Thoughts on Parenting for Show

If you haven’t read it already, this commentary on the public humiliation of children that has become so prevalent in the social media age of parenting is well worth reading and absorbing.

Public shaming is awful and is nothing less than societally sanctioned parental bullying. Especially harmful to the young people against whom it is used as a weapon, the ramifications will resonate throughout their lives. They aren’t as tough as we pretend we are. (Read the whole thing here.)

Continue reading “Thoughts on Parenting for Show”

One Bag of Tricks = One Thankful Stranger (and a whole lot of emotion)

It’s crazy how much this topic makes my heart pound and my stomach clench. My body was betraying me when it all went down yesterday and it has done it every time I think about it since, most especially as I try to relate it all to you. Obviously there are some things to DIG IN to here for me. 😉 Continue reading “One Bag of Tricks = One Thankful Stranger (and a whole lot of emotion)”

The Life Lessons of Purple Hair

I did something I haven’t done since I was a teenager. I applied chemicals to my head, drained the tips of color, and filled it back in with purple.

Yes, I’m the “Organic Sister”…my life orbiting around the natural, the innate, the organic, the mindful. And I bleached and colored my hair.

It's happening people. Tippin' it.

I cut it. @mirandamayi tipped it. My color blind husband can't see it. #purple #hair #pixie #fauxhawk
(@tarawagner on Instagram)

I don’t use shampoo. I don’t condition. I don’t use styling product or tools. (I use water, and my fingertips, and that be all, folks.) I cut it myself and I intentionally avoid products because, quite frankly, figuring out what’s safe and what’s not is a royal pain in the arse and why bother when it’s not really necessary.

Having dreads for almost 4 years got me into this habit of minimalism.

Then, shaving my head placed me square in the habit of fully alive.

Still, it’s sort of a big deal for me, being all hip on the sustainable aspects of life, to embrace what I used to call (still can see as) wasteful, superfluous, and potentially harmful.

And I did it anyway. 😉

Here are the thoughts I’ve been playing with in my head:

I’ve lived a life of minimalism and mindfulness and it bordered on the mentality of scarcity. We had our urban homestead, our chickens, our food storage, our ideas of sustainability and peak oil, and right versus wrong, and holy-hell-the-world-is-coming-to-an-end.

Since then I’ve embraced a world of joy and abundance. We travel, we explore, we create, we examine, we swim in the possibilities of life. But it can border on denial at times.

My goal since becoming aware of this dichotomy of our experiences has been to balance having two feet planted firmly on the ground, while simultaneously raising our hearts and minds to the universe. The balance of the spiritual and the practical. Of reality as we see it, and the awareness of the dream we call reality, the spiritualism that tells me all is ultimately well.

As we approach the idea of settling back down, we know we want chickens again. We want a permaculture “homestead”. We want sustainable housing.

We don’t want scarcity, fear, paranoia, mistrust, or that impending sense of doom.

We want to balance our values for the earth with our values for our spirits.

What the hell does this have to do with my hair?

I’m not totally sure. 😉 Except I think maybe I’m playing, toying with the balance of scarcity and abundance, with the ideas of responsibility and playfulness, pushing edges, and throwing around ideas through the “frivolous” and the “serious” things I’m doing, trying to figure out for myself what this new era in our life will be like, embracing the teacher before the lesson has really begun.

Right now that looks like purple tips.

Organic Wisdom :: The Tool versus Its Purpose

I like to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings 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.

I remember when these words rang out in my heart.

It was a family game night. Or so we insisted.

We had been too busy all week and it was showing in our interactions. (A busy life is toxic to relationships, after all.)

Justin and I knew we needed to slow things down and reconnect.

So we called for a game night.

But Zeb wasn’t into it that night. He had his own plans.

We knew reconnecting was important, so we insisted.

“You’re going to play games with us and you’re going to like it dammit!” (If those weren’t our exact words they probably sounded like it to him.)

Oh what a fun game night. Full of connection, let me tell you.

Yeah, not so much.

Game night was just a tool. Connection was our deeper purpose.

And we sacrificed real connection for the tool we insisted we use.

We parents do this often:

  • The deeper purpose of school is suppose to be learning. But we sacrifice the deeper learning and creativity for good grades, standardization, sitting quietly and following directions.
  • The deeper purpose of cleaning the house is to have order and peace in the home, but we sacrifice order and peace when we fight over the dishes and who made the mess in the living room.
  • The deeper purpose of a book is to enjoy ourselves, but we sacrifice that enjoyment when we control what and how and when they learn to read.
  • The deeper purpose of so much of what we do is to keep them safe and ensure their happiness, but we sacrifice both their happiness and their safety when we use control, shame or punishments as the tool.

It’s not just parenting. We do this with our entire lives.

  • We get hung up on date night being “just right” instead of focusing on connection.
  • We wrap ourselves around the idea of a certain diet instead of remembering to simply nourish our body.
  • We lose ourselves in a job instead of in the life our job is suppose to be supporting.

But the hammer is nothing compared to what it builds. And our mindfulness and intention are the best builders of all.

Are You Ready to Parent with Deeper Purpose?

I’m so flipping excited to be putting the last touches on the Organic Parenting e-course.

This will be a 6 week course to help you feel grounded and vibrant as a parent, access your own patience and understanding, and give you the tools to create a home based on deeper levels of Trust, Connection, Autonomy, and Passion by moving beyond control, punishments, and fighting.

It has some incredible contributions already from people such as:

I’ve got goosebumps just looking at the full list. ♥

The registration opens September 3rd. Or get it FREE by joining the Organic Tribe now.

Please be aware that although you can join the Organic Tribe at any time, the price will increase for new members on September 1st. It will go from $99 to join to $130. So if you’re considering joining, do so soon!

Click here for details.

Organic Wisdom :: Opportunities for Anger

Every Friday I intend to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings 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.

:: “He made me so angry!”
:: “You are making me angry!”
:: “Stop what you’re doing before you make Mommy angry.”

How often have we each heard those words coming out of our mouths? 🙂

No one can “make us” angry. They just can’t.

They can only trigger the anger that is dwelling within us, allowing us to experience the pain we’re burying beneath the anger.

Sure, they can give us the opportunity to create anger.

But that’s a choice too and we make ourselves out to be victims when we don’t acknowledge that we have much more say over the way we want to feel than anyone else.

Just because we’re given an opportunity to be angry doesn’t mean we have to take that opportunity.

Just because you could drive backwards on the freeway doesn’t mean you have to risk your well-being. Just because you could stick your hand in the flame, doesn’t mean you’ll risk pain. Just because there is an opportunity to eat shit, doesn’t mean you’re crazy enough to do it.

Choosing to take an opportunity for anger is a lot like playing chicken with a Mac truck, or BBQing your flesh, or eating out of the litter box.

The opportunity to do it doesn’t make you justified in your actions. It makes you crazy.

Blaming our anger on anyone else is a scapegoat we use to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions and reactions.

(The irony of this is when we want our children to take accountability for their choices while simultaneously telling them they are responsibility for ours. Oh us messy humans and our contradictions. 😉 )

How do you want to feel instead of angry?

What would it take you to feel that way, regardless of the opportunities around you?

Organic Wisdom :: Think About It

Side note: We’re at DrumStrong with The Conscious Caravan this weekend! If you’re in the area I’d love to see you there. 😀 And stay tuned for the official introduction to the rest of the Caravan!

Every Friday I try to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings 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.

We live in a fast-paced culture.

Ideas, thoughts, images, words, stimulation in one form or another is constantly flying by our heads.

We’re over-stressed, over-committed, and overwhelmed.

And although we know there is a time to process, to feel, to sink into our sorrow and experience what it’s offering us, we’re all craving that deep sense of gratitude that reverberates in our bones, craving to be overwhelmed with joy.

You don’t have to chase gratitude and joy.

You just have to stop and think.

Close our eyes and think about who your children are as people (not as the makers of mistakes).

Close your eyes and think about the core intentions of your partner (not the way he or she has learned to act on those intentions).

Close your eyes and think about what your body is capable of (not what you criticize it for).

Close your eyes and think about Who You Are – beneath the commotion and the ideas and the fears and the incessant need to impress or resist.

Just create a little space – in your schedule, in your home, in your head – to experience what is aching to fill the spaces of your heart.

What are you thinking of these days?

External Reflections of an Internal Joy (My Thoughts on Meaningful Consumerism)

"Stuff-ed"

Tiffani and I were sitting on the edge of my bed when I had the epiphany (I’m calling it “The Epiphany with Tiffani”.)

We were looking through my closet trying to find the perfect thing to wear during the dready photoshoot when she said something extremely obvious along the lines of “Pick something that reflects you and that you feel really good in” and I realized how much I felt “comfortable” in or “okay” in, but nothing to fit her description.

I started talking about how much of my clothing I don’t actually *love* or that doesn’t fit me well and how much I dislike to shop because I can never find what I want and love, when it hit me that I had my closet and my head so full of what I didn’t want that I had no space in either for what I did!

I know the value of creating space in my life (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally) for the things I’m ready for. But I hadn’t applied it to the simplest of things. (Duh.)

I then proceeded to yank things off hangars and throw them on the floor, where they stayed for several days (Justin loved me for it. 😉 ) instigating me to finish the task.

And I did. I purged over 80% of my closet over the next week.

Then within 4 days I had found a handful of new things that I love and can’t wait to wear each day!

I created space and Life rushed in to fill it with the things I was ready for.

These things reflect me and highlight my favorite parts of me and make me feel radiant and comfortable at the same time. Yum. 🙂

Then last week I got a new iPhone.

I had milked my last phone until the last possible day, when it went haywire and started calling China like a curious 3 year old.

And I love my new iPhone! It’s fun and easy to use and syncs with my everything and has Siri which makes me feel like Tony Stark telling my robot what to do for me (or asking it the meaning of life – seriously, try it. Several times.)

It makes my life easier and I feel high-tech and hip and fun. I’m playing with Instagram and Hanging with Friends and getting automatic updates to my calendar.

But All This Triggered Me Too

I’m writing all this because it has me reflecting on consumption and my reasons for it.

We gave away nearly everything we owned when we hit the road and I’m suddenly finding value in “stuff”?

On top of that is my strong resonance with sustainability and eco-conscious living.

We live in a pretty consumable world and we (as a culture) love to consume.

And I’ll admit it. I loved the “high” of finding my new purple, off-the-shoulder top and tapping away on my new iPhone.

It feels good, especially to someone like me who hasn’t done a lot of shopping or consuming outside of thrift stores and farmers markets, based on the principle of it.

And so I can understand why it can feel so easy to fill a void with the superficial, the “stuff” in life.

Because it’s not the “stuff” we’re after – it’s the feeling it might offer us that we’re hungry for.

Maybe it’s a sense of newness, a clean state, a change that doesn’t actually scare us.

Maybe it’s the idea of deserving, of self-worth, of “I earned this”.

Maybe it’s the connection we experience when we fit in with our crowd, know what they are talking about and can share our experience of the same.

Maybe it’s the beauty and the inspiration from filling our homes or our closets with the things that make us smile, feel comfortable and radiant or offer us less stress or more time.

It’s easy to mistake what we’re really after with the means to get it.

It’s easier to get caught up in the “retail therapy” to make us feel good again than it is to actually DIG IN to those uncomfortable feelings that keep us from feeling good all the time and address them once and for all.

It’s also easy to demonize the “stuff”, to point fingers at consumers, to make ourselves or our kids go without for fear of creating waste or feeling (or fearing we look) shallow or conventional.

One way or another, it’s easier to get caught up in the surface, the superficial, than it is to look beneath the surface of our experiences to the real human experience happening within each one of us.

I’m finding it more and more true that the real solution is to notice when the “stuff” is suddenly a tragic attempt to access that joy we all so desperately need to experience, or whether it’s an external reflection of an internal joy we’ve already found.

As I reflect on all this – on my own consumption, my own guilt and concern in contrast to the positive feelings I’m experiencing as a part of this new “stuff” – I am noticing that the happier and more grounded I feel internally, the more I want my external environment to reflect that.

I want to paint my walls and wear rich and vibrant colors and take gorgeous photos faster and organize my life better to reflect what I know as Truth – that the world is beautiful, colorful, inspirational and enjoyable and I want to get back to the act of living it to its fullest potential.

When I keep my focus on the external being a mere reflection of the internal I find my consumer choices are more conscious and simple and eco-friendly, anyway. I choose things that will last, I care for them better and I make sure they are just right for me so that I have no regrets. Because that’s my internal experience as well – full of love, care, mindfulness and value.

If I had to summarize all these reflections I think my point would be this:

Love what you do. Love Who You Are. Let go of the fear and move into Truth. Live your life from the inside out. Find value in yourself and your life, and reflect that in all you do. Reflect outside yourself the Truth you experience in your heart. Allow every choice to count. And INSPIRE the world to something greater, starting with you.

Stepping Into This Opening Space

Today is my last day online before I honor my intentions for The Holiday Reset challenge. I’m wrapping up my online commitments, setting my autoresponder and looking into this week with a bit of unknown.

I feel two opposing forces within me, one with a desire to plan and organize and control this digital sabbatical I’m taking; the other to allow it to unfold and flow organically.

The latter is winning out. 🙂

But before I sign off for a week of stillness, I have many swirling thoughts to articulate.

My weekend with Tiffani, my photographer, was incredible.

Yes, the dreads are gone and she’s promised to have all the after photos and the videos ready for the world by next Wednesday, when I come back online.

I have SO MUCH to share on that process, but I’m still stringing together inadequate words.

Soon, I promise. 🙂

But I do want to offer you a little sneak peek:

IMG_2103

Just wait until you see them all. 🙂

This past weekend has perfectly fed into my upcoming week offline.

I have intentions of making physical space by clearing out some old things I’m ready to let go of (clothing I’ve come to discover through our photo shoot prep that does not feed my soul) and reevaluating my past (incredible) year while setting my intention for the upcoming year.

Stillness, reflection, clarity…yes, please.

And then, of course our Christmas celebrations with our rosemary Christmas “tree”, and lots of fun plans we have to celebrate at Universal Studios. 🙂

Even if I don’t know exactly what this will look like, the intention and mindfulness tell me I’m on the right track.

My hope is that you are intentional with the end of 2011 as well. Whether you’re joining us in the Holiday Reset or creating a celebration in a totally different way, may it meet your deepest needs for connection, freedom, love and laughter this week and into the new year.


Need Help In Creating an Intentional Holiday?

I’d like to offer you the tools to create peaceful dynamics between the most difficult people, to feel grounded throughout the season and into the next year, to meet your deepest needs with intention and mindfulness.

This kit is only being offered until the end of the day today.

Think of it as a last-minute gift to yourself…the kind that offers so much more than any more “stuff” really could.

Click here to get your toolkit.

Or click here to purchase it now.

The Holiday Reset Challenge: I Double-Dog Dare You! (Video)

”" Hannah Marcotti and I connected recently around the idea of taking a digital sabbatical and decided to create this improv video.

It’s all on the topic of finding stillness, the importance of prioritizing our own well-being and the work-life balance of raising a family, owning a business and celebrating the holidays in a way that sustains us.

We’ve made a declaration of our own intentions.

And we are offering you a challenge to join us!

(Don’t have time to watch the whole thing? Skip to 31:30 for details on how to join our Holiday Reset Challenge!)

Links mentioned in the video:

My recent interview on Erin Goodman’s blog
Hannah’s Website

Will you join us? Click over to Hannah’s blog post to let us know!


Are you needing to experience mindfulness this holiday?

Dealing with the “mainstream” when you feel so unconventional, handling the comments or the increased energy or the expectations and obligations…it’s pretty much the epitome of “survival mode” and it pretty much sucks.

If you’re ready for a different experience, I invite you here.