My children never cease to amaze me, in how much they educate me daily. My son just learned his second word, yet I feel like I’ve learned more from him in his nine short months Earthside than I have in all my 23 years.
He recently learned to climb the death trap, err I mean the two stairs leading up from the sunken sitting room. I call it a death trap because it’s a wide set of stairs, and there’s nothing we can do to barricade Asher from falling. Just like his nickname however ‘The Engineer,’ he cleverly learned to get as close to the stairs as possible, without falling; then squawk and wave his arms and yell at me until I pick him up and place him where his toys are down below.
My husband and I were discussing how fast he learned this new trick, when our daughter never learned to climb stairs until long after she was walking. Then we considered that, Mila just never got the opportunity since we didn’t have stairs at our old home.
Overnight Mila has transformed from a toddler into a pre-schooler. She has been listening, behaving, and holding my hand when I ask. We’ve been able to work out the power struggles without tears and she’s potty trained herself, in less than a week.
Potty training has been a source of immense frustration and stress. Why? Mostly because I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, I don’t know what to expect, I know its possible to do it in a few days because the Internet told me, and there is always that mom that potty trains her infant so you feel this ‘pressure’ to follow suit. It has also been a complete disaster the few hours I’ve attempted.
When things weren’t working so well for me I began badgering my mother on potty training secrets and how she trained my brother and I; and the best she had for me was “You potty trained yourself.”
This was almost the least helpful advice, or so I felt, because I’m a real do-er. I like plans of action. So, I just all out gave up, mostly out of frustration and I no longer wanted to think about kids that potty train themselves because they were mythical unicorns to me. I would just deal with it later, if she didn’t “potty train herself,” like my mother promised me she would. I knew she wouldn’t go to school in diapers, and it would work itself eventually.
So when Mila ran upstairs from her movie one day, yelling as she ran past “I pee on the potty,” went into the bathroom, pulled down her pants, removed her diaper and peed on the potty before I even got there- I thought it was nothing short of a one off miracle, although I was impressed.
But then it happened again. And again. She would get out of the tub to pee. We would be in the car and she would ask. She had totally figured it out. Maybe the stickers and skittles had a say, but honestly, we had tried those before to no success.
These two experiences really summed something up for me, and thus are why I think my kids are my greatest mentors. They proved to me that all you need to do is plant a seed, water it with opportunity, encouragement, and allow life to flow wherever it naturally wants to go. Let go of the illusion of control. Let go of expectation. And just let things flow.
My son is not some baby athlete because he learned to climb stairs earlier than my daughter or maybe some other baby. He was just given the opportunity to do it, he tried it, and he succeeded.
I could have pushed my daughter to potty train, harder than I had attempted in the past, working through my frustration, the accidents, the doubt in her. But I didn’t. I just told myself that she would not go to school in diapers, and that it would work itself out. And it did. I don’t think I’m lucky. I don’t think she’s a genius. It’s called opportunity. The potty was there, we talked about it, and I educated her about how to go, when and what to do. One day it just clicked for her.
I think we would all do a little better in life, and by better I mean less stressed, if we just let life flow where it naturally wants to. No, your child might not be climbing stairs at this moment, but maybe they are learning to wave, cutting teeth, or learning ‘mama.’ There is no clear-cut direction in parenting, and much of the rest of life is that way too.
I’ve been considering switching careers altogether, or just temporarily doing something else while the children are young. This has been an agonizing decision for me because I’m afraid to make a mistake, make a ‘wrong’ decision, as well as let go of my massage career. I felt like I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t even know how to get there, I didn’t know what I could possibly even take to get me remotely close to achieving this. So I decided to let my life naturally flow where it wants to be. Be adventurous until you find something that makes you say ‘I need more of this.”
I researched more of what interests me NOW. I bought some books, I’ve signed up for online classes. I went into specialty stores and meditated on the topic of my future career. I literally asked the Universe “what will you have me do? How can I be of the best service and use my full potential.”
And over time, little snippets of a sign appeared. Little messages popped up in my inbox or newsfeed. Suggestions were made on my Pinterest page, and the cogs really got turning. The answer is getting clearer and clearer as the days go by, as I dip my toes in more adventure, drink more tea, spend more time with the kids. Be open to the opportunities, and be open to taking them too, it makes life more adventurous, and it adds a little more beauty too.
I think we could all do with a little more beauty.
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe its about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”
I’ve been going through my childhood things lately that were left at my parents’ house, the non-essentials, of when I moved out nearly five years ago. Between all the papers, dollar store figurines, and plain garbage, I’ve been finding hints of who I used to be. My childhood self.
You see children are as authentic and honest as they come. As we grow, our hearts get a little colder, we get a little older, and we begin to form our thoughts about life. We learn, we get hurt, and somewhere along the way fear is instilled in us. Being not good enough, being seen as dumb, fat, ugly, unimportant, unkind, fill-in-blank-here. This fear begins to play out again and again in our life, even as we become adolescents and into adults. It takes a certain effort to try and find that little innocent child again. It takes a lot of ups and downs and moments of giving up. It takes the realization of discovering your fear before you can break away from this fear obsession thought and become your true self. Finding the cyclic fear based thought was very difficult for me. I knew there was something, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I had to break away layers of fears before I came to the root of it all. This past week has been very eye opening for me because I finally feel like I have discovered It.
It being…Drum roll please…
Being disliked. The reason isn’t specific. Maybe because they think I’m dumb, because I’m uncool, because I’m weird, intimidating, or too serious.
I’ve realized that I have been untrue to myself and people around me because of this fear. I decided to adapt to everyone around me. I changed, ever so slightly, to have some kind of common ground, in order to make them feel comfortable, I was a shape shifter. The result being, I couldn’t remember my identity. I had forfeited little pieces of me in fear someone would not appreciate the gifts I had to offer.
Now I think we do this to a degree. Perhaps you’ve noticed when you are around someone with an accent, how you begin to speak with one too. You aren’t trying to be rude or make fun of them, we naturally do it to make that person feel secure, to make them feel comfortable and welcome. I think to an extent, I just wanted to make people feel comfortable. But somewhere along the way, especially in my adolescence and my desire to be liked by someone, anyone really, I lost who I was.
So here I am, opening these boxes and pulling out crystals and vintage fabrics and boho backpack-purses with leather flaps. My first English-French dictionary, incense sticks, Law of Attraction deck, star charts and amber tree resin from when I smudged my room; and I realize, as time has gone on, how I am slowly coming back to all of this, and how “cool” I really was as a kid. I was a boho, hippy flower child of the 1990’s. With mismatched bracelet stacks and wild long hair. I believed in magic and fairies and drank tea when I got home from school. I read about auras, I played piano, I wrote books and climbed trees, I ran barefoot, I did yoga, I wrote poetry and listened to music from around the world all day long. I learned languages, and read anything I could get my hands on. Little by little I unpacked the things I stowed away from the fear of being disliked. I felt myself breathe a little deeper and felt a little more like me.
When I first started doing yoga again last year, it was honestly like coming home. I picked out a mala and asked for it for Christmas, and when I held that guru bead of thick Amethyst in my hands, I felt so at ease. As I move deeper into myself I find I am meeting people who have the same interests in me. I see little signs coming to me when I ask the big question What is my purpose in life?
This post is a simple reminder that you have everything you need inside of you. That while you can still exercise free will, there is in fact a master plan you can execute if you just cultivate the environment in which your true self can bloom in. Just unbecome all those things that have masked the true you, your spirit will recognize it’s counterpart and will just…take off.
It has been quite the week in our little world. We prepared for Halloween by buying candies early and polishing them off before Halloween (we do this literally every year.) I threw up some decorations the day before, as well as carved our pumpkins, which turned out pretty good for free hand sharpie carvings!
In our town the downtown shops celebrate and give back to the kids by handing out candy. Its from 4-6, so before things get dark, and anyone with little children just loves it because they don’t get scared since its light out, and they get a pretty good haul just by hitting the few streets that make up the downtown core. We went for an hour only and Mila will have enough candy to last her until Christmas. (realistically with the help of her dad, probably till next pay day, but whatever, no judgement here.)
My husband and I dressed up too this year. I wanted to be a Dead Prom Queen, so I wore my old prom dress, and did a neat make-up job. It was fun but I was sure glad to wash off the fake blood. It was crusting in the brisk weather we had! Justin was going to go as my dead date, but naturally he changed his mind last minute and wanted to do a scary clown face. I gave him the make-up kit and said I wasn’t going to help, but he begged me so I broke down and ended up doing most of it LOL.
Mila was Princess Ariel, and Asher was Franken-baby. He was rather unimpressed with Halloween, but I feel he will come around when he can actually enjoy the fruits of his labour. Anyone outside of Canada will see what it is like to have a true Halloween in the Northern Hemisphere, because yes, they were wearing winter coats. But hey, there was no snow on the ground, so we considered it one of the better Trick or Treating climates.
November First was my family’s late Thanksgiving dinner (happy Samhain everyone!) and we stuffed ourselves all day and had naps on the couches and ate pie and candy leftovers and drank bottle after bottle of wine. It was lovely and loud and colourful and messy, kind of like my crazy Italian side of the family.
And last but not least, in no chronological order, on October 29th my Papa turned 81. He’s very inspiring to me, and my little boy reminds me of him so much, in his personality, and in the little looks he gives me. We love you Papa and Happy Birthday!
How were your Celebrations? Do you have any special traditions at Halloween?
(P.S for whatever reason, the photos of my grandfather wouldn’t upload! My face looks like Asher’s did- clearly not a fan of Halloween eh?)
You might be wondering what “get quiet” means and how exactly to do that. It means to stop the mindless chatter in your head. The judgement, the nagging, the voice that criticizes you and everyone around you. Getting quiet means to separate yourself from this voice. Getting quiet means to be present in the moment without tuning in to that voice, which might be confusing because we typically believe this voice is ME, the narrator of our life. But it is not. This voice is the dysfunction of our true Self. The best way to “get quiet” or turn inward, is through breath, because when you focus on your breath you are immediately drawn into the present moment.
Give it a try. All you need is one minute of dedication, no time is wasted, all is beneficial. Set a timer, and focus on your breath. Is it wet or dry, in your belly or lungs? Focus on how you feel, come in to your body, by focusing on your fingers, toes, precisely how you’re sitting, everything your body is feeling in that moment. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing. It is as simple as that.
This is how you connect with yourself, or connect within. And if you have been questioning your purpose, or how to be happy, this is a wonderful way to begin.
And if you question the notion that being present brings happiness, just think to the moments in your life where you have felt most alive. What were you doing? When do you have the most fun, or feel exhilarated? Is it when you are traveling, doing extreme sports, painting? What makes you so absorbed you forget you are hungry? These moments are when we are most present, and they make us feel alive because we have dedicated all of our being into doing that exact task. We remember it because we aren’t thinking of some menial task to do at the office, or the argument we had with our spouse. Can you imagine if you dedicated as much attention to snowboarding down a mountain, as we did gathering the mail, or groceries, how much more meaningful our lives would be? How much easier would it be to find what makes us happy, if we were always present and processing our life before our eyes, instead of tuning in to the mindless gossip that is our Ego.
Pick up your journal and see if you can pick out the events in your life that stand out most to you. Could you apply that same mindfulness to other areas of your life?