The More I Know Myself, The Less I Care

The more I know myself, really and deeply know my Self, the less I’m finding I care…

I don’t care what I look like.
I don’t care that I make mistakes.
I don’t care that my thoughts go off on wild, unhelpful tangents.
I don’t care that I get afraid or triggered.
I don’t care to spend so much time Digging Deep. (Gasp! I know!)

The more I know myself, the less I find I care about others too…

I don’t care what others think of me.
I don’t care if they agree or disagree with me.
I don’t have endless opinions or fears on the choices they make either.
And I don’t care if I’m accepted or rejected.
(Yes, despite my equally strong drive to not blindly follow the norm, this was very much a big thing for me.)

Your peace of mind is always tied to your self-love and self-acceptance. - www.theorganicsister.com

I just don’t have the energy anymore, let alone the desire, to spend so much time and brain power on ridiculous or exhausting things. There is no part of me that wants to get dragged into it. And that’s a big deal folks! I can go into deep, messy, and uncomfortable places like those people on Hoarders. I like that stuff! It’s my job! So the fact that I want to and actually can so easily let it go and move on is kind of a Christmas miracle.

This wasn’t something I was expecting, although I think it makes perfect sense. When you know yourself, you come to a place of peace with Who You Are (and also, who you are). You come to a place of acceptance and trust and ease, too. And when you feel those things you just let go of the emotional drama you tend to feel, create, or get sucked into.

Because you just don’t flipping care to anymore.

This is the place of nonattachment, or pretty close to it. The place of neutrality, of things that once registered loud and clear no longer ringing the dinner bell, of being unaffected by the things that once paralyzed or catalyzed your every cell in the wrong direction.

When you get to this place your direction is clearer. You know what, when, and how to respond to the world around you. Your judgment isn’t clouded by the cares of what you can suddenly see were actually trivial from the beginning. You simply move when compelled to move; you experience a flow that is natural. There are no more blocks, barriers, or dams to impede you. It’s easier. You’re freer. You can see, feel, and react from something that is true and real, not founded on overwhelm, self-doubt, perfectionism, anxiety, or all the other words for fear.

I won’t say I’m 100% there. There are still things I care about that I’m working to let go (like the unhealthy actions of people that I love – that shit is hard). And there are some things that can only be described as my being “so freaking over that crap“, but that totally imparts a sense of annoyance, exasperation, and impatience, which tells me I’m not totally neutral or at peace with it yet, even though I’m so freaking ready to be.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking.

“How the hell am I suppose to be at peace when my child is hurting themselves or my mother is a crazy-maker? How am I suppose to be neutral when the world is falling to shit, and no one is doing anything about it?”

To that I have three responses to chew on:

  1. It’s hard work. It won’t happen overnight.
  2. Will your negative emotions help you respond better to the situation?
  3. Will a lack of negative emotions really keep you from responding at all?

The point isn’t blindness, ignorance, or even my flippant use of the term “not caring”.

The point is to not be so hot and bothered that Who You Are is negatively impacted by the way in which you respond. being at peace with what is doesnโ€™t mean being inactive in its solutions… on the contrary, it usually means gaining access to clarity and wisdom on the Right Action.

You might just need to experience it for yourself to not think I’m crazy, though. (I know I didn’t get it until one day it clicked that no amount of despair or suffering would change my world for the better.)

And it’s okay if you DO think I’m nuts. I don’t mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰



P.S. I’m going to be adding Digging Deep, Organic Parenting, etc to The Library in July and the price will increase to reflect those additions. Or you can still buy it now at its current cost and get those extras for free when it’s updated. #yay ๐Ÿ™‚
 
 

Heeding the Siren and Letting Everything Go (big changes for 2014)

We are not enlightened by what we speak, but rather what speaks to us. Yet we pass Truth around, instead of letting it pass through us. - Tara Wagner, www.theorganicsister.com

We are not enlightened by what we speak, but rather what speaks to us.
Yet we pass truth around, instead of letting it pass through us.

These were the words I wrote over a year ago, words that went ringing in my ears, setting into motion a train that’s only now pulling into station, that last sentence like the line of cars being pulled along, showing itself to me again and again.

I want to try – possibly unsuccessfully – to explain how it’s changed me and what that means for this space. Be patient, please…and be gentle…

——

We watch as wisdom flashes across our screen – a quote, a message, a reminder, a graphic – some ancient knowledge speaking to us, jolting us awake from our day-to-day shuffle, but we fail to let it permeate us, to sink in through muscle and bone, to the marrow of our soul, the space between our cells where transformation and Truth spring forward.

Instead we Share it, Like it, Pin it, and then move on without it. It doesn’t matter how deeply it moved us, doesn’t matter the goosebumps it brought us, or the lurch it spurred in us. The earth can move the seat beneath us, then be forgotten in three instants later as we continue to scroll down the page. I can even come across the same exact words, the same exact graphic, and not remember it had already spoken to me, rattled me, tried to awaken me. (I know this because of that handy little feature on Pinterest that says “Pssst! Looks like you already pinned this.” or when I recognize that what I’m looking at was actually shared from me in the first place.)

This is my sad reminder of a shallow distraction, when the scripture being written on my heart is so easily dropped into the file of no return.

Every day I’m so bombarded with so many of Just the Right Words that all they become are empty words, a passing thought, a glimpse of Truth, a mop passed ’round and around the puddle of Light, pointed out and handed off to one another to show our own enlightenment, but not truly lapped up by our own hands.

We are not enlightened by what we speak.

And so Life is not letting me do that anymore.

It’s not letting me skim across the pixels on a screen, trying to turn intangible into tangible, quickly distracted by the next dinging bell or onslaught of information. It’s not letting me pass around enlightenment without absorption. It’s not letting me speak too quickly, often times leaving me not speaking at all. (I’ve sat quietly in more situations in the past year than I have in a lifetime before.) I’m absorbing, absorbing, absorbing, opening every pore on my body in hopes that more will pervade.

I can hear the siren call. It’s saying to drop out, turn off, tune in. It’s saying things can’t go on the same, and can’t go back without facing certain death.

It’s saying spiritual suicide is committed when we don’t give ourselves completely to the lover gripping us at the waist.

I feel it when I sit down at my computer, like the hands of God being placed on my back, pushing me out of my chair the moment I lose myself to distraction, to the things that strip me of time, rather than strip me of my own Ego. I feel the pressure to go, move, get up, shut it off, step away, be done with, and I can’t ignore it. It’s become that train, first only echoing in the distance, but now rumbling so loudly in my chest that it can’t be disregarded, talked over, brushed aside. Instead it is stampeding through me, rattling my ribcage, demanding I take heed before it barrels me over.

This is what Life is saying to me…

Get up, get offline, get out.

The virtual handshake is no longer satisfying the need for a physical embrace. It’s not enough to see one another in avatars and condensed pixels and 140 character blurbs that have been repeatedly edited to portray just the right image. It’s not enough to know what you had for breakfast but not know the voice that’s sharing it.

I need touch, I need voice, I need face. I need to know what spills out of your mouth before you can backspace and try again. I need to see the flashing in your eyes that tells the rest of the story. I need to hold your hands and see us both get real with one another (and ourselves).

I don’t want to just listen to a woman on the phone; I want to take them in, seeing what Spirit shows and what they show, when we are face-to-face. I don’t want to only talk about essential oils; I want to drip them into hands, rub them into necks, anointing feet and Soul.

I don’t want to just work, lose myself in the paying of bills, or the marketing of products and services, and forget that none of this matters, that my only real job is to realize my own Self, to awaken to my own Consciousness, to see and experience Life with those I love and with that wide-awake presence I can’t find when I’m constantly distracted by the tiny computer in my pocket.

So, I’m taking the jump. I’m plunging off the high dive. Delving into the deepest of deep ends. Marrying my own Self-Realization, prioritizing my own spiritual practice, and allowing it to show me what gets to fall away.

And I can see glimpses of it already.

I’m already leaving my phone in the other room, on silent, at home.
I’m making the shift to a planner that feeds me, not just organizes me.

And now I see my mentoring hitting the pause button.
And I know the Organic Sisterhood is being retired.

I know that my time is being reallocated to make space for meditation every morning, and satsang 3 days out of every week, maybe four. For less Facebook, more dancing. Less marketing, more personal creativity. Less planning, more movement.

And I know that what is left after all this shakes out will be driven by something other than my Ego, other than my business plans and marketing goals, other than my own mind. (I’ve talked so long about “getting out of our head and into our hearts”; it’s only now that I’m seeing the ways in which I resisted doing that.)

Because I can’t anymore. I can’t ignore my own Dharma, the role Life wants me to play, the flow it’s asking me to relax back into, give into, allow. I can’t ignore that inner guidance saying it’s time to do more than pass Truth around, time to truly allow it to pass through me, to embody it, to spend more time living it, than teaching it.

And I don’t want to. (Ignore it, that is.)

Last year I learned how to surrender. Through fear, through trepidation, I gave in reluctantly, hesitantly. I trusted the process, but only through a lot of deep breaths and self-pep talks.

This year I’m not surrendering. I’m devouring. I have a hunger, a gnawing growl in my belly that is ready to rip through me with desire, that’s ready to consume and be consumed, whether it be professional suicide or not.

I know I’ll lose friends, lose some of you lovely readers, make some family uncomfortable, and maybe piss a few people off.

I’m sorry. I love you. And please understand me. There comes a point when you have no choice, when you’re willing to look crazy and disregard reason because you know, you know, you KNOW the Truth that sits at your side, holds your hand, and tells you it’s time. You know it like you know the face looking back from the mirror, because it’s your face, and it’s been looking at you all this time.

And it is time. Time for me to change what I do, or maybe just how I do it.

Dharma (my guiding word for 2014) is said to be a divine order, a natural flow to life, that gives us a role and a path, a job or a duty. I resisted those words, the connotation of force, of unwillingness, of obligation they seemed to smack of. I didn’t want a duty; I wanted only freedom. But that was a lens of fear and misunderstanding I was seeing through, and that lens is being shattered. Now I’m finding freedom in that flow, in the giving in to the path laid before me, into the blessing of it, the way it fits me so perfectly, comes together so easily, feels so right. (How could it not? I helped create it.)

This Dharma thing is speaking to me…

About making a community…
A home here in Florida…
About rooting down…
Spending my free time with my guys…
Helping Zeb prepare for the possibility of high school…
Helping him step out of his box and confront his fears…
About writing on paper – real paper – what’s written on my heart…
It’s speaking of a role, a duty I have to my Self first, and my guys next…
It’s telling me there is a time for everything, and that this time is for the here and now…
For real life friends, and bonfires on the beach, and paint under my fingernails…

I’m trying, I’m really trying to articulate this, but I promise you, no matter how much you think it’s making sense, my words aren’t conveying the deep and powerful message Life is laying down before me about where I need to be and why it’s all part of a perfect plan.

If there is one thing Life has given me this year, it was my own heart, wide open. It laid it’s strong and heavy hand against the marble I had built around me, and it slowly, gently wore it down, until what I thought was impenetrable became porous, became sandstone, became twigs and brush, became a mist of smoke, and it didn’t take a huff or a puff to blow my house of self-preservation to the ground.

With one soft and sweet and sexy breath upon my neck, my walls scattered and my heart was exposed.

I’ve experienced more joy, more laughter, more silliness, more delight, more hilarity, more dancing than I thought my boxed-in soul was capable of. Here I was thinking that “who I am” was embodied only in depth, the kind that manifests as reverence and seriousness, never recognizing that my true Self, once unlocked, extended into the depths of gratitude, magic, perfection, and bliss as well – that I had the capacity to see and enjoy both the revered and the ridiculousness of the Absolute. I’m overcome by emotion at the beauty of life, overwhelmed by the brilliance of the human condition. I’m moved to tears and laughter at this stage performance we all keep losing ourselves in. It’s so much more than I imagined.

(I know I’m not explaining this well. Profound Moves lose much in translation.)

Simply put, I’ve been transformed.

My own son hardly recognizes me anymore, and in the best of ways.

I feel my heart pounding its wild fists against my chest, stomping its wild feet in tune to its own wild dance, a declaration of its existence, a finding of freedom and trumpeting the song written across it, like a tiny Footloose playing out amongst my ribs. It manifests itself as silliness and joy and utter stupidity. And people I’ve known all along, including myself, are marveling at the woman they are only just now meeting.

I’ve sat with this story for months, just trying to hear it. Then more months, listening and relistening, interpreting, absorbing, and making sense of it. A year now of being spoken to of astronaut wisdom and forgetting cell phones

And then my Granny’s hands…her life, her love like the bushel that broke the camel’s back, shattering my illusions of what matters, what’s real, and what we’re here to do.

Life has been talking to me about Life, about living it, about wringing the juices out of it in real and tangible ways, about celebrating with our movements and our hands, about things we can touch, Truth we can’t skim and scroll past.

I thought I had done this as we’ve traveled for the past four years, but in Truth, as we explored the country our lives became less tangible, more online, and lacking in a quality that it needed. A depth and connection that goes missing when you drive by so quickly.

There no doubt in my mind that this year has changed my life. Took me places I never thought I wanted to go, exploding ideas into splinters of inconsequential particles that landed softly and dissolved before I even realized they were gone, and there I was…exposed.

The ship is going by a mighty engine, and you are busy rowing. - Mooji

I’ve thought long and hard about this choice to stop rowing, to let the mighty engine do what I can’t really stop anyway, until thinking no longer made sense and all that was left was the doing, the getting out of one’s own way, the admitting, the owning of not only what this girl’s gotta do, but who this girl has gotta be.

Yes, I could feel scared. I have bills to pay and there is still a habit of mind that asks how the hell it will come together, work out, fall into place. But that’s not a game I want to play with my mind anymore, not a place I have the desire to go any longer, and so I’m not. Just like that, I’m just not. Because I know that when I step into the flow, stop fighting the rapids, and allow Life to rush over me, it may not ever look the same, but it will never drown me, can’t drown me.

How can the ocean drown in itself?

So I don’t feel scared (okay, maybe a wee bit). Mostly, I feel excited. Ready. I feel as though I’m hitting a permission button on my heart, a process that has taken me 10,000 steps over 10 years (or lifetimes), something I thought I had done again and again already (and realize I might end up doing again and again later too).

Before, my heart, my spirituality came only after my practicality. But a wide awake heart has no patience for that. Not when it’s hungry to know itself. To know Life. To realize more and more of what’s beyond the makeup of the mind.

So this is my coming out…

I’m wildly in love with that place beyond. Head-over-heels for the mystical divinity within. I’m putting the “oooooo” in Woo-Woo, people. And I’m owning my joy, not just because it’s bubbling up and making itself impossible to hide anymore; I’m owning it because it’s just that freaking good.

It’s not going to change me; it already has. I’m just finally ready to admit it to all of you. I don’t want to just be “The Organic Sister” anymore, locked into something I feel I must maintain for good looks or sensible business strategies, for competitive edge or God knows what. I’d rather wipe the slate clean with my own admission, paint into it a new image (or no image at all), one guided by Buddhi, that inner wisdom that tells me how to align myself with Dharma, the right path; how to let go, let flow, and watch the magic taking place.

Is all of this making sense? Let me try to say it in simpler terms:

My heart has woken up, my spirit is the captain of this ship, my Ego is below deck, learning to take orders. This boat is heading in a new direction. Some things around here are disappearing, left at the horizon; some are just changing. Some things might just be getting my whole attention, and some may come back later, but some most certainly are not.

I’m closing the Organic Sisterhood, taking a break from mentoring, and allowing the rest to happen naturally.

You may not be a good fit anymore for the direction of this voyage, and I honor that, but not by dishonoring my Self.

I still love what I do, still love my oils and want to talk about them, still love my work and want to practice it, still believe in what I’ve created and want to share it.

But the How has become my Optimus Prime, reconstructing itself into something bigger and more imposing on my soul. It’s accepting no excuses, no distractions, no second chairs. It’s transpiring only as a result of inner guidance from now on. If it doesn’t come from the Universe, from my own heart center, if it doesn’t place my own spiritual practice front and center in my life, it’s just not happening.

I feel vulnerable putting this out there. I know the voices that can crop up, the criticism, the snide remarks, the fear, the judgment, the worry, the frustration. (I know it because I got to move through all of it myself to get to this place of peace.)

Please know I’m not totally abandoning this space. Please know I’m here to answer questions.

Please know I love you.

Please, if this change might affect you in any way, please sit with your questions and emotions for a moment, a day, a week, and then reach out to me with patience and an open heart. I’m here to talk with you.

And please, if you feel the draw, hang around. I don’t know what 2014 will look like around here but I’m excited to find out. โ™ฅ

 

Who or what are you “trying to love”?

Who or what are you trying to love?

But, of course, what is not said in this quote is how to bring into your heart this extraordinary thing called love.

How do we love the guy that flipped us off with our kid in the car?

How do we love the dog shit we found in our shoe this morning?

How do we love the cockroach that just crawled across our glass?

We don’t.

Notice Krishnamurti isn’t saying you need to do anything, such as “loving” someone or something. He’s saying you need to allow love in and then your experience of the world – including the other driver, the dog shit, the roach even (or so I’m told – yet to get there myself on that one) – will do the changing right before your eyes.

Who or what are you trying to love?

Why are you working from the outside in?

Is “filling our cups” conditional happiness for mamas?

True to the that. #yogi #tea #wisdom

I love all you women on the Tribe/Sisterhood forums. If you’re not on there, or not over there often, they’re all so beautifully deep and reflective and honest. The conversations that stem from those qualities are cup-filling for me, big time.

One such conversation was on that exact topic, “Filling Our Cups”, also the first module of the Organic Parenting e-course. This part of the course focuses on a part of the Digging Deep process that is based off of Nonviolent Communication. A really important and soul-stretching discussion was opened up on whether our attempts to meet our needs and create the elements that “fill our cups” can lock us into a form of conditional happiness…as in “I can only be happy when I get what I want”.

This was particularly thought-provoking for me:

I worry that I will become *dependent* on “getting my me-time” or whatever it is, for my happiness…instead of just learning to be happy in the moment.

I answered there, but wanted to share some other thoughts here too, as it’s been on my mind.

I wholeheartedly concur with the part of NVC that states the way we feel is based on our needs being met. In other words, yes…we are dependent on our needs being met to be happy (although never dependent on how). But then there is the spiritual practice of radical acceptance, finding peace within the moment, surrender to was is deeper than our needs, what is always accessible at our core.

It’s like reconciling the practical with the spiritual.

We have needs. No amount of anything can change that.

And when our needs are going unmet, we can feel depleted, overwhelmed, resentful, impatient and so on.

So how do we practice radical acceptance and happiness while acknowledging and meeting our needs? Doesn’t that mean radically accepting that our needs are going unmet?

Maybe. And I hope not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think for me it’s about radical acceptance of others, radical acceptance of limitations {be they time or resources or the demands of a family and home}, radical acceptance of messy experiences and emotions…and radical acceptance that my needs STILL are valid and important and deserving of honoring.

My happiness isn’t actually dependent on the actions I take to meet my needs. My happiness IS dependent on meeting my needs. But meeting my needs can just as easily be learning to take a deep breath and tap into that sense of acceptance within any moment, as it can be about getting creative in finding a little quiet space for myself in my day or turning on music to ease my nerves or eating my favorite meal for breakfast.

When I’m unhappy it IS because my needs are going unmet but that doesn’t mean I have to feel resentful or angry or frustrated or overwhelmed. When I’m feeling those things it’s my sign that I’m not meeting my needs but instead focusing on an expectation of HOW I meet my needs.

Meeting my needs, filling my cup, doesn’t make my happiness conditional on what’s happening AROUND me. It makes it conditional on how I choose to respond to what’s happening WITHIN me.

{Oooh, I like how that came out.}

{P.S. If this is a meaningful topic for you, you might consider the Organic Parenting e-course. There are plenty of resources in it and on the forums to support you in digging into and peeling back the layers of this challenge so many of us face. (((hugs))) to you while you do.}

There and Back Again {A Tale of Thanksgiving and Spiritual Failure}

I'm not sure how we chose a flight with a four hour layover with this red eye but at least the floor looks comfortable. #travel #airport #exhausted

We just arrived home from a 9 day trip back to Las Vegas.

Let me warn you now, this post may be long, meandering, and senseless to anyone but me while I try to make sense of the many things going on in my head and my heart.

{I’m also going to talk somewhat candidly here and do so mindfully and in my never-freaking-ending practice to keep my focus on my own heart, without projecting or losing sight of my own accountability. None of this is “about” anyone, hold my experience with Life and how the hell we make sense of the seemingly senseless hurt it can deliver.}

Leaving #lasvegas

Ascending on my hometown
Feeling more like a visitor this time
{than the escapee of before}
I haven’t missed this place
Haven’t missed “home”
Although I know that’s not the story for all

Those were the words I quickly penned as our plane descended on the Vegas lights. For once, I didn’t feel that impending sense of entrapment – like I wouldn’t be able to leave without getting stuck – that I felt that last time. {That was big for me, to not feel stuck or constantly pulled back to a place with which I don’t resonate.}

I felt at peace, centered, excited for the week.

Excited to watch my little sister walk down the aisle (so moving!).
Excited to see the brother and nephew and niece I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
Excited to just BE – cooking and painting and watching movies with family.

Nephews.
afternoons with nephews

And my mama joined in!  #art #artjournal
art with my mom

Art journaling with my niece.  #artjournal #alteredbook #art #paint
art with my niece

He loves her so. #thompsonwedding2012
Their love = tears of joy.

Do we ever stop romanticizing those ideas of how things will be?

I have memories in my head of a house full of laughter and food and playfulness. Of huge family camping trips with everyone in attendance and giant games of hide and seek – kids and adults. Monthly family dinners. And holidays that stick to your heart.

And I haven’t experienced one of those romanticized holidays in almost 10 years.

Is it that as we grow up our perceptions are sharpened, picking up on things we can miss in youth and that amazing ability to remain in the moment? Or are we simply jaded by age and expectations? Or maybe things really do change that drastically and for no apparent reason than we all grew up and in separate, incomprehensible directions to one another.

It’s not that anything major happened this Thanksgiving. It’s that my heart and my head just couldn’t let go.

I’m not proud of that.

We all know family, even family we adore, can be a lot to take in all at once. And for those of you HSP’s out there, you know how compounded the situation can be when you’re sleeping in a room with two other families, four running dialogues, at least three noisy electronics going at all times, random bouts of stress and rush, and a dozen personalities and sets of needs.

I don’t pretend to be perfect. But it’s still disheartening when every tool I want to lean into seems so far away from my conscious mind as I slip back into a role I have carefully been working myself out of for most of my adult life.

Do we ever stop reverting to what other people expect to see?

Do we ever feel and respond like the adults we are when we hear the criticism or triggers of our childhood?

They mean me no harm but it’s time that I face it
They’ll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don’t belong…

That’s a Rascal Flatts song that makes me cry with heartache. Those words almost describe it except for one thing:

I don’t believe that anyone won’t allow me to change. I just believe it’s so damn hard to show them I already have.

All my best intentions for a wonderful week lead to all my expectations breaking my heart.

No one else is responsible but me.

I didn’t meet my needs. I didn’t express my emotions {until they were boiling incomprehensibly…and loudly}. I didn’t pay attention to the patterns that trigger me, patterns of teasing and sarcasm and my holding back {anything from my opinion to my own sense of style for fear of the feedback I assume I’ll receive}. Patterns of expectations, ideas in my own mind of how anyone else should be.

I placed the responsibility for my own peace and joy on what others were able to do and that wasn’t fair or responsible. It made us all unhappy.

By the time I realized it I had already excused myself from the meal, driven away – the very best I could manage. I missed Thanksgiving because I had missed my own patterns of expectations and hurt and burying the truth to keep the peace, to try to support others instead of leaning into open honesty.

Hanging with one of my very best girlfriends in the sun. Kids running around the park. Good times.  @elizabethlowery
sweet, reflective, wonderful friend

My sweet wonderful girlfriend and I had a couple long talks, and as they often do, they centered around our role in our own lives and the lives of others. And the message was the same I had been grappling with: Every time I place an expectation on someone I love, I miss the opportunity to be at peace with what is. I miss the opportunity to love them. To practice surrendering to what Spirit is showing me.

It breaks my heart to read those words. It’s the same message I’ve been receiving for the last several months, the same message I think I’ve gotten right before I realize I haven’t: Stop pushing, stop micro-managing, stop thinking it’s all your job. Let go. Surrender to the direction of where Life is flowing. Surrender to peace and love within that moment, exactly as it is, without your thoughts that it needs to change for you.

It breaks my heart because I know it. I’ve been practicing it. And I’ve been failing, again and again.

It’s fucking hard.

Hard not to offer advice, instead of holding space.

Hard not to want to “fix” it – whether it’s an actual problem, or just a bad mood – instead of extending empathy first.

Hard sometimes to WANT to do anything from love: want to DIG IN, want to speak nonviolently, want to listen, want to reach out when you have nothing to reach out with.

So I did the very best I could do…I took space for myself.

I walked out when I couldn’t find that space to listen over the screaming of my own head. I hiked a mountain and lay on the rocks and turned my face to the warmth of the sun. And I said goodbye, or even missed opportunities to say goodbye, flying home without resolve.

Sitting on the hillside talking life, plans, culture and conformity with @justinplayswithballs and looking forward to flying "home" #lifeatthismoment #lasvegas
from the hillside with my lover

As Justin and I walked and hiked he asked me the same question I’ve asked myself for almost 8 years, since my dad died before we got the opportunity to have the talk that was on the horizon. It’s the question I asked myself multiple times over the past week as I did the very best I could {which didn’t seem like much}:

If the worst happened, would you regret this choice?

And I answered him honestly.

No.

I wouldn’t regret the choices I made to let things go, or not have conversations that I didn’t feel ready for. I wouldn’t regret walking out when I couldn’t find love or patience to respond with instead. I can’t regret doing the very best I could do, listening to my intuition and my heart when it says, “This is not going to help; you’ll only cause more pain right now.” I don’t ever regret the choices to surrender, to lay down my Ego-fear that tells me to judge or fix or change or fight or expect or even help, to “save” others or even see them as someone who needs saving.

I have to address my own heartache and hurt first. I have to unpack my own stories and triggers before I can bring my authentic love into a conversation with anyone else.

It’s no one’s job to apologize or change or fix anything for me, anymore than it’s my job to do the same for someone else.

It’s my job to examine what came up for me, and why. It’s my job to find my center before I try to find a solution. It’s my job to bring my real self into challenges like these, instead of compounding them by bringing my baggage. It’s my job to find what only I am accountable for {my emotions, my reactions, my choices} and release everything else {my expectations, my assumptions, my sense of obligation} so that I can walk in with nothing left but love.

Moments like this hold me perfectly still. #manchild
melt-worthy airport moments with the man-child

I can leave without regret,
With peace that I made the best choices I could,
but being void of regret
doesn’t mean being void of hurt.

{penned from the plane home}

It’s an unconventional, even controversial, viewpoint, that I believe it’s okay to say goodbye without first making amends. {Caveat: And it’s not always the right choice. As a daughter whose lost a father during an argument, I can attest to the anguish that comes from holding grudges, instead of taking mindful space.}

But the difference is in the mindfulness and the space {as opposed to the unconscious distance we tend to put between us instead}.

Are you paying attention? #artjournal
full attention slows the current

I’m experiencing hurt and frustration and sadness. And I’m allowing myself to experience it. No under-the-rug sweeps. No grudges held. But no feeding it or burying it either. No allowing it to overcome me, or to own me.

Some serious shit came up for me {and yes, I’m totally okay admitting that – why shouldn’t I be?} and I’m opening my heart up to what Spirit is trying to show me. I’m doing the inner work that’s being asked of me. I’m learning to stop projecting {hard} and stop blaming {harder} and meet my own needs so I can actually stand in the Truth that allows me to be – fully and unapologetically and compassionately – ME.

Hardest.

And even though there is a big part of me wanting to resist this next statement ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can feel it nudging me to be experienced too:

I’m thankful for this. Thankful that I lost sight of myself and damn near lost my shit. Thankful that I felt hurt and frustrated. Thankful that I screwed up. Thankful that it’s so deeply triggered and challenged me. Thankful that it’s bringing up in me the bullshit that was hiding there, because I know full well it only comes up when the timing is perfect for it to be addressed {even if I don’t like that fact}. I’m thankful for the comments that were made, the stories that were dredged, the triggers that were found. Thankful for failure in how I handled it all {or didn’t}.

I’m thankful for the nudges that keep telling me when I’m trying to do something or say something here that isn’t focused on my authentic heart, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

I love them all. They – like me – are doing the best they can as well. That I don’t feel at home says nothing about them, and everything about me – where I am and what I’m moving through with Life as my guide.

Why am I sharing all this?

Why am I “airing dirty laundry”, as culture has taught us to see it?

Because I got the most amazing messages of gratitude over the week: messages from incredible women who totally nailed it and stood in compassion and authenticity in a challenging family situation, messages from heartfelt women who struggle{d} to do the same and are thankful to be reminded they aren’t asshats for being human and unable to access that place of compassion and authenticity at the same time,or even separately.

Because I’d rather dismember the monster that tells us we can’t be honest about having a hard go of something, the monster that tells us it’s not okay to be imperfect, that tells us our lives “should” be perfect and by the book or else we’re going to hell. {Shit, I wrote a book on dealing with triggers, and my experiences still aren’t by the book.}

Welcome to being human. Welcome to trying to be that human with over 7 billion other people, many of which are our greatest, most wonderful, most frustrating teachers.

We love our families. But we mess it up. We do. I do. Again and again. And hopefully, again and again, we do the best we can to get through that moment, to get through the challenge, to learn and grow and try to love ourselves and others a little better each time. Sometimes we nail it. At least the same number of times we don’t.

My declaration is this: I’m okay with these facts. Okay with Life sometimes being messy. Okay with the fact that I’m going to make mistakes at it. Okay being open and honest and authentic about it. Finally okay with the choices I make. {And learning to be okay if others aren’t okay with it.}

Some wisdom from my mama's wall. #bestill
wisdom on the wall

This get you thinking too?
Some questions that may support you: What do I need to get still with? What parts of myself am I bringing into similar challenges with those I love? If I was fully centered and grounded first, what would I do/say differently?

“It could be worse…”

Trust creates peace. Where do you need to lean into trust? #quote #saying #tea

I awoke from a really weird dream (I was running track! HA!) with a totally unrelated phrase and thought going through my mind…

“It could be worse, you could be…”

It wasn’t the phrase itself that stuck with me. It was the accompanying thoughts behind the phrase.

I’ve been thinking about it all day as I went about writing for SBS, and planning anย essential oils webinar, and cleaning up my son’s surprise shave job, and although I’m not sure I can quite articulate the sense I felt in the dream here goes anyway…

When shit hits the fan, my husband struggles to feel grounded or keep perspective. His “job” in his heart is to provide for us and make sure things are cared for in our world. But – like the truck problem he’s been working on for the past few weeks, or the fact that his motorcycle just got totaled (not with him on it) – sometimes things don’t come together too perfectly.

But every time I try to help him regain perspective by saying “It could be worse, we could be…” I’m doing a HUGE disservice to our actual sense of peace.

Because how can we feel at peace if we believe things can be bad?

Challenging, sure. Not what we want, okay. (Hurting our ego, most def.)

But if we don’t take the perspective of “All is well and will be well in our world.” NO MATTER the situation, no matter what, we’re always going to be in a place of fear, of pain, in lack of peace.

As in, sure things are hard now…but oh shit, they COULD be WORSE!

And then, of course, what are we saying to the people who are actually in a “worse situation”?

That THEY should really be freaking out?

That THEY really can’t be at peace with life?

That there is a point when things are terrible and there is no route to peace from there?

That things can only be good as long as they aren’t THAT bad?

Cuz then you’re screwed.

My whole spirit wants to reject that.

I want to be at peace when the truck is running optimally and when it isn’t running well and when it’s broken down on the side of the road and when it’s not there at all.

I want to learn to accept love and create joy when we have a bad day, and a terrible week, and when all hell breaks loose and we would normally have a total meltdown.

But every time we try to “put it into perspective”, are we just postponing peace?

Real peace doesn’t come from the situation we’re in, or the fact that we could have it worse.

Real peace comes from the choice to accept, embrace and be within the love of exactly what is, knowing that WHATEVER it is, all is well in our world. All will be well. Even in the “worst case scenario” it’s all ultimately going to be okay.

That’s peace.

A careful, conscious practice of trust.

Reminding myself how much worse it could be is not love or peace. It’s getting by, survival mode, until I can access that loving, peaceful place within me again.

Organic Wisdom :: How To See A Child

On occasion I like to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts on it here.

“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.

One of the best questions I’ve ever asked myself: how does my child need to be seen?

The answers that spoke to me in the ensuing silence?

With patience.
As someone loved and lovable.
As a real human being. (Now. Not just when he grows up.)
As someone capable of greatness.
Capable of learning.
Worthy of respect.

Another version of this question: how does my child WANT to be seen?

As a comedian?
A rock star?
A scientist?
A novelist?
As serious?
Mature?
A kind person?
Someone trustworthy?

Yes, there will be plenty of times when we could see the opposite. But if we choose to still focus on how they need and want to be seen, those times will become less frequent as they step into the person they feel they are.

How you choose to see a child will be reflected in how they see themselves, how they live their lives, and the relationships they find themselves in later. How you choose to see a child will be how they learn to judge themselves or others, what they learn about acceptance, compassion, stereotypes, inclusion versus exclusion, support versus criticism.

“I SEE you.”

Powerful words to hear and experience.

Really seeing them – past their mistakes, past their behaviors, past their challenges – becomes the permission they receive to love and approve of themselves.


Get Help Getting Past the Surface


The first ever Organic Parenting e-course begins in just over a week. In it we cover how to fill our own cups (so we’re not depleted by the act of loving our children), overcome our triggers (so we’re moving from love, rather than our past), and connect so deeply with our children that we move beyond the use of punishments into cooperative, respect-based, and joy-filled living.

There are two ways to join:

  1. The DIY Version: You get all the good to work through independently.
  2. The Sisterhood Upgrade: You get a Tribe of mindful, unconventional, passionate mamas to support you, as well as a plethora of other goods to inspire you.

Click here to see if this is a right fit for you.

Organic Wisdom: Understanding Through Compassion

Yogi Tea Wisdom

True understanding is found through compassion. – my Yogi teabag

For some godawful reason, Northern Michigan has confused August with a season to get cold.

Coming from Nevada, it makes no sense to my body to wake up shivering, but I do love any excuse to make hot tea in the morning.

There’s just something about it, the routine maybe…filling the teapot, lighting the stove, warming my hands by the flame and then with my hot mug. Sipping until it’s cool enough to drink. Slowing down. Not jumping into my day.

I also love my Yogi tea nuggets of wisdom, just a tiny phrase to meditate on while I roll my hot mug between my cold hands. This morning’s wisdom was the one above.

Compassion.

It’s been a word on my tongue a lot lately.

Compassion.

And how often it’s lacking in our words, our thoughts (judgments), our reactions (especially the knee-jerk kind).

When I am connected to compassion I see deeper, feel deeper, connect to others and to Truth deeper.

When my focus is not on compassion I’m absorbed in my own thoughts (judgments), my own reactions, my own sense of victimhood, my own ego.

But compassion takes me out of those things.

Camera + Compassion + My Son

In case you didn’t notice I’m taking a lot of shoddy photos with my phone lately.

I haven’t mentioned it to anyone but my other camera isn’t in the best shape right now.

A couple weeks ago, I took it to the pool and in an effort to keep it dry wrapped it in a towel. Not knowing this and while I was back at the RV, Zeb picked up said towel and my camera fell several feet to the cement.

Thank goodness for an already residing sense of compassion.

I didn’t see the look on his face when it happened but I saw the look when he came up to tell me. It was a mixture of remorse and uncertainty. He knew how much I loved my camera, love to take photos, loved to capture expressions and moments from funny angles. And in my less-than-compassionate moments, he knew that my initial reaction could be the knee-jerk variety.

“Mom, I’m really sorry. I didn’t know your camera was there and I picked up the towel to dry off and…well, it fell and Dad has been trying but it’s not taking pictures now.”

But in that moment, I was fully connected to my own Truth, my own wisdom, my own Bigger Picture.

I was centered and felt content. And so my reaction was one of compassion.

“Really? You’re not upset? Because Spirit in the Sky was playing on the radio when it happened and I thought for sure it was an omen that you were gonna kill me,” he said with a grin. My son, he’s a funny one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t get me wrong…I felt my own disappointment and sadness over losing something I love.

But I felt a stronger sense of compassion for my son’s disappointment and concern for me.

But Compassion Isn’t Really The Answer

Okay, I really don’t believe compassion is the answer, even if the word is on my tongue a lot lately.

I didn’t take it in stride because I wanted to be compassionate. I didn’t keep my perspective because I focused on what would be the most compassionate.

I was compassionate because I already felt that deep sense of Connection within myself.

And by already being connected to my own Organic Wisdom, I could see with compassion. I could see that he cared deeply for me. I could see his worry. I could see that it was only a cheap lens that broke. And that it was just a camera anyway, a thing. I could see that I hadn’t even been taking many pictures lately. And I could even see my own accountability: I had wrapped it up in a towel and not told anyone after all.

Compassion didn’t allow me to see or understand those things. Being able to see those things without the fogginess of my emotions or knee-jerk reactions allowed me to respond with compassion.

And because hindsight is all a beautiful thing, I can see just how nice it is to only have my cell phone to take pictures – convenient, lightweight and good enough to capture the moment, save time in editing and get back to what really matters. ๐Ÿ™‚

Why You SHOULD Focus On Being Perfect (And It’s Not What You Think)

The Majestic Redwoods

Ah, perfect. That word is a hot one. Especially for us women.

Most of us strive so hard to be perfect: the perfect mother, perfect partner, the perfect person with a perfect purpose. We try to create the perfect home and the perfect world with perfect hair and perfect kids.

And then we hear the messages that perfection is a myth, that it can’t be obtained and that striving for it is a maddening and pointless attempt to be something we’ll never be.

After all no one is perfect, right?

This is where I get all Big and Philosophical on you…

Both are wrong.

Zoom out with me – way out – and take in the Big Picture of your life, your journey of self-discovery and growth, your contribution to and purpose in the world.

The entire purpose of your life is to learn, to grow, to experience this human experience and make sense of it the best way you can.

You don’t need to strive for perfection and you don’t need to give up the idea of perfection…Because you are already perfect.

Where you are is already perfect. What you are experiencing, doing and thus learning is absolutely perfect.

You are the perfect mother for your children. You are the perfect person for your purpose. Everything you’re doing and experiencing is perfect.

Stay with me here.

It’s perfect that you make mistakes. It’s perfect that you beat yourself up for them. It’s perfect when you don’t do either.

It’s absolutely perfect when you wake up one day to realize something totally new and life-changing and it’s perfect when nothing ever seems to change.

It’s all perfect because it’s all purposeful, because when we zoom way out the little details that we stress over and complain about and push against blur together, and we see the process, the journey, the contrast that teaches us, the resistance that strengthens us, the meaning at the end of the story, the light at the end of the tunnel and the Magic that brought it all together, that connected the cosmic dots and created something amazing.

If our purpose in life is to learn, and if we learn best through our experiences, then yes, it’s all actually perfect.

And only by acknowledging that it’s perfect can we embrace it, learn from it and expand because of it.

Your mistakes have value. Your journey is oh-so-valuable.

But you won’t get that, you won’t experience that value, until you accept it as perfect, as exactly as it gets to be.

Yes, this applies to everyone – you and your kids, your partner and THAT one frustrating person you would rather not talk about. No matter what you all are doing or experiencing in your lives, you are all in the same perfect place.

Acknowledging that you are exactly where you need to be, and that everything you are experiencing or doing is perfect is not license to be an asshole, hit your children or just quit trying, anymore than the lack of a posted warning is license to shoplift.

On the contrary, and perhaps paradoxically, embracing the seemingly imperfect as perfect will take off that heavy weight of Not-Good-Enough, Less-Than, Doomed-To-Mess-Up, and leave you only with desire to move forward into seeking more….more Love, more connection, more experiences, more compassion, more beauty, more peace, more learning.

You cannot create your Life from a place of imperfection, unworthiness, brokenness, less-than. You can’t. Whatever you see this moment as being, you will notice and create more of the same.

But when you can connect to the fact that this moment is perfect – that it is here for you to experience and learn from, that’s it’s all opportunity, all of value – you can connect to the fact that you can create something more, better, and beautiful from it.

Only by stopping the fight against what is can we give ourselves the clarity and power to create what can be.

Look for it: What about that one frustrating thing is actually perfect?

“There is only one world, the world pressing against you at this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.” – Storm Jameson

Life, Learning and Dark Parking Lots

as the parking lot empties for the night the bokey fairies come out to play

I remember the first time I drove a car. It was with my best friend, Hilary, and we were both underage, as we were with many things we did together. Hilary had snuck the keys to her mother’s car and she ever so ย s l o w l y and cautiously drove us across the street to an empty parking lot.

There we took turn practicing: driving in circles, experimenting with going faster and slower, gassing it, stopping quickly, and attempting to park as we discovered the fluidity of our feet, the pedals and the movement of the vehicle.

Hilary’s mom’s car was a monster.

I’m not sure of the make or model but it reminds me of a Cadillac – wide and long. And we felt safe in it. We knew we couldn’t roll it, and it wouldn’t be easily dented, either.

That night in the parking lot gave us the feeling of uninhibited freedom.

We could move and explore the feeling of control without fear of mistake, condemnation or danger, except for a random light pole.

These were things we didn’t feel we could explore at home. We didn’t always feel the freedom to press our limits and test our abilities. We were loved. More than most. But we didn’t feel completely understood or accepted.

But out in the dimly lit parking lot, with only our friendship to know what we were attempting, we could find our rhythm, our own speed.

We could learn our capabilities without any doubt, fear or criticism to slow us down.

When I think back to that night and I look at my son quickly approaching teen-hood, I’m reminded what that parking lot and my best friend taught me:

Every person of every age and every background has the same basics needs and the same basic desire to fill those needs.

We didn’t take the car to be difficult or dangerous. We took it to fulfill a need we didn’t know any other way to fulfill. We needed to experience the freedom and sense of accomplishment that dark lot provided us and we needed to experience it in an environment of encouragement and appreciation.

We needed to feel as if the person sitting next to us trusted us, encouraged us and laughed with us over our jerky attempts to move forward – in life and in the undentable beast that was her mom’s car.

photo