Mother moon and daughter star… perfect companions.
The other day my oldest daughter ended up in the hospital with complications from her ongoing relationship with a faulty pancreas. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 19 years old & just beginning her life as an adult.
When this first began over 15 years ago and the attending doctor at the SF hospital told us why my girl was so sick, I remember feeling the deepest sense of powerlessness that I’ve ever felt. That says a lot, given what my life had already presented in the way of fucked up situations… It’s funny, but I don’t believe my insides have ever recovered. The distinct memory of it and the moment that I became fully present for what my girl would be facing for the rest of her life, is embedded into my cells. The sense of hopelessness was overpowering, as we looked out over the cityscape of San Francisco and held her close. We both just cried, hugged and determined to never give up. That she would remain healthy and strong, no matter what!
But, how do you resolve something that is out of your hands like that? How do you support your child to never give up, never lose hope, never stop being grateful for one more day?? Especially on those days when she’s so tired she can’t see straight, or when she just feels like shit, or the days when the pump doesn’t work or she gets an earful from the pharmacy clerk who says, “no insulin for you today! (silent message is ‘because of our bureaucratic fucking bullshit rules’)” and more bills, bills, bills to add to that stress – further complicating her condition….
You don’t ever resolve it – you learn that you have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL in life. Not a speck. AND you encourage your child to be tough and strong, while you pray that you have the resiliency to do what you keep telling her to do.
This go round in the hospital was completely out of the realm of normal for us, in that I live in the Arizona desert and she lives on the tropical island of Maui. Add to that, no experience and therefore, confidence in the hospital. No connection to any of the caregivers or doctors and my own rock of a man, gone for his bi-yearly climbing excursion. Shit, shit, shit.
My beautiful daughter, Chelsea Briggen… and me.
My children are the center of my life. They take up the absolute core of what makes me tick and this daughter is connected to me, no less powerfully then her 5 other siblings – so my actual body being there wasn’t a huge issue for her care… (may have been harder for me, actually). All but 1 brother just happened to be on Maui as well as her father, so she had tons of support… Incredible support at that. With technology, we got to Facetime, text, call and use social media to connect – so even though it was gnarly rough – it was also really OK.
Tears were still flowing for me during those few days, as well as the emotions of anxiety, fear, worry, anger… you name it, I felt it. And my old friend, Powerlessness washed over me like a waterfall of grief.
Today is a different day – she’s home and slowly recovering. When I was all alone and during those intense hours of her admission into the hospital and waiting for the tests, etc. I would focus on this peaceful day (my now) and kept giving my fear up this way – (see – Kyle muttering over and over to herself) … “she is held in Source’s arms, the Goddess is with her, All is well… “. I just kept seeing her healthy, vital and living a hugely amazing life…
THAT’S HOW I GOT THROUGH IT & get through all the shit that life keeps throwing at me.
Remember this. It is not the stuff that happens that creates so much trauma, it’s how we approach it. It’s in your very best interest to develop a strong relationship with Source now, so when things are wonky, you have a solid foundation to stand on.
It’s not like I was all blissed out the day she went into the hospital – quite the contrary – No, I was terrified that I would have to lose my daughter and it was NOT an easy feeling to be with. So, instead of being scared I just took that day moment by moment, continuing my practice of gratitude and an ongoing dialog with my soul and Source.
It’s hard to remember how many times I went out to my tall, tall sky and wept frightened mama tears, imploring Source to keep her whole and alive… quite a few! Then I’d pull myself together and find anything I could to be grateful for.
To say that we experienced angels that day is an understatement. The prayers and love she received from her family, extended family and dear friends is and continues to be incredible. The fullness of this mother’s heart is indescribable. Love heals everything and faith gives us the courage to continue to love – no matter what.
No matter what it is that you are facing, open your heart to the gift there and just keep on loving.
We set up a campaign to help her pay her hospital bills and give her some time to recover. If you feel you can help her in this way, please do!! Share this link with others… Please and Thank You… Blessed Be.
We are all inundated with information. Distraction is central to every day and having a single minded direction has to be a mental commitment rather than something needed for survival. Unless you live in a third world country, getting food and water is pretty straightforward. What that means is we could be striving for expansion and growth because most of our basic needs are met. This is not what actually occurs, is it?
If there is time to grow, opportunity to grow and the resources to grow, why are so many willing to just be average?
This is the fundamental reason for being static. Most people live with the fear of being shunned by their community if they do anything that’s different, or even a tad radical. On a personal level, this has been extremely accurate for me. My fear of being ‘found out’ informed my entire life until I was in my late 40’s! And you know what – all the care that was taken to be mostly acceptable, added up to a hill of beans. All my careful behavior and activity brought me to losing just about everything I’d created.
Being accountable for my life at that time gave me something far more remarkable than anything I could have conjured up. It gave me power. If I got myself into such a mess, I could probably dig myself out of it as well… I did, but not without a lot of humility.
There are critical moments in life where we must surrender and let something greater than our own mind define us. We have to allow for the sense of wonder to infect our choices, rather than striving to stay inside the lines and ‘think’ our way through a problem. In the vernacular most common in my life, we must allow our souls to lead us, rather than our personality. In completely letting go of the mental constructs – and if it’s a total and true surrender – magic really starts to happen. But you will have to walk through a good deal of social weirdness for this to occur.
Social media gives us all a distorted view into each others lives, which is compelling. We look at someone’s life through the lens of what it is they want us to know about them, even down to what food or drink was consumed last night. We get to know each others politics, clothing choices, social activities and deepest pain. We also get to reconnect with long gone friends, stay in touch with our families, share our businesses and celebrate all manner of successes… and for this I personally appreciate it, yet I often wonder if there’s more for us as a global community to share?
The idea of stretching past our previous successes and continuing to grow is not often present in our social circles, whether they are online or up close and personal. How many times have you been excited about something and the minute you told someone close to you about it, they rejected it – Completely? Probably lots of times… so what is the impetus for growth or moving past your current limits if that means your community shuns you?
It would have to be your personal desire to continue to grow … No. Matter. What!
The reason most of won’t do this is instinctual. Before we had corner stores and packaged food in abundance, water piped directly into our homes and climate control in our homes, we lived with no promise of survival unless we lived in community. People thrived because they cooperated and worked together to provide the fundamentals for survival. The downside to tribal life was being an individual was not acceptable. Being unique was believed to threaten the survival of the group and people were rejected for it. Being shunned by your community was akin to a death sentence, so our reptilian brain tells us it’s essential to fit in. Even now.
One of my teachers says, “your natural human instincts will not support your success, but inhibit it.” and this is absolutely true. My human instincts would not have me spend 2 hours writing and then posting this article because it will open me up to rejection. My desire to grow forces these early morning writing spells. It’s not easy at all. My natural human instincts would not encourage me to start a new business in my ’50’s because it’s ludicrous, but my desire to grow & add value does.
My challenge to you is this – pick one thing today that’s a new idea and learn about it. Just one new thing. Don’t go change anything major, just open up to something that you have a feeling about or are curious about and honestly check it out.
Ask yourself if you’ve been approached about something that you rejected – automatically. You didn’t even listen to one thing said and immediately decided it wasn’t worth your time. Maybe you even stopped responding to your friend who offered it up, out of fear that they would bring it up. If you’ve experienced something like that, go back to your friend and tell them you’re open to learning about it. Then really take it in.
What happens next will surprise you. You most likely won’t change your position on the subject, but you may. What is more amazing in this kind of behavior is the bond you have with your friend will be stronger. Likely, you will be more supportive of them, even if whatever they shared wasn’t your thing. You’ll feel true understanding and be a support person, rather than a friend who is not involved in their growth.
Everything isn’t for everyone, but we all respond positively to acceptance. What would your life be like if you just stayed with the truth (i.e. responding to new things from an informed position, rather than a knee jerk reaction), learned more about options and exercised your right to choose. You’ve lost nothing other than your compulsion to reject something.
Gifts come to us in all kinds of ways, but sometimes because we live in so much fear we leave a true gift on our porch. Bring everything inside, open it up and see what’s inside. You not only learn something new, you will be richer for the exercise of being open.
There’s that saying that goes, “a parachute never works when it’s closed”. Neither do our minds.
Years ago, I had a bunch of small children under foot and their father’s mother and her husband living with us, too. We all got along very well and our lives were full with commotion, little people’s giggles and for me, new ideas that the grandparents brought to me.
Having been raised in a typical, somewhat conservative family, being exposed to fringy sort of ideas of energy was uncommon, or better said unheard of. Most of the time, our family dialogs about our activities centered around hygiene, homework and swim practice. Rarely were the conversations about how we felt, or what we believed and nothing about spirituality or energy was talked about. Ever.
My parents were educated, Protestant and of the upper middle class. My mama was the daughter of highly educated, Danish immigrant parents (her father was a dean of English at Northwestern University and her mother a teacher in the public school system). My father’s parents were Scottish immigrants and his father became a millionaire in the candy business, after starting out a lowly salesman. He and my grandmother, who had been a nurse in Canada before moving down to Chicago, became a part of the nouveau riche. They worked hard to keep up appearances.
Manners were important to both sides of the family. Our behavior was far more important than how we felt. Church was to be attended, but religion was more of a social expectation, not so much about communing with God.
Looking back on their roots, I can understand both of my parents adhering to strict protocols of behavior. Immigrants would feel compelled to belong, right? This background would insure that we were raised so that none of my sisters or I stuck out as “weird”. The timing of my birth meant my awareness of the world occurred during the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War. The ‘60’s & ‘70’s were a time where radical thought was becoming more acceptable, but not completely and definitely not inclusive of the ‘energy conversation’ in my house.
Still, we did have an intelligent upbringing and conversations around the dinner table (nightly, formal affairs where I was seated to my father’s left so he could try to control me [he was a lefty]). The conversations tended to be penetrating, if not expansive… depending on how you looked at it.
During those meals I understood that people of color were just like me, that war was a waste of money and financial independence and self-sufficiency were far better than government involvement or ever receiving charity.
My parents were “true” Republicans; people who believed in less government, rather than more (not like many Republicans now who base their politics on religious beliefs). They also valued the very Democratic, President Kennedy and sincerely mourned his death. They also supported Martin Luther King and his fight for equal rights. Civil rights were more than acceptable and the ongoing war in Vietnam a travesty in their eyes… At least that is what I recall.
They showed me tolerance and the importance of using my heart and mind to define my beliefs instead of popular limitations. Still, an alternative method for understanding life was never the content of my upbringing; positions about race, religion or what happened in history were.
It was when I was no longer living at home that I found a whole new world of possibility regarding expansive thought and our energy bodies. Given that my mind always wandered into those realms, even as a child, being out of the limiting structure of my upbringing was pretty amazing. In college I started practicing yoga and learned about religions such as Buddhism, Islam & Judaism as well as Pagan beliefs and the Goddess. Astrology, the science, was introduced to my life because my mother in law’s husband was an esoteric astrologer.
With a house full of little humans, I literally had a laboratory to study astrology. Each child’s astrological chart was drawn up, literally, at the moment of their birth and Bob would explain it to me while I nursed the new baby.
Once, while in labor, he poked his head into the birthing room to encourage me to hurry up, or my baby would be a triple Gemini… which I assumed meant more work for me…My sweet daughter, obliged and came quickly …
Bob was probably right about the triple Gemini thing, as a double Gemini was plenty to contend with!
Astrology opened up so many avenues for understanding how people operated and it didn’t take me long to see how accurate it was. Where my family of origin believed astrology was something “woo woo” and not scientific, I slowly learned that it was not only definite, but gave me an ability to translate what I already knew about people and their energy into something more explainable.
What I mean is through all the years of growing up, I had a sense of things. I knew about people and what they felt, thought and even what may be about to happen to them. But, that particular gift was not a gift in my opinion, but something to hide. When I “heard” something I kept it to myself, only writing it down somewhere and never telling anyone. In time, when whatever I had sensed actually became a reality, it genuinely freaked me out. My knowing things were NOT something to be excited about and created a distance in me from others.
Most people want to fit into their community and I was no different… my family of origin had a particular structure, but my chosen family (my husband and my children) possessed a different one. There was just a tad more leeway there.
Learning how to read astrological charts was easy for me. Once I learned the properties of each planet, what the “houses” meant, how the planet’s movements affected us and how to relate or connect planetary movements, I could interpret the charts of all kinds of people.
For each person in my family, I drew up a chart and then compared each person’s with other family member’s charts. That exercise was just one of many that taught me the art of astrology. Because I was so incredibly curious, I used my sleepless nights of nursing my babies to learn about the stars.
One day, about 3 years into my study of astrology, my first-born son was banging around with his toys, launching into new kinds of play and interchanging between total tenderness with a teddy bear, to the violent attack of a block structure inside of a few moments. Bob looked at me and said, “He’s showing you what Mars AND Venus in the first degree of Aries looks like.” He was not a man of many words, so I listened when he said something. I knew he wasn’t wasteful.
It was never quite clear to me why he started to pay attention to me in relation to my curiosity about astrology. Maybe because I did so much studying on my own and asked so many questions he thought it was more than a passing interest for me. After a couple of years, he started to point things out and always related it to actual people, rather than the abstract imagery that astrology books provided.
He was a bear of a man; well over 6 feet tall with long blond hair, a beard down to his chest and hands the size of Frisbees. Bob could never sneak up on people or disappear in a crowd, but he was as kind & gentle as a lamb. A complete dichotomy to see and a rare human being… and my mentor in one aspect of my ‘becoming’.
To be honest, I do not feel that I’m really all that skilled as an astrologer but my knowledge of it and the practical education I was given (kids growing up, showing me what this or that looked like in real life), was a kind of decoy for me. Reading a chart meant I could take that container and input the vast knowledge or awareness I was wired to receive and then translate it. Made for some good readings, but as with all things I’ve done, I didn’t believe much of what I said to people and often was discounted by those whose charts I read. To this day I use astrology to understand my own life and navigate rough seas much more easily because I know it.
Lately, my life has changed – again. Now, rather than a houseful of people it’s just me most of the time. My lover is off again with our Red dog, this time, helping a friend in another town. Maddie, Kitty and I are alone in our new house, on a huge property with no one in sight. If someone drives by, it’s an event! I’m here with the tall, tall sky and a lot of time to feel my own unique feelings.
This is not easy, even for a person who thrives on time alone. Being isolated, with my only contact faulty Internet or intermittent cell reception (I can’t even get a land line here!), it’s forcing me to go deep into things, rather than be distracted.
Nothing happens in life without some deeper current of growth available. As a teacher, I HAVE to be willing to go through the stormy ocean of life with my eyes wide open. Because I absolutely trust the influences of spirit I am graced with, I follow what I feel guided to do… even if most people I have relationships with discount it. Simultaneously, the energy of the solar system is pushing on me HARD and it’s forcing me to see how vulnerable I’ve felt and move through it.
Because I am in business for myself I have reached out to others to share it. This has made me been more available to my old friends, fostering more connection with them. And there are many ‘friends’ who have gone radio silent, been unkind and some who have completely left my life.
My daily activities are life building, I read more about how to be a better person and I am actually dreaming again. I’m seeing why I was guided to do what I’m now doing in all kinds of ways. It’s hard for me, but what a gift it has proven to be. Just like learning how to read an astrological chart. Not everyone thinks that’s cool, especially when I started doing it. Now, people get all funny when they hear I’m able to read a chart. In the 80’s – not so much.
When I was a young girl, I had to discount my gifts to be a part of my family. As a young woman, I had to squeeze into further notions of who I should be to belong in my broader community. Now, it’s not possible to consider doing anything other than what I know to do. If it means my motives or intent are completely misunderstood and my person.. my very self… is discounted by others, then that’s the cost of serving the truth of my being.
It would be a lie to say that it’s comfortable that some of my closest friends are the ones who believe that I’ve become something I’ve never been; selfish, grasping and an opportunist. Even when you know that you aren’t the negatives, it’s still important to make sure. That’s the rough part… the self investigation. That’s really what makes it so hard. If I was imperious and not willing to be accountable, this journey would be a lot easier.
There’s a story about crabs in a crab trap. When one of them tries to get out of the trap, the other crabs will tear their arms off in an effort to keep them in the trap. People are just the same. People may not want you to grow, or change. Maybe it threatens them, maybe they just want their life to remain consistent with people who are like them, so finding ways out of the traps we have holding us back is not always supported.
So, what’s all this ‘talk story” about…
You are SUPPOSED to do what you are guided to do. It will take you to places that you desire and help you expand AND it’s really hard to do, even when you have a conscious, direct line to Source.
Just don’t give up on anything that’s important to you… and don’t let anyone else have a say in your actions or life. What you desire is meaningful and important, but know that there may be a cost …
Ghosting is a term used when someone you have been romantically involved with stops relating with you and they don’t say anything, they just stop taking calls, or answering texts and emails – they just go away.
Gone, without a word.
Until recently, I’d never heard of this term. Although it usually refers to romantic relations, any relationship can be handled this way! Seems that our culture abhors telling the truth, especially if it has the potential to create conflict or a difficult conversation.
Conflicts in interpersonal relationships are actually helpful. They help to define and mold relationships, assist in bringing new ideas to light and create trusting exchanges. If your friends, family and lover/partner/wife/husband can be counted on to be truthful about what he or she feels, confidence and honesty between you will be the result.
Being honest or truthful in this context (supporting positive outcomes & trust in relationships) does not refer to the abundance of ignorant, judgmental and small-minded folks who have no problem being outrageously unkind. You know, those vocal ones who make sure everyone knows how ‘right’ they are & respond to you on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms like these, with a ton of vitriol. We have plenty of that kind of ‘truth’ and I’m not referring to that.
What I’m talking about is having the kindness to tell someone, “Hey, this doesn’t work for me.”
We go to movies to watch conflict unfold and be resolved. We participate in games that force the resolution of some conflict, with the prize being the “win”. In our personal relationships, it’s quite different.
The avoidance of conflict is the cornerstone behavior of the co-dependent, the addict, the “inner child”, even the sociopath … all kinds of psychological pathologies have the behavior of avoidance at the center of the issue.
What I notice and have been personally aware of for many years, is that people – even seemingly healthy people – will not respond to you if they are afraid that what’s true for them would be upsetting for you.
Have you had this experience? Someone that you care for suddenly goes radio silent and all you hear are crickets.
Possibly the issue that your “friend” has is nothing more than a misunderstanding or a faulty opinion of you; words that were said in jest but taken literally, you have had some serious bad breath or you laugh too loud. Who knows, but all kinds of possibilities exist and without any communication what’s true is elusive.
There are times, in romantic relationship, it’s the “he’s just not that into you” thing. In a platonic relationship, where there isn’t the sexual energy to contend with and this behavior STILL occurs. Frankly, it’s a totally unreasonable way to manage maintaining a healthy friendship or even ending one.
Don’t misunderstand my point … there are times when you realize that you must disengage from someone who is possibly unhinged and/or toxic, so much so that saying anything is not a good idea. It’s when there’s a rapport and not too much drama – a relatively healthy dynamic – that speaking up and talking about things is important.
Being ‘ghosted” is confusing, weird and uncomfortable whether it’s a lover, a friend or a family member.
There are two incidents I experienced which are good examples of this, but not the only times I’ve experienced it. Two different women who were “best friends” to me, when we were close… and both suddenly left my life. One didn’t call me when she went into labor (I was set up to be her ‘doula’) and she never told me what happened. EVER. This would be about 30 years ago this occurred. We were extremely close friends… I considered her a sister, her child my daughter, her husband my dear friend. When her second child was born, I wasn’t there and never did she give me an explanation about what happened.
Eighteen years later I received an email from her and she wanted to “reconnect”. I thought about it for a few days, but ultimately declined her offer to reengage.
But, I emailed her back to tell her. No crickets for her…
Another time I had moved to a new town and met a delightful woman, who became my BFF in a short period of time. Our kids were in school together and she was a teacher for one of my little ones… We had tons in common and such a great time together. It was awesome to have met a friend so soon after moving to a new area and I looked forward to many years of friendship with her. It lasted only months. After returning from a trip away, I called her up and left a message saying “Hey, missed you!! Let’s get together!”
Nothing. Not a word. When I saw her at the school, she always rushed away and hardly spoke to me. This went on for weeks… until my husband expressed the reason for her disappearance to me. Once I understood what had happened I was no longer interested in being her friend, but what if she’d been able to save me the weeks of unhappiness and confusion by being straight with me?
Ask yourself why is it better to disappear or fade from a relationship, rather than speaking up and telling the truth? What if you got it all wrong? What if there was a misunderstanding… OR as in one of my examples, there is something that happened and are grounds for ending a relationship, but it’s done openly. What if there had been some honesty, could we all have found a way to respect each other and possibly retain something positive of the relationship, even if we no longer spent time together?
It’s odd that we hardly flinch when it comes to dropping actual bombs on each other (the ultimate ‘conflict’), but most people WILL NOT tell the truth in their personal relationships. With communication so easy to conduct with our cell phones, text messaging, chats, emails, social media… it’s strange that people don’t do more of it.
In my opinion, this goes against everything that is truly “natural” for us humans. We are wired to continue to expand and grow. Our sexuality and our relationships are significant ways for us to do both.
Why do you suppose we all (usually) have the urge to merge with another body, sexually? It’s not just so we can have children… (If you believe that, I do apologize for ruffling any feathers with this statement). Why do you suppose we are keen on being with like-minded people? It’s not because we don’t enjoy our own company… it’s because in relationships, we force each other to stretch and grow. We physically thrive on them and they are good for us!
Both sexual and platonic relationships satisfy a SLEW of important requirements for our health and longevity, but they are also a deep resource into our spiritual health.
Our neural pathways are wired to support our ongoing health and both befriending and loving others are wired into our basic, fundamental make up… The same pathways are also wired towards truth (this is the cornerstone of your spiritual body).
When you don’t allow Truth to be your center point, you basically are encouraging, or allowing ‘dis-ease’ to emerge.
If each of us becomes MORE of who we really are, we provide the Universe with greater expansion. This means more growth, more ways to combat our collective difficulties, more options for new ideas to bubble through and come into form… This could go on indefinitely. But here we are, stopping this amazing process with our distorted need not to “hurt anyone” or in some cases our need to be “right”.
Cowardice is the primary motivator in this disappearing act, although there are times when it appears different than that. Sometimes a friend will build a case against you in order to feel justified in their actions of abandoning your relationship with them. At it’s root, leaving someone with no explanation is simply a missed opportunity for everyone.
The opposite of fear is love, so when you are actually being loving, you may have to say things to others that could hurt them a bit. But a small amount of criticism is far better than outright abandonment. Additionally, the relationship has a chance of being retained and everyone growing, becoming better because the love of truth provides new awareness to your life. You can work on being a better friend, rather than continuing to behave in ways that are negative. Criticism can be a mighty rough experience, yet when someone you care for offers their perspective about something you may have done you can shift and grow into a better version of yourself.
Here’s a challenge for you to do with a partner:
Write down 6 things you LOVE about them.
Write down 1 thing you DON’T LOVE about them.
Now, face each other and one partner tells the other all the things they LOVE about them, holding back the one quality you love the most. Take turns with this.
Next do the same thing but share the negative.
Allow this to sink in and ask yourself if what they have offered to you as “the negative” is true – for you. Discuss it a bit, feel what you feel and allow the conflict to offer you something positive, if you can.
Finally, tell each other what the most endearing aspect of each other is and complete your time of sharing.
Notice if you feel like the world has come to an end because of the negative, or if you were able to take in everything. There were many more positive aspects shared then the one negative. Honestly, it may be difficult to come up with something negative so don’t force that, just be willing to offer something helpful to your partner and try to complete this exercise. You’ll likely find that you are more aligned to a sense of connection between each other, than not.
Practice at being honest is a good idea. We are all conditioned to avoid conflict and for some it’s more prominent than for others. It will not feel completely natural or comfortable to do it, but any new skill takes time and practice to master.
Ultimately, all of us will stumble with the truth. It’s important to make an effort, though. If you take it upon yourself to serve your truth, you will grow and keep finding out more of what you’re made of. Love comes in many forms, so does kindness. Determine how you will relate with people. Will you be true or not?
As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Trust that the world will be a far better place with you being a better, more truthful version of yourself… Your own life will be enriched, as you show others how to do the same.
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.
…. 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’.
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.
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.
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!?”
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.