Pages Menu
RssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted on 6 Apr, 2015 | 0 comments

Children Change The World – Through Us

I LOVE this one from April 2014:

I would like to honour a mother I know.

martina

Sometimes our children demand the almost impossible from us and it’s so easy to make it the child’s problem and avoid making the unimaginable changes that will make the situation better.

This morning I observed a happy, flourishing, balanced girl and I thought of how it might have been if her mother hadn’t done what she did – and I felt so moved I decided to write about it (I got this approved by her before I posted it).

This mother has children of a different race group to herself. All was fine while they were young but as they grew older her girls began to ask questions, some of them incredibly painful and difficult to answer. “Mama, can people with my colour skin drive fancy cars?”, “Why can’t my hair be straight and blond?”

Looking around at her world through the eyes of her daughters, this mother saw the role models for her dark girls were either rich light-skinned women or poor dark-skinned women in service to the light-skinned. Neither role model fitted these upper-middle-class dark-skinned girls. Even her own hair was straight and blonde. She didn’t have the tools to help her girls live in this world from within a dark skin. She couldn’t teach them what strengths are needed deep inside to deal with all that comes at you from society when one is wrapped in a dark-chocolate-brown skin.

It was a time of

Read More

Posted on 23 Mar, 2015 | 2 comments

Ode To Sweetness

The soft, warm, plump cheek covered with a light down of soft hair like peach fuzz feels silky on my lips and cheek as I gently rub my face over this sweetness that is my child. He is still now, finally sleeping, sweet-smelling breath coming out in little puffs through half-open lips that are smooshed on the pillow.

In repose.

sweetness.

Blessed stillness that gives quiet space for my heart to expand into this vision of sweetness, opening to the warm, tingling, stretching sensation that is the swelling of love within me. A bubble of warm energy rising up in me – an almost a sorrowful ache of a feeling – with an energising upwards whoosh that is the feeling of goodness and happiness and love and joy and awe. I gaze at him and allow the feelings to expand in me, aware of the gift this is.

Even in his tranquility I can still see the movement of his day in my mind’s eye. Industrious arms and legs, fingers and toes, still a little chubby, body busily moving from here to there, actively engaged with this or that. Dancing, moving, talking, laughing, climbing… And now so still. At rest. Preparing for the activity of tomorrow. This day full of learning, expanding, exploring is completed and so much waits to be discovered tomorrow.

This blessing that is my child tested me today – as he does every day. Who he is brought a smile to my lips, joy to my heart, a few muttered curses under my breath, a bit of awe and some grudging respect for his sheer determination – even though it was at the cost of my wordly belongings. In response to his many explorations today I felt laughter bubble in me, anger rise up in a sharp sudden tidal wave, anxiety spike the centre of me, peace fill me and deep appreciation wrap itself all around me. What will he bring me tomorrow, I wonder.

My responses to his actions have taught me more about myself today. I saw where I

Read More

Posted on 9 Feb, 2015 | 2 comments

I Celebrate My Child’s Defiance

It was the last day of school last year and we had a gift for someone at the school which my son was supposed to have given the day before but – even though he’d seen the person – he’d forgotten to give the gift. So now it was down to the wire and we needed to give it before school ended.

gift

Before school we agreed that we would go find this lovely guy and give him the gift. In the morning we got to school and I said, “Ok quick, let’s go give him the gift.” My son looks at me confused and says, “I don’t want to do it now.”

What?!

“But we agreed! Let’s quickly go and do it.” I said impatiently.

“I don’t want to do it now. I want to play.” He says planting his feet on the ground.

I say – none too gently, “We need to give him the gift. If we get it done quickly you can still have time to play. Come on!”

“I don’t want to do it now.” He’s starting to get an edge of whine in his tone. There’s pressure on him.

“But we agreed!” I huff indignantly.

“I thought you meant after school.”

Dawning realisation that there is reason to his resistance. How inconvenient for me. I change tack in my mission to make him do it the way that will suit me best.

“Oh, we had a misunderstanding? Ok I see. But now let’s just go do it now and get it done with.” I’m putting heavy pressure on him, trying to make him do what I want.

“I don’t want to.”

Aaaargh! He’s not going my way!!!

I feel pressure, I know this needs to get done but there is my child simply not wanting to do it. It’s a moment of sheer powerlessness for me. This person is blocking me from my next move.

I don’t know about you but this is the moment I lose it sometimes. Apparently

Read More

Posted on 12 Jan, 2015 | 2 comments

Comparison Kills the Spirit

I’ve noticed that if I give myself permission to do something in the way that feels best to me I relish it – whether it’s a project or parenting or sweeping the floor. I have fun, I dance with the broom, I’m sparkly-eyed and richly productive. I’m deeply engaged in what I’m doing, I’m doing it well and I don’t care how others think it should be done.

BUT

If I compare myself to others I lose my center and then whatever I’m trying to do sort of wobbles and flops over in a limp, stagnating lump of ‘almost there’ and ‘at least I tried’.

Floop

Comparison kills the spirit of a thing.

I recently had the great honour of being guided by a wonderful artist through the piece of art – traditionally called a house – that he is currently creating. As he steered us through his creation – the walls of which, I swear, are living and breathing – he explained with great relish what each nook and cranny were for, unveiled each thought behind the unusual designs and it was like being in another world – which it was I suppose, visiting the world of his mind. And what a mind! Wow, truly, WOW. Like a treasure chest.

He has been painstakingly crafting this house for the past five years.

It’s nowhere near done.

When I heard that, my socialised mind immediately led primly-dressed thoughts down the socially correct route, “Gosh that’s a long time. What’s the point? When will he get it done?”

Then I watched the man speaking. He was describing in detail the incredible amount of complicated calculation and exacting effort it required to build a particular curved dome in the ceiling brick by brick. It sounded horrible! Not to him though. His face was animated, his eyes were aglow, his mouth was in a permanent smile, his arms were flying around in description … he was practically salivating at the delightful memory of the difficulty of it all. Then, as though to confirm my suspicions, he sighed happily and said, “It was so much fun.”

And there we have it. The Point.

Fun.

Yes, enjoyment. Being IN the moment, being present to a process you want to be in and letting yourself love it. What is the point of finishing faster if he is enjoying the process so much? I mean, what will he do afterwards anyway? He’ll find a new project to have fun with so why not just fully enjoy this one now? It will take as long as it takes and it doesn’t matter because he is having fun the whole time. And learning and growing.

I’ve been part of a project that has been ripening for a long time now. It ripens and ripens and each time I think I am ready to take off with it I realise I’m not yet. Which makes me feel a bit of a woes sometimes. According to social convention, I ‘should’ have gotten on with it a long time ago. I compare myself to others who just go for it and it makes me feel bad about myself. I’ve tried pushing, cheerleading, prodding, manipulating and shaming myself into doing it but I just freeze up because none of those are actually about me.

BUT

Each time I remember (again and again and again) that the only reason in the world for my doing this at all is to have FUN – for ME to have fun – then it comes alive again, because I love it, I truly do. I get all

Read More

Posted on 3 Nov, 2014 | 12 comments

This Simple Ritual Makes Such A Big Difference

You know how you get used to thinking about your child in a certain way? For instance I’d learned to think of my older boy as shy, tentative, uptight and a bit of a worrier with a heavy leaning to seeing the glass half empty.

half empty

There were times it really got to me.

I’d noticed that he had begun to ease over the last couple of years and I took it as a very reassuring reflection that I was doing the same – but I hadn’t realised just how much it has changed.

Then my friend said, “I really appreciate how your son is so quick to laugh. You can always count on him to laugh at the funny bits of a story.” Really? My boy?

So I watched him through the perspective she had just offered me and do you know what? I saw a boy who is really at ease with himself, confident and comfortable and almost looking for reasons to enjoy himself and laugh. (Oh I am loving this mirror!) In fact when his friends do things to make him laugh he relaxes into the laughter with his whole self and is eagerly ready for more almost anytime. It’s beautiful to witness.

So I got a-thinking about the process that I’ve been through over the last two years, where my book and this blog have led me to open up and ease into myself in a way I never even knew was possible. I thought of how my message to my children has shifted too over this time. Less concern over ‘getting it right’ and how things ‘should be’ and more messages of permission to be great, opening into good things, allowing self, celebrating all that is…

In all of it, there is one simple thing that I think really helped us make the shift. It’s the question, “What made you happy today?”

At one point I became really frustrated with my son’s constant focus on what he hasn’t got. I wondered how I can teach him (and me of course) more gratitude and appreciation. So I started with this ritual.

At bedtime, in the snuggle time just before sleep, I

Read More

Posted on 28 Apr, 2014 | 7 comments

Children Change The World – Through Us!

I would like to honour a mother I know.

martina

Sometimes our children demand the almost impossible from us and it’s so easy to make it the child’s problem and avoid making the unimaginable changes that will make the situation better.

This morning I observed a happy, flourishing, balanced girl and I thought of how it might have been if her mother hadn’t done what she did – and I felt so moved I decided to write about it (I got this approved by her before I posted it).

This mother has children of a different race group to herself. All was fine while they were young but as they grew older her girls began to ask questions, some of them incredibly painful and difficult to answer. “Mama, can people with my colour skin drive fancy cars?”, “Why can’t my hair be straight and blond?”

Looking around at her world through the eyes of her daughters, this mother saw the role models for her dark girls were either rich light-skinned women or poor dark-skinned women in service to the light-skinned. Neither role model fitted these upper-middle-class dark-skinned girls. Even her own hair was straight and blonde. She didn’t have the tools to help her girls live in this world from within a dark skin. She couldn’t teach them what strengths are needed deep inside to deal with all that comes at you from society when one is wrapped in a dark-chocolate-brown skin.

It was a time of deep crisis for her. She felt painfully inadequate to help her girls in the world. Her girls were also in a crisis of painful inadequacy. They were different and it hurt.

It would have been so easy to send her girls to therapy to cope with their difference. Probably with a light-skinned therapist who might make it all about them. (I can say that sort of thing because I’m a light-skinned therapist.)

She didn’t do that. Instead, she changed her world.

She began to ask the Universe and anywhere else she could think of to bring into her life dark-skinned, educated, middle-class, inspiring role models for her daughter. Women who would know. Women who could fill in the gaps of knowledge for her girls. Dark-skinned women who were beautiful and successful and proud of their hair. It was a difficult time for her light-skinned friends who felt rejected and rained sharp criticisms on her for her resolute head-hunting for new friends. Hurt comments were made about feeling inadequate due to lack of pigmentation.

She was having none of that. “I’m sorry you are hurt. It’s not about you. I have to do this for my daughters.” And on she went, searching determinedly.

Through her quest she has met some incredible role models – not just for her girls but for her and many of her light-skinned friends (the ones who stuck around for the changes). She had to face many inner prejudices and assumptions she didn’t know she was walking around with. She has been challenged and cracked open in all sorts of painful and exciting ways. She has challenged and cracked open those around her who were willing to join in on this journey.

There’s been a whole lot of mess and a whole lot of treasure. There’s still going to be.

And this morning I watched her dark-skinned daughter, shining within herself, knowing she is fine as she is. Knowing she can grow to be a beautiful, successful, proud dark-skinned woman who will probably change the world – just like her mother.

leah

 

Read More

Posted on 1 Jul, 2013 | 0 comments

It Seems I Hit A Nerve

I received such beautiful, heartfelt and inspiring responses to my post I’m Done With Feeling Not Good Enough . It seems to have stirred something up. It’s one thing to know you’re not alone in feeling something and another to see you’re not alone. I’m SO glad I found the courage to write it.

One woman told me, “After I read your post on feeling not good enough I suddenly realized that it might be fears of not being good enough that have been driving the anxiety I’ve lived with all my life”

Image courtesy of Foto76 FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Foto76 FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A poetess wrote me this; “Did you hear thunder? No? I thought you may have had something to do with it, having started this open conversation about the god Goodenough. I dreamt that I arrived at school to fetch my child and was faced with

Read More

Posted on 24 Jun, 2013 | 0 comments

She Thought It Was For Her Child

Image courtesy of Anankkml FreeDigitalPhots.net

Image courtesy of Anankkml FreeDigitalPhots.net

Amy feels like she’s lost herself in all this parenting and busy life thing and she’s deeply unhappy. There are things to do, people to look after… but there’s not much in it just for her. In her therapy, we are on a mission to find her lost self and bring her back so that life will feel like it has some purpose and sparkle.

I ask her about creativity in her life. “I used to paint and draw” she tells me wistfully, “I was really good at it. My mom saw me one day sitting and drawing and she was surprised I drew so well. She bought me pencils and stuff to draw. I loved it.”

Then she tells me how the family split up and money became very tight and she had to get a job, even at 14, to help out and

Read More

Posted on 5 Jun, 2013 | 6 comments

It’s A Matter Of Choice

Image courtesy of Tungphoto FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tungphoto FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve recently irritated someone with my upbeat optimistic approach to facing life’s challenges. On the other hand someone else told me I shouldn’t focus so much on how hard it all is.

Long ago I learned that if I’m being criticised by the left and the right, it means I’m standing somewhere in the center.

To answer yet a third person, I think I get excited about growing and healing because it’s my temperament. You know some of us are Tigger and others are Eyore. Others are Piglet or Rabbit or Kanga or Pooh. I’m a little bit Boing! But I also think it comes down to choice.

Read More

Posted on 31 May, 2013 | 4 comments

I Couldn’t See Myself

Image courtesy of Vegadsl FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Vegadsl FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It truly amazes me how I couldn’t see myself. How with all my introspection and insight and intuition I sometimes can’t see myself at all. I get drawn into the illusion that things happen ‘out there’. I KNOW that what happens ‘out there’ reflects what is going on ‘in here’ – for goodness sake’s that’s what I’m writing about parenting – but still… the illusion is SO powerful.

Read More