Friday, May 25, 2012

There’s a darkness on the edge of town.

Wow. I am having a hard time staying positive thses days. My thoughts and beliefs are slipping back into a negative place that I used to live in. there are reasons, but that does not help me. So I am going to focus on what is good right now….

The sun is out a 8pm
People make great films for me to enjoy.
The radio sounded so good today I stayed in the car to hear the artists names.
I had to park my car far away last night and this morning my daughter climbed the 100 steps to the car without asking me to carry her. A cat peeked at us and ran away and she keep climbing, looking for the cat! Thanks cat.
My friends are artists and make amazing art! They are also gorgeous and fun and smart and loving.
My family is beautiful and healthy and loving.my daughter asked me and my husband to hug and kiss eachother and hug and kiss her. So fun!
It was a gray and rainy morning and I love that.
My daughter cracks me up again and again all day long (in between testing my last nerve). (Somehow I pass theses tests). We like to laugh and smile and sing. She know the words to fifty songs if not more
It was a sunny afternoon. I saw a friend and had a lovely time.
My husband is incredible, kind, thoughtful, a good father, funny and handsome. He gets me and when he doesn’t get me he still accepts me.
The world is challenging but ultimately kind (despite everything that happens).
I can always start the day over.
I can always change my thoughts.
I can not want to start it over or change my thoughts and then I can find the strength to do it.
A few people read my blog. How nice is that.
Sometimes I am able to help or inspire or remind someone of what they need to know. How nice is that.
We are free.
We are alive.
Life is good.
We are loved and we are love.
Art changes lives and there is so much out there for you and I to enjoy.
You don’t have to anything right now.
We have an unlimited reserve to draw from in every area.
Money love and well being flows to us from an unlimited source with greater and greater abundance everyday.
I am a millionaire (still working on this one)
I am so rich in so many ways (truth now!)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A thousand ways to tell you three things



Wow!!  My daughter is in the thick of her emotions right now.  At  2.25 years old, the emotional center of her brain is really kicking in.  As a baby it was all about survival, fight flight and freeze, the reptilian brain.  Babies are great at knowing how to stay alive and they are pretty easy to take care of. Mine was anyway.

Now the emotions are kicking in.  Toddlers are a lot like teenagers, brain wise, irrational and passionate. There is no talking sense to them, as they cannot be logical, their brain is just not developed in that way yet. It will all happen soon enough.

My daughter is a strong willed wild one. Living through this period has proved to be more difficult than being a new mom and in court, which was a ridiculous challenge.  It is really easy to escalate from frustration to anger. Very little happens the way you want it too, and there is little you can do to change that. 

I was raised by people who were pissed off, pissed off by the hand life dealt them, pissed off by the challenges of parenting and pissed off at me all the time for being a kid.  I am programmed to parent that way, it is my default setting and no mater how much I want to be different, it will always be there unless I consciously practice an alterative. Luckily,  I have found one.  I am learning about a parenting theory based on empathy as the best course in dealing with a toddler: empathy for my daughter who is not doing anything wrong or on purpose; empathy for myself who is pretty much in the same boat as her, frustrated and having no control. It is such a gift to be practice coming back to empathy for her and for me everyday, every hour as it is strengthening that muscle to the point that I am remember to have empathy for my husband and even for the cat!!!  It is making me a better person.

Last night my daughter asked to come into the bed at 3am, which was a bit early.  She will usually sleep in her crib till 6 or 7am and then join us, but she woke at 3 last night and there really is no room for a discussion at that hour, as it will only wake all of us to a point of not going back to sleep. So into the bed she came, where she flopped around and tossed and turned and kicked me in the back and head a hundred times. She was sleeping but I was wide awake, despite my exhaustion.  I started to lose my mind from sleep deprivation and told her to stop kicking me.  She was powerless to stop and kicked away and I was reaching the point of sheer despair, the place that can only be expressed (by me anyway) in some dramatic terms like “Please kill me”, as I can only see red and I have no other options.  Then, in my chaos, I remembered something from my parenting class- that empathy for myself takes me out of my lower brain and into my higher brain, at which point I am capable of having empathy for my daughter and speak kindly to her, halleluiah!  The empathy took me out of anger and into a soft place, so soft that I was able to fall back to asleep, which can never happen if I am hopped up on anger and blame. 

This journey is a million times harder, and more rewarding and more interesting than I ever imagined.

My explanation of empathetic parenting is simple and limited. If you want to know more, go to the source http://www.echoparenting.org

I want to end with the words from one of my favorite works of art, (hanging on Jesse’s wall):

Dear ________,

A thousand ways to tell you three things
1. do not worry so much
2. the struggle is natural
3. I have loved you the whole time

allow me to share the most important thing someone else learned


I read this yesterday and thought it better than anything I might write right now, so with permission from the author Elizabeth Decker, I am posting it for y’all and me.  She wrote this as she finalized her becoming a nurse.

See you soon….
--------------------------------------------------------
Allow me to share the most important thing I have learned -

The smallest things make the biggest difference.

Sometimes the tiniest things cause great destruction and distress- a
microscopic virus, a single malignant mutation, a misunderstood
medication order. Sometimes the littlest gesture can work to heal or
instill hope in a person- a cool washcloth, the comforting squeeze of
a hand, a sincere smile. Nurses are taught to notice all the minutia,
assess for the subtlest changes, observe for tendencies and trends.
Sometimes what we see is directly correlated to a biological process.
Sometimes it is more mysterious and magical. I have witnessed the
indescribable power of prayer, the heroism of indefatigable hope, the
infinite fortitude of faith. Sometimes antibiotics save lives,
sometimes astute advocacy does. Everything matters. I appreciate every
inspiration, because I watch people struggle for air, and I've seen
them let out their last breath. I appreciate every step I take,
because I see people in immobilization, in rehabilitation, and after
amputation. I appreciate every bite I eat, because I see people
getting tube fed, or too nauseous to eat, or for whom food has lost
its flavor. I appreciate my family and friends, because I know how
precious and precarious this life is. So I learned to notice the
little things, and to appreciate the little things. And to never
underestimate the impact of what might otherwise be deemed
insignificant.

As this world goes through its crises, it is tempting to feel
overwhelmed. And as we each contend with our own circumstances, it is
easy to feel powerless. Even as we counsel and comfort our companions
on this journey, we are liable to feel helpless. But I know that our
capability is far beyond our imagining, and that we have access to a
source that is infinite in power and possibility. This circle is so
important to me, because its existence is born out of a shared belief
that directed intention, meditation, prayer, mindfulness, and
consciousness can manifest miracles. That the invisible is as
influential as the visible. That invocation has implication for this
incarnation. It excites me every day to develop that deep and divine
part of myself that deals in this other dimension. And I look forward
to the day when we are even more able to observe the operation of that
arena. For now, I pray fervently and chant with conviction. I read and
I remember and I imagine. I smile at strangers. I hug people. I hold
open doors and I carry bags if someone is struggling. I am patient
with my family. I am compassionate with curmudgeons and respectful
when people are rude. I recycle. And I speak the kindest, encouraging
words I can come up with. Because I believe, wholeheartedly, that
every little thing makes a difference.

Will you spend the day focusing on all the little things in your life?
Noticing things like the delightful dexterity of your fingers when
they fasten a button? Appreciating the lines of the lanes on the
pavement that systematize your safety? Reveling in the engineering
that has afforded you a hot shower at the tiniest turn of a knob? Each
little pixel of color in your computer that transmits this message
from my heart to yours? The cashier, the cotton of your clothes, the
creases next to your eyes that await your next smile? The unconscious
rhythm of your diaphragm, the fact that there are trillions more red
blood cells in your body than there are stars in the milky way? The
sound of your name in your best friend's mouth? The light in the sky,
the light in your room, the light in your eyes?

Have a beautiful day, down to the last detail.

Elizabeth Decker

Friday, May 11, 2012

Liar

Oh my. Lying! What a nasty habit. I used to lie now and again until the kind universe taught me a better way. Growing up I was not taught many important values. Anything could be overwritten with “Who cares?” or “Fuck you!” “Why bother?” or “What does it matter?” The core reasons, the core values were missing, so nothing did matter…

Back in the mod eighties I was in a passionate teenage relationship with my first real love. We were crazy about each other and we fought all the time. Neither of us had a healthy model of what a good relationship looked like. We were desperately in love but could not make good choices for ourselves because of lack of information coupled with our not fully developed teenage brains.

One night around 4 a.m. we were driving to his apartment in queens. The Dead Kennedy’s had played at the World on Ave C that evening. He had gone to the show. I had hung out with my girlfriend and wound up outside the club later that night. Our stormy relationship had all kinds of challenges and dramas and I honestly have no idea about the specifics of our conflict that evening but it was big and real and painful and we were arguing about something in the car on the ride home. I was in emotional pain, crying, and needing comfort. I was in the cycle of wanting the person who slung the arrow to heal the wound, as the saying goes. The slinger can never really heal it, can they?

Powerless to stop the argument or the pain, I asked my boyfriend to pull over and let me out on a random street in Queens. It was all part of the dance. I would get out and be alone and wandering in the middle of the night and he would come back to save me and fix everything, ideally.

He wouldn’t stop the car. I needed to have some control of the situation so I opened the car door to get out. We were on a residential street, not going very fast, so I figured I could step out and run away. I stepped out of the moving car and the street came barreling up into my head and knocked me out. The next thing I remember, I was walking with him, headed to his apartment, throwing up the strangest odorless vomit. I got to his apartment and fell asleep. I did not realize that I had a concussion or that I had lost my sense of smell from the blow to the olfactory nerve. Thankfully, I did not die.

The next day I went home a mess and my mother took me to the emergency room. The doctors said I was fine. Two days later, after not getting out of bed, she took me again and they found a fractured skull. Tests showed no brain damage and after a couple of days I got to go home to mend.

When I was asked what had happened I lied and said that I was at the Dead Kennedy’s show and that a fight broke out and that a bouncer rushing to break up the fight had knocked into me, slamming me to the floor. This had happened to me once. I did not get injured that time but I figured it was a good story that made sense. I couldn’t bear to say what had really happened. I felt ashamed so I lied.

One evening, a few days later, my parents called me into the living room. A strange man in a suit was sitting on our couch. He asked me to tell him what had happened. I lied again.

The night after speaking to the lawyer, I went to my mother and told her the truth. It was one of the most difficult thing I had ever done up to that pint in my teenage life but I did it. She could not understand why I had lied. My father called the lawyer, disappointed that no one was going to pay the hospital bills. No one was concerned about any of the underlying issues. Life went on.

The story has a happy ending in that after years of not being able to smell, I did get my sense of smell back. Yes, neuroplasticity is real and amazing, halleluiah. More important than that, I am one of those lucky motherfuckers who got parented later in life by a kind universe when I sought it’s help. From amazing lessons I learned to be honest on all levels, just because, for no other payoff then the peace of practicing honesty.

Recently I had to deal with people who have not learned that lesson and it was excruciating. I did not have compassion for them, only contempt because their lying cost me dearly in time, money, and energy. I got through it and looking back, I am trying to have compassion for them, for people who do not know better yet. Hopefully they will one day.

Trust is contagious. Liars lie because they do not trust that telling the truth is always the best option. Liars are suspicious that everyone else is lying because they have no trust. By acting in trust you cultivate trust and learn to trust.

Be kind to the people you meet because you have no idea of their struggles.

The universe is a safe and compassionate place. Peace out, dear ones.