Kittens, School and Raw Milk

Luna and OliverWe have kittens!

I wasn’t exactly planning this. Claire and I have been going to the Siskiyou Humane Society and visiting kittens this summer. She met one, Tatiana, and fell in love. She was a great kitten, but when we met her she was not ready to go home. Then, life got extremely busy again.

My cat, Little, moved in with the ex-husband last year. She’s a calico and somewhat tempermental, and she took some swipes at Claire. Little started spending some time outdoors, but as the weather got cooler, she went to live with the ex.

This summer, Little came back while the ex was traveling. But his travels ended, and Little went back. We found ourselves cat-less again.

So, we talked it over and decided we could go get Tatiana. Of course, being the sweet cat she is, she was already adopted. We met two other kittens that stole our hearts immediately. I was sure Mark would kill me for bringing home two kittens, but he has been awesome about it. They were named Daisy and Oren, but they are now Luna and Oliver.

Luna is the black one (with a little white moon on her chest). She is very outgoing and sweet. She has a cute little squeaky meow and she loves sitting on people. She also gets called Lunalove and Lunabug.

Oliver, the tabby, is a bit reserved. He’s still very sweet, but he likes a little more autonomy. He’s extraordinarily soft. He reminds me very much of my cat, Bacia, a maine coon that I lost in Texas. I still miss her, so I am thrilled to have Oliver.

They’re wonderful. Oddly, Luna is very much like Claire. Oliver is more like Max. And they’ve kind of matched up that way.

Alex is a little jealous, but he is very sweet with them. Kittens are not quite ready to connect with the dog, though.

I was not planning on adopting this year, but it is entirely wonderful. It is giving me an opportunity to work with Claire on allowing things — and kitties — to come to her instead of trying to go get them. It has been slow going and it’s a tough thing for a rambunctious five year old to get. But she loves the kitties enough to want to get it.

Getting Ready for School

Summer is ending. The kids have one more week before school begins, and my life will change more than I think. After a not-so-great 6th grade in the standard public school, Max is switching to a charter school. He’ll have to do more on his own, I’ll have to be more involved. But last year was not good on many levels, and it’s time for a big change. After meeting with the staff at the charter school, I have a lot of faith he’s going to do much better there.

lake

Claire enjoying Lake Siskiyou while Alex, our dog, watches.

Claire I don’t worry about much at all. She’ll be just fine. This summer, she’s taught herself how to swim (backstroke and dog paddling) and she’s taught herself to read. All with a little help from mom, but honestly not very much. She just decides she’s going to learn something and she does it. She’s also taught herself to count to 100 and she’s doing basic addition/subtraction. She’s a case study for unschooling, for sure. But she wants to be around kids. So, we are really lucky that we’ve got an amazing charter school in our county.She can jump ahead at any time to a different grade level, while still being in the same general age group. She’s going to do really well there, I think. She’s really excited about attending.

Raw Milk and Sustainable Farming

We went on a farm tour yesterday at Kid Creek Pastures. I am a big believer in growing my own food and buying local from sustainable farmers. I was really impressed with the entire operation and the awesome people, Shawna and Jacob, who run it.

Their kids are really involved in caring for the animals. I loved watching their daughter scoot the pigs from their hiding spots so we could see them. She is an amazing little girl, and Shawna and Jacob are giving her such a gift to be able to learn how to work with the earth and the animals in a sustainable farming practice. Though Max wasn’t very excited to go on a farm tour, I asked him to please come. Claire loves animals and farms, so it was a great experience for her. I feel very lucky to grow my own food and live so close to cows, chickens, horses, and pigs. My kids might not think it’s interesting, but I think it’s better for them to grow up under the assumption that food comes from farming instead of food coming from stores.

Anyway, Claire loves the milk, and I hope to make some cheese on my own from the incredibly fresh milk. So, I am now owner of a share of a small herd of beautiful cows. I got a half gallon to start, but after one day, I can already tell I will need to upgrade and get more.

 

Shasta Summer

I’ve found my heaven on earth, and it is here. Shasta gives me such a fantastic opportunity to enjoy summer, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Now that the crazy busy time is over, I’m finding myself crazy busy doing other things.

Garden

Potatoes!

Potatoes!

The garden doesn’t take as much time in the summer as in the spring, other than watering. I’ve been harvesting plenty of veggies, and I got my first-ever potatoes this week. I pulled up a couple of plants and they had produced quite a few potatoes. It was kind of cool to see such beautiful veggies come up from what was going to be garbage. I had a few red potatoes I bought from the store that grew eyes. Planted them a couple of months ago, and got these… with more to come!

It scares me that I am excited about potatoes, but there ya go.

Hiking

Spring Hill vista looking towards town.

Spring Hill vista looking towards town.

There are so many trails into the forest around here, I cannot even describe them all. Claire has been doing camp in town, and I took that as my time to walk the dog. I did not enjoy walking around town very much, so I started looking for trails close to town.

Spring Hill is just north of town, offers a good workout, and is quiet. I really have been enjoying it. I walk up, I run down, and I’m finished in time to pick her up.

It’s become a great way for me to start the day, tires out the dog so he’s less of a spaz, and it’s conveniently located.

This morning’s jaunt was a lot warmer than what I’ve been used to. That’s okay. After I finish some work, I’m off to cool down.

Swimming

Claire loves swimming!

Claire loves swimming!

I apparently have two fish for children. Max, well, he’s a Pisces, so there’s an explanation there. Claire is a little Leo, but apparently lions can swim. Add some tenacity and you’ve got a little girl who heads for the deep end no matter what anyone else says. We’ve been going to the lake quite a bit. After swimming for 2 hours straight, they both whine when I say it’s time to take a break. Now I know why they used to make everyone get out of the pool for 10 minutes every hour. I used to complain as a kid; as a parent, I get it.

Claire, at age 4, has no problem putting her face into water. I bought her a cheap pair of goggles so she can watch the fish swimming under her.

The water is cold, but when it’s hot outside it’s absolutely perfect. It chills me so much that I end up wearing a hoodie when it’s 90 degrees outside! I ended up having to put two comforters on me last night just to try to get warm so I could stop shivering. It was 75 degrees in my room at the time.

We don’t have air conditioning. Because it usually drops into the 50s at night, we just open windows overnight. The house is so well insulated, it stays cool all day.

The Gift of Living in Shasta

If I ever need a reminder of connection, a visit to the headwaters reminds me. Water that hasn’t seen the light of day for 400 years (or so I’ve been told) pours out of the ground at a very rapid rate. It is cold, sweet, and delicious. I’m certain it’s the best tasting water I’ve ever had.

This is nature. It is also our natural state. It is what we are, and it is what Spirit is. If we need a reminder of our abundant nature, it is right there.

The gift of living here provides me opportunity to connect to spirit like never before. I feel like I’ve got more clarity, focus, and intention in my life now than ever. I feel more healed of past traumas, and more intent on doing what I came here to do.

 

Remineralizing Claire’s Teeth

Claire said, "You better show me that big orange bridge."

“You better show me that big orange bridge.”

We just returned from a whirlwind, too-fast trip to San Francisco. It has been a wildly hectic summer for some reason, and we had to squeeze in a trip to SF to visit an alternative-minded dentist for Claire.

A new kind of “Texas Teeth”

Claire started teething extremely early. Her first two teeth were in by the time she was 3 months old. As such, she didn’t sleep much as a baby. It also meant I didn’t sleep much. Given the amount of stress I was under when we lived in Texas, lack of sleep was not exactly helpful. I lived off sugar, caffeine, and adrenaline for at least 9 months.

The stress of living in a hostile environment coupled with hyper-fluoridated water were primary causes of Claire’s teeth decaying pretty much as soon as they came into her mouth. All four of her front teeth, as well as two molars, began showing decay by the time she was a year old.

I went to a couple of pediatric dentists. I was told that each damaged tooth would either need to be capped or pulled, and that she would need to be sedated in a hospital for the procedures. Estimated cost was $10,000. I was also told to stop nursing her, that it was nursing that was causing her teeth to decay.

There was no way I was going to put her in the hospital, sedate her, and have that type of mutilation to happen unless her life was in danger. I knew there had to be a better way.

After a few days of tears, I found Ramiel Nagel’s book, Cure Tooth Decay. I bought it right away, and started making dietary changes. I devoured articles about Weston A. Price. I read every single thread on Mothering.com’s dental health forums. I decided that the cost and effort of supporting her body’s natural ability to create healthy teeth would be a better investment than invasive sedation, extraction, and capping.

This type of decay was not normal. It was indicative, in my opinion, of underlying issues. I felt that those issues could be remedied somehow. If I opted for what the dentists recommended, the underlying problems would still be there. It would have been a vicious cycle of decay and invasive treatments ad infinitum.

And if her teeth were a window into her nutritional situation, then there was an underlying problem that would cause other health problems I cannot even fathom. I owed it to her to find a way to correct those issues.

This approach wasn’t easy. If you doubt me, try a dose of fermented cod liver oil, x-factor butter oil, in bone broth soup. The easy changes were adding cell salts, MI Paste, and Spry xylitol candy and gum.

Fermented cod liver oil and x-factor butter are not exactly delicacies. I took them along with Claire since we were still nursing. We did that for a few months, until it became apparent that the flavor was too much for both of us. Bone broth soup was barely palatable, so I had to sneak it into other soups. I couldn’t make the jump into eating offal. I don’t know that I ever will!

I became vegetarian for health reasons. I started eating meat again as an experiment, but it wasn’t something I had committed to or enjoyed. Then I found research supporting a “primal diet,” I discovered Mark’s Daily Apple, and I reduced sugar consumption in the house as much as possible and upped our protein intake from grass-fed animals. The primal diet research dovetailed with Weston A. Price dietary guidelines. It all made sense.

You don’t realize how much carbohydrate you consume until you make a concerted effort to keep your consumption around 50 grams per day. I ate a ton more greens, free range eggs, and grass fed beef and dairy. As a vegetarian, most of my carbs were coming from grains. And I thought whole grains were healthier. But after researching, I started soaking and fermenting the few grains we were eating as a compliment to the primal foods.

I wish I could say we’ve stuck with the diet completely. We haven’t. I still eat bread, but I opt for sprouted grain or sourdough instead of traditional breads. We still eat white rice occasionally. We eat lentils (soaked).

And we eat ice cream. I know. The horror. It’s organic, grass-fed dairy in our ice cream, but there is also sugar in there. Life is too short to not eat ice cream.

Checking in with the professionals

I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants through all of this. I check her teeth pretty much every day, and it has seemed as if they were just frozen in time. Every once in a while, something would look a little off. Usually, it would be because she was sleeping with her mouth open all night.  Then, I’d up our efforts. We adhered to the principles pretty strongly over the first 6 months. But we did not do this religiously over the past 3 1/2 years. We still allow treats. Ice cream still happens. She’s a kid, you know? Being too hardcore can often cause kids to rebel. I didn’t want to be that mom.

Since Claire is starting Kindergarten this fall, I received a dental health evaluation form from the school. My stomach bound into knots just reading it. Yes, I could have opted out, but given the visible damage to her teeth, I felt it was time to find a dentist that could tell me whether or not any of these efforts had helped. If it had helped, I would have proof.

In my initial telephone conversations with local dentists, I sensed condescension. I explained the situation, and I said I didn’t want invasive treatments; I just wanted a check to see how she was doing. One dentist said they would “educate me about my treatment options.”

But my treatment options were already happening, every day! Talking to mainstream dentists actually made me feel worse.

Having spent as much time as I have spent researching dental health, I am obviously open to hearing as many options as possible. But knowing how barbarically invasive dental treatments can be, I was incredibly wary.

I widened my search, and I ended up traveling 5 hours by car to the bay area for a dentist.

When I walked in and saw the high quality supplements on the shelf, and the water alkalizing machine in the lobby, I knew I was probably in the right place. Still, I braced myself for what I might hear about Claire’s teeth. For over 3 years, I have held a fear of bucking the system and being judged for it. I even felt fear for not bucking the system enough! I mean, we had ice cream in the house.

I felt that this dentist was my last hope, and yet I still wasn’t very hopeful.

Claire sensed my fear, and did not want to go. We made a trip of it, visited the Golden Gate Bridge, and “oh, by the way, hello dentist.”

The Verdict

Dr. Smith and his staff made Claire feel comfortable and at peace. He counted out her teeth, and said the magic words: “caries arrested.” Meaning, yes, she has decay, but the decay was stopped. The dentin that is exposed is hardened. And, the teeth that are the worst off in the front are already beginning to loosen. She’ll get her adult teeth soon, and the visible caries will be gone.

I am only slightly embarrassed to say that I cried. I felt such a sense of relief that her teeth are okay. He also said her jaw development is excellent. He congratulated me — and Claire — on a job well done.

I think that years of anxiety about her teeth came out in those tears. What a relief…. a relief to know she’s okay, and a relief to know that trusting my gut and not the condescending dentists was the right thing to do.

There is so much judgment out there about parenting – what is one person’s religion is another person’s sin. Some people are such hardcore vegetarians, others are hardcore medical establishment. I had a few situations in which I was questioned in my decisions. I started to learn to shut up. Some people find comfort in root canals, I suppose. Not me. I find comfort in knowing that we can support our health through diet.

Claire shows off her "teeth wig."

Claire shows off her “teeth wig.”

Claire was happy she got some vampire teeth from the toy bin after her appointment. She calls them her “teeth wig,” and tries scaring everyone with them.

I’m relieved that her teeth are healthy, and that the efforts we undertook made a difference. I’m hoping those adult teeth coming in are going to showcase the benefits of the health-supportive efforts we have taken.

Wouldn’t it be great if neither of my children ever have to endure having a cavity filled? It is completely possible.

Resources:

 

 

Life Update June 2013

So, long time no write, eh. I haven’t had much to write. No contrast, I suppose. Things haven’t been all wine and roses, but they haven’t been unmanageable. Life has been exceptionally good this year. Busy and active, but very good.

I have enjoyed the early spring here in Mount Shasta, putting my veggies in early and getting new veggies going that I haven’t planted before. Digging in the dirt has a meditative state to me that puts me in a state of bliss. I do wish I had a bit of a warmer climate in the garden so that tomatoes and cucumbers were happier, but I have ways of modifying things.

This year, I’ve planted:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Beans
  • Peas

I’ve got some perennials revisiting (lots of berries), as well as the plum, cherry, and apple trees.

The garden here has been a challenge for me to get used to. I have been used to gardening in very fertile, alkaline soil. Here, I’m dealing with acidic volcanic sand. Lots of soil amending. But the blueberry bushes are as happy as can be.

In addition to working outside, I’ve been walking and hiking more than ever. For a while, I had a GPS going to see how many miles I could do in 2013. But I forgot to put it on too many times. Then it started getting in the way of what I really wanted, which was to escape into nature every day.

I think Mark is tired of hearing me say, “I love everything about living here.” I love my house, my yard, my neighborhood, my neighbors, my friends, my meadows, my mountains, my forests… everything about living here is blissful to me.

Max just finished 6th grade; Claire is getting ready to start kindergarten. I really like the teachers at the schools here. Unfortunately, the system of mainstream schooling is so limited. I feel like this year especially Max fell through the cracks. He was very frustrated by math and social things, and he developed some coping mechanisms that won’t serve him well if they continue.

It’s time to make some changes. Not sure exactly what we’ll do, but it will be something different than years past. I am nervous about the change, but also looking forward to a shift that is more in alignment with who my kids are and who we are as parents.

Clearing to ZeroMark launched a new product yesterday, Clearing to Zero. It’s a ho’oponopono meets neuroscience DVD. I watched it myself a couple of weeks ago as we were getting ready to produce it, and it whacked me out for a day. But it also dissolved a few things and helped me get really clear on a few things. Since watching the DVD, I’ve been getting more intuitive guidance about life going forward. I’m making a few changes, but overall, I got a sense that I am on the right path. After all, there are zero limits, right? Life is good.

I decided to give up maintaining my own code on a shopping cart application I wrote 10 years ago, and I migrated to another cart. So far, so good. Though there are some intricacies that I have to learn. Learning to work with someone else’s code is like learning a foreign language. Not really fun. But it should be more productive going forward.

I’m going to make an effort to write more, both here and a new book forthcoming. Maybe even a few videos and pictures. But for now, this at least gets me writing again.

 

Escape from the screens

It’s been cold here in California for the last few weeks. The kids, used to spending a lot of time outside playing in paradise, have taken to sitting in front of screens. And then, when they aren’t in front of iPads and computers, they are bouncing off the walls. I have had to make more efforts to get them out doing things. Neither of them are interested in snow-related outside activities, which is a real travesty living here in the land of world-class skiing and snowboarding. But I follow what they want…

Yesterday, I took them to Ashland, Oregon for some play time. We’re members of the Science Works Museum and it’s one of our go-to places for indoor activities. For a max-claire-sciencesmall town, it’s quite an amazing kid’s museum. Of course, Max is turning into a teenager and turned his nose up at most of the activities while Claire was attacking everything head-on. I did get them both interested in the nanotechnology exhibit, though, so that’s something.

After the museum, we headed to Kaleidoscope Pizza in Medford. As a Chicago girl, I am not thrilled with what the west coast thinks of pizza. Kaleidoscope is the exception. Great pizza, fantastic salads, all in a beautiful restaurant. It’s usually packed, even at 2 pm. God help you if you want an evening table.

We’ve been looking at cars lately. I’ve been driving a Honda Civic Hybrid for years now. I’m really happy with my Honda. It’s given me exceptional gas mileage and great reliability. I’m almost to 100k miles on it. It’s seen every time zone in America. It’s been to the southeast, the northwest, and everywhere in between. It is a GREAT car.

It is a light car, however, and I live in the land of frozen ice packed streets. Last week, I almost slid into a concrete wall. I often have a hard time hauling large loads. Vacations are like car-packing tetris, arranging kids, adults, and a dog who wants to go everywhere with us, not to mention our stuff. If it was just me, I would stick with a smaller car. However, it is never just me in the car. So, I need something larger.

First thought has been to go back to an Audi. I had an Audi before I had the hybrid, and I love Audis. I miss my Audi.

Max, however, has been looking at Mercedes. My mom drives a Mercedes. And so, we decided to look at Mercedes. We stopped at the Mercedes dealership in Medford to check out an M class.

The kids had other ideas. Ideas that involved convertibles and no back seat. The salesman was awesome and let them explore and play.

max-mercedes

claire-mercedes

Funny how they choose cars with no back seat when they’ll be spending most of their time in the back seat of the one I get myself!

I’m sold on an M class for reasons I can’t even enumerate. It’s time to get a new car. And I’m sold on the M350 at this point.

Of course, as soon as I make that decision, I see Audi Q7s everywhere. The universe sure does have a sense of humor.

 

 

121212 Concert Blew Me Away

I rarely watch TV anymore. In fact, we don’t have traditional television, only a Roku. Well, Claire is a huge Chris Martin/Coldplay fan, so I loaded up the 121212 concert for her last night so she could see him.

I have always enjoyed music. While I look back on some of my high school music choices with wonderment (just why did I like Adam Ant so much?), I think I have some fairly decent and eclectic musical tastes. But in the last 10 years, I haven’t listened to much music. Well, unless you consider the myriad renditions of Itsy Bitsy Spider that I’ve heard true music appreciation… then I suppose I’ve listened to music. So when I fire up some tunes, I’m usually jet setting back to the 80’s or earlier.

I made a commitment earlier this year to listen to more music. I bought myself a Pandora One account, and I started telling it what I wanted to hear. One day, Coldplay The Scientist came on my R.E.M. station. I thought, wow, this is a beautiful song. I wonder who sings it? Then I listened to it a few more times.

Claire, always present and listening along, decided that it was her new most favorite song ever. We watch the video. Who is the guy? I go look it up. His name is Chris. Thereafter, she would only listen to a song if Chris sings it. Our Coldplay appreciation grew. She has her favorites (Clocks, The Scientist, Paradise, Viva La Vida), but she also appreciates many of the more obscure Coldplay songs.

One great thing: she wants to learn how to play the guitar and the piano because Chris does. Bingo. I’ll capitalize on the fangirl crush and we’ll make that one happen! At least I have one kid interested in music; Max could care less.

So, I turn on the concert and go about my business. Oh look, there’s Roger Waters. Eddie Vedder. Holy crap, Eric Clapton. By the time they got to The Who, I was full on singing at the top of my raspy cold-filled lungs and dancing around to Baba O’Riley embarrassing myself in front of my children.

I may have scared the dog.

But seriously. Roger Daltrey blew me away. He’s freaking 68. He and Pete Townshend freakin stole the show.

I did not expect to enjoy the 121212 Concert as much as I did, but it was exceptional. (Except Kanye. Why Kanye, I will never understand. There are multiple east coast based rappers that they could have chosen that would have been more appropriate and interesting. I am glad Kanye was singing rather than speaking, given his poorly chosen incendiary words during the hurricane Katrina fundraiser. I wonder if Mike Myers ever recovered.)

And then, after staying up late to see her beloved Chris Martin, Claire jumps up and down and hugs the TV. Then he brings out Michael Stipe. Oooh, more fun for me. Poor Claire… she was rather disappointed! I let her watch the Coldplay 2012 concert today to make up for her disappointment. And she asked, “Where are Chris’ friends?” She actually noticed that the rest of Coldplay wasn’t there.

And oh, Chris Martin, I hope you are rocking as hard as Daltrey/Townshend in 40 years. Still blown away.

And of course, DONATE. Lots of people on the east coast are hurting big time after Hurricane Sandy. I hope you were as inspired as I was to reach out and help others who need it.

 

Rewriting Greek Mythology

Every night, the kids gather around and I read to them. Being kind of a nut about classics, history, and meaningful learning, I was scouring our overfilled bookcases for something meaningful that they would actually enjoy. In Mark’s bookcases (which are usually off limits to us; he’s kind of obsessive about his books!) we found a book about Greek heroes. It took about a week to read every story, and they loved them.

I then supplemented with another book about Greek mythology directed for younger audience.

Max now has been asking me to read Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. The dialogue between Moyers and Campbell is a little over Claire’s head, but Max is REALLY into it. So far, he’s really interested in how the creation story is similar across different cultures. However, when he starts asking for more specifics about an indigenous mythology, I’m a little lost on answers.

Claire is missing her Greek heroes, so she decided to write her own stories. At age 4, she’s re-writing some of her favorite stories. Perseus, noted as the killer of Medusa, is now only allowed to kill wild boars. Atalanta, previously a killer of wild boars and destroyer of misogyny, will now be the slayer of Medusa. Apparently, Claire has bigger plans for Atalanta. She has her own little book she made from pieces of white copy paper stapled together. And here’s what she wrote:

Claire wrote “Perseus killed the wild boar.”

I helped her with spelling, and of course some of her letters are a bit challenged, but the girl certainly has some initiative. Here’s hoping she didn’t make Zeus upset by demoting his demigod son!

 

Changing Seasons

I’ve not found time to write much this fall, as I’ve been focused on taking care of so many things around here. I’m happy to report that the great IRS Audit of 2012 is now over, and I did not find it as painful as I had initially thought. I felt pretty awful about the state of my books at the start of things, but after hiring an enrolled agent to guide me through the process, I’m seeing it wasn’t all that bad after all.

It turns out that the auditors were primarily looking for some things related to business in Texas. They didn’t find what they were looking for (at least not in my books!), so they’ve moved on to greener pastures.

The funniest part of the whole experience is that my expectations of what an IRS audit means drove much of my stress, created a mess that was more stressful. The actual process itself wasn’t so bad. In fact, it actually has been a REAL blessing, setting up a platform for future success.

I was actually lucky to work with both an enrolled agent and an IRS agent who were very understanding, very cool and helpful, and now I have processes and procedures to make my least favorite activity easier.

I told myself that if I had to go through an IRS audit, at least I got to do it from the comfort of a spectacular home in Mount Shasta. Being here made the experience bearable. I was able to do days of accounting (did I mention it is my least favorite activity?) while immersing myself in the beauty of this place as a respite.

Summer in Mount Shasta is the closest thing to heaven on earth that I’ve experienced. Fall is pretty spectacular, too. I spent most of my free time this summer and fall getting lost in forests (once, quite literally) and exploring with a dog or two.

This morning, however, I am drenched from doing so in the cold rain. It’s nearing winter, and that means the snows are coming.

This snowstorm is for your viewing pleasure.

Last week, we had a freak localized snowstorm thanks to a car commercial filmed on our street. I rounded the corner during my morning walk, only to find that the road was blocked. Not sure which car the advertisement was for, but if it is being filmed in Shasta with fake snow, I’m certain it has 4 wheel drive.

With the changing seasons, I’ll be spending more time indoors, probably a lot more time in front of the computer doing non-accounting related things. I’ve made a commitment to write another book, blog more, and share more of my experience here. It also means I’ll spend some more time traveling and sitting on beaches.

 

Magical Bubble of Experience

With Max at his dad’s for the weekend, and Mark training in Arizona, Claire has been rather dismayed that she’s “stuck home with mom.” I know, I’m so awful… the woman who feeds her, nurtures her, reads to her, and takes her all over creation to explore.

So I’ve made an extra effort to take her places while her dad and brother are away. We went to the Science Works museum in Ashland, Oregon. She LOVES this place, and for a small town like Ashland, it’s a great kid’s museum. I consider myself a connoisseur of kid’s museums, having lived and traveled all over the place with my kids.

My favorite is San Jose’s Children’s Discovery Museum, but I’ve only been there when it was crushed and overwhelmed with the and desperate, tired faces of parents on a rainy day a few days after Christmas. I hope to go soon when it is less overwhelmed with people.

Exhibit A: Happy Claire

So, Sunday was an interesting day. First, Claire was happy (see Exhibit A) to be there. But really odd things were happening. We’d end up at certain exhibits by ourselves, and it was almost as if there was a force outside of us that was doing strange yet meaningful things. A pendulum dropping sand that made an image of a heart. A ball that defied gravity to bop Claire right on the head…. twice. A heart image showing up for a moment in a bubble. Bubbles that would form perfect unmoving spheres for a moment then pop.

After, Claire insisted on going to lunch at Grilla Bites. I tried to encourage her to think of somewhere else because parking can be tricky in that area of downtown Ashland. But she insisted, and I like the restaurant, so we went there. Parking was my concern… and we ended up with a spot directly in front of the restaurant. It’s rare to get a spot in that area of Ashland, even more odd that it was directly in front of the restaurant.

These were small signs, but signs nonetheless. They were reminders that we live in a magical universe, and that if we are open to experience miracles, they show up. The additional message was to move this experience from the bubble of a day at the kid’s museum and begin applying that knowledge elsewhere.

There are things in my external environment that I must deal with. Accounting, bleh, and cleaning, and other people’s issues imposing on my reality. And the message I got loud and clear was that it is all me.

I was reminded of that this morning again when a friend said she wished that someone would do something differently. She wanted to experience support from a partner rather than having to be the supporter.

I thought to myself how I had experienced that same emotion. I experienced it as frustration without ever making it to “what if it could be different.” I finally started realizing that it is all me, my experience is all my own, and if I want something to be different, I need to make that change happen myself.

As I support myself emotionally and spiritually, reconnecting with my own inner connection to All That Is, the support I give myself becomes mirrored by my own experience in my external world.

I have had to make some changes lately in my experience, and part of it was establishment of effective boundaries of what is allowed and acceptable in my reality.

We are not victims to our external world. If something isn’t working the way we like, the first step is moving from anger and frustration into the knowledge that it is all us, that others are playing roles so that we may open to the knowledge that it really is all us.

All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.

Understanding others’ roles in our lives deflates the emotional charge. It allows us to open and allow them to be who they really are rather than just being a player in our drama. And it allows us to say what if it could be different…. and then begin to create that.

The magical experience I had with Claire this weekend was a small microcosm of magic. What it taught me is that the rest of reality is also a magical place where miracles can happen every day… if only I open to them.

 

Mindfulness for Busy Moms

I am a big advocate of meditation as a method of clearing unproductive thoughts. Very rarely do helpful things happen in the mind, but meditation is the best tool for clearing those unhelpful thoughts so that more productive ones can come forth.

“The mind is a terrible master, but a wonderful servant.”

As you watch your thoughts, you’ll notice some patterns. Some thoughts are about the past. Some thoughts are about the future.

Very rarely, you will have a thought that is helpful in the here and now. And those productive thoughts seem to creep in when you’re focusing your mind on something else. Productive, inspired thoughts are often a result of meditation. And honestly, those inspired thoughts often begin as a feeling rather than a thought.

As a mom, I very rarely have an hour to myself to meditate. There are many demands on my time, but I make a conscious attempt to quiet my mind and tap into the wisdom of my body every day. Here are some ways I do it, even though I am busier than the proverbial one-legged man.

1. Use your breath. The breath is powerful. It is the one constant, the one part of your being that you cannot quiet. It also mirrors the flux of the universe… one moment we are here, the next moment we are not. We are creating and re-creating our experience in every instant.

The breath does not occur in the mind; it occurs in our chest, nearest our heart. The breath is the reminder that our heart has its own wisdom, its own power, and it is central to our being. As you breathe in, bring your focus into your body, into your heart, into the space where the magic occurs.

2. Use movement. Movement activates the wisdom in your body. Your mind does not have to calculate or computer what the next step should look like, you just do it. And as your mind is given less to do, the body’s wisdom takes over. A “walking meditation,” especially in nature, can lessen the wandering thoughts and allow the inspiration of the moment to come through your body’s other wisdom centers.

When coupled with awareness of your breath, the increased awareness within your body revitalizes your beingness to tap into the magical space.

3. Spend more time with mindful beings. Be more dog-like. Cat like, if you prefer. Deer like, if you want. Childlike, even. The animals in our world are not plagued with thoughts of the past or the future. They also have memories and patterns, but they are in the here and now more than anyone I have encountered.

Of course, you have been gifted with creative abilities far beyond the animals, but to master your animal nature is not to eschew it. To master your animal nature, you learn to use that nature so that you can hone your creative abilities. Cultivating mindfulness so that it is useful to you is mastering your nature.

4. Get out into nature. The natural world is full of peaceful, heart-centered reminders of your physical body, quieting the mind. A walk in nature with a couple of canine friends is the perfect antidote to an overactive mind. Running water, rustling leaves, warm sunshine, and green plants everywhere remind us of the physical world, grounding us in our bodies. Green is the color of the heart chakra, the center of your being where your deeper connection to the wider consciousness of All That Is becomes much more apparent.

Max and Riley play in the stream in the meadow.

Bring your children with you. There is a creek running through our neighborhood. I grab the children, the dog, a neighbor’s dog, and head to the creek. The dogs and kids splash in the water. And I contemplate. I breathe. I stretch, and sometimes I play in the water, too. Time seems to fly as we’re there. It becomes very easy for me to let go of all of the things I need to do and just be.

5. Do chores. I’ve got plenty of those. I use the mindless activities of washing dishes, cleaning the house, and gardening as meditation time as well. Repetitive activities are a good time to clear your mind of all thoughts while going through the motions of “chopping wood and carrying water.”

Why Cultivate Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has enormous benefit. It reduces stress, which creates greater harmony in all areas of your life including your physical and mental health. It also opens you to the deeper part of yourself where inspiration resides.

It allows your spiritual energy to flow. It brings ideas, peace, wisdom, greater patience, and a higher propensity to see your world and your self much more clearly.

Scientists beginning to explore the benefits of meditation and mindfulness are showing that it even rewires your brain to make the benefits of a five minute meditation session last much longer.

Meditation and Mindfulness are Important to Conscious Creation

You cannot create what you want until you are clear. If you are thinking about the past, you are trapped in old patterns. If you are worrying about the future, you creating a probable future that is shaped by your worries.

Getting clear means clearing the data in your mind. It means tapping into something that is much larger than who you are. It means being open to change, to flowing energy, and to exploring who you are, what you really want, and your inspiration.

Meditation is the clearest, cleanest, and most proven method of getting there.

There is No Perfect Meditation

The goal of mindfulness and meditation is to be able to discern who you really are. It is to learn that you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions, and you are not the sum of your past. You are here now. You are not your future, either. You are nothing more than who you are as the observer here now.

There are plenty of times to allow that mindfulness in. Supporting the intent to increase mindfulness in your experience with small breaks of meditation when you can. Just like a muscle, your ability to be mindful will grow the more it is used.