Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Do good, feel good, be good...

I am 38 today.  I don't know what I expected 38 to feel like, but it wasn't this.  Not in a bad way, I just keep thinking...dang girl...38, that is so close to 40.  So, I am guessing that somewhere in my mind 40 seemed old at some point in time.  I think back to my mom at 38, it was when she had my brother,  and she didn't seem old then, but somewhere in my 20s, 40 seemed older, more mature, I guess.  I don't know where I thought I'd be or what I'd be doing, but as I drove in my car today with my 3 kiddos buckled in their carseats (the older 2 arguing with each other and the little one singing to herself), I couldn't think of someplace else in life I'd want to be really.  There is so much to be joyful about when I sit in the present.  When I look around at all I have to be grateful for, all my family is blessed with, it puts a smile on my face and often tears in my eyes.
Maybe it's been knowing this birthday is coming, or maybe I have just looked a little closer at myself in the mirror, but I have noticed more wrinkles on my face lately.  Last week my son told me my neck was getting old recently, kind of "scrunchy, you know".  The funny thing is that I feel healthier than I've ever been.  I'm training for a marathon and running again after about an 8 year hiatus.  My body feels like its in good shape, strong, I feel like I'm at my prime in some ways, full of potential.  I contemplate the next 38 years on the horizon and think...yes, my body will probably start breaking down from here on out (it's probably already started to), and so I better take good care of it, be kind to it, its the only one I've got.  I hope that isn't the case with my mind.  Hopefully, it's the opposite, it continues to find more clarity, less struggle, more ease, less suffering. 
I keep getting the same label on my yogi tea bags that say "Feel good, do good, be good." Those 3 in I'm not sure what order, but it resonates with me.  I hope to spend this next year living that.  Feeling good, taking care of myself, not putting garbage into my body or my mind, continuing to surround myself with people that make me feel good, laughing often, spending as much time as possible outside.  Doing good...raising my children with intention, taking care of my husband and my family, being kind to others, having a positive impact on those I come into contact with, friends and strangers alike, extending grace, forgiveness, letting the past go.  And last but not least...being good.  I think the being good comes from living the first two.  I am hoping it will be my best year yet.

Friday, December 16, 2011


oh boy...nobody faint...it's been 3 months since I have been able to find it in me to write for public consumption.  I've done plenty of journaling over the course of the last few months, but letting anyone into my head has felt like a scary proposition.  Do you ever feel like you are going nuts?  I have spent the last few months stuck in my head.  In general, I think I am a pretty quiet minded person.  It's not that I don't process things or think about stuff, I just don't tend to get so preoccupied with my thoughts that I am distracted from what is going on in front of me.  Over the course of this fall, I felt like my spinning just began to consume me.  I felt lost in my head much of the time, watching the same thoughts pass through my mind day in and day out.  Don't ask me what they were, because I'm not even sure I could tell you, I don't really know.  What I do know, is that I began to feel very lonely, despite having plenty of people in my life.  I began to sink deeper inside myself and found myself struggling with the same old stuff.  One evening I spent about 3 hours reading my old journals, from 15+ years ago.  I cringed as I could see many of the same exact patterns playing out in my mind today.  I thought I had purged myself of much of that baggage and have to admit I was more than a bit disappointed to realize I am still doing the same work.  What is it that makes us hold so tight to those destructive thought patterns?  After beating myself up over it for an evening, I began to think maybe we are like onions.  We just keep peeling back these layers, they don't really look different, the layers, but we get closer to the core the more we pull them back.  I guess that is just what I am doing, moving closer toward my Self (you know the one with the big S).
After the journey back in time with these journals, I told my husband about feeling lonely.  I can see it's because I begin to hide my Self from those I love.  I put the masks on that give the impression all is well and I stop sharing what is really going on.  I've been peeling the masks off and my mind seems to have a little more space in it and I am feeling a little lighter.
I don't think it is coincidence that I feel this way during a time when the darkness is overtaking the light in nature.  I think this season gives us the opportunity to be reflective, to go inside and see what is left to heal, to repair, to rebuild, to recharge... and hopefully re-emerge a better version of our self.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I feel like I've been on a bit of a whirlwind tour this summer.  It's been great - a little wild, fast paced and unruly at times, but what strikes me most is how quickly it has gone by.  I started back to "work" today.  Don't ask me why I put that in quotations, it is a part time job, really, but sometimes it doesn't feel like a real job.  I feel like just yesterday I was picking the kids up from the last day of school and here we are back at it again.
I'm thankful to be returning to some structure, to have more stimulation for my brain that is adult and feels like it is making a difference in the community at large.  We all make a difference every day, in big and small ways.  Anyone who is raising kids, or playing a role in the lives of young people, has a great potential to make a difference.  Some days it is absolutely enough for me, and other days I can taste a longing for something else, intelligent adult conversation that you don't get enough of when you are herding children or referee-ing for them. 
We have played hard this summer, taken lots of weekend trips, gone on a couple of adventures and just generally embraced the season of it.  I did a yoga retreat last weekend that was about quieting the nervous system, intended to help us make this transition from summer's frenetic pace into a quieter season.  It felt fantastic, it was slow and gentle.  Yet, I find myself not quite ready to slow down, to spin out of the whirlwind, we are headed to play some more this weekend.  Everything has a time and a place, I suppose, and the time to jump out of vacation mode is not yet for me.  We think of vacation mode as one that is laid back, which in ways this summer has been.  I have felt more carefree and spontaneous than I can remember being in many moons.  I think life will actually take on a more even rhythm, a slower and steadier pace come fall and I welcome it when it comes...I'm just not quite ready...yet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Am I really like that?

Sometimes life holds up a full length mirror and I find myself staring into my own eyes asking, "Am I really like that?"  I am all for introspection.  I try hard to look inward, to really see myself, to recognize when I act out of fear, when I misrepresent the truth, when I am not gracious and a million other things I can't begin to list.  I try to understand the root of those behaviors, what's behind the impatience or the stress, those things are typically symptoms, right? And not the root cause.  For instance, my resentment towards my husband last week really wasn't about what he was or wasn't doing, it was about my own needs not being met and my inability to ask for what it is I need.  It's a vicious cycle sometimes, but when we can find the seed, so to speak, we can typically eradicate the problem.
About six weeks ago, I told my husband I felt like I was drowning in housework.  I feel like with all of us home this summer, I can't begin to keep on top it.  I can do the surface stuff, the laundry, straightening up, dishes, etc.  It's the deeper cleaning that I can never seem to find (or make) the time for.  I could feel it wearing on me.  I was having a hard time relaxing at home, knowing the floors needed mopping, bathroom disinfected.  It's the last thing I want to do after the kids are in bed at night, a girl needs some down time.  Enough of my justifying here, my husband being the man he is, wanted to fix it.  That is what men do, bless their hearts, solve problems.  He called a couple of cleaning services, scheduled appointments for them to come and give us a bid and we picked one.  They cleaned our house that week and have come back every other week to do the same.  Having a cleaner house has been great.  What hasn't been great is my interaction with the company... an incorrect bill, the cleaners showing up unexpected, showing up 2 hours late.  With 3 kids at home, it's definitely easiest on all of us, if we can leave the house when they arrive and be gone for the duration.  I have rearranged my schedule to make that happen and then they don't come when they say they will.  It happened again today and I was really frustrated.  I called the office and as I talked with the office person, I could tell she thought I was nuts.  It struck me as to how inflexible I must appear to her.  After I told her this was not going to work for me, that I was frustrated with the communication, or lack there of, she said, "I'm sorry, but I can't have them there at an exact time.  It's 2 minutes past 11:30 .  I know they were planning to be there around 11:30 and you can either leave the door unlocked or wait if you want them to come. "  I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was over it, me, too.  We got disconnected, the joys of cell phones and I dropped my kids off and headed to yoga.  She called back in the mean time, I didn't answer and made myself spend a few minutes just breathing and letting go of the irritation I felt.  I called her back, we had a much more pleasant conversation and it all worked out, today. 
 I'd like to think I am flexible, that I am able to let things go and am not rigid about how life has to happen.  I've witnessed this quality in others and it isn't one of my favorites.  I'm not sure if it fear of unknown, I think it is more about feeling out of control.  I don't have any answers, I think this is one I need to sit on.  It probably sounds like I am making a bigger deal out of this than need be.  I'm not.  I just got myself all worked up today and wasn't able to clearly articulate my needs, again, and that made me feel stressed out and on edge.  I'm not usually like that, am I?  Just kidding. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Come Together

This morning I went to yoga class, the first one I have been to where I wasn't teaching in many weeks.  I was giddy dropping my children off,  knowing I would get a few hours to myself.  I have loved summer and the freedom I have being home with 3 kids, the time we have to play, the togetherness.  It has also had its challenges - all that togetherness, it seems to lead to bickering, me refereeing and that sometimes exhausts me.
I settled onto my mat to prepare for meditation and my yoga teacher shared a mantra for our practice.  "We are connected to the energy of all things."  I could feel myself softening into my seat, clearing out some space in my mind as I followed my breath in and out, in and out, and recited this seemingly simple mantra to myself.  My teacher spoke of how all of yoga is really about connectedness, the word yoga meaning essentially union, gratitude, awareness of our dependence on others.  It resonated with me and felt easy to let it wash over me, clearing out whatever junk I came in with and creating some space for something easier, a little more free.  There is such freedom in letting go, of relinquishing the idea that I need to do it all.  Realizing that it is not just okay, but it is better when I take time for myself, allow my needs to be met first, and then tend to the other needs in my world. 
I left yoga feeling grateful, whole, and most definitely connected.  I saw a dear student and friend in the parking lot as I walked to the car.  We exchanged hugs and smiles and she headed into the studio as I got into my car.  I could feel myself brimming with joy.  Was it the yoga or the act of doing something for myself?  Probably both, didn't matter.  My in-laws graciously took my children for the morning and I had at least an hour before I needed to get back to pick them up.  I had several errands to run, which are amazingly fast when there aren't 3 little people getting in and out of the car, too.  I pulled up in the parking lot of my son's preschool to deliver his tuition and paperwork and a song on the radio caught my attention.  I turned  off the engine and listened to the lyrics: 
"I got a strong back, steel toes, I'm handy with a wrench.  There is nothing I can't drive, nothing I can't fix.  I work sun-up to sun-down.  Give you 40 and then some.  Three dollars and change at the pump.  Cost of livin's high and goin' up."
It's a song about a family man trying to find a job, selling himself to a potential employer.  My tears were flowing and turned into sobs.  Took 2 tissues to wipe away the tears and pull myself together once the song was over.  Why am I so emotional?  I ask myself.  Am I?  Maybe it's just that I can feel the truth in that story, there are many souls out there looking for work, trying to make a living, trying to feed their families.  Times aren't easy for everyone.  I have much to be grateful for, every gosh darn day.  Sometimes I get caught up in my own world and stop seeing what is around me, stop feeling gracious and giving.  I have to remember to take time for myself, to slow down and reconnect with myself, with that sense of being a small part of something much greater.
I headed off to the grocery store, changed the radio station to Top 40, could feel myself lightening up and by  the time I got to Fred Meyer I was grooving to a new beat, dancing my way down the street (in my car, of course).  "Evacuate the dance floor, I'm infected by the sound...."  Felt like I went from one extreme to the other, not really though.  They are just two sides of the same coin.  Come together...right now...over me

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer, Summer, Summer

I think we have officially made the transition to summer.  Weather is hot, kids are sleeping in, our social calendar has been busy and our house is a mess.  I'm much more inclined to spend the afternoon poolside than to stay here and clean up.  Dinner is often something on the BBQ and I feel a freedom I haven't felt in a long while.  We spent last weekend on Whidbey Island, and as I sat on the beach, looking out at the amazing view, taking in the sea air, feeling sunshine on my skin, I felt truly relaxed.  The kids were playing, scattered on the beach.  I felt content, happy to feel like I could just be and didn't need to DO anything.  Sometimes that is hard for me, I feel like there is so much effort in to getting places with our 3 munchkins, that once we get there, it's hard for me to enjoy the journey of being there and not focus on the next destination, so to speak.
Yesterday, I dropped my oldest off at mini-camp.  She was smiling, excited, happy when I left.  I could see the mix of emotion in many of the kids faces.  Excitement coupled with a bit of concern...our my parents really leaving me here?  I felt proud of Ruby and how brave she is to go off to camp for 2 nights.  We had many conversations prior to that day about what camp might be like and she was truly just excited and open to the adventure of it.  As we pulled in to the parking lot, I could feel that heaviness in my gut, tears welling up in my eyes.  I looked at her and told her I was going to try really hard not to cry when I left here.  She wrapped her arms around my leg and said "Oh Mom."  Not in an annoyed sort of way, rather in a tender, I love you, I'll be fine sort of way.  It feels like such a milestone and in the mean time the other two are changing right before my very eyes.  Willis' little body is changing, he's getting taller, slimmer.  His face is losing baby fat, I assume, as it looks different, older.  Elsie is stringing words together, understanding things I don't expect her to.  I wonder when did all this take place?  I've been watching, am I just now noticing or did it happen overnight?  My heart is full and aches all at the same time.  I know there is no use in holding on, everything changes.  Kids grow up, relationships change, I change.  Even knowing that, there is a bittersweet longing to soak up what is before it's gone and has turned into something else, not better or worse, just different.  I'm grateful for these long summer days, time to play, to be, to give myself permission to not work so hard and to enjoy the simple moments that pass us by when we aren't watching. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding Bells

Last weekend, my sister-in-law got married.  She had asked my husband (her brother) and I to do the homily.  We were both a little overwhelmed by the prospect of it, neither of us ever having given a homily.   As we delved into it, I think we both found inspiration.  The homily, for those of you unfamiliar with Catholic weddings, is "the talk" that usually the priest gives after the Bible readings.  It's typically a reflection of the Gospel reading and how it relates to marriage.  The priest performing the marriage told the bride and groom that in Native American tradition, a lay person gives the homily.  We were honored and humbled to be chosen.  The homily has great significance, and we wanted to be sure the words were right for these two we love dearly. 
As we began looking into the particular Gospel reading and it's meaning, we found it all boiled down to faith.  I came across a quote from St. Augustine that spoke to me, something along the lines of "faith is to believe in things you can not see and the reward of faith is to see what you believe."   We could all use a little faith, could we not?  People basically live up or down to our expectations of them and when you believe in people, their goodness, their potential, more often than not, you are pleasantly surprised.  We both put a lot of thought in to the homily into what we would say.  Looking at the sacrament of marriage and it's meaning, made me hopeful.  We don't always live up to our commitments in marriage, but we continue to hold that ideal out there in hopes that one day we will.  Sure, we live up to parts of it, but am I always gracious in my relationship with my husband?  No...definitely not.  Am I always kind, patient, generous?  Again, the answer is no.  I do believe that I can be though, and so I keep working at it, drawing upon a source greater than myself, when I can't muster up the grace myself to do or say the right thing.
So, the wedding.  Everything about it was perfect.  It was truly a community effort.  There were 20 or so people around the house at all times, working to make the event come off without a hitch.  Everyone had such a positive attitude, happy to part of the exciting day, willing to help in whatever way was useful.  I felt like I was part of the tribe again.  I think the bride and groom were able to relax and enjoy the days leading up to and the day of the wedding, resting softly in the knowing that everything would be taken care of.  I envy them a little in this way.  I've always lived with the mentality that if you want something done, you better do it yourself.  In fact, it drives my husband crazy because I will ask him to do something for me and than do it myself, too impatient to wait or because I think I just better do it myself.  Who knows why I do that?? But, I could see that it was easy for them to let go, to trust that someone else would take care of any details they hadn't already.  They had done the hard work preparing, getting ready and now it was their time to enjoy themselves and their company.  (They might have a different take on this, but they both seemed very calm and at ease.)
The wedding was beautiful, special.  My sister-in-law's 2 young daughters, ages 7 and 4, were very much a part of the ceremony.  You could feel the 4 of them become 1 family.  I left that church, listening to the wedding bells of this little old Catholic Church ringing out fiercely over the country side.  I felt filled with great hope for the future of this new little family.  They are wrapped in love,  held by many, many people, committed to their new life, to supporting them as they make their way on this journey.    The celebration that followed was a reflection of just that...lots of lively conversation, laughter, dancing, good food and happiness.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011


We have officially made it through the first week of summer vacation.  I know, I should be mourning it's passing, the summer always passes by too quickly.  Ours is full of fun weekend adventures, a family wedding, a family vacation and time with friends.  I'm only teaching 3 or 4 yoga classes a week, not doing my other contract work over the summer months, and truly I feel like I have more freedom than I've had in awhile.  Well, sort of.  My kids are "transitioning" into summer.  I don't think they have quite figured out what this new normal looks like. 
In some ways, they are there.  Ruby has read 4 chapter books in as many days.  She has been reading all school year, but something just clicked and she is devouring books like I devour chocolate.  She can't get enough of them.  We just got our VW van back in the driveway, it's been parked at a friends for almost 2 years, I think.  Over the last couple of days, Ruby has spent hours in the back of the van curled up with a book.  It's great, I love that she is so into reading.  I love to read.  But, she is staying up way past bedtime with her night light on, reading long after I think she's asleep.  Once again tonight, she tiptoed upstairs and scared me half to death when she said my name and was standing about 6 ft away.  She might have a future as a spy, she's stealth.  Willis is sleeping in every morning, I think he has figured out that part of summer break, you don't have to get up so early.  They are loving being outside, we are taking evening family bike rides, playing together as a family and all that stuff is good.
The not so good is....the togetherness of being with one another all day every day.  Elsie has had enough of the mayhem by about 10 a.m. and wants to be in her crib by herself, without anyone touching her or talking to her and then takes a nap (partly because I sort of forget about her for awhile and then go check on her and she's laying in her crib surrounded by books snuggled up, asleep with her blankie).    She has been more needy for my attention, wants to be held more, "picks on" her siblings more (this entails hitting one of them, usually with a book or the remote control, or pulling hair or biting, lovely, no?)  Ruby and Willis have had about 10 or 12 fights/arguments/debates by lunchtime.  I'm trying really hard to not play referee this summer and make the two of them work it out or take a time out.  99% of the time they choose to work it out, but they are still telling on each other, often. 
Who knows how long the transition will last.  I'm sure once we find our groove, we'll go on vacation, or something will shift and we'll have to find a new one anyways.  Life is really a series of transitions, some bigger, some smaller.  Some time ago I learned that the word balance comes from the root word balare (which is Latin, I think) and that it means to dance.  It's so true.  Finding balance is a continual dance and when our pendulum swings too far one way, it sometimes has to go the other to find the happy place in between. 
So, I'm dancing in the mean time....might as well get your groove on if you're not yet in the groove, right?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy Campers

I'm a writing machine these days, no?  I am truly a creature of habit.  I looked back and last year I had 12 posts in June.  I'm telling you, there is something to the seasons and their effect on me.
I have just been filling out paperwork for my oldest to go to a mini-camp this summer.  Mini-camp does not mean day camp, it means overnight camp.  I find it hard to believe and I keep crying as I am muddling my way through the many forms we are required to fill out.  I don't question whether or not Ruby is ready for the experience.  She asked me several weeks ago if she could go to camp this summer.  I am guessing she would eagerly go to camp for a whole week if we let her, although she might get homesick after the novelty wore off.  She is an independent child, self confident, social, happy go lucky, easy to get along with.  She enters new situations without fear, eager to see what they might bring.  She is all things good and I want to give her every experience in life that I can.  Reading through the packet it talks about preparing them in the weeks before camp, so they know what to expect, don't feel stressed out about the unknown, etc.  I think my Ruby, unlike me, welcomes change and what is new and different.  She doesn't shy away from new experience, she jumps at the chance more often than not.  I think I am probably the one who needs preparing, not her.
I am going to have to wrap my head around her being away, on her own (not really, but it feels that way a little) before I start talking to her about what it will be like.  I certainly don't want to break down crying as I describe camp life to her.  She is going with one of her friends and there are several other kids that will be there that she knows.  It just feels like a big developmental step!  I'm not a worrier, I don't think I hold on too tight with my kids, but this one feels hard and particularly emotional for whatever reason.
I still remember going to camp as a kid.  I remember the excitement when you got mail, I remember throwing up on my camp counselor's bunk (she was below me) after eating something that did not agree with me, I remember my sister coming in to comfort me.  I remember my parents picking me up, I remember doing the arts and crafts.  I am excited for her and I can't wait to hear Ruby's stories, to listen to her excitement when she shares her experiences and all she did at mini-camp. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paying Attention

One might ask the question...why do I always start blogging 15 minutes before I need to wake up my napping cherubs (they are the sweetest when they are sleeping, aren't they?) to dash out to pick up Ruby from school.  Maybe that is the only way I ever get a blog entry done, to have a deadline.  14 minutes and counting.
I read this quote yesterday in my yoga class, "What you pay attention to becomes your experience."  I am not sure who wrote it or where the quote came from, but it struck a mighty chord with me.  I have been trapped a bit in a negative pattern of speaking without intention.  Many moons ago, I read a book on Toltec Wisdom, you've probably heard of it, The Four Agreements.  They are simple truths about how to live your life.  I can usually only ever pull out 3 of the 4 at any given time and we'll see what I can come out with today... Always do your best.  Never make assumptions.  Be impeccable with your words....Looks like today I can only pull out 3.  Sorry folks.  Anyways, the one about being impeccable with your words has always stuck with me.  It made me pause and think about what we put out into the world with our words.  Somewhere, this was described about using words as a force for light and healing in the world, or like a poison, fueling darkness.  I would like, of course, to be the force for light and healing in the world, not some poison spewer.  But, I am human, no?  I find myself at times making assumptions about what motivates another person's actions, taking it personally, at times, when in actuality it may have nothing to do with me and may have everything to do with their own "stuff" (that is the 4th one, Don't take things personally.)
So, back to paying attention...my husband and I had a conversation about this particular idea this morning.  He came to my yoga class yesterday, and perhaps that planted the seed when I read the quote.  I'm not sure, but he brought up an interaction he had, that made him notice another's focus on what isn't positive and good, how the person seemed to pay attention to what was negative or wrong in a situation as opposed to what was good.  It made me pause.  I've been thinking about this about myself.  How when you hear a story about someone that is juicy, let's say, or have an experience of someone that is not favorable, instead of choosing to let that story stop at you and quit feeding the rumor mill, or poison in the world of words, I often retell it.  Not in a way that intends to make trouble, or stir up drama, I'm actually not sure why I retell it.   My husband and I talked about how much better you feel about yourself when you steer clear of those conversations, when you hold back remarks that are less than life giving.  I sometimes feel like I need a reminder, to walk around with a mirror so I can see just what it is that I am reflecting in the world.
So, I am making a commitment today to pay attention to the good stuff, the stuff that brings out the best in people, the stuff that makes people feel happy, loved and good inside.  I am making a commitment to use my words more impeccably and I have a feeling that my experience will begin to reflect something lighter (not that it was dark to start out with, but I am guessing you know what I mean.)
And.... my time is up.  Off to practice my new commitments!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sprung in Spring

I am always seeking to better know myself, to understand what motivates me, what triggers old unproductive thought patters, what moves me, etc.  I found myself journaling the other day under the heading (one I wrote) "What I know about myself".  I started laughing part ways through as I reflected upon what I was doing and seeing half way down my list "I know I wonder what people who really know me think of me."  I have spent many an hour pouring over my own writings, intensely reading old journals, wondering who is this person I am reading about.  I do think I know myself pretty well, I'm pretty rooted in who I am.  I don't always like what comes out of my mouth, but I am self aware and typically know exactly what is going on with me when I say things I wish I would say differently.  By and large, my actions are an accurate reflection of me, I hold fast to some basic truths about how we should interact with others, how we should be in the world, and granted sometimes I get carried away, but mostly I operate from a place of goodness and light, and I'd like to think that what I say and do reflects that.
For some reason in the Spring, at least for the last 3 years (which is as far back as I can remember what spring felt like) I get restless, almost agitated, but not quite.  I get this itchy feeling in my soul, like I want to take a spiritual road trip.  I'm not sure what it is about the spring that does it.  I tend to seek more, want to feel connected more.  I find myself making more phone calls to friends, sending more emails, on facebook more, etc.  I am trying to understand where this comes from and got curious about Ayurveda doshas and how that might come into play.  (For those who are not familiar with Ayurveda and doshas...Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine or healing from India, one that is seen in the west as a bit alternative.  There are 3 dominant doshas, which are described as "life energies behind our bodily functions."  For example, do you have high, moderate or low activity level.  Do you tend to be overweight, underweight, or moderate?  You get the picture.) The 3 doshas are each made up of 2 of the 5 element: air, fire, water, space, earth. The 3 doshas are vata (air and space), pitta (fire and air), and kapha (earth and water).    I didn't know what my dosha was and so I took a few tests to determine my dosha.  I always assumed that I was vata, I'm not sure why, I guess due to a lack of knowledge about the whole thing.  When you know your dosha, you can better understand what some of your tendencies might be and hopefully have an easier time keeping yourself in balance.  For example, if you are vata, you might be like the wind...unpredictable, cool, quick to change and to balance that out, you might need more structure, stability in your life, more grounding.  Now, let me say, I am no expert on this, and there is a whole lot of information about this, if you want it.  I'm just trying to give a framework for where I am going which I've kind of forgotten.
Oh yes, so I am kapha, earth and water.  Not what I suspected, but after reading about the qualities inherent to this dosha, they fit...stable, loyal, dependable, to name a few.  I was actually calling myself (to myself) Debbie Dependable the other day.  So, what is my point?  Spring is certainly a season that is characterized by more movement of the air, everything lightens up in the world.  Nature re-emerges in all its glory, it's lighter outside, days are longer, it's warmer.  I think my earthy nature feels out of sorts, ungrounded in this season.  It makes me a little nervous and I'd like to be able to instead see it as an opportunity for growth, an opportunity to match my nature with nature, to re-emerge a little, to find a new beginning in some way shape or form.  I am hoping that now I know, I can move through this season with a little bit more awareness and just maybe, I will find myself in a more balanced, less restless place.  Happy Spring!

P.S.  If you want to discover your dosha, click on this link.  This is just one test to take, there are many out there.  At the bottom of the test there are articles about Ayurveda and doshas if you want to learn more.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Little Man

My sweet little boy turns 4 in a couple of days.  I feel like time continues to pass quickly, the weeks fly by, the days are short, the hour between 4 p.m. and bedtime is long...just joking, sort of.  I remember the surprise when he was born, I expected another girl.  What would I do with a little boy?  Having 3 nieces and a daughter, I wasn't sure I would know.  Fast forward to today and I can't imagine life without WB.  He is such a source of laughter and joy in our home, he balances us out in some way.  I think I relate to him in more ways than I would of expected, he is the middle child, smack dab between his two sisters.  He is playful, silly, serious, feisty, soft, hilarious, tough, sensitive, emotional, moody, smart, sneaky, athletic, sweet and spicy.  I feel like he is a mixture of so many opposites.  He is a Gemini and not that I hold a lot of stock in horoscopes, but he definitely seems to embody the spirit of twins, the two sided coin, wrapped in one brilliant and amazing little package. 
He has been more needy for me in the last several weeks, for lack of a better way to put it.  He talks of wanting to marry me, which his older sister always informs him will never happen since I am married to Daddy.  He wants more kisses.  He says I love you first when I put him to bed.  He wants me to hold him and snuggle him tight, hold his hand.  I don't know if he senses, as I do, that he is growing up.  I know, he's only 4, he's not even off to kindergarten next year or anything, but I can see him maturing, changing, becoming more independent.  He's finding ways to control his emotional outbursts, restrain himself when that fiery temper of his flares up.  He recognizes his role as a big brother to little E and takes it on with gusto. 
I sometimes wish there was a pause button on the remote control of life and I could just freeze him right where he is for a little while.  I know I can't, so I am doing my best to soak every little bit of him in...to give in to the pleas for more snuggles, for dragging out bedtime with one more story, this time is precious.  We blink and our children are school age and then I imagine we blink again and they are headed off to high school and beyond. 
Last night, after I snuggled WB and his daddy laid down next to him, he said, "Dad, did you notice how much Mom loves me?"  My heart melted.  If I give him nothing else of mine, I've given him what is most important.  Happy Birthday, my little man.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Short and Sweet

I just spent less than 24 hours in Seattle.  Sometimes that is all that is required to shift your focus a little.  I keep wishing that as humans we had a reset button, a way to reprogram the mind so to speak, when we get into unproductive ruts of thoughts.  No magic button to push unfortunately.  Fortunately, sometimes when things get a little off kilter, they manage to reset themselves, kind of like magic, but not quite.
I didn't leave home feeling particularly off or out of sorts yesterday, at least nothing I noticed.  What I did notice today, as I headed back home, is that I felt fresh, renewed, ready to greet whatever awaited me.  It wasn't that anything extraordinary happened, I just had a little time to myself...the quiet in the car with no one demanding anything of me, an evening at a fundraiser talking with an old co-worker and his partner, interesting, passionate people, and feeling transported 180 degrees away from my normal days, late night ice cream and easy conversation about life with a dear friend...it really doesn't take much.
I had intended  to go shopping while in Seattle, buy a dress for my sister in law's wedding, take in a yoga class.  When I woke up this morning, none of that seemed all that interesting at the moment.  Instead, I wandered up to a neighborhood coffee shop, got a really good mocha (why do they always taste so much better from Seattle coffee houses?), the sun was shining, blue sky overhead and the day felt glorious.  I got in my car and headed toward the freeway.  I felt full.  I watched a mother deliver her preschooler to school and felt my eyes brimming with tears.  It wasn't so much that I felt longing for my kids, I just felt connected to the universe, could see myself in her.  Heading over the pass, I saw a deer trying to run across the highway.  Oncoming traffic slowed, a trucker honked and the deer ran back to safety...again tears, grateful for when they world spares life, when we conspire together to keep someone or something in danger safe.  (Sounds like I've been crying a lot with these last two posts, doesn't it?)  I sang my little heart out as I drove home, listened to music that lifts me up, speaks to my soul and simply felt grateful for the ability to get away, even for a short and sweet adventure on my own.  Feels good to be alive.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tiny miracles

It's been awhile.  I have just been in and out of one of those phases where I feel like I have nothing worth sharing.  Inner battles, struggles, not being the best version of myself very often...thank goodness for the impermanence of it all, that we pass through those phases, sometimes quicker than others, but things always, always change, and life has a way of bringing us what we need so that we can find our self again.
In the last 24 hours, I have been moved by the incredible capacity we have for love as parents.  Our children are the deepest source of joy and happiness and also of pain.  Because we love so deeply, when our kids suffer, we suffer, we feel their pain, we grieve for their losses.  It's an amazing part of being a parent that no one really prepares you for, nor could they.  It's a love so rich, I don't have words to adequately describe it.
Yesterday afternoon, I listened to a couple share the story of their 21 year old son's suicide.  Raw, painful truth about human nature, about a young man in a deep, dark, depression.  They spoke about the importance of paying attention, noticing when things aren't right and doing something about it.  As I listened to them speak, I couldn't help but cry.  I was so moved by their courage to share their story, obviously in hopes that they are honoring the life their son had, and preventing such a tragedy from happening to someone else.  Their pain is visible.  The wounds, 5 years later, far from scabbed over.  I don't imagine that losing a child is a pain you ever "get over".  I imagine it to be one that rests in your spirit for a lifetime.  And yet, despite their pain, their heartache, they carry on.  They continue moving forward, trying to make something from a deep hole in their hearts that may never heal.
This morning, I witnessed the other side of this coin - a new mother and her week old son.  This tiny little being, almost 3 1/2 lbs, full of promise and hope for the future.  I found myself in tears, again, watching the look on my friend's face as she watched him, lying in the incubator, breathing with the help of a machine.  I felt like I could almost see the love spilling out of her heart on to him, could feel the heartache of her not being able to hold him.  I could only think about how heart wrenching it would be to leave the hospital without your new baby, how long those weeks must be while she waits for him to be strong enough to go home.  I don't know what I expected when I went to the hospital, but I was undeniably moved by this tiny little miracle, a precious life being held in the hearts of many as he finds his way into this world.
There is so much in each day we take for granted.  We sometimes need those tearful reminders to slow down, take life in to the fullest, to really look at those we love, appreciate our health, to reach out in places where we can be of service, and to lift up another when the load feels too heavy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Pinball Wizard

On my morning walk today, I had a conversation about play time, the importance of taking time as a family to play, to enjoy each other, away from all the household duties, the laundry, the home improvement projects, the bills, etc.  We get so lost in our routines, that we often stop really seeing one another, or forget what breathes life into our relationship.
I love that even after being married for almost 10 years, when I take the time to really notice, to see my husband, he still takes my breath away, still stops me in my tracks, still fills my heart to the brim with love for him, with gratitude that he is my partner in life.  We went to the park this weekend, played Frisbee with friends, I rode Willis' scooter around the park, the kids practiced riding their bikes, we soaked up a little sunshine. 
Sean had brought Willis' rocket to launch.  It's one of those kind that you can launch and relaunch, where the kids can push the button that send the thing up 1000 ft into the sky (that may be an exaggeration, I'm not the best with distance).  He had the girls invite 3 little boys, who were playing basketball at the park, over to launch the rocket with us. He let each one have a turn.  They ranged in age from 5 - 9.  They were stoked to participate.  Sean was so kind to them, made sure each one had a chance to press the launch button at least once.  As my friend described it with her arms wide open, "Sean just brings you in, folds you into his community."  It's one of my favorite qualities of his, he has a way of making people feel welcome, unarmed.  He's a gentle soul, great with kids, and he knows how to have fun, too.
Fast forward to Saturday night and I am watching him, dressed in some crazy rocker get-up, sporting a mullet and headband (or sweatband?) singing Karaoke, The Who's "Pinball Wizard", with gusto.  My heart felt big and I was smiling from ear to ear.  I love this man.  I laughed with him, danced with him, felt light and happy to call him mine.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Sometimes we give good advice that we don't listen to ourselves.  I have a friend that one time I told to just take a breather, to pause, when she was experiencing too much stress and was overcome with anxiety.  She reminds me of this periodically when she is stressed, "I should listen to your advice, just pause." (I actually don't remember saying this to her, but it is something I talk about in yoga.)  We are so often human doings, we forget we are human beings.  We can experience the being part more if we just take a moment to pause every now and then. 
For some reason, the last few days, I have been present in this pause.  It's almost magical when it happens....today, as I witnessed a friend, who felt like her life was unravelling, as I sat with Elsie on the couch, a bowl of goldfish/cheerios/raisins (her current trail of mix) in our lap, reading her a story I used to read to Ruby.  Yesterday, as I listened to a friend share of a frightening experience, tears running down my cheeks, feeling full of compassion and a desire to comfort.  We all have these simple moments in life, where we can get caught up in the doing of what is taking place, our energy gets wrapped up in another's,  or we can pause and soak in what beauty these moments have to offer.  Even in the midst of the suffering we all experience, we all create for ourselves in big and small ways, there is beauty, there is joy, there is something to be grateful for.
I've been on a search for more time for myself, for more breathing room.  I love my children dearly, yet a piece of me wants some independence again.  I want of be able to leave spontaneously, to spend hours unplanned, uncommitted to anything.  The other half of me is thankful every darn day, that I have the privilege of raising these three amazing little beings, that I get to be home with them most of the time, that I get to be at drop offs and pick ups for school, that they don't spend one more minute than necessary in child care.  There is a balance here, that I am seeking to find.  A place where I get time to myself, time to pursue things that make me feel full, that give me the energy to give back to my children.  There is a reason they tell you when flying to put your oxygen mask on first.  You can't help someone else if you can't breathe yourself.  Duh!
It's a journey, isn't it?  There is not one great day when we wake up with the stars aligned and say....aha!  I have arrived.  We might do that, actually, and then life happens and we say...oh boy, I guess I didn't have it all figured out, did I?
So, we take it day by day, juggling what we do, finding those sweet moments of pause, in between the doing, so that we can feel our way back when we stray from simply being.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Winds of Change

The wind chimes dance in sound
As dry leaves race in tireless circles across the pavement
A warm patch of sunshine rests softly on my cheek
Hinting of warmer days yet to come.
I wait patiently for this season to pass,
For signs of change,
Signs of nature coming back to life.
Shades of winter white and dull gray cloud the horizon
What lies beyond, I cannot see.
And so, I sit
Soaking up what the moment has to offer,
Bathed in light and the music of possibility.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A stitch in time

Sometimes it IS all about the little things.  I just finished sewing Ruby's ballet slippers, I'll save you the details, or not.  They are new and the straps that hold her little feet in aren't attached when you buy them, so either you sew them in or I guess their feet fall out?  I don't really get why they come that way, but as I finished stitching the last strap, I felt such a sense of satisfaction.  I also sewed (is that a word?  looks funny) a couple of ice pack covers on Sunday and that too felt quite satisfying.  Maybe because my husband has been asking me to do make them for a couple of months and when I finally did, it took all of about 5 minutes to make 3 of them.  We probably spent more time talking about when I was going to finally get around to doing this than it actually took for me to do it.  Our kids like to have ice packs on their pillows at night, not sure why they do this in the middle of winter, but they do, and now we don't have to wrap them up in cloth napkins that they slide out of in the middle of the night. 
What's my point?  Well, my point is...something about sewing makes me pause, makes me focus on just what I am doing.  I am not a great sewer (is that a word?  looks like where our waste water goes).  I have to stay completely immersed in what I am doing or else things go awry.  I mostly only sew straight lines, I only do 2 stitches, straight and zig-zag and anything that requires a pattern is probably outside my repertoire, really.  So, it isn't that I create some great work of art or fashion when I sew, I think it is just the simplicity of creating something from nothing, okay not nothing, but from nothing particularly useful, to something that has a function. 
I don't have any greater context to put this in, I am probably not going to start sewing more or anything, its just that sometimes what brings us joy is simply taking time to pause, notice, to be completely focused on one thing and not distracted in our heads or hearts, to just be with what or whomever we are with, not someplace else, not stuck in the past or worrying about the present.  Taking life as it comes,one stitch at a time, feels really good.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Teaching Peace

Friday night, as we sat together as a family eating dinner, talking about our days, Ruby and Willis launched in to a discussion about Martin Luther King, Jr, or as Willis calls him Dr. Markin Luther.  He says it like he has a mouth full of marbles.  Both of them had lessons at school about who Dr. King was, about his experiences and why we celebrate his life.  Ruby was part of an assembly at school.  She memorized a little blurb about him, something like "L is for laws, being equal for all.  He stood for civil rights..." I forget the rest.  She spent the week memorizing it, trying to get the word civil ingrained her memory.  It went from cill, to cibil, to civil.  I think she finally did get it.  As she talked about the assembly, she said, "Did you know that there was this lady, Rosa Parks, who got arrested for sitting down on the bus?  They wouldn't let her sit in the front and that is NOT fair.  She knew it wasn't right, so she just sat down in front anyways."  She told more of the story, said she knew another word for being killed, assassinated.  Not a word I necessarily want my 1st grader using, but in the context she spoke of, I felt proud that she understood what it meant.  She described how people were treated different "just because they have different colored skin, isn't that wrong?"  She told us how all the people said, fine, we won't use your buses then.  We don't need them, we can walk or ride bikes...peaceful protest.
Willis on the other hand, true to form, told his story of Dr. Markin Luther.  He said that police shot people with bee-bees, that police shot sombody's eye out.  Lovely, no?  It fascinates me what he took away from the story, which I am sure was age appropriate, at that age they just grab on to certain pieces, and Willis' was of course the part involving shooting.  He also said that a lady with black hair got in trouble for being on the bus and then said to my mom that she kind of has black hair, but not really black.   I'd love to sit in that little mind of his for a moment and know how his little wheels are spinning.
Teaching children about peace and equality is not always an easy conversation to have, parts of it are difficult to explain.  When Ruby asks me "Why would people do that?" wondering about people who are mean or violent towards another, why wouldn't people let them sit where they wanted on the bus...I don't always have the answers or know how to articulate them in a way she can understand.  I'm thankful for her little peaceful heart that knows what is fair and what isn't, that she knows it isn't always easy to stand up for what's right, that it takes being brave and it might be scary, but it's the right thing to do. 
My kids will grow up in a country that I think is more fair and just than the one Dr. King lived in, and one of the reasons why it's more fair is, of course, because of people like him who were brave and wise and stood for peace.  We still have a long way to go.  I know that the best way to teach peace is by example and I hope in little and big ways, my children, too, will march on to be catalysts for peace.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy New Year

I've been in a quieter, reflective space, winter hibernation mode, you might call it.  I've spent more time reading, journaling, writing (pen and paper style).  I have been looking at what it is that I want to cultivate in this new year, where I want to focus my energy and attention.  I'm not big on new years resolutions, I truly see each day as an opportunity to resolve to do better the next day.  At the end of each day, or at least most days, I take a moment or two to reflect and consider whether or not I lived the day well, at the right pace, my own pace.  Did I find time to play?  Did I laugh with my kids?  Did my husband feel especially loved?  Did I extend kindness and compassion to those I came in to contact with?  Did I speak truthfully and honestly?  Did I practice non-harm, in my thoughts, speech and actions? Did I leave the world a little better place than I found it today?  Was I a good friend? Some days the questions are easy to answer and other days not.  Some days pass by so quickly, I have a hard time remembering particulars about them.  Other days have moments, simple moments of truth, that will stand out in my memory for days, weeks, maybe even a lifetime.
In my yoga study, I came across this quote the other day... "how we behave toward others and our environment reveals our state of mind..." It spoke to me. I find my interactions with others, such a reflection of the calm or fury I feel inside. It seems obvious enough, but how often do we sit back and observe our interactions with others and think "wow, I am really embodying the essence of my true nature right now, I am teaching peace by example"?  If you are like me, rarely. Every now and then, I find myself, surprised by grace, truly immersed in the beauty of a moment.  For whatever reason we often do otherwise. We act out of fear, jealousy, frustration, desire, attachment, grasping, trying to hold on to the way things are, when they inevitably always change...the list is endless. It is only when we sit quietly, keenly alert, at the center of ourselves, that we can operate from this place of beauty. I have witnessed people in my life recently (including myself) interact with others from a place that is less than pure, the opposite of graceful. As I watch (myself sometimes), I wonder, what is it that keeps us from being the very best version of ourselves, all the time. What is it that makes us speak sharply to a stranger, ignore another's needs, think our omissions of truth are not exactly lies? It fascinates me, and not from a judgemental place, I am just as human as the next being. I do believe that at our essence, we are all good, but our tendency is to stray from that and I am not sure why? I guess this is probably one of the age old questions and for whatever reason I seem to be contemplating it right now.  My hope for this new year is not that I will be any less human or any more perfect, but that I will find more moments of beauty, grace, compassion, simplicity and pure love.  I hope that you will, too.
Happy New Year