December 2, 2012 § 14 Comments
It’s common at the start of a yoga class to set an intention for the day’s practice.
Different from a goal, which is something you work toward with a focus for the future, an intention is meant to give you a focus in the present.
Bruce Black, from Writing Yoga with Bruce Black, explained it far better than I ever could …
“… setting your intention is like drawing an arrow from the quiver of your heart.
You aim the arrow at a distant target, a reflection of your heart’s desire, and with care and mindfulness release the bowstring.
And as the arrow flies toward the target, it draws your heart toward its destiny.”
My intention was set; my arrow aimed at first-born (Sophie) who becomes troubled when I leave for my Friday night trips away (an unhappy agreement made during mediation to give her father more time to parent without my ever-presence).
She cries as I leave, and as I jump into my car and drive away, I can’t help but wonder for how long she feels the pain of my departure.
There is nothing I can do to ease her pain when I’m gone.
At the end of yesterday’s class, prior to a deeply personal moving meditation and an awfully good time spent upside down in playful inversions, the class returned to our backs for quiet savasana.
As proof that I’d set the right intention, the prettiest song came through the speakers above my head; a version of Sea of Love I hadn’t ever heard.
For Sophie I’d set my intention. Now and forever, Cat Power’s Sea of Love will be our song.
Do you set intentions off of the mat? Does a particular song remind you of someone you love?
November 21, 2012 § 6 Comments
Thanksgiving is coming, but instead of being enthusiastic about the holiday itself, I’m excited about celebrating my daughters’ fifth birthday.
It was a wild ride; pregnancy with twins; months of bed rest, nervous ultrasounds, undetermined blood tests. Especially after several losses.
The fact that my turkeys arrived on Thanksgiving day was like a gift from God.
A gift that came with a message saying …
“Here is what you wished for. Here is the meaning of your life. These two 4-pounders are your daughters, and they’ve been born on Thanksgiving day so that you never forget how grateful you must be for the gift of their lives on this Earth.”
And I was grateful. More grateful than for anything I’d ever received.
And while I was swimming in gratefulness, recovering from a nasty c-section, pulling my IV drip back and forth to the nursery despite pleas from nurses to rest, I was also arguing with my husband and begging nurses to make him leave. We had fought throughout the pregnancy. I never felt loved and I always felt alone when he came around.
We couldn’t get along, even at this most blessed time. Our paths were divergent despite the impending arrival of two growing babies with our DNA.
My divorce has been a long time coming. It is painful and ugly and strips me of my will to smile when I’m in his presence.
But this Thanksgiving, this birthday, I’m determined to (just) be thankful for my girls. They gave me what I always wanted. I wanted to be a mom.
My errands today will revolve around preparations for the celebration. A cake with
mermaids turkeys will be picked up and their LeapFrog Explorer will be wrapped.
It’s a pretty neat present for a couple of five-year-olds; they’ll love it.
I only wish I was able to give them the best gift of all; the gift of a happy family. Children with happy, intact families are the luckiest of all.
For this, I am ungrateful. Ungrateful, without thanks, and hoping that they never suffer from the knowledge of their unluckiness; the failure of their parents stripping them of what should have been their right.
When your child/children were born, did you feel like it brought you and your spouse closer or did it put more stress on an already strained relationship? What will you be giving thanks for tomorrow around your dinner table?
November 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
Dear Dixie Chicks,
Please get back together.
Three of your biggest fans
November 6, 2012 § 4 Comments
Searching for inspiration is tough when ho-humnity is the name of your game, and your job is to write things that people want to read.
It’s better, then, to turn off the part of the brain that refuses to cooperate and focus on the activities that generate tidings of comfort and joy.
Here is the plan:
1. The kids and I browsed Pinterest this morning and found a graphic designer named Sarah Walsh whose aesthetic interests (pins) spoke to my brain on the side that doesn’t use words. The kids became so inspired by Sarah’s Illustration Station board that they are currently, quietly content at their own art table creating what I know will be framable works of art.
Somewhere in this messy house of mine is a beautiful set of art pens (hidden so the kids wouldn’t use them, but where could they be?) that I must (MUST) find today. Expression through art is necessary in this time of angst (divorce, divorce, divorce).
2. Outside my windows is a dark grey sky; the kind that makes me wonder if the sun is ever going to rise. No matter, I will be bundling my bod (from top of head to tip of toes) as I exit for an early morning run.
It will probably be brutally cold, hurt on a cellular level, but the results will be warmed blood, a regenerated system, and hopefully some adrenaline to push me through my day.
3. Later today, I’m taking my kids to vote. The lessons that I hope they’ll learn will outweigh the irritation that might occur from bored kids pulling on my clothes or the uncomfortable squeeze and tight proximity of three inside a voting booth.
“Women have rights, girls. They have the right to choose who they think should be the boss of America.Once upon a time women weren’t allowed to vote. People with different colored skin weren’t allowed to vote. Ridiculous, right? I don’t know who is going to win today, girls, but I pray he is able to do a good job. We are lucky to live in the United States of America. We are lucky and blessed to have freedom.”
Freedom. The ultimate inspired thought.
What do you do when you are struggling for inspiration? Do you change your focus or just plow though?
October 9, 2012 § 11 Comments
If you are not a blogger you might not be aware of some of the fun things that your “publishing platform” can monitor for you.
On WordPress.com I’m able to see how many hits my site has had for the day, the month, and the year. I also have access to cool information like the top posts for the day, which can be surprising if and old post gets a ton of hits from out of the blue.
One of my favorite sections is the search engine list, which lets me in on the searches that have led readers to my site.
Today I’ve been located through searches for, “Sgetti honey boo boo,” “Emmy tits,” and “Miami 2013.” Yesterday I gained a reader through the search phrase “make millet chips”, which I’ve never actually made, though all my talk about kale chips and cooked millet makes it easy to understand Google’s confusion.
There have been endless interesting search phrases that have led readers to my corner of the Internet, and for each I am grateful.
Even the person who yesterday typed “gorgeously dressed ladies with bare breasts” is my reader.
Many people have asked why I still blog now that my marathon has long since passed; the main reason I began.
There are a bunch of reasons that I continue. But today, when the sun never shone, and my kids spent way too much time in the house going stir-crazy, and my own brain came treacherously close to frozen from a paperwork pile of divorce affidavits, the smile that crossed my face upon the discovery of a curious reader’s search has proven to be reason enough.
Gorgeously dressed ladies with bare breasts.
I wonder if that searcher found what they were looking for?
I wonder if they’ll be back?
Why do you blog? If you don’t have a blog have you ever thought about starting one? What would it be about?
October 7, 2012 § 3 Comments
While lying in bed between my girls last night I took the opportunity to read three pages of The Style Rookie, a blog created by sixteen year old Tavi Gevinson who has taken the fashion world by storm.
To say that I was blown away by her work is an understatement.
A collection of her thoughts (both typed and beautifully hand written), artistic imagery (collages, others and her own), music (others and her own) and photographs of her sweet bang trimmed self styled in real fashion (as opposed to an overabundance of labels), her voice is crystal clear.
Her current tilt seems to be toward a fifties and sixties aesthetic, but the photos with her friends are timeless. I love the freedom of expression; her cat lined eyes, her mix of print and pattern and form and silhouette and color.
What is there not to love, and with 50,000 hits a day to the blog (an incredible number not attained by people two, three, four times her age), it appears I am not the only one enamoured.
As I scanned the blog I got to wondering.
Clearly Tavi is an old soul; one of those people who functions outside of age. Watching her Ted presentation (below) you can see how bright she is yet the admittance that she still hasn’t, “figured it all out,” combined with her strong yet sensitive presentation, make her real as opposed to super-hero. What a great model for girls everywhere (teenager and not)!
What became more curious to me were my questions about her parents.
Who are the Gevinsons? Who are the people who created and are raising this bright and creative soul?
I was once a teenage girl who took fashion risks and cut baby bangs and wore my hair in Heidi braids crisscrossed over the top of my head, too. But beginning a fashion empire was just a dream for me. Tavi is doing it for real and her parents are allowing her to flourish and bloom.
In her adorable interview with Jimmy Kimmel she skimmed over his questions about her parents by saying something about them being “nice people,” but I discovered later in her posted Vimeo video that her father is an English teacher and her mother is an artist who weaves tapestries. She goes on to mention that her parents encouraged her (and her sister) to be creative and to read.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing all I can to raise children who will develop into well-adjusted, secure and strong girls. It’s not easy in this world of Barbie and princesses (whom my girls love) or as Tavi describes, “two-dimensional super-women…with one quality that’s played up a lot.”
I think Tavi’s parents are the example of how to do it right (whether or not a child is meant to be a prodigy). Fostering creativity, encouraging reading and allowing freedom of expression is the key.
Now if only she’d interview them. Or maybe I should try. I bet they are equally as interesting as their delightfully dynamic daughter.
Had you ever heard of Tavi’s blog or her magazine for teenage girls, Rookiemag.com? Are you as interested in learning about her parents as I am? Can you believe she’s been blogging for four years? That’s a lifetime in blogland!
September 29, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Very early this morning I was startled awake by a gigantic boom from the sky. Bass thunder that rattled my core.
After hugging both of my sleeping kids and assessing my (not yet urgent) need to pee, I contemplated the unfortunateness of a falling tree; should a tree fall me.
Such gloom over the doom of a boom.
It was quiet in between the flashes of light and the noise gradually faded. I kept a hand on top of each kid and tried to think of a song to fit the moment.
Lyrics with a boom….
“Boom, boom, boom lets go back to my room?”
No. Too much zex for this side of four a.m.
“We like that boom boom pow?”
No, I wouldn’t like anything about a falling tree on we three.
“We’re Tigra and Bunny and we like the boom?”
Terrible song technically about a car’s boom, but it would do mostly because my girls would approve of any song that included a bunny.
Do you think of songs to play along with moments in your life; to add to your life’s soundtrack?
September 28, 2012 § 4 Comments
The Honey Boo Boo craze has hit the nation. Comedians, newscasters, bloggers and play ground moms everywhere have been talking about The Learning Channel’s show, which follows child pageant princess Alana and her family.
I was never a Toddler’s and Tiaras watching fan, so it didn’t occur to me to even investigate the Honey Boo Boo madness. But as my remote wandered on Wednesday, I stumbled upon the program and ended up recording the remainder of the season marathon as it was time for me to head back to my own life and put my kids to bed.
I watched the recorded episodes last night and am not shy or embarrassed about saying that I love the show as much for what is wrong with it than for what is right.
There are plenty of things to find wrong; obesity, poverty, folks living at the low end of the socio-economic ladder, children who curse as freely as the adults, lack of manners and education, terrible eating habits, questionable hygiene, tobacco use, loudness, abrasive behavior, teenage pregnancy, and least of all the strange phenomenon of child pageants.
If you choose to believe that the success of the show is because of its likeness to a reality train wreck, then your glass is half empty, but I do understand your disdain.
If your glass is half full, though, you might see beyond the obvious. You might find beauty underneath the surface. You might find compassion while falling in love with the crazy band of misfits, lead by a mother who is doing her best.
Consider this. More than thirty five percent of American adults are obese, just like Mama. Genetically engineered foods are everywhere. Cheap and unhealthy fast food is easy and abundant. Corporations don’t teach people to drink water and plant gardens. They advertise soda and junk food and to many people who haven’t been taught a better way, it is the only way they know how to live. If you are doing your best to get by (Mama feeds her family of six on eighty dollars a week) then try to understand the conundrum.
In one scene Mama is making dinner for her family; sketti with ketchup and butter. In the microwave is placed a bowl of Country Crock margarine and a big squeeze of ketchup. It’s melted and mixed and poured over the spaghetti (which I am sure is white flour enriched, not a whole grain within a mile) and Mama mentions that she was “raised on sgetti and ketchup and butter.” It’s no wonder then that her weight (and that of the family) is an issue that they are trying to address and remedy with weekly weigh-ins.
For people who find fault with the language that is used and the often incorrect grammar, verbage and made up mix of vocabulary, consider that one of the biggest social dividers is the difference in education between those with and those without.
I learned to be sensitive to this during my first year of teaching the fourth grade in a poor section of Durham, North Carolina. Most of the time I could barely understand my children and wished they had subtitles like the cast of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. They were ten-year olds, though, and so I could correct their incorrect grammar, fix their vocabulary mistakes. It was hard, but I learned that underneath the lack of knowledge were regular children with the same loves and likes as the richest and more educated ten-year olds I’d known.
Don’t misunderstand. I do not feel sorry for these people. There have been reports highlighting the serious dysfunction (arrests, multiple baby daddy’s, etc.) and it is worrisome. But I am not blind to where they come from, so I don’t feel contempt the way one might if they choose only to see what’s on the surface.
What is below is far more interesting and beautiful.
For example, Mama knows her weight is a problem. Her struggle to ascend the bouncy tower at Alana’s birthday party was frustrating for her, but her attempt to stay away from the junk food and lose some weight is enviable.
The family talks to each other. Whatever you may think of the cursing or word mash-ups, they talk to each other. No one is fighting over the iPad (though maybe that will change with the success of the show). At present time, no one seems lost in technology land.
One episode focused on Mama’s trouble in keeping her kids busy during the hot southern summer. Without many options, the family sets up their own slip and slide with a tarp, soap bubbles and a hose. They went grocery shopping together, played Bingo together, worked together to get Alana ready for her pageant. Together they acted like a family! A real and functioning family.
And there is love.
One of my favorite scenes was when Mama was going on a date with Alana’s dad and wanted to get pretty by putting on some makeup. Mama encouraged her four daughters to make her up and they all laughed and teased and ultimately made their mom look like a “rodeo clown.” After washing off the mess, Alana stroked her mother’s face and said, “I’ll make you pretty, mama,” and the moment of sweetness and love outshone all the nuttiness of the minutes before.
I should mention the lone man who lives amongst the wackiness of Honey Boo Boo’s world. Alana’s father, lovingly called Sugar Bear, is a chewing tobacco spitting in a bottle kind of guy. He’s missing a good bunch of teeth and wore a t-shirt for the professional family photo shoot (he only dresses up for funerals). Again, if we are only looking at the surface, he is a mess.
Dig below and you see that his eyes get soft when he speaks of the birth of his daughter. When Mama’s seventeen year old daughter comes home from the hospital with her new baby Kaitlyn, Sugar Bear sits in his chair, a thin line of a smile demonstrating his happiness. Not a man of many words. A heart that beats quietly on his sleeve.
But the biggest reason for the success of the show is its namesake, that Honey Boo Boo Child, the adorable and feisty Alana. Despite (or because of) her environment she is free and secure in herself and happy. She knows that she is loved and when she is sad (like when her teacup piggy had to be returned to the breeder) she cried like any normal six-year-old would. She may not have great table manners, but she says, “Thank you,” when it’s appropriate and she turns on the charm when competing in her pageants. You want to hug her, she’s so real and for the first time I was rooting for a pageant princess instead of rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of the sport.
TLC was smart and just this week renewed Honey Boo Boo child for a second season. I for one will be watching and hope for good things for this family.
Have you seen the show? What do you think about it? Agree with my take or just find it offensive?