Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peaceful decisions

"Let it be a peaceful decision." This was some sage advice I received today from my dear friend M. I find myself once again playing with the idea of taking up homeschooling the Littles. I have a tendency to feel compelled to make huge life-changing decisions when I'm in the middle of an emotional upheaval. I have no idea why I do this, but it has always been a vice of mine. I suppose it was that bully that used to reside inside of me. Who always seemed to make sure that I didn't feel good in my own skin. That bully that used to lead me from person to person in order to find the right answer to my constantly changing life questions. I never used to just listen to what my heart wanted. I didn't trust myself to make decisions. I had to have all of my decisions affirmed and reaffirmed by the people in my life. My decisions were never anything like peaceful.

So when I read those words, "Let it be a peaceful decision", in my friends message today I heard a very quiet voice inside of me say "yes, let it be a peaceful decision." What is a peaceful decision? Peaceful decisions come from the heart. They come from the spirit. There is no anxiety attached to a peaceful decision. A peaceful decision just flows. It just happens.

I know why I want to homeschool again. It's not because the Littles hate school. They are actually happy to be in school. It's not that they hate homework. Sure they complain a bit, but there are no tears falling on their faces. I'm the one who hates school. I'm the one who hates homework. I'm the one who wishes that she could be free from the clutches of the Dept. of Education and their ridiculous standards. I'm the one who hates being in the car 80+ minutes a day driving them to school and home again. I'm the one with tears falling on my face.

It all sounds very selfish and childish, but I have every right to feel the way I do. What I don't have a right to do is make a decision that could possibly harm one or more of my precious Littles. Every decision that is made is followed by consequences. Some of the consequences are good and some could be bad. I used to make decisions with no thought of what the consequences could be for others. As long as I was happy then it was a good choice. I can no longer make those kinds of decisions. Those are not peaceful decisions.

So I will not decide today whether or not the Littles will come home. I will also not try to force a balance that may not be possible. I can just let things flow. I can let things just happen. I will continue on with the things that I dislike, not because I don't deserve to be happy, but because I deserve to decide for myself what will work and what absolutely will not. I know that I may have this aversion to all things schooly because I am still smarting from the drama of Not-So-Little #1 and from losing my sister to 18 hours of highway.

For me to make any decisions right now would be anything but peaceful. Thank you, my dear friend M, for offering your comforting words and for the wisdom that I received. I am blessed to have such wise friends.

Just my thoughts.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Embrace this pain, and it will not linger.

I live a blessed life. I believe that all of our lives are blessed if we are open to receiving such blessings. I am open to this type of life, but I still have pains that I have to live with. I still have everyday ups and downs. Today is one of those down days. If I am to be honest, and I am, I would have to say that I have been moving into this down time for several days now.

Accepting the departure of my dear baby sister has been hard. She is leaving tomorrow and I feel like my heart is being ripped from my chest. I am in great physical pain in the form of headache and lower back pain. Not just dull pain, but absolutely debilitating pain. Yet I am up and moving through my day carrying the pain with me. All of it. Physical and emotional. I would love to curl up into a ball and lay in a dark room, but my loving spirit says no. "Live your life. Embrace this pain, and it will not linger." Those are the words I am hearing today. So the tears are falling freely right now. Later today I have to take Little #4 to his baseball game and I will muster up the strength to sit in the stands and cheer him on. So I allow myself to feel all of this pain any chance I can.

One of my favorite bloggers at Quest For Balance talks about winters of the heart today. You can read about it here.

I am most definitely in a winter of the heart right now. It is right where I need to be. I know that I live a joyful, free-spirited life. I have many beautiful people in my life and am very grateful for them. Today, however, I am in a deep winter and feeling very alone. This is where I NEED to be. The sun will come back and soon I will be basking in its light and warmth. Just not today.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two goodbyes

Wow! I'm am in the midst of yet another emotional upheaval. It feels different this time. Not quite as excruciatingly painful as the mess with Not-so-little #1. Yet when I compare what is going on this week with what happened then, I should be feeling worse. I know that the reason I am holding it all together is because of my newest practice of focused breathing. I am able to embrace my life and all that happens because of the peace I receive from my own breath.

Two monumental things are taking place in my life right now. First, my baby sister is moving from 5 minutes away to 18 hours away. In just a few short days I will have to watch her go off to follow her path. I have a very strong connection to my sister and it is very hard to think that I will not be able to physically see her whenever I need to. I know that the connection we have can not be loosened by miles of highway. I also know that she is going to be very happy where she is moving to and that is why I am not falling to pieces. We still have the telephone and Skype, so I can still "see" her often and now I have an excuse to vacation in New Mexico. Yay!!

The second monumental event that is pulling at my heart strings has to do with Little #6. Monday night marked the end of a very special connection that we have had for the past 4 years, 1 month and 2 days. Monday night my baby said goodbye to breastfeeding. I have been ready for her to be done for quite a few months now, but I have patiently waited till she was ready and allowed her to have 'milkies' at bedtime much longer than I wanted to. I felt in my heart of hearts that this was something that just had to come to an end when SHE was ready. She has been "ready" several times in the last two months, only to change her mind at bedtime once again.

This Monday that all changed. I knew in my heart that she was truly done. She looked at me and said she would have two milkies and that was all. Then she did something she has never done before. She looked at my breasts, touched them gently and said goodbye with what looked like tears in her eyes. And that was it. I let her stay on my lap a little longer than normal. I held her a little closer and gazed at her instead of the tv or a book. I didn't limit her to 5 minutes. I just let her be done when she was ready. That was our last time of sharing that bond that we have shared for so much longer than I ever imagined.

It has been hard to let her grow up. She is the baby. The last baby I'll have and so this meant the true end of an experience that I have cherished with all my littles. She nursed longer than any of the others. She has struggled in her little life more than any of the others also. I suppose that has a lot to do with her need to have this connection with me.

So I have said 1 goodbye this week and have another in a few days. Two very major changes, yet I feel more centered and joyful and alive than I have in years. I feel so much love and light. I am not done crying yet, but that is ok. My tears are a reminder that I am a spiritual being who has feelings and emotions that are to be felt and shared. Not be kept bottled up tight. Not to be dried before they even get to fall. Saying goodbye feels good and hurts at the same time. I am just so grateful that I am willing to allow the good and the bad.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Now I can just breathe

Breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out. This is where I am today. Just settled back and breathing. Littles 3,4 & 5 are all settled in their school routines. Littlest Little #6 started Preschool 3 mornings a week yesterday and I have Wednesday mornings to myself. All of the fear and sadness I felt around Not-so-little #1's problems has been released and Not-so-little #2, well he's my easy child. I really like the feeling of being settled. I love the peace. This is NOT how I felt this time last year. There was no settled feeling, no peace and the only breathing I was doing was mostly hyperventilating.

My new found love of focused breathing has brought me through some highly emotional times these last few weeks. I call it my Spirit's voice. The sound of my breathe is the song that my spirit sings. It is the soft, motherly voice of encouragement and comfort. It is the life force of my truest self. If I don't breathe, I don't live. And I'm not talking about the physical need for breathing. I'm talking about the spiritual need for breathing.

My search for my truest self has been long and tedious. I searched and searched for years. Today I have the wisdom to know that I can't find myself through a book or through a therapist or a 12-step meeting. I can't find myself through Mr. Man or the Littles. I can't find myself from a community of like-minded people. These are all tools to aid me in keeping spiritually fit, but to truely find myself I need only breathe in and breathe out. I need only allow my breath to embrace me every moment of every day.

So as my time of solitude is drawing to a close and I need to go grocery shopping before I pick up the Littlest Little, I leave with this one thought.

Breathe in, breathe out....OH SNAP!!! I forgot to make a grocery list!!!!...Breathe in, breathe out.

Just my thoughts.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shiny Dancing Queen

Here I am dancing up a storm on what turned out to be the evening of all evenings. I love this photo, because it really captures the energy of the evening. That energy was happy, joyous and free. We were just a group of beautiful, vibrant ladies out on the town without a care in the world. (I was wearing a tiara, but you couldn't see it in most of the photos from the evening. Note to self: Buy a bigger tiara next year. ;) )

We gathered at my home for a fabulous meal and joyful fellowship. (I'm the one with the gorgeous gray hair that looks like she's not wearing a tiara. Again: Much bigger tiara next year.) The meal was wonderful, with the combined efforts of my dear sister and some dear friends, but the best part was just being together in my home with all of these bright and shining ladies. I felt so comfortable and joyful. These two feelings are not how I usually feel in social situations. How could I not feel this way on that night? All of these women have become a part of who I am now, because I hold a special place in my heart for each of them. I am so honored that they wanted to be a part of an evening that I have often dreamed about, but have never had the confidence to do. I have that confidence now and I have already decided that this event will take place every 2nd Saturday in September. It is my hope that it becomes an evening that people look forward to each year. I am very excited about what the evening will look like in the future.

There is one person missing from the group photo above. The photographer, which is my beautiful sister, Kristy. She is the shiny lady on the left. She has inspired me in so many ways. First with her blog, Stark Raving Zen, then with her decision to leave a career that was slowly killing her, followed by a spiritual transformation that most people will never accomplish in one life time. She has been a constant source of encouragement and has really taught me valuable lessons in living your joy and letting your spirit shine. She lives about 5 minutes from me right now, but is moving to New Mexico in a couple of weeks and I will miss her dearly. I am so excited for the direction that she is going in that I can not be sad.

So I really just want to say a great big thank you to all these beautiful women. You all have made me a better person for knowing you. I also thank all of those out in the blogosphere who danced with me if only in spirit. I could feel your joyful energy that evening.

So when are you going to plan your Little Black Dress Night? When are you going to be a Shiny Dancing Queen?

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Little Black Dress Night

So, I'm ready to move on. I am letting not-so-little #1 be who she is right now. I love her, but I need to let go of all the feelings of hopelessness and fear. I am ready to let my hair down and put on my dancing shoes (and my tiara) and just have fun. About a month ago I decided to plan an event. I have never done this in my life. I felt the desire to put on a little black dress and a tiara and just have some good ole fun. So Saturday night my sister and a good friend of mine are preparing dinner for 15-20 other amazing women. My hope for the evening is to just celebrate how beautiful we all are. We will not all have on little black dresses. That was my original plan, but it is more important to me that all of these beautiful women feel beautiful. So I let that requirement slide. However, we will all be sporting tiaras. I know its silly. Sometimes a little silliness is important.

I am so excited for this evening. I will be seeing some women that I have not seen in 20+ years. I will be showing a side of me that I don't usually show. I used to love to dance. Then over the years I became too insecure to dance. I believed that I would just make a fool of myself if I danced. Well, Saturday I will gladly make a fool of myself. I guess I no longer consider dancing as making a fool of myself. I dance at home all the time. I'm ready to take my awesome dancing show on the road. I hope I don't intimidate too many people. ;)

I am also excited that it is Thursday night and I am not panicking because my house is a disaster. Because my house IS NOT A DISASTER. Pick up here, scrub a little there and I am ready to relax and be joyful. Life is good. Even when things seem dark, life is still good. So think about me dancing the night away on Saturday. Maybe you could join me from where ever you are. Happy dancing!!!!

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Avoiding consequences

So stepping back from not-so-little #1 and her problems hasn't been as easy as I thought it was going to be. The strength that I felt just a few days ago has all but vanished. All I feel right now is a very real pain. I feel loss. I want so much for all of this to just go away, yet I can't stop feeling this negative energy that surrounds me. I know that I am holding on to it. I won't let it go.

I'm not very good at practicing what I preach. I am saying that my daughter needs to suffer the consequences of her actions, but I am trying to avoid the consequences of mine. Mr. Man and I have made some bad choices where not-so-little #1 is concerned. We have helped her out of some financial messes and now those decisions are biting us. So this pain that I'm feeling is the same pain that she should be feeling. I don't think that she feels it, however. Why should she? I have never allowed her to truly face her consequences.

I want to totally step back from this, but if I do it will mean a pretty big financial hit on Mr. Man and myself. If I don't step back and make some offers to help it will still mean a pretty big financial hit. So this is where my dilemma lies. I feel like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. There is no simple answer here. It may seem simple. Just don't help her. Simple, but not easy.

I guess I haven't learned how to be the kind of mother who can detach from her kids in a healthy way yet. I can detach from little messes, but bigger than life messes still trip me up. I still want so much for my kids to be happy, productive people, and if they are not I feel pain for them. I feel pain for their spirits that just want to be joyful and free, but are being held captive. In this case, I feel so much pain that I want to make it go away. I want to do whatever it takes to get rid of this darkness that seems like it is taking over.

My point in all of this is that I have to suffer the consequences of my actions. I can't make them go away. I can't have someone sweep in and make it all better. Mr. Man and I messed up. We will probably be fine in the end, but for now it feels pretty crappy. I, we, have to let not-so-little #1 do the same. Again, simple but not easy.

Just my thoughts.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stepping back is easy now

Well, this week went off without a hitch...almost. The littles had a good first week of school. We have really fallen into a good routine and I don't feel the anxiety that I remember from last year. Little #4 started his Fall baseball leauge practices on Wednesday and I was able to drop him off and not be filled with fear that he might be nervous. Last year I cried at every game, watching him struggle because his baseball skills were not at the same level as the other players. I was quite an emotional wreck a year ago.

Everything was running smoothly, I was feeling so at ease and peaceful and I was looking forward to what the next few months was going to bring. Of course the Universe has a way of mixing it up a bit. Just when you think that all is well, something happens and your ease and peace are tested. That is what happened to me. Not so little #1 got into some trouble. Actually she is in big trouble.

She has been in trouble before and I have always been filled with the pain of not knowing what to do. Not knowing how to help her. Wishing that she could be spared any pain. Telling her what I think she should do and then getting upset when she ignores my advice. In other words, I have always let her problems become my problems.

When I received her phone call yesterday, I was not filled with pain. I was not worried about what I could do for her. I was not wishing that she could be spared any pain. I know that this may sound odd, but I want her to feel some of the pain. She needs to suffer some consequences. I still love her with all my heart. That will never run out, but I will only be offering her emotional support. I will not make things easy for her. I love her too much to do that. I love me too much to do that.

My relationship with my oldest has been strained. I am just as responsible for that strain as she is. I have at some level allowed her to stay stuck in this downward spiral she is in. I only know one way to keep our relationship from completely disintegrating. I have to remove myself from her problems. I have to let her be the adult that she is. I have never been able to really do this. I have talked about the importance of letting her take care of her problems, but when it came down to stepping back I have never been able to take that step. Today I step back. I know that she has a long road ahead of her. She is on the way to hitting bottom and it is not going to be pretty, but it is absolutely necessary.

I love my 1st born so much. Lately, I do not like the things that she does, but my heart still loves her. I feel empathy for her, but I do not feel responsible for her. I wonder if my letting go of all the clutter that entombed me has helped me in being able to let go of her problems? I wonder if the strength I feel today comes from setting my spirit free from the excess physical clutter? I have so much inner strength right now. I truly feel like I can face any calamity that comes my way and still come out on top. Its a good feeling. I feel so empowered and content with who I am. I want that for my not so little #1, but she has to want it too.

Just my thoughts.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The second first day of school

Littles 3,4 & 5 started their second year of school today. It has been one of those days where I am a mixture of happy and sad. Sad, because I miss them when they are gone and happy because I am enjoying this one-on-one time with Little #6. I started getting a bit unnerved last week with the thought of sending them off to school again.

I seriously considered going back to homeschooling. As the clutter has been cleared from our home I have felt a definite strengthening of my relationship with my precious family. I want to be around them. I want to share in their everyday adventures. When the clutter was here I had a hard time feeling this closeness. I felt suffocated and unfortunately that feeling often left me feeling like I was being crowded out, which often kept me emotionally detached. I homeschooled for 5 years feeling this way. It was a constant struggle.

When I had finally reached my breaking point and decided to put the kids in school, I felt like a failure. I did not want to put them in school, but I knew that I needed a break. Now I see that my spirit was telling me that it was time to take care of Jill. It was time to focus on Jill's needs. I could not do that with the Littles at home all day, every day.

When the Littles went off to school last year, my life took a turn for the worst. I couldn't even bring them to school on the first day. I didn't want them to see me crying. I didn't want to scare them anymore than they were already scared. When I think back to last fall, I see pain and more pain. Everything fell to pieces. I felt like a complete failure, I jumped back into my food addiction and I let the house fall to pieces even more than it already was.

In January things took another turn. I started to see glimpses of my spirit shine through all of the pain. I finally came to believe that I got to choose what and who I was to be. I dropped the failure and food addict labels. Since then my transformation has been slow and steady. Today I am free from food addiction and I have been freed from the need to hold on to the mountain of clutter. I do not feel like a failure. My days are pain-free and my spirit is shining bright.

So last week when I started to feel the desire for our care-free homeschool lifestyle, I seriously contemplated it. I turned to the Divine and asked for guidance and this is what I heard. I heard a very loud panicky voice say, "Keep them home, they need you!!!" As I listened I also heard a very soft, peaceful voice say two words. "Just wait." I knew that that quiet voice was the Divine Guidance that leads me and that the loud obnoxious voice was my ego trying to trip me up again.

So today I wait. I will homeschool again. I don't know when or who, but my intuition tells me that it will happen. I'll wait till I know the time is right. The Littles like their school. Little #3 is not as convinced as the other two, but he's ok for now.

Everybody is home now, relaxing from their 2nd first day of school. I am at peace and am enjoying this beautiful life we have. I am getting geared up to start Phase 2 of decluttering our home. I am also getting geared up to go back to school myself. Slow and steady is the plan from here on out.

Just my thoughts.