Friday, March 23, 2012

Facing life's challenges

Wow.... there are all kinds of challenges. And the no matter what we do, and how we work to improve our lives, we can't avoid the suffering.... the difficulties that come up. We get sick.... or family members. The weather doesn't cooperate and we have to just deal with it. The social and political environment is out of our control. Someone bullies our child or grandchild.... or us. What we can learn how to deal with these things with more grace.

I've been hit by back pain. I can't sit for long periods of time, so I am not at my computer very much... or for very long. Funny thing is I had been wanting to figure out how to slow down my pace.... well, the universe answered and knocked me on my back, icing it and resting it whenever possible. I suppose there are things I could have done to avoid this.... like better self care, but it is what it is for right now.

This experience is teaching me some things. First, acceptance is a spiritual tool. Denial, Fear, Anger - these don't help, ever! Acceptance helps me to stay in the present and do the next right thing. Acceptance keeps me out of fear and depression. Acceptance reminds me that there are many things that are outside of my control.

Second, what we have is now. How many times to I have to be reminded of this? Well, probably a million! The quality of my life is in the moments... not some time in the future. So remembering to stay in the present is a gift of pain.

Third, we're not supposed to go it alone.... Isolation is a killer. Isolation leads to depression. Reaching out and asking for help are necessary.... and additional gifts of pain. Hard to do for some of us, but a must. People can't read our minds, so we need to ask. When we are hurting or ill, people are willing to help. Even if we are not.... they are often willing.

Children are our teachers again and again. They do not spend much time worrying about the future or regretting the past. They are in the here and now, fully immersed in what they are doing. In fact, it can be hard to pull them away when we have something else in mind. And they need us to continue to teach them by showing them how to live.... in healthy ways. The only way out is true... one moment at a time.

Enjoy the moments!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Behind the wheel

As I passed the local high school on my way to an appointment, I was pretty blown away by the number of cars in the school parking lot. When my sons were in high school, it had been packed! Now it is only about half full or even less. This is a significant shift in philosophy..... and probably also influenced by the economic situation. Fewer teens are driving to school, though I'm sure many are still driven there because I have been there at the "wrong" times and gotten stuck in the traffic jam in front of the school.

What a rat race we have created! And I was swept into the race as a child. Raised in San Diego, you could hardly go anywhere without wheels.... and I don't mean a bicycle. So the car became a need. I got my license when I was 16 and an old Morris Minor and used it to get to work. I guess my parents paid the insurance, because I don't remember doing that, but I paid for my gas and soon was paying my way for quite a few things (of course, everything cost much less then). And I loved the freedom.

Until a few years ago, when asked if I wanted to walk somewhere.....often I would say, "If you're driving I'll go." Today, walking is part of my regular routine. This included walking to the local grocery store or mall. And I often walk to the movies. Of course, I am very fortunate to live within a mile or so of these places. We used to dream of living out in the country, but now we are very glad to live in town. And today I recognize that this gives me another kind of freedom, Certainly I use my car just about daily because I still have commitments that take me further from home, but I drive less, and walk more.

So what messages are we giving our children about cars and driving? With fuel being burned much faster than we can produce it, what will the future look like for our children and grandchildren? What else can give us a sense of freedom? Life is a journey, and it seems to me our mode of transportation along the was does make a difference.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Leaning a little

I began this blog a few years ago with the intention of focusing on children.... and our relationship with them. How can we help and guide them? The reality - we guide them in everything we do, whether we realize it or not.... or pay attention or not. Though most of my life work has focused on children, as a teacher and mother, at this time in my life I feel some shifting as I teach less.... and have grown children.

Also in many of these posts, I have stressed how important it is to take care of ourselves. This self care includes all those things we do to nurture our own physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well being. And I believe self care is probably one of the most necessary and valuable things we can and should do. How can we care for others when we are a wreck ourselves?!

So I have been thinking about doing something different. I'm not sure what exactly this blog will look like, but I am hoping to re-energize myself. I love to write, and find regular journal writing very insightful. As I write, I get guidance as the juices start to flow. So, I am going to start carrying a little booklet around with me and get into the habit of writing down ideas when they come to me. Before writing my book, Guiding their way - Day by Day, that is what I did, and the ideas kept coming every day, multiple times in a day, until I had over 365 entries.

Up until now, I have followed the pattern of many bloggers - I began with passion and consistency and over time, life demands seemed to get in the way, so my posting slowed to a trickle. Starting now, I'm going to lean a little .... not going entirely off the path, but possibly gazing a slightly different angle that will very likely take me in some other directions. And I may even eventually discover a different name. For now, I re-commit to at least weekly, if not more frequent entries. We shall see.

Life is a process. So much is unpredictable and out of our control. What I can do is write and reflect and keep looking for guidance from friends, family, children, media.... and continuing to grow myself into the person I am supposed to be. To those who will come along - Thanks for joining me. I welcome topic ideas, questions.... Yes, let's keep asking questions.