a part of my work right now is coming back into my body. truly living there. i know that when i asked my spirit why it didn’t feel safe it took me back that far. to my own flushed cheeks and tight skirt and sweaty confusion. a moment i never would have thought i would remember so perfectly. i guess, a piece of me is still standing there wondering how to feel. she is probably a part of the group i am inviting back in. she is probably one of the girls who i am aiming to convince that i have things under control now and they don’t have to worry. i know lines. i don’t let lines get crossed anymore. i am a grown up woman. i am strong. i have power. i can keep us safe.

you may come home here. i have my voice. i know my spirit. we deserve to enjoy this body.

it is safe.

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it is 2010 and as the year turns from one to the next there are a lot of lists popping up.  favorite posts, best blogs and bloggers and all that jazz.  i have been at this for less than a year and i am not out there marketing or pushing my blog on social media outlets.  mostly i just blog to keep my own head on straight.  there is the side benefit of making a few connections and occasionally feeling like what i wrote was semi helpful to someone.

the truth is that as much as i know i am not blogging to win a popularity contest i still feel like a terrible failure sometimes because i am not popular.  i am not “on the radar.”  i am not one of those “real” bloggers with gobs of readers.  there, i admitted it.  i know, i know, i do know that gaining a certain number of readers is not the point for me.  but still, those voices inside have no trouble piping up about how lame i am.  the insecure woman lurking in the crevices of my soul feels like a failure, a loser, a terrible writer with a no good blog that is  only fodder for mockery.

there is the truth of it.

the funny thing is that i should be comfortable with my role outside the mainstream by now.  i have always been liberal enough in my views to feel pretty far left of group in the center.  discovering my talent for telepathy (with animals no less) certainly didn’t bring me closer to a mainstream life experience.  more recently my parenting choices have not fit with mainstream parenting.  all in all with my politics, woowoo, and parenting inclinations as they are i am not the woman that hordes of other women feel akin to.  or, in short, not everyone likes me.

that is ok.

it is just that every once in awhile i have to sit down with myself and have a little chat about it.  no, you are not on any lists.  you are not a top 50 this or that.  no one famous does stomach flips over blog.  you are not “waldorf” enough for the waldorf lists or “breastfeeding” focused enough for the breastfeeding lists or…

so on and so on.

i honor that the above facts hurt your feelings sometimes.  i am just here to give you a gentle reminder that i love you.  i appreciate the work you do.  i even like your writing.  some days.

truthfully, you know what i just realized?  making someone’s list wouldn’t change anything for me.  because looking to feel good about myself (my blog, my parenting, my photo’s, my writing, my spiritual growth, my anything) based on an outside source is a losing battle.  it is a never ending cycle of wanting more better higher feedback.  even if i was on a list i would still fight my own battles with doubt and insecurity.  the work is always right here within me.  seeking the place from which i can speak truthfully to my self with love and support, with appreciation and respect, with kindness and loyalty and forgiveness.

this blog has become a place i return to work though what is in my mind and my heart.  to puzzle through the words to some clarity.  something about the blog (the name, the intention, the sharing) makes me take a moment to center and get to what feels the most helpful and constructive to me.  i don’t come here to make fun of myself or my life (generally).  i seem to return again and again to remind myself that it is ok, that i know how to breathe, that i have spirit guides and teachers who love and support me, that there are things i know that are worth knowing.  i come here to find the words to bring peace and joy to my day.

less than one year blogging and i have made a space that is sacred to my path.  and my intention for 2010 is to keep blogging, to keep asking myself to take the time to write regularly.  not to gain popularity but to elucidate my path and share some space with others who can relate.  i want to push myself to accept that this kind of blogging can be scary for me.  i want to be the real me anyways – not the version i think would get more votes.

well, if you made it through this one, thanks for listening.  i am tempted to go back and edit out pieces of what just happened but i think i’ll leave it.

happy new year friends and fellow woowoo warriors.  may finding your joy and peace be a cake-walk this year.

love

woowoo mama

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i just read a post by steph (of adventures in babywearing) over at christmas change and it got all these thoughts spinning around in my head. it was too much for a comment so here i am trying to sort it out some on my own blog.

when she wrote about feeling so strong in the midst of her personal struggle (when her son was having seizures), it took me back to the moments when i first discovered my own faith. my own spirituality. my own light. finding my connection with the universe and uncovering the depth of my own spirituality filled me with light so bright i could barely see anymore and i didn’t need to see because i suddenly had vision. i was radiating. i was able to feel whole and free and joyful without medication for the first time in – oh years and years and years.

it was a glaring bright light. a heart thumping life changing light. and it wasn’t a flash, it was sustained. how long was i so filled with buzzing connection? i can’t remember exactly now but i think it was months. it was enough time for my life to change and my self to shift to a new way of being. then slowly, without me noticing, the light dimmed.

it is not that the light was gone but the pure unstopable glare was gone. the shining, eye squinting, undeniable spectrum of light was now more of a hint. more of a suggestion. as soon as i noticed i cursed and mourned my loss. i wondered what i had done wrong. i was frustrated to discover that i could have found my it, my path, my way, the truth, and then lose the fireworks of it all. i toyed with the idea of going back to the old way of being. i faced some of my old demons again, smaller versions, less persuasive than before but there they were showing up in the grayness of my dimmed light.

and then the teachings started rolling in. the path is not always clear white bright. finding my way did not mean i had a key to unstoppable bliss. the gray did not mean i had lost anything it meant – this is life. life is finding and refinding your way on your path with your god/goddess/divine/universe. life is seeing the light diminish to a pin prick on the horizon and then digging into your faith and finding your practice, your foot steps, back to a brighter moment. back to something stronger and more full. the process of the work of the faith is truly the point of our life. basking in the bright light is a gift, a moment of transcendence, a soul warming spirit turning meal.

then the light fades to a glimmer and we wonder. wondering is ok. seeking our baby steps on our path is more than ok. trying to find the practice that fills us with the blinding light is work and it is work that is often disappointing. because the prayer, the meditation, the breathing doesn’t always produce the mind numbing power that it can. sometimes it just is a practice. sometimes the leap of faith is believing in our practice, believing in our path, even when the work we do is not illuminating our soul so clearly as it did once before.

if i was steph’s friend i would send her a note to say:

dear steph, i don’t know what your covers are right now. i don’t know what you feel is resting softly between yourself and the brightest light you have to shine – the brightest light that shines on you. i do know that you write about the process, the work, the path of faith in a way that leaves no doubt that you are there. you are doing it. you are taking each step on your path with leaps of faith and frustration and conviction that is human and superhuman. you let your readers in on the secrets of real life, real faith, real waxing and waning of light. maybe the comments you get in response to this piece can lift you up today and hold you closer to the sun. maybe someone’s words will peel back a blanket or two and let the flash of light in closer to your skin. or maybe there is a way to embrace the blankets, to embrace the ways we have to learn to do our work, to remember that the bright light is still there – we are just around the corner from it at the moment. maybe there is a little something the blankets want you to know and if you can listen to their message they will lift of their own accord.

i am not steph’s friend though (i am a huge fan) so i won’t be sending that note. instead i will do what so many people do – i will read her words and then i will let them reflect and refract into thinking about my own life. i will realize that my light is flickering a bit these days and i will sense that for me the baby steps towards a more abundant connection are accepting what is and continuing my practice even when it doesn’t feel like it is taking my breath away. how many times i learn that my world of woowoo is holding me close and lifting me up even when my eyes are not blinded by the light. how many times i learn that my path includes moments of gray and that is ok too. not to sink into. but, also not to fear – just to say hello and keep walking my way through.

at my house when i plug in our holiday lights and light our advent candles i remember that i am doing it to bring light to our shortest, darkest days.  i celebrate the darkness and i invite the light back in as the year ends and begins.  now i will work to respect the same shifting in my spirit.  i will honor the darkness and invite the light in.  i will bring the flame to our candle wicks to symbolize the process.  i will hold my faith that light does linger and return.  it is bound to be all along my path at just the right moments.

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