Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Hearth

"As I understand it, laws, commands, rules and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway."

~Anne Hutchinson, Puritan visionary and mother of the understanding that God speaks in the hearts of us all, and not just in the hearts of leaders and ministers. She was banished for this idea that Protestants now accept as common sense.

When I was very small we had a wood burning stove. I remember it being cast iron--my older siblings may correct me here--but it was black for sure. It sat on a raised brick floor, and I would migrate there after a bath to let my hair dry. Mostly my memories in that room revolve around watching pro wrestling with the family, which was a pastime that died off before I even went to school. One of my fondest early memories involves my dad's slipper catching fire. He had a habit of resting his feet up on the ledge of the stove. I remember him slapping his slipper against the brick, and then looking at me with a stunned expression before crumpling into a heap of laughter on the floor. Most of my early memories don't involve his laughter, so this is one that cherish.

After the attic fire during my Kindergarten year, the stove was removed from the house. I have never forgotten its warmth, and even after my parents built a new edition onto the house complete with a fire place, that little hearth was never buried too deeply in my memories. It was always fresh, like it never really went away.

A couple of years ago, I began to hear little snippets of...direction, I'll call it. I would write it down, and then wait. During the first year, I would monthly receive more clarity. It would show up without fail just as I began to doubt the whole ordeal. During one of the early months the name Little Hearth was all I received, and so I've carried it with me since, not knowing exactly what it would entail or what it meant. I went back to school, and received more direction through the experience (I remembered my confidence there). Then, the entire year of 2011 was consumed by preparing for, and then executing a major family shift, and another, and another. The shifts kept coming and the direction fell silent. Everything fell silent. I felt completely awash without direction. I lost faith all over again in the idea of conscious living, and instead floated where the waves took me. It was exactly what I needed to do. I see that now.

As the year began to close, though, I felt an urgency that I noticed others were feeling as well. Things were about to change, and so I needed to in order to be ready for the new year would bring. I trusted, and I began to move. I followed my intuition to my bookshelf and pulled down a long shelved book. I dove in all over again new that this was the culmination of the growth that began the first time I picked it up years ago. I began to meditate daily. I came to terms with a long held notion that was clearly holding me back, and then I released it at solstice. On Christmas day, I knew for sure it was gone.

With the new year came new and specific direction, which I followed. It led me to one of the most intense periods of personal discovery I've ever experienced, and I hope it never ends. I know now that my first job here as a human being is to tend to my Little Hearth, my inner light, every single day, every single moment. The tending is what keeps me connected to God(Source, call it what you will), and without it I am lost--looking for answers outside of myself and forgetting to check my inner compass for signs of truth. Nothing confuses my sense of direction more than that.
I can still see the little hearth smoldering in our living room. I can still hear Dad's laughter after he put the fire out on his foot. I can smell the scent of burning wood, and I know that wherever I am, I am home. When I am at home with myself I honor God's amazing ability to never screw up when creating new people, and I unlock the door to the vast potention that lies within us all. When you see it in yourself you see it in others and you know you have to let it shine.

Give and Receive

For the last few weeks I've been spending a lot of time wading through a lot of crap I thought I was done wading through, but in an entirely new way. Early this month I approached my husband with the nagging feeling I'd been having. I simply was in need of help, mostly, I thought, to tie up the lose ends of a "sorting out" process I've been moving through for the past 7 years. I set up a consultation with Tara Wagner from the Organic Sister which catalyzed an intense and quick snowball down the mountain affect of internal manure shoveling. Yes, I just mentioned manure....I grew up on a farm. Most importantly, though, within a week of our first session, I had finally put my finger on the deep dark flesh eating parasite that was fueling so many of the inconsistencies I was manifesting in my life. It was SCARY. Like nightmare scary. And it was so worth it.

The decision I made to accept help rather than be the giver all the time...and to, yes, pay for the very specific support that I knew without a doubt that I needed was the best thing I have ever done for myself. Harnessing my bravery and sitting in that scary place, which is something I may not have been able to do for years (if ever), uncovered something that took me a while to get over. A while for me about a week (and another session). But acknowledging my needs, and responding to them, despite the frightful nature of the request I was making of myself, opened a door that has been boarded, glued, cemented, completely sealed, and it has me saying, "Hello world." "Nice to hear your voice clearly, intuition." "What's that you're telling me to do that has been so muffled even though you were screaming at me through the door? Yeah, I can do that. It doesn't seem so scary anymore."

And it has cleared my vision. Vision. I have it. Vision that makes sense for the present instead of some maybe day in the future. It's not exactly what I thought. It's not what I would have just randomly chosen, or what I had prepared for. It is mine, however, and I have direction, the first of which involves not dropping the ball on my own self care and development--ever.

I'll be more present here now, and I have an idea that I hope a lot of ladies, especially will be interested in which I'll be posting about soon. Hope you're having a lovely day!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parenthood--a realization

Parenthood is really about ourselves.

That's my realization. We think, and we're taught, and we're funneled into this idea that once you become a parent, it's all about them. It's all about them. It's all about them. Today, I challenge that idea.


1) Because when it's all about them, we take too much responsibility for our kid's stuff.

2) Because when it's all about them, we don't have to take responsibility for our own stuff. We call it parenting stress instead.

What I really mean:

1) Every parent who has ever parented has at some point KNOWN with absolute certainty for some fleeting second that there isn't a thing you can do to determine who your kid will grow up to be. What they'll want. Who they'll marry--oh you can force, coerce, bully and ridicule to create an automaton of a being, but if you're the kind of person who's not interested in producing robots, you realize at some point, that your child may do drugs, have abusive partners, >>insert your biggest fear here<<. It could happen someday, and when it all boils down, there is little you can do about it.

Even now, I can't control when my two year old is going to stick her tongue out at someone, or when my 5 year old will roll her eyes at me. I can teach them about respect and all that nice stuff, but ultimately it's their choice to embrace any attribute they choose be it self-respect, independence, work ethic....whatever.

When it comes to teaching our children, our words should serve as reminders. There is no need to feel mortified when my child acts like a maniac in public, or seems immature for her age, or behaves from a place of aggression or fear. It is not a reflection on our parenting (now let me say here, that many children have garbage for parents, and I'm not letting belittling, abusive parents off the hook--I'm speaking to the parents out there who are trying to get it right), it's a reflection of where they are at. Rather than be emotionally invested in my children's behavior through embarrassment OR (and this is the big one for me) through stress and fatigue rooted frustration, we can take simply take note....remind ourselves of where they are at, so we can, at the right time, remind them of where they are at and give them some direction on how to get to the next spot in the journey of being human. For example: our two year old is in the "No, it's mine, I'll hit you" spot of this human journey. My job as a parent is to OVER AND OVER remind her that, "Sweetheart, there is a better way to do this, and this is how.....see, now everyone is so much happier." Job done. You know, like, 45 times every single day until she moves through this place. Every kid does it. Every kid develops at different times. That's her stuff. As a parent(and a human being) I have the option to detach my feelings of worth and well being from the behavior that I am a witness to. I'm the mother. I mother her through it.

The mothering is my stuff.

So about that:

2) Oh my...I hope I'm right about this and it's not just another stupid theory. This better be a breakthrough, and that's all I have to say before I say more on the subject...:).

My stuff...This parenting thing has been riding hard on me lately. I've been feeling bitter about it. About all I am required to give because I'm a mom. About how my children want SOOO MUCH of ME. ME!! All the time. I am growing quiet with them. I am shutting down, particularly around the eldest. I feel I have no more to give and it is all. their. fault. How ridiculous. I've been sitting with this for weeks. WEEKS! Just now I'm kicking myself for not realizing. Of course my stress, fatigue, and frustration are not their little responsibilities! Goodness No! What have I been thinking?

What I have been thinking is this: It is my fault that Jules colors on the wall, throws fits, whines, and sometimes behaves like a little brat. It is my fault that Amelia is struggling in school, that she experiences big emotions and doesn't know what to do with them, so she just melts down into a big soggy mess, and that her developmental leaps are now so very, very challenging for her.

I have been thinking that it is their fault that I am so tired, so worn down, so without my own space and life, so frustrated, etc.

Slow down the horse, Miz Anna.

As a parent, I believe that it is my responsibility to make my kids into what they should be. I never think about it that way, but my behavior clearly shows that I do. This translates into me struggling to keep all the rafts afloat, which is doing nothing but making waves that make everyone sea sick.

What I now choose to not only base my parenting style on, but my core belief about parenting is this: My children are capable of regulating their own behavior, sorting out their difficult growing pains, taking responsibility for themselves, their things, their feelings, and their actions. As Mother, I have earned the role of Resource.

A stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function...
Provide (a person or organization) with materials, money, staff, and other assets necessary for effective operation.

My kids are little. 2 and 5. They aren't yet ready to go it alone, and for this, I'm just...full heart. As Mama Resource: I am fully stocked and supplied with the things they need, little and big. Mama's got band aids for scraped knees and broken hearts. Mama's got a pantry full of good food and the knowledge and experience required to mix and blend flavors that satisfy little hearts and tummies, too. Mama is stocked with ideas for how to get from here to there, and how to move most gently through the world.

The thing is, is that as Mother, I don't always need to expect that they will come to me, and I don't always have to expect myself to go to them. I don't have to fix it all. I don't have to do it all. They've got their own paths to walk, and if I try to take responsibility for them, it's like barging onto their path and saying, "You don't have this, you need help." That is not the message I want to send to my daughters. Embodying Mama Resource means saying, "You've got this, and I'm right over here if you need me. Don't worry about falling, because I'm a certified soul physician. I can help you, and I will not stand in your way."

Parenthood is about the Parent. It's about being a good and effective Resource.

Childhood is about the child. It's about growing from seed to seedling.

Each is valid. Each is demanding and rewarding. Each has it's place.

It's okay to separate the two. It's okay for me to leave their futures to them. I will not always get to mother them in this way. I will not always have to pour so much energy into Mama Resource's pantry. Right now I do.

I own my fatigue, my frustration, my need for autonomy. I am first and foremost, responsible for myself.

I am a wonderful, complete, capable Resource for my children.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Last night while I was having a heart to heart with my husband (I love that I have a husband with whom I can have heart to hearts every single day), there arose this issue I tend to have with following. I have these ideas that to follow, or do like another does immediately makes me a poser. And, really, who likes a copycat? I went all frigid when Ollie said it out loud, "You need to not be afraid to be a follower, so what if you're not the one leading the charge." Well that's paraphrased, but that's the basic idea. Staying perfectly honest, I writhe at the idea of following anyone for any extended amount of time. What I carried away from the conversation, and what I'm simmering in the soup today is the knowledge that my insistence on forging a path that's *all mine*, sometimes with the militant idea that it's not okay to join in or belong, masks my habit of resistance to reaching out for the teaching of others; a resistance to seeking out help, to availing myself to my community. This, naturally, leads me to believe that I'm alone, that no one gets it, that if I'm going to do anything, by god, I'll have to do it alone. Of course, that's all nuts.

My words for this year are "Dynamic, Bold, Colorful, and Brilliant." As I begin to embrace what they really mean, what it really is that I'm being called to, a lot of so long accepted habits of thought and behavior are creeping up and revealing their true face. As I step more fully into myself, I am coming face to face with some long accepted shame, and everything that goes along with it. I'm finding out why it is that I've been diluting the version of myself that I present to most of the world, but most of all to myself.

I recently made some contact with some seriously dynamic women online. It was so great that I decided to invest more of my online time in being open to that "out there somewhere community" that flows nicely into my home via the internet. Even in the few short days since then, I am being taught that when I open my heart to what is around me, I have every single thing I need, and that if I exercise my ability to live boldly, my part in the play will arrive at my doorstep at just the right time, too.

I've gone back and forth about blogging again. My style tends to put a lot of my inner inquiring out there on the page, and I generally feel that people get the wrong idea about how my life looks in reality. However, there is a specific role I get to play in this Life, and I'm pretty sure all this thinking and sorting out has a lot to do with what it is I have to bring to the world at large. Everything else
is for my family right now. My energy, my work, even my craftiness is all being spent on my family. Like every other person in the world who is devoting all their energy to the cleaning, the cooking, the holding, the planning, the making, the care, I have mixed feelings about it. I sometimes...okay every single day....yearn for something more. I am getting the very real sense, though that if I bring my Self, boldly and brilliantly to surface, and let my colors shine, something dynamic will happen. I don't know if blogging will be a part of that. My intention is to use it as a personal tool, and exercise in using my voice, sometimes literally through videos. I don't intend to include pictures with the family, or very few, at least. This space is about my musings, and what it is to be human. My goal is to put my thoughts out there raw, unedited, and imperfect. I won't be dolling up for the videos, or polishing these sentences into perfect formation. I am more concerned about perfect and complete expression right now. I hope you'll find this space to be a place where you can express yourself without shame as well. All are welcome to comment, muse, disagree, whatever. Let's have a conversation.