Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Snow Day Challenge


Today a large snowstorm is supposed to grip our town, shutting down all universities and colleges, most city departments, and pretty much everything that can be closed will be closed. This storm is anticipated to rock most of the Midwest U.S. and my friends are jokingly referring to it as 'Snowmaggedon'.

For those of us who have the priviledge of a warm home and a job which allows us to stay there safe and sound with our loved ones, today we have a choice. We could complain about not being able to go do what we were scheduled to do. We could worry about our job, the pipes freezing, or if we will ever see warm weather again. We could feel overwhelmed or frustrated that the kids are stuck inside again and afraid that we won't know what to do with them and all of that pent-up energy. We could glue ourselves to the Weather Channel or local news and relive and analyze every detail of this 'horrific winter emergency' brought to you by reporters who were trained not only in meteorology, but also theatrics I'm sure...drama keeps the ratings high, you know.

OR... You could find out the basic information you need, turn off the channel, and walk away. "Snowing all day. Don't drive. Got it." Click. Instead of complaining, worrying, and resisting reality as it is, you could simply exhale. You don't have to be anywhere or do anything else. The moment is as it is. 

You could sit on the couch with a comfy blanket and read, with our without a child on your lap. You could stay in your pajamas all day or play dress up and break out the make up and pearls. You could get on the floor and play dollhouse or Batman with your child. You could make a blanket fort or hot chocolate or playdough or cookies. You could take a long, hot bath. You could have a dance party or a tea party or a Wii Tournament or a Family Game Day. You could finally clean out your closet or your spice cabinet or get paperwork together to file your taxes. You could paint or draw or play guitar or complete that Pinterest project you've been wanting to try. You could declare it "Kid Choice Day" and follow your child's lead to find their bliss and reconnect with the inner child within you.

Remember how excited you felt on a snow day while growing up? A day with no expectations or responsibilities. A day out of the normal routine. A whole day with nothing but open-ended possibilities...

If it's a snow day in your part of the world, I challenge you to make a choice. Choose real connection over the need for media input. Choose to follow your children's lead or your own bliss and let go of your to-do list and your accomplishment-based agenda for this one day. Choose to slow down and take in the present moment with your senses rather than be pulled towards worry, overwhelm, or frustration with thoughts of the future or past. Choose joy and wonder and reconnect with the wide-eyed child who's excitement can light up the room.

"It's a SNOW DAY! YAY!!!"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Mother's Morning Blessing

I arise at dawn
body slips from the covers
a moment of silence
before the boisterous sound of children awakes.

I breathe in and out
stretching my muscles
stretching my limits
stretching myself to be capable to meet my children's needs for the day.

I pray for peace in my heart
I pray for peace in my home
because that is what makes the world go round
Peace.


I send love to their slumbering bodies
I send love to their divine souls
My little ones wrapped in love and light
from dawn until dusk
and all throughout the night.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

You are Good Enough Just as You Are

How can we feel good enough about ourselves when our core belief instilled within us since birth is that we are indeed not? When I get the next promotion, then I will be good enough. When I lose 10 pounds, then I will be good enough. When I buy that new car, then I will be good enough. What if you accomplish all of those things and still feel insecure about your place in the world? When in reality it isn't what you lack that is holding you back, it is your flawed, wounded ego.

Because if you are Divine -if we are all One-then there is NO WAY that you cannot be good enough. You are pure goodness. You are pure awareness. You have everything you need and everything is perfect RIGHT NOW.

 It doesn't mean that we stop growing and learning or life wouldn't be more comfortable with a little extra money in the bank, but it means you are where you are on your life's journey and you are put in these places for a reason. To be used as a vessel to transmit love. To grow closer to the light within and to allow it to radiate out to those who are looking to move out of the darkness. How can that not be good enough?

Once I realized that this type of bullshit was going on in my psyche-the bullying and belittling-I then got angry. What the fuck? How could I let this type of thing bring me down for so long? However, who am I to be angry at? Myself as a baby or small child? My parents? The church I was raised in? The school system I attended? All doing the best they could with what they knew at the time and contributors to my inner view, I am certain. But, I am a thirty-five year old woman. We are grown up now. We are no longer under our parents' rule. Or the churches or the school system. And a little forgiveness towards my inner child and those who did the best they could when I was small would allow some grace to enter. Some softness.

So, instead of anger...how about gentleness? How about when we notice these things cropping up-the voices telling us we aren't good enough or we have to do x, y, and z before we are-instead of raging against them or letting them run the show, how about we do this... Why not lay them aside and say, "Those things you don't need anymore. Let them go and stand in your truth here and now. You are Divine. You are a child of light and a manifestation of pure awareness." Allow yourself to rest, to shine, and stretch even farther towards that Truth. It's there for you and you are perfect just as you are, as you always were, and will forever be.

The light within me bows to the light within you.
So Hum,
Amber


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Divine Mothering

Image by Mary Herrera via www.mysticmamma.com

On the morn of this transformative full moon, I invite more mothering of myself into my daily life. Gentle self-care, lovingly setting priorities, and thoughtful challenging of those things which harm, limit, and hold me back from walking in awareness of the Divine within and around me.

A loving mother knows when to push.
"Yes, you will get up at 5:00am and do an hour of yoga before everyone awakes."

She knows when to back off. 
"That laundry can wait until tomorrow, my dear." 

She encourages creative expression and growth.
"Go ahead and play your guitar! Sing some songs!" 

She knows when it is time to focus.
"One hour of paper work...you can do it!" 

She knows that life is better when there is loving, supportive encouragement instead of berating, nagging, and shaming going on. She loves fiercely and protects the Soul above all else. She has high expectations, yet empathizes when softness is needed.

The Divine Mother.

She flows within my veins and her wisdom isn't reserved for only my offspring.
First and foremost, she is needed by me.
To heal the wounded past.
To caress the sore spots of my soul.
To nurture that which has been neglected.
To love unconditionally that which had been cast aside as unlovable.

Her arms open wide and I feel her embrace on this transformative full moon.
And again, I feel held.
I feel whole.
I feel loved.
I am love.

Full moon blessings to you,
Amber

Friday, November 29, 2013

Awakening



I wipe the crust from my eyes
and I struggle to pull the covers from over my head.
I've been asleep for so long
my bed a prison now
instead of the warm, cozy respite it once was.

The alarm sounds and I hear the whispers,
"Get up NOW! You MUST!"
Then I hear a stern voice demanding me to reason,
"But you're so comfortable here. Just five more minutes..."

The thing is, I'm NOT comfortable here any longer.

I'm sweating.
I'm suffocating.
I don't have room to breathe.

I'm withering.
I'm dwindling.
I feel my light growing dim.

I have become comfortably numb.

So my whispers crescendo into a full-fledged scream
as I hurl the downy covers across the room and leap from the bed.
It's cold out here and a little intimidating in the early morning light, but...

I am awake.
I am alive.
And I breathe in all there is to be.



Sunday, November 17, 2013

And Just Like That...We Have a Reader

My seven-year-old son hollers from the backseat, "Mom! Wanna hear a joke? It's really funny!" "Sure," I reply as I pull into the left-turn lane. He proceeds to read from his National Geographic Kids magazine and we share a laugh and a short discussion about the topic. As he turns the page and continues to read silently, I shake my head in wonder. Wow! We have a reader!

I haven't always been so calm about my son's emerging skill of reading. He knew his letters and their sounds before kindergarten. He was reading at a "beginner first grade" level by mid-kindergarten year, but when we pulled him out of public school to begin our homeschooling/unschooling journey, I worried. He stopped reading for fun for several weeks at a time. He rarely wanted to play creative literacy games I would find on Pinterest. (I mean, who wouldn't want to throw a ball at sight words taped onto a wall!) He had no interest in phonics work and would get frustrated if I had him sound out words phonetically.

One of the few 'Pinterest' inspired sight word games he got into. He got to use a squirt gun!
On the flip side, I trusted that many people have learned to read just by being read to and their own innate desire to communicate through the written word. In the Waldorf philosophy, letter and reading concepts aren't even introduced until first grade, around the age of seven. (Which lends me to worry about my four-and-a-half year old who is WAY into phonics and word family games. Am I damaging him by him learning too much/too early? I can't win with the worrying, can I?) This reassured me that just because my 'first-grader' wasn't reading early chapter books already like my friends children in public school or doing 20-minutes of dedicated solid reading a day, he still had a chance to grow up to be a proficient, voracious reader.

So, I just kept reading to him. We read fiction and non-fiction. We read about people in history and science concepts. We read comic books and instructional manuals. We played a ton of card and board games and read the words on the cards. (Apples to Apples is still a favorite.) We went to the library on a weekly basis and checked out two huge shopping bags full each time. I didn't limit his books to just his "Level One" readers, although I checked those out, too. He decided he wanted to learn more about Egyptology and we checked out every book related to pyramids, Egypt, mummies, and the ancient wonders of the world, including some books from the adult section of the library. We met every two weeks with another family with similar aged children and had a "reading club". We did author studies and artist studies. We read on the couch after breakfast, laying in the sunshine on warm afternoons, and snuggled under covers before bed. We stayed up past bedtime to finish the last four chapters of really good books. He took turns reading to us when he wanted to...I asked most nights, but respected his decision to pass when he said no.

The Oldest One and I immersed in "My Side of the Mountain" on a beautiful afternoon.

Looking back on our past six months, you can his life was filled with reading. However, in the moment I felt I wasn't doing that much. Playing games and reading together multiple times a day is the way of life for us. There was no formal curriculum or checklist of objectives that needed to be met on a certain timetable. This was both liberating and terrifying at the same time. Which sums up pretty well how I feel about our unschooling journey so far.

It was around his seventh birthday last week that I asked him about the goals he had for himself during the upcoming year. He said he wasn't sure so I suggested, "How about reading a whole chapter book by yourself?" "Mo-om! I don't need that to be a goal...that will just happen naturally!" Well, I suppose it will. So I will save my amazing Pinterest literacy pins for when his brother is interested. I will continue to help him sound out words when he asks for it, add helpful hints about how I decode words when he needs it, and continue to model reading in front of him and share my love of the written word by reading aloud to him as long as he will let me. I will continue to breathe in and out and trust that my child knows how he learns best, even when my insecurities are asking me, "Are you sure?" And I will continue to silently cheer and breathe a sigh of relief when I see him reading books to himself before dinner, sounding out words to determine what to play next during a card game, or hear him laughing loudly at the jokes he discovers for himself while reading magazines in the backseat.

Always learning,
Amber

P.S. In full disclosure, I had to look up how to spell 'voracious' and made sure I was using the correct word for the sentence. I like that word...but do not use it in day-to-day conversation. As I said, always learning...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Stepping Into the Void


















There is a void
an empty space
that gapes open
taunting and teasing and beckoning me to enter.

I stall at the doorway
just one more thing...
but wait, I forgot my...
maybe now isn't the best time...

Flimsy excuses to disguise the fear.

What will I find in there?
Where does it lead?
If I take this next step
over the threshold
Will I be able to turn back?
Will I want to?

How will I know when I've reached the destination?

There's no light in there now.
I can't see what is lurking in the corners
or what surprises await at each turn.

Are there turns?
There would have to be...
there always are.

Straight, brightly-lit, well-traveled paths-
those sound safe to me.

But this one...
this is gonna take some courage.

A leap of faith
into the deep unknown
to find myself
once again.


Thoughtfully yours,
Amber