Thursday, January 27, 2011


Somehow today Buddha came up. Ari asked if he was a real person. I told her there was a real person that was thought to be the "Buddha". I loosely told her the story of how his parents were told he would either be a great ruler or a wise man. I mentioned that his parents sought to protect him from all the sadness and misery in the world and so they would only take him to the nice parts of the kingdom and they would steer him away from old people, the ailing, and anything else that would signify that the world had suffering in it. She gave me a really shocked look and said, "Isn't that just a little overprotective. I mean what did they think he was going to do when he found out eventually those things existed."

Funny enough, that is one of the reasons we have tried to be really up front with Ari when something comes up. We then talked about what parents in our culture attempt to hide from their kids and to what benefit or drawbacks this could lead to in life in general and in the relationships between children and parents. Certainly, there are times Ari wished her dad and I were not so up front. But, since we have no desire or inclination to change who are and we just happen to be people who are not afraid of tough conversations- at least not anymore- we will continue to do as we are doing. How will it turn out? We don't know, but neither do people who do not tell their kids the truth.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Second grade was the year I really started to hate school. I am not sure why I am thinking about this today but there you have it. It could have been that my second grade teacher really did not like me. This was the truth. To be fair, I do not remember myself as a child but I imagine I was a hand full. Not only was I quick witted and sharp tongued but I also lived in a crazy house. I am willing to bet that the transition from being in charge of my house in to a setting where someone told me what and when to do things all day was not seamless.

It may have something to do with the second grade play in which I had a huge role. A role facilitated by another second grade teacher who discovered I could sing and became my champion that year. I used to wish that I was in her class and at least the play afforded me a large amount of time with her, until it was over. My role in that play would follow me for the rest of my schooling life. Even when I was graduating from high school people would still bring up that play. I did not learn until ninth grade that many of the girls in the second grade resented my part in said play. That information explained a lot about how the other girls in second grade behaved towards me.

This was also the year I got to go to Disneyland. I actually remember very little about it. My big sister, one from the United Way Big Brothers, Big Sisters program not a blood relative, was getting a divorce and we took the trip while her soon to be ex husband moved out of the house. Where I grew up you did not get divorced. You could live the most unhappy, unfulfilled, hollow life but you did not get divorced. This is actually one of the many things I love about my big sister. She could always be counted on to live her life according to her own design and naysayers be damned.

But when I think of second grade, one of the things that comes to memory first is learning to count in units. You know like by 5's, or 10's. I remember hours and days that then turned in to weeks of doing the same damn thing. We would be instructed to get out a piece of paper. Then we would fold the paper accordion style going across the width of the page making several long columns. Then we would be instructed to write out numbers using the boxes we had just created on our paper. I remember doing this so often and for so long I thought I would die of boredom.

Imagine my surprise then after this long and boring and tedious process of learning to count in units when my oldest daughter learned to count by 5's, 10's, 20's and even 100's without so much as a piece of paper or a single "lesson" on the subject.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I have to be honest, the word spiritual is one that makes me throw up in my mouth just a little. Of course, that is a vast improvement over the reaction I used to have to the word. I am not really sure why. There are many possibilities. It could have its roots in my upbringing in a fundamentalist religion, or in my dabbling in new age philosophy. Either one is a likely culprit. One at its root was about an established organization that exerted control over the people in its congregation and the other about how people can somehow magically control the universe. Maybe it is because I have never been capable of fitting the mold that either of these ideas of spiritual would bring to my mind.

When I talked this over with my mentor some time again she laughed at me, this is a very common occurrence actually. She said, "End game is living well." It has taken me this long to really chew on that and then use it.

I am an incredibly spiritual person with a goofy, some would say, sick sense of humor. I feel being spiritual is about a continuous search for truth, a journey to ones wholeness. It is no accident that my favorite nuggets of truth right now are:

If you plant flowers in the front yard and never pick up the shit in the back yard something will start to smell.


You can sprinkle sugar on shit and it might sparkle but it will still be shit.

You see, I am sort of in the middle of my own "coming out." It has become too inauthentic for me to not have all the parts of me together all the time. So, yes you will begin to see posts about my ongoing and life long spiritual quest to me. And yes, they will still have swear words and a slightly off color perspective.

January 24, 2011

I was in the kitchen with Mina today and I could feel my own tension level beginning to rise. I could hear the tone of my own voice starting to get shorter and more terse. I realized it would be a very good idea to go and take maybe 10 minutes and just sit.

I am often surprised by these moments of tension. They seem to come out of nowhere in the middle of something not tense. It has taken me a long time, years actually, to sit with them instead of either being so distracted by the tension and my judgments about it I don't do anything but go around and around in a circle of inner suffering or, notice the tension but don't do anything about it until I am a raging lunatic.

A conversation that occurred in one of my Yahoo groups came to mind. Some of the moms were talking about needing a "break" from their kids. I realized that this idea has completely transformed for me in the last year or so. There was a time I would get tense, I would not stop to deal with the tension, and then as my tension rose somehow in my actions and choices I made it my children's fault. Maybe I did not directly blame them and then sometimes through things I said and did, I did.

I understand now that my tension level has never been about my kids but about something that goes on inside me, something that if I sit down, slow my breathing, and get quiet, I can usually manage pretty successfully.

This quote came to mind: "The reality is, when you have taken total responsibility for your own reality, and you can see that the other is also responsible, then what you do is going to happen in sacred space." Spotted Eagle

I feel our family is really working on this aspect of having good relationships. My kids do not create my reality and I do not create theirs. Because my kids were not responsible for my tension, I was able to inform them of what I needed and why I needed it. My oldest daughter and I were able to have a really honest conversation about how I sometimes do not give her the space she needs and I got the opportunity to tell her I would really work on that.