kids ” i hepping”

Over the past many years, I didn’t have to consider traveling because I couldn’t. Between work & my ginormous family … there wasn’t time. In the past few years, I have had many more opportunities to travel… and taken them.

Last fall I did manage to go to Malta (a tiny island country, off the coast of Sicily in the Mediterranean), which was something I have dreamt of for many years. This trip was inclusive of planes, trains and automobiles and gave me abundant sisters to share life with, as well as a journey into our herstory. An amazing trip for me and rare…

But most of the time, I’m a road warrior who travels the western states of America.

Both of my cars are fashioned with all the necessary accoutrements to make such travel enjoyable. Lots of water, good snacks, a big cooler with goodies, gum, nuts, morning coffee and all the fixings for that, books on tape and great music to listen to. I try to take different routes if I’m going to a place I’ve been before, because the journey is so much more fun when the scenery is new.

And usually, my destination is somewhere that some or all of my children are.

The years of raising them up were a lot of things, but mostly exhausting…  Of course, I loved them all more than I can express… BUT man oh man… what a bunch of demanding little monsters.

Then older kids.

Then teenagers…

…. and then – They’re OFF!

In a perfect world, they would’ve been “OFF”, but mostly my kids were boomerangs. They’d go out into the big, bad world… and shoot right back to my place to lick their wounds and figure out what they wanted to do next. Or they couldn’t make enough money for Santa Cruz’s ridiculous cost of living, so against even their own desires, come back to live with ‘mom’.

family_restaurant

One of the many meals we have together when we connect… Even Rob was in Santa Cruz for a day or so my last trip!!

Finally, they are all fairly settled in their lives and on their own. My husband (my dearest and best friend) and I have moved to what I’ve named, The Back of Beyond. This is a place that feels completely foreign, while at the same time perfect. This place is perfect for me to grow into the next phase of who I really am.

Still, this is not like anywhere I’ve ever lived before; remote & just a bit harsh … so I travel often. Not necessarily to to go “places”, but I do to the people who have peppered my heart with their love for most of my life.

Just this past weekend, I took the opportunity to see my youngest daughter and her family who live on Maui but were visiting her partner’s family in SoCal for a few days. In 48 hours I traveled over 1000 miles for a few hugs, kisses and distracted conversations with them… and because of my Salukis, I couldn’t linger there.

Southern California is pretty hot this time of year, so my usual stopping along the way to run them wasn’t possible. The ground actually burns their foot pads! Not only that, they could expire if left in the car…  so I couldn’t really just relax with everyone, but had to keep checking on my athletic dogs – who were slowly losing their minds from inactivity… This trip was not an easy one for me (or the dogs)!

During the drive there I was anticipating just seeing  & holding my grandbabies… There’s no agenda about it, other than the gift of being around them, noticing how they are with the world and basically witnessing them in person. Sure, there is a feeling of “I don’t want them to forget me”, but it’s fleeting. My daughter assures me that they won’t… and I trust her. Still that’s emotion is in there… it’s just not very strong.

Honestly, I don’t want to miss their day to day growth, but life has taken me away from them and them away from me. And these people are a significant source that support and stimulate what’s most important to me.

My ability to grow in love towards everyone.

mum_and_baby

First my own children showed me who I was being and how to be better, now my grand babies do that. All young children generally present themselves honestly and with purity, so being around any child is a tremendous gift. Yet I’m aware that these precious, little, direct descendants of mine provide amazing clarity to me. They are also a ton of fun to be around!!

What’s most important is that which brings new perspectives and possibilities into our experience. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally. There is a kind of resonance that I feel with my grandchildren that goes right into my soul, awakening areas of myself even more.

It’s like silent yoga for the heart and brain…

My sense is that the love we naturally have for our own children is simply transferred down the line. Regardless of the biological elements, I believe that this phenomenon would exist for adopted children as well. It’s our own sense of responsibility towards others that gives our souls the opening for expanded states of love. It’s easy with the babies, so I’ve been using these relationships to further determine my love for all human beings.

Make sense?

Through my family, “what’s most important” is to share myself with them. By extension, I’m literally practicing showing up for everyone – which remains my dominant intent this lifetime. During and throughout my lifetime (so far) many people haven’t always been so lovely towards me. I’ve experienced violence, betrayal, objectification, cruelty, indifference, abandonment, “not enough” and jealousy. These things are all a part of my personal experience. If I let all those negative experiences dominant my perspective, my hermit like behavior would be laced with true resentment and negativity.

BECAUSE of my children, I’ve been able to override all that and be ‘present in the moment’. That has made all those negative experiences more like water off a duck’s back, rather then defining or determining events.

BECAUSE of my grandchildren it’s gotten richer.

You see, I don’t have to be physically responsible to them (their parents get to do that) so it’s a lot less cluttered and a whole lot more pure. Because I simply get to share in their discoveries and expressions, the responsibility to them to for me to really ‘see’ them and enjoy it.

Such great practice for any person who is determined to make a difference.

All of us have the opportunity to be loving to others, but most of us have to work at it. Think about this week’s tragedy in Charleston, SC. For me it conjured up a slew of judgement towards small minded and racist people. Having just spent time with two of my grand children, I luckily had a significant moment of pause when I heard about the killings in SC.

Someone posted something on Facebook about the young shooter (it was about being forgiving) and my first reaction was incredibly strong, negative and angry and the opposite of the flavor of that particular post.

“Who could do something like that?!” “What kind of upbringing did this boy have?!” “What kind of monster does something like this!?”

baby_hand Coda’s perfect little hand, weeks after birth… perfection.

All alone, crying in anger and frustration I literally heard in my head, “Calm down… bring the love up and it will heal your pain.”

My brief time with my children and their children GAVE me the ability to remember who I am, rather than allow the angry feelings to take hold. Literally, I felt my grandson’s tiny hand on my chest as I cradled him in his sleep and everything shifted.

What a relief!

We all have options and they exist continuously. We can opt to be angry. We can choose to be small minded and scared. We can jump on the band wagon with the millions of other people and take a negative or judgmental position — OR — We can remember that nothing has ever been solved with aggression or anger. All of us know this to be true, but mastery in life requires that you turn away from the common and understandable response and step into the uncommon and misunderstood response to it.

Being loving… even towards someone who commits the crime.

It may be a small crime, like someone being dishonest with you or a huge one like the young boy who took 9 people’s lives the other day. Either way, love is the only solution in any situation and most people fear that isn’t enough.  It is.

My traveling around so much has great benefit to me, especially because there’s a deeper purpose to my actions. This week, it proved to be a tremendously valuable action. My long weekend of driving in the hot sun gave me the ability to shift quickly to what’s most important… and that added a tiny layer of healing to the world. In a single moment, I chose to be loving and disengage from emotions that were about to hurt and limit me.

I was able to genuinely offer love out to the world and everyone in it.

What’s most important?

Love…

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