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. -

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™‚

Free To Never Notice

Self-Love Wisdom

I shaved my head again last week.

It wasn’t in a moment of enlightenment or courage this time. It didn’t bring with it all the ecstasy and liberation. This time it was done out of frustration toward myself, almost like “pulling my hair out”. I had noticed how attached I had become to my hair, how much I cared about how it was looking, what it portrayed, and what others might think about it.

And that pissed me off.

Old patterns die hard, and even after several years of feeling free of that one, it had snuck back in. And I was not okay with that. I was angry. Mostly at myself. So out of anger, I shaved it all off again.

Like I said I didn’t feel so liberated and joyful this time around. Instead I felt horrible, ugly, and full of self-hatred. Yes, self-hatred – as I witnessed its power, I could barely believe it. (Self-hatred? Really? Yup. Full force.)

As the emotion began to settle back down, I saw myself start to ease back into that comfortable sense of Just Being Me…no gimmicks, no image, no persona again. But I also noticed that with my shift in energy came a shift in how I perceived the perceptions of others.

Last time I shaved my head, I felt so buoyant, free, and vibrant…cloud-walking and stardust-shimmering and all that self-loving goodness. And so naturally I perceived the world around me with as much Light and Love as I felt within. I had countless women approach me and ask questions, express their own desire to do the same, or compliment me. And when I noticed someone noticing, I felt beautiful and seen, and assumed they saw what I felt.

This time I just feel like me. Not artificially high on the exhilaration of it all. No longer in the anger or self-hatred. Just comfortable in my own skin. And so what I noticed was naturally different. I noticed curious looks, people pointing it out to others, and only one complete stranger expressing their desire to try it. I noticed it all without attachment to the stories (positive or negative) of what it meant. But mostly what I noticed was that there were times I felt self-conscious and times I felt beautiful and times when I didn’t even remember, didn’t notice anything outside me or within me.

I just simply Was. I could just simply Be without even thinking about it.

That’s curious to me. That true peace doesn’t necessarily look big and shiny and joyful. That real self-love doesn’t always come with trumpets and emotional highs.

That sometimes it’s the practice of noticing what ourselves and others notice, and choosing to be at peace with it, until finally you don’t notice it anymore – until finally it’s just a known fact, like the way we don’t notice the grass is green, and yet we know it is.

And I think that’s what I heard in Heather’s words above, that ALL of that is what we get to be thankful for….Life for the lessons, challenges for the practice, and our own inner wisdom for the guidance through our own witnessing of each moment of our experiences.

Shit surfaces. That’s okay.

Shit surfaces. via

“Shit surfaces. Watch it. Laugh at the silliness of it. Breathe through it. DIG IN. Dance it off. Make friends with it. Talk to it. But most of all, don’t take it seriously. It’s just a function of our minds. The point isn’t to fight it off or try to make it go away. The point is to learn how to let it come and let it go.”

These words come from a great convo with a friend, colleague, and client.

It might just be the hardest thing to learn.

Shit does and will surface.

But with practice it ceases to feel like shit, and just starts being “stuff”. It’s like meditation: Buddha didn’t have NO thoughts cross the mind during meditation, just no attachment to those thoughts.ย One of the meditations I practice uses these words about thoughts (i.e. “shit”)…”Let them come. Let them ALL come. And let them go.”

Don’t believe them. Don’t feed them. Don’t latch on. Do what you gotta do to make sense of them perhaps, so that you can let them go. Cuz they will go.

If you’re not hanging on.

Practicing the Empty Nest (or Our Month of Dates)

Dropping the #manchild off at the airport.

Zeb’s been out of town for two weeks now (which should show you about how behind in blogging I am). He comes home next week, just one day shy of his 14th birthday.

These trips of his are almost old hat for us now, except this time he not only flew alone but also navigated his first layover/plane change. It came about after a lot of discussion and even some practice runs following our convoluted and time-sensitive directions through a busy mall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The first thing people ask us when he leaves town is, “Do you miss him?”

The first two weeks my answer was, “No”, which I’m pretty sure puts me in last place for Mom of the Year.

But the thing is missing him would be like saying we wish he were here. And if he is having a blast, exploring and being with family and friends, why would we bring in our complaints about his absence, why would we wish for him to be anywhere but where he’s having fun, why would we damper his mood by making him worry about us?

So instead of our focusing on his not being here, we focused on his having a blast and our permission to do the same. We ate out. Went to the beach. Got to know each other a little more. We even established an Instacrack hashtag to commemorate #ourmonthofdates.

Heaven. #ourmonthofdates

But that was the first two weeks.

Now we are missing him and ready for our time apart to end. ๐Ÿ™‚

Funny how the newness (or the much needed break) wears off.

Yes, I said much needed break.

You know, a lot of people in the mindful parenting community talk about how awesome it is to have teenagers. And when you’ve come from a paradigm of “the moment your sweet little child hits 13 they will make you want to scratch your eyes out” it is REALLY important to understand that parenting teenagers does NOT suck.

And it doesn’t.

We get to watch this man-child grow taller than us. We get to have amazing discussions on politics or social issues. We get to hear jokes that don’t end in “Red race car vroom vroom”. We get to see him establish his own identity (that he will undoubtedly reestablish 17 more times before he finally realizes none of it works) and come to know him in ways a 3 year old or 7 year old or 11 year old can’t tell you about themselves, can’t even know about themselves.

But there’s one thing all these mindful parenting circles don’t tell you….

Yes, parenting teens is it’s own kind of awesome.

And yes, it can also really blow too.

Hormones are a bitch. Don’t you remember that? Don’t you remember bursting into tears or suddenly growing fangs and ripping the flesh off some unsuspecting person while in your mind you shocked or scared even yourself? Don’t you remember that biological urge to establish your own territory, so you packed away the Slim Jims and Top Ramen in your room until finally the ants got so bad your parents called the trump card and made you eat in the kitchen?

Self-identity is a bitch. Don’t you remember how your sudden self-awareness quickly turned into self-consciousness as you re-examined everything you ever loved and suddenly didn’t even understand anymore. And your heightened awareness also meant seeing the world at large and wanting to find your place in it – and that’s some crap we still struggle with as adults, except as a teen it’s new and overwhelming and makes you wanna watch Family Guy all day until you’re comfortable enough with the mere thought to finally sort it all out. (I remember when the idea of an endless universe made me want to cry from the impossible task of trying to wrap my limited mind around it. I couldn’t even go there until I was at least 20.) That’s not only happening in mainstream, unconscious homes. It happens to mindful, relationship-based, conscious people too.

And as much as it comes with so joy and fun and utter coolness, it’s hard for teens to make the transition through such bumpy mental terrain, which makes it hard for us parents too.

#ourmonthofdates includes quiet moments of doing absolutely nothing. Together.

No one ever told me that.

No one ever told me that conscious parenting doesn’t guarantee that the child-to-adult transition still won’t suck at times. Or that those times might last longer than one short outburst, and then maybe not even end in a hug.

No one ever told me that for all the awesome sauce teenhood brings to the table, there is still a biological urge to leave the nest, and that even your kid will feel bad about how dorky you suddenly seem to him as his evolutionary switch is flipped from My Parents Are Gods to “Oh my God, my parents…“.

And well, no one needed to tell me that any of our own latent triggers we acquire as a teen will suddenly be brought up for us to finally face. That one I knew. I just didn’t recognize that he would have triggers too, and that sometimes we would both be triggered in harmony with one another, like some sick and twisted version of Satan’s Choir.

And I get why no one ever told me.

They didn’t want me to expect it, to dread it, to perpetuate that false idea that raising teens sucks.

Because it doesn’t suck…ย inherently.

It’s just the real deal. Like World 8 of Super Mario. Sure it kicks your ass, but you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have some epic experience defeating your own inner Bowzers to this point. And anyway, you only are playing the game because ultimately it IS fun and fulfilling. Even if sometimes you wanna throw the controller at the screen.

So yes…raising teens in a conscious, connected way, transitioning from attachment parenting to nonattachment in your parenting, and navigating the perils of hormonal fluctuations is hard…for you and your kid.

But it’s still really cool.

And like this week is showing us, the hard stuff fades away and you just end up remembering how awesome they are – when you take the time to remember.

At some point Zeb is gonna be out doing his own thing. And it’s really weird to have your offspring hanging out in Houston without you while he waits for his connecting flight; I can only imagine how much weirder it’s going to be when this is an everyday occurrence.

1. Zeb is somewhere over Louisiana. 2. He doesn't like Thai food. 3. Hence we are kicking off #ourmonthofdates with a Thai buffet.

And yes, we were enjoying #ourmonthofdates those first two weeks, practicing what it would be like to be empty nesters, but now it’s just getting weird. We can only have Pad Thai so many times before we’d rather go to his fave restaurants. And watching The Wolverine in two different states felt kinda sacrilegious to the Family Canon (“Thou shalt see all Stan Lee movies together on release weekend” ranks in our Top 5 Commandments. Right after “Thou shalt wipe your own urine off the toilet seat, dammit“.)

But the time away has also come with some great perspective…

Like how incredibly thankful we are for the way he helps us everyday.

Like how much laughter he brings us.

Like how this parenting gig, no matter how conscious or attached we are, is not going to be our full-time gig forever. That someday he will fly the coop and when the two week newness of date nights and sleeping nekked and actually having leftover bacon wears off, we’re going to miss his face and his warm hugs and his jokes (the good ones and the ones that end in car sounds), and we’re even gonna miss his mood swings.

You’d think I’d know this by now.

We always miss the things we don’t think we’re going to miss. Like the diaper phase. And the sticking-the-hands-in-the-diaper phase. And the Curious Fours and the Intense Sevens.

If we don’t miss the actual details, like the time his diaper leaked diarrhea down my leg and someone was kind enough to take a photo, we at least miss our opportunity to be present and engaged and our best Selves in the moment, like the times I wish I had taken 5 more deep breaths and reminded myself how difficult it can be on the other side.

Because it’s way more difficult to BE a teen than to parent a teen. And it’s probably way more difficult to be MY teen (I’m told, my “going Guru” doesn’t really do it for him). And it’s gotta be infinitely harder to actually be an empty nester instead of just practice being one.

So yes, we (all) appreciate our times away for one another. But for me, mostly because of how they bring us back together.