Am I enjoying this ride?

Am I enjoying this ride?, via theorganicsister.com

I dreamt that I was riding a bike. The town was new to me, the road was foreign. And I was faintly aware that I was not familiar with this whole “bike riding” thing.

But I rode anyway.

As the roads went up steep hills, I was only aware of the tension and burning in my thighs. It didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have the thought of walking the bike up the hill instead. I was just aware and steady,  my attention to it like a mindful parent: encouraging, calm, focused, and invested in this uphill-ness.

As the hills went down, I picked up speed and recognized I had no brakes and I quickly realized my expectations of controlling this thing was a joke. But instinctively, I shifted, leaned forward, and found that I could slow things down by leaning heavier, pressing my feet into the pedals themselves. And I marveled at it, just slightly. Like a “Huh. I’m not totally screwed after all.”

The corners were sharp, and often on the downgrade, but I found I flew around them with grace and ease. Aware of the cars or pedestrians or bikers around me, but without paying attention to them.

My mind was only on my body, the feel of my legs, the wind wrapping around me.

Once I got distracted (by a woman with a badass mandala tattoo, I might add) and found myself nearly tangled in the road with a handful of others. But I simply shifted back to myself and found my way easily around the traffic. And once I noticed a middle age man doing some pretty wicked tricks with his own bike. This was about the only time I really connected with another person, as I laughed and admired his Tony Hawk-ness. Celebrating with him, in a way.

What struck me most about this dream was my inattention to the Outside World, and my mindfulness on my own experience. I was fully present in my own body, in my own sensations. My mind wasn’t wandering, wasn’t worrying how I looked as I slowly pedaled up those hills, didn’t feel less awesome than the trickster flipping his ride like a pro, didn’t take it personally or get wrapped up in the traffic jam, but just was simply present in myself.

It came with its “ups and downs, twists and turns”. It challenged me but I didn’t get lost in my ideas of being challenged (“I’m not good enough. This is hard. I’ll never make it.“). I didn’t worry about “the road ahead” either.

I simply stayed present to my body, my movements, without judging them. And I found myself traveling just fine.

In real life?

I would’ve hopped off that bike at the first sign of even a tiny hill, and complained as I walked it the entire way up.

I would’ve panicked on the way down, likely wiping out (or walked it down as well).

I would’ve done everything in my power to slow down, stop, and avoid the sharp turns, including mapping out my entire route ahead of time to ensure nothing out of my control might happen, and quite possibly not even getting on the bike in the first place.

I wouldn’t have even noticed the badass tattoo, too absorbed in my own BS to pay attention.

If I found myself in a traffic jam, I would be frustrated that I didn’t foresee it, embarrassed that I couldn’t avoid it, profusely apologetic for being a part of it (possibly under the assumption that I may have somehow caused it – because it’s always about me right?), and I would’ve been self-conscious as I tried to move on from it.

And I would’ve seen the flips and tricks, then heard my thoughts criticize for not being able to do the same thing (even though I’d likely have done everything in my power to avoid such risky business in the first place).

And I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed the ride.

(Care to continue this thread with me? Join in on the Sisterhood.)

Organic Wisdom :: Are We Teaching Perfectionism?

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.

Many of us know what a curse perfectionism is as adults. It keeps us working too hard at a job that doesn’t fulfill us, criticizing ourselves for our natural limitations, or judging ourselves by the talents and strengths of another, instead of by our own. Or it keeps us feeling hopeless, unwilling to even try since we know we can never attain that elusive perfection we’ve been convinced is the only thing worthy of our attention (or the attentions of others).

We know what perfectionism is. We don’t like it. We actively talk against it to other adults.

Every time my own perfectionism rears its head I remember what Thomas Edison allegedly told the reporter who asked what it was like to fail at inventing a practical lightbulb 1,400 times:

“I didn’t fail 1,400 times; I created a lightbulb in 1,400 steps.”

Mistakes are good, necessary. They are a part of learning, a part of being human. I could even argue that it’s the reason we are here, since the only way we truly learn what does work is by understanding what doesn’t.

They should be honored as pathways to deeper awareness and growth as human beings.

But we tell children from the time they’re infants that mistakes are bad, that multiple mistakes are worse.

We curse children with perfectionism without even realizing it.

Punishing a child for a mistake made is punishing them for being human.

It sends a very clear message that “you’re not good enough”, that “Who You Are is bad”, that “it’s not okay to make mistakes”.

Punishing a child for mistakes – whether it’s through grounding or shaming or any other means – can teach them to never take risks, since risks are likely to lead to mistakes.

“Play it safe, mediocre even.”

“Don’t stand up or rock the boat or you’ll be punished for it.”

“And whatever you do stay aware of how others are judging you and do everything in your power to look perfect in everyone’s eyes or you will be judged, unloved, and ultimately left alone.”

A better idea is to love them when they make a mistake, wrap them in our arms and ask them what happened and how it happened and listen as they talk. And with your presence and engagement, ask them what they’d like to do next.

Show them mistakes happen, and that the best way to handle them is with love, patience, and support from those we love.

You don’t have to be a perfect parent either.

It’s a myth you’ll never attain. But that hopefully won’t stop you from learning and growing as a parent.

We have so many mamas (and even non-mamas looking to sharpen their relationship skills!) joining us on MONDAY, SEPT 17TH for the Organic Parenting e-course to do just that – learn, grow, have fun, get support and release our triggers (and our guilt).

Click here for a sneak peek!

How Your Life is Like A Riptide

You know that most riptide deaths are not caused by the riptide itself? They are actually caused by the swimmer’s exhaustion as they fight the tide trying to regain their control and sense of safety.

#wideskydays #beach #ocean #pacific #sandiego #california

Last week, after a long day on the beach, I was connecting with a girlfriend online around the idea of surrender and allowing when it dawned on me…

This is life at times: A riptide in the ocean.

We dip our toes into Mama Ocean, playing with the idea of jumping in headlong, with the thought of independence and glory and Big Ass Dreams of the moves we’ll make and how cool we’ll be. Then comes the time when we’re finally ready and we dive in (thinking we look like sexy mermaids, of course) feeling happy, excited…feeling the excitement of freedom and exploration as our Big Ass Dreams become Big Ass Plans.

But the ocean sometimes has another idea.

Sometimes it laughs at our mermaid-esque attempts and our Big Ass Plans and it wraps it’s arms around our waist and says “This will be more fun.”

And then it shows us what we really get to see.

And that loss of control, the pull in a deeper direction, feels dangerous. Our natural inclination is to fight against the current, swimming hard toward shore, toward what looks like safety. To regain our authority, our rightfulness, our power. To be the commander of our own direction. To push through the fear, fight the resistance, or force our way forward.

But that’s how deaths happen, you know.

Surrender Saves Lives

They say if you’re caught in a riptide you should do one of two things to save yourself from exhaustion and your ultimate demise.

:: Swim parallel to the shore: Don’t lose sight of your bearings, your safe ground, your desires. But don’t fight for them. Just move yourself out of the chaos by side-stepping it and getting yourself into a new place (a new frame of mind, a new environment, a new idea, a new rhythm). But sometimes that current has other plans and won’t relinquish you that easily, and so your safest bet is to….

:: Lay back and surrender to the flow: The riptide will move you, it will pull you beyond your comfort zone. It will show you things you’ve never had the courage to explore on your own and take you a bit farther than you thought possible. And then the calm will come, as you pass beyond the rush and you can find your way back to solid ground with a new understanding of the power that surrounds you, a new respect for the forces that envelop you and yes, more clarity on your path.

Yes, Life’s been teaching me a lot about surrender, about allowing, about dreaming and actualizing with an openness to Trust.

It’s been helping me to release the tension and the resistance and lay back with my arms spread open and surrender to the flow, or the sunshine, or the sweetness of rest.

It’s been showing me when to DIG IN and focus, and when to let it all go. And it seems a disproportionate amount of it looks like surrender, especially when it comes to juggling three businesses and family connections and spiritual grounding. Surrender to what my heart really aches for, for what my mind really can’t focus on, to the idea of doing jack-shit all day, then staying up “too late” to get three solid, uninterrupted hours of work done.

And here are my frantic efforts to swim against the current: chastising myself for going to bed at 2am and waking up at 10, feeling guilty for too much time working, feeling guilty for too much time playing, stressing over the taxes due and tires that will need replacing soon, the needs of a daily changing son and the upcoming events on my calendar, and my deeper need to escape to the mountains with my nomadic mamas. Thoughts of rudeness as I just can’t find the time to catch up on emails, when I am instead writing in my journal at the beach. The old tapes that play out when I measure my own needs against the needs of others.

And all the while hearing The Ocean, as it allows me to fatigue myself, whispering to my spirit with the words,

“Release. Surrender. Let me take you deep and far beyond your comfort zone and show you what awaits out there. Lay back and let Me carry you. You are safe…but only if you let go.”

 

Thriving, Not Just Surviving Childhood

Laughing
Thriving, not just surviving.

Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives. – Maya Angelou

How many times have you heard (or even said), “I survived [spankings/punishment/hard work/not getting attention] as a child. So will they.”?

Countless I’d bet.

It’s the common response anytime compassionate, mindful, organic parents talk about the alternatives they’ve found to control, coercion, and hurtfulness of children.

We all want the best for our children. Our ideas of how to provide that are obviously radically different than the mainstream.

But more than our ideas of how to provide the best for our kids, it seems like many parents have a deep resistance toward providing for our kids the things they didn’t have.

Oh not the “stuff”…lots of parents can easily provide more stuff than they had.

But so few are ready to provide in deeper ways.

So few are comfortable providing more love, more affection and attention, more respect, more honor, more dignity, more autonomy.

Is it because we simply don’t know how?

Or is it because to provide our kids with more of those things means first admit that we didn’t receive it ourselves?

It’s not an easy pill to swallow, that you may have been intentionally and unnecessarily hurt and lied to as a child. That your deeper human needs were not met. That you were made to feel as though your feelings, your ideas, your desires were less important than anyone else’s.

Shit. It’s downright unfair. After all, if we went through it, shouldn’t they have to?

Because “Dammit! It’s MY TURN to finally feel in control!”

“Oh please. I survived.”

Really?

And is that all you want for your child: Survival?

Or do they deserve to thrive?

I’m inclined to agree with Maya Angelou up there…just because we didn’t know there was an alternative doesn’t mean it was good for us, doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for our kids.

How To Shape A Child

[I have gone back and forth on posting this. I didn’t write it out of anger, although is sounds that way. Forgive me for the visually disturbing imagery. They represent my raw emotions on the matter.]

There is a way to train your children. To mold them, shape them into the person they should be.

There is a way to make them fit the box you’ve chosen.

First, you take off an arm so they can’t take hold of anything you’d wish for them to avoid. This will also ensure they won’t touch something out of curiosity or reach much higher than you feel they should (for their own well-being, of course). Be sure to only take one so that the other can still grasp what you give it.

Next, remove your child’s legs. This determines how far they can wander and keeps them close to you and therefore safe at all times.

The tongue is a must. There must be no talking back or protesting during the process.

And you had better have a good long look at their passions and take what won’t fit. (You may not need to take it; dismantling or dissecting it often works, too.)

Their soul seems like a tricky piece to fit the space but it’s really rather simple. Crushing it will always do the trick.

After that you may want to remove an eye, so they can no longer see who they really are.

And most certainly, you should take the part of them that thinks for itself. This will ensure they’ll repeat the cycle.

Instructional Warning: The finished product will very likely fit the box you’ve intended for them. But please don’t be surprised when you can no longer recognize them through the disfigured, hurting, angry, incapable, fearful, diffident and broken people they’ve become.

🙁

Slow Dancing

Darkness

This week marks the second pregnancy I’ve lost in six months. Both times I felt early on that something was amiss and braced myself for the worst. But no amount of bracing can prepare your heart for such a devastation as this.

I’ve dealt with the awareness of secondary infertility for six years now. It’s been a tender bruise on my heart that I’ve masked from most of the world. Wrapped up in disappointment after disappointment are the feelings of guilt and failure. Of being less of a woman; incapable of giving a brother or sister to a little boy who’s learned how sore the subject is; unable to give a birth child to the man who told me of his only heart’s desire on our second date. I’ve railed against (what I know as and call) Gd and fate, my own body and my own choices for what feels like an eternity. I’ve held resentment and anger towards mothers I viewed as ungrateful for the gift they had and wasted or took for granted. I’ve held onto dreams and names and hope only to see them turn into someone else’s child. I’ve screamed in my husband’s arms over the injustice of our losses and cried myself to sleep too many times to count.

And all this time I’ve separated these bitter pains from the rest of my life. Hiding away our attempts, our desperate prayers, our broken hearts. I’ve tried to create spaces in my life that reflect happier things; things that don’t reverberate my bones in agony or despair. Things that allow me to appear – to myself and the world – as if there is something within my control.

But this most recent wound has torn open old scars as well and I’m finding myself unable to hold back the gush of bleeding that has followed. I’ve been riding a rollercoaster of emotion – heartache to resolve, anger to acceptance and back again. In that one moment of truth it all changed. And now I’m standing here with the cold, hard facts of my entire life before me. This event has shaken me awake and made me stare into my own eyes; made me question everything I think I know. Made me ask what is really going on and what really matters.

I’ve looked back over my last several posts, over all the supposed soul-searching and saw what I haven’t wanted to see. I wasn’t trying to do anything but control, manipulate, and force what it is I think is right and wrong in myself and my life. I rearranged and rehashed and reworked ways to be the ruler of my universe. I’ve been fighting and pushing and pulling against what IS for what I think should be. And all it gives me is a short sense of accomplishment, quickly followed by the same feeling of sadness.

I am sad. It is so hard for me to admit that openly. I am sad for what I cannot seem to have, for what I perceive myself as having become, for what I feel is lacking. Joy and laughter, creativity and peace. Another soul within our home. And I carry this ache within my heart and constantly judge my actions against my dreams. I’ve become unhappy not only with what I have or lack, but with who I am.

What if the question is not why I am so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?

I stumbled across a book at the library – my only place of quiet solitude – with that question sprawled across the front. The book is called The Dance: Moving to the Rhythms of Your True Self and it’s title had jumped out at me, perhaps because I had seen this blog about dance earlier in the day and its means of expression through movement had resonated with me. I sat down in an armchair by a warm, sunny window and began to read. And it was as if every single word on every single page was being directed solely at me. And because my heart is no longer allowing me to hold it back, I cried right there. This is an unfamiliar place to be. Frustration and anger have been emotions I’ve become comfortable sharing. But aching sadness is a foreign territory and all I want to do is crawl away and hide myself from curious onlookers.

Chapter by chapter I was reminded that through all my attempts to control or “create”, I’ve lost touch with what I once knew. That this world is just a dream and I’m a dreamer curled within the hands of Gd; that some things cannot be explained and somethings happen beyond our control. And that in all my attempts to micro-manage every corner of this existence, I have betrayed my ability to simply trust Gd and experience the divinity of letting go. And now my soul has been exposed and what is flooding out cannot be held back. I’m no longer trying to ignore what Gd is whispering in my ear and my broken heart is in need of a healing I can’t manage on my own.

So forgive me if this blog veers temporarily as I use this space that has meant so much to me as a sounding board for my internal and emotional acid trip. This may all become too raw or too personal or too wacky for you to follow and please know that I understand whether you choose to duck out the backdoor or pull up a chair. My only hope is that I can emerge from the other side with some sense of understanding or well-being I don’t currently own. Gd help me along the way.

~Tara

In my opinion,

organic junk food is still junk food. It just doesn’t taste as guiltily satisfying…Z at the new “healthy” fast food joint, evos:

I was thinking today about something that happened shortly after Z turned 7 years old. It was around lunchtime and Z and I were tired, cranky and hungry. I wanted to wait until I got home to eat but Z needed something sooner and asked for the Evil Golden Arches. In a moment of weakness, I grudgingly said “Okay”. When he realized we were going through the drive-thru, I explained we needed to get home and didn’t have time to go in and play. He was not happy about this and proceeded to “let me know”. I told him if he continued acting in such a manner, we would just go home. Well, he proceeded so I left. He was furious and stated, “Every since I turned 7, I get NO respect!”

At the time it was nothing more but a funny Z-ism, but I realize now it was a boy growing up; wanting to feel as if his opinion mattered as much as those around him. Honestly, at that time it didn’t and he obviously felt it. In that moment all he saw was that I had gone back on my word. I had put my control over his life in front of his own self-control. I realize now how I could have managed the situation better, talking with him about our options before expecting him to accept them blindly and gratefully; perhaps making sure we eat before we get cranky and short with each other!

But at that time in my life, it was about MY needs and MY control and Z needing to bend to me instead of modeling compromise and generosity myself. It’s no wonder he felt little respect when I thought “respect was to be earned”.

“Respect must be earned.” Kind of a double standard, huh? An authoritative figure expects respect without question but then expects others to “earn” it from them. But if children live what they learn, what is an authoritative parent teaching when they don’t give respect and consideration freely?

I’ve stopped telling Z to say “please” or “thank you” but I make sure to say it plenty – to him and to others. I no longer expect Z to act a certain way to fit inside my parameters of respect, but I model respect every chance I get. And it’s true, children do live what they learn. Our relationship today is living proof.