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Shine a Little Lighthouse Light on Me

images“We all need a lighthouse for our own

It gets so dark I can’t see which way I’m going
Oh lighthouse man I’m all at sea

Shine a little lighthouse light on me.”

A little imagery from Australian phenom The Waifs. The funny thing for me about this song is that, as so often happens, I got the words wrong and made the analogy of the song so much more powerful (well, for me anyway). In MY version of this really great song, the third line here is: “Oh lighthouse man I’m all I see…”

In my version the water is somewhat secondary because it could be anything. It’s not just that I’m lost. The water, the storm, the sun, the dolphins swimming are irrelevant because all I can see is myself and the stories I’ve got going in my head. Stories about old hurts, stories about my worth, stories about what I can’t ever do, have, or be. Lighthouse man I’m all I see, shine a little lighthouse light on me. Continue reading → Shine a Little Lighthouse Light on Me

Getting Your Whole Self On Board

We’re in our second week of school here. Going well – they like the teacher, they’ve made friends, but the first week enthusiasm has dwindled already. Last week they were up before me, dressed before breakfast, and early to the bus stop. This week the kiddos are dragging. They still like the teacher. They still have the friends, but the seeds of resentment are forming.

Essential SelfThey sense the intrusion. In the summer, even with some planned activities and the occasional week at soccer camp, my kids have a lot of time to CHOOSE, to choose what they want to do, to choose how long they want to do it, and, until the end of the day, to choose when to stop. Their essential selves, the part that is most clearly them, that is the most clear expression of their unique wonderfulness, have 10 weeks to really get down. There are still obligations and chores, but they are sprinkled throughout the day rather than this giant chunk that the school day imposes. Don’t get me wrong; there are lots of things that go on during the school day that I think my kids would choose to do if given the choice, but they are clear on the fact that if they wish to do well in school, the activity in question is not a choice and as such, they are in some ways, leaving their essential selves behind. They are obeying their social selves every time they learn a new rule at school. They are obeying their social selves every time they sit still when they are feeling oh so itchy and restless. They are obeying their social selves when they refrain from getting water during math and when they wait until recess to run. And they resent it. Continue reading → Getting Your Whole Self On Board

What Lies Beneath: A Garden Metaphor

IMG_4582I’ve had a rough year in the garden. That’s not quite accurate. I’ve actually had a run of bad years in my garden. Tomato stealing squirrels, tomato plant chewing deer, and disease-ridden cucumbers have been the story for a while now. In response, I’ve done what I can.

I’ve tried all kinds of things to keep the critters out of my fenced garden, and my efforts have helped to some degree. My trusty furry friend has also helped convince the interlopers that there is better and safer food to find elsewhere, but those darned cucumbers…

Looking at my plants would easily convince someone that they were sick, the leaves wilting and drying up one by one, working their way up the stem. With this apparent progression of some kind of virus, I applied all of the solutions to that problem that I could find over the last few years, to no avail. Cucumber plant after cucumber plant decimated.

What I’ve discovered recently is that the reason none of the things I’ve used to combat the virus worked is that my plants were not, in fact, sick at all. What? What I discovered, by just looking at the right leaf at the right time of day, was that my cucumbers were infested with bugs, squash bugs to be exact. The adults are easy enough to spot because they are brown and large – they stand out against the plant. But the juveniles are these little light colored things, that all sit on the back of a leaf and suck the life out of it. Drain it until it withers, wilts, and dies. Nice, right? Continue reading → What Lies Beneath: A Garden Metaphor

Be Soft On Yourself

It’s always interesting when you find yourself having the same conversation with multiple people in your life, particularly when those people seem, on the surface to have nothing in common with one another. Seems there’s an important idea in there.

Slide1The specifics of the conversation are not particularly important, but the thrust of it was that these folks were seriously tired. Like super duper getting in the way of other things tired. As we talked, it became clear to me that while being tired was a problem, the bigger problem was what being tired meant to them. They each interpreted their tiredness in different ways, but both saw the fatigue as being indicative of some combination of personal flaw and bad behavior. I share this example with you because it is the perfect example of the way that our thoughts can take a simple biological fact and hold us hostage. Continue reading → Be Soft On Yourself

The Holiness of Wholeness

130d961c3cd745dd492e2dbedd949fd0I’ve just had the most amazing week. During this amazing week, I heard a lot of great music, saw my children grow and stretch in ways I’ve only dreamed about, spent precious time with my parents, and I learned so so much. And yet in all of the amazing things I heard and thought about this week, one phrase keeps coming back to me. One little phrase keeps pushing its way through the rest and demanding my attention: “the holiness of wholeness.” Wow.

Okay, first of all if the whole “holiness” thing makes you a little uncomfortable, hang with me please. If you’re here reading this to begin with, maybe you could use a dose of holy in your wholeness just like I can. Somehow that sounds a little dirty. And I have now revealed myself fully as a questionable guide, but I beg your indulgence. Continue reading → The Holiness of Wholeness

Forgiveness for the Beginner

Slide1Yesterday I had to have some blood drawn. OK, I had to have a lot of blood drawn for a variety of annoying tests. While I’m not a fan of needles, I am not phobic about the whole thing. I waited and was called back by an earnest young woman who indicated to me that she was a student and asked if it was okay if she drew my blood… Ugh.

I looked at her smiling, friendly face. I remembered being a student teacher. I thought about how hard it is to get practice with skills that require other humans and I agreed to let her draw my blood, against my reptilian brain’s firm belief that this was a terrible idea. She led me into a room and began to prepare the tools, hands shaking. I decided looking the other way would be the best approach. I certainly didn’t need to know her hands were shaking. Continue reading → Forgiveness for the Beginner

Self-Care, Wait… What?

IMG_4066There’s this phrase that gets thrown around a lot… self-care.  Yeah, me neither.

I’m admittedly pretty new to thinking about what it means. I am sure that it’s an area that I need to work on. Coming to that conclusion has been neither easy nor terribly convenient.

You see, I have children (and please understand you could replace “children” with “job I am really into”, “8000 hobbies”, “a desperate need to be busy at all times”, “a major life stressor or tragedy”, or “a puppy”). I have perfect twin reasons to choose not to take care of myself at any time.

The problem with making the choice to care for everyone else and not yourself is NOT just that you don’t get cared for, but the long-term consequences of neglecting your own needs in favor of everyone else’s. There are many long term consequences. The long-term consequence I have faced as my twin tornadoes age and have more gaps between their pressing and immediate needs? I kind of forgot what I needed and wanted to do for myself. Continue reading → Self-Care, Wait… What?