Live What You Know

Learn, Grow, Accept, Appreciate, Realize, Love…Truly Live It All! Make Every Day A Masterpiece and Live Each Moment In Joy! —or— You are Divine. You are All. We are One. Let us Be still. Let us Listen with an open heart. Let us Live what we hear. Let us Love with All of our heart. BE. YOU. I AM. —or— wherever you're at and growing from now.

Tag: light

The “Sweet Little One” Inside Me… and You

I can remember a time during childhood (well, it lasted a long while) when my mom would say to me after some silly choice, bad decision or rude interaction, “What happened to sweet little Stacy?”  I heard this for a long time whenever I kind of got out of line or needed some parenting I suppose.  In the beginning this question really upset me and made me feel like I wasn’t a nice person.  Over time it haunted me even more and I began to ponder it myself.  Had I quit being sweet?  Was I a bad person?  During adolescence I distinctly remember her asking this question again and I had this fury inside where I screamed, “She NEVER existed, all I have ever heard is ‘where is she?’, she was never here, it’s just me, quit asking.”  (I don’t think I had the courage to say it aloud to her, I think I imagined I did, but didn’t…I probably played that scene in my head over and over, I’m really not sure if I ever discussed it with her).

Now I am the mom to an eight-year-old daughter.  I sometimes wonder what has happened to her.  I wonder where my sweet baby has gone.  That is how I became reminded of the question about “sweet little Stacy” above.  I am truly grateful I had the experience of thinking about who I was.  I am so glad my mother asked this of me and especially now, at this point in life, I am truly grateful my mom continued to direct that question to me.  I can go really deep with this question now and I am thrilled with the answer.  I almost feel like picking up the phone to call my mother and tell her that I found her after all these years…I have found Sweet Little Stacy.  She is there in me and she is in you too!  I will explain…

First, let me say, my daughter is amazing.  She is so many wonderful things…too many to list here.  Because I am her mom, I also see another side to her.  The mom gets to see it all.  I can see she is growing and changing.  Because of all the reading about spiritual things I do, I can see that the ego is trying to take hold and her identity is changing.  I can see when it happens and I am also painfully aware that I am the one she is most comfortable lashing out at.  She is so kind in her heart…its just me she will melt down with and show another side to, growing up is tough.  I have heard myself say to her so many times, “you would never treat anyone else that way, only me.”  Sounds a lot like the question my own mother had of me.  I am sure I have said even worse to her in tough moments (forgive me sweet girl).  This parenting stuff is not easy.  When I can lean back and look at things I can see what is happening and not take it personally.  Other times, it hurts so bad.

It’s tough to juggle knowing if we’re parenting or judging.  I have been thinking about this recently and trying to watch it with her.  I don’t want to judge her or make her into me.  I want to help her be the best version of herself.  I want to honor her growing and help her learn to make good choices.  If she feels judged by me, she won’t be able to feel my love, she will turn towards her fear instead.  Oh, how I want to be the mother that doesn’t judge.  I am so trying to figure out how to parent well without judging.

Recently, she lashed out at me because she was struggling learning something.  Often, when something seems hard, her fear brings out the worst.  Understandable.  Anyway, like I said, I struggle with allowing her to be herself and still guide her towards making good choices.  After appealing to her with explanations of kindness, etc., she just kept pushing, I allowed her actions to hit my buttons and I decided she needed a break and told her she would be in timeout.  In fact, I gave her a double timeout.  This would mean 16 minutes to think about her actions.  As she stormed down the stairs in anger, I had a change of heart.  I sent her brother to tell her that mom had changed her mind, this gave me a minute to breathe and pause and choose well (that non-reactionary living I am striving for).  When she returned to me, I said to her, “You get to choose who you want to be.”  That was all I said, she returned to her work.

Within a few minutes, she came to me and gave me a sweet kiss and hug and apologized.  She had found her “sweet” and turned towards love.  I knew she could do it!  We talk to the kids so much about character and our choices.  We explain that your choices make who you are.  We have so many ways of explaining it to the best of our ability.  I also believe that people treat you how you let them treat you and I don’t want to raise kids that are rude and disrespectful to their mother.  Not just for me, but I know they won’t feel good about themselves if they choose that.  Allowing my sweet daughter the space to find who she wants to be on her own with just the right amount of guidance and a big dash of modeling my own good choices seems to be the recipe.  For now.

I am going to continue pondering parenting without judging.  I think it’s worth the effort to try.  As I embrace the freedom from being right or wrong, I do want to impart some of this concept to the kids.  It is tough because they so badly want to be right…all the time.  I told them recently that I really don’t want to parent every single little thing and be right and make them wrong…but what I do want to do is parent for peace.  I explained that even when they are corrected or get in trouble, they really haven’t done anything wrong, but we must try to work towards creating more peace and harmony.  If we’re behaving in a way that creates more peace and harmony, then there won’t be much chance of getting into trouble.  As we discussed this more and exactly what harmony means…we were turned to look outside at nature and observe the perfect harmony all around us.  I love how the answers are always there in the perfection of nature.

Mom – THANK YOU so much for guiding me towards finding “Sweet Little Stacy” – slowly over time I am finding her in the essence of my true nature.  What a gift it is to know she does exist and she is there in the purest form in me just as she is in everyone else.

Wishing you all a quiet moments with the Sweet Little One inside you.  Joy!

Seeing The Unfamiliar In The MOST Familiar Things

It is a shame how familiar we become with so much of our lives.  It would seem that we would find comfort in the familiar…that is not the case.  We completely check out and become numb to what is happening around us.  We can’t see the people or places around us that have become too familiar, we see it all through a veil of our past observations, images and experiences.  With the MOST familiar people and places in our lives it can do the most damage.  We can be completely missing what is right in front of us…the very thing we love the most, we sometimes give our attention to the least.  Learning about this concept from John O’Donohue in Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom was a gift in my life.  The gift of seeing the unfamiliar in the most familiar things can wake us up to life.  Life takes on a whole new energy when you can really do this.  I have had experiences where I felt as if I snapped into attention and really saw my child’s face for the first time in too long.  Children’s ability to notice this right away is really something to behold.  I cherish those moments when I was really looking at them with unfamiliar eyes.  I have also been thrilled to look at my husband and see him as if we were just getting to know each other; it’s so fun to experience the excitement of the early dating days…it just takes a little shift in attention.  It takes practice to dwell in this for any length of time, but it is so worth trying to improve at it…life changing when we can do it.

Seeing the unfamiliar in the most familiar things doesn’t mean trying something new to wake you up.  It is quite the opposite.  It means really watching where you put your attention and what conditioned responses are running in your head.  It takes watching your thoughts and not identifying with them.  It takes letting those thoughts pass by so that you can create new and fresh ones that are found in the unfamiliar or the fresh moment.  The truth is that no one is ever exactly the same as the last time you met them.  I know for sure I am not.  Sometimes I could just cringe at running into someone I knew well ten years or so ago…I think, oh my gosh they know me from two lifetimes ago… Even when we see people once a week, they are never the exact same person they were the last time you saw them.  Allow this freshness to be there and try to see them fresh in the moment.  With our MOST familiar people and places it takes the most heightened focus, but what it can do for those relationships and experiences is miraculous.  Seeing only the familiar takes all the excitement out of life.  Dare to see those closest and most familiar to you in new and unfamiliar ways.

I realized with my own children recently that I am the MOST familiar thing in their lives.  I am the thing they have been the most familiar with for the entirety of their lives.  I used to wonder why they would say and do things to me that they would never dream of doing to someone else.  I struggled with why they save their exquisite manners and politeness for everyone else.  It finally dawned on me that I am the MOST familiar thing to them and they are also the MOST familiar thing to me.  We could spend our entire day responding to our ideas and images of each other rather than actually seeing and experiencing each other fresh in the unfamiliar.  I want to really stop and listen to them and see the new expressions that cross their faces and the new things they are excited about.  Just because I am so very familiar with them and so involved in everything they do doesn’t mean I am really seeing the unfamiliar and allowing myself to look at them with fresh eyes to spot new changes and truly hear what is important to them.  It is something I have to practice, especially if I want them to do that for me.  It is a terrible feeling as a mom to feel like you repeat yourself a million times and no one is listening.  Argh.  I think I have stumbled into a great truth.  If I want them to look at me with fresh eyes and see me, then I must do that for them.  This is true for the MOST familiar people and places as well as everyone and everything else too.

Wishing you the profound joy and fresh aliveness that comes with experiencing the unfamiliar in the MOST familiar things.

Below is one of my favorite passages from Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, by John O’Donohue.  What a gift!

Behind the facade of our normal lives eternal destiny is shaping our days and our ways.  The awakening of the human spirit is a homecoming.  Yet ironically our sense of familiarity often militates against our homecoming.  When we are familiar with something, we lose the energy, edge, and excitement of it.  Hegel said, “Das Bekannte uberhaupt ist darum, weil es bekannt ist, nicht erkannt”– that is, “Generally, the familiar, precisely because it is familiar, is not known.”  This is a powerful sentence.  Behind the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.  This is true of our homes, the place where we live, and, indeed, of those with whom we live.  Friendships and relationships suffer immense numbing through the mechanism of familiarization.  We reduce the wildness and mystery of person and landscape to the external, familiar image.  Yet the familiar is merely a facade.  Familiarity enables us to tame, control, and ultimately forget the mystery.  We make our peace with the surface as image and we stay away from the Otherness and fecund turbulence of the unknown that it masks.  Familiarity is one of the most subtle and pervasive forms of human alienation.

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