Monday, August 24, 2015

Living With Intention

I have lately been thinking about how often I simply react to things without thought. The end result more often than not is negative, not positive. I am trying (when I remember) to behave more proactively, to live with intention. 

I've also noticed that I have a tendency to mentally remove myself from situations and view them as an observer (usually a snarky, cynical observer) rather than actually being in the moment and experiencing my life. I have started the practice of saying to myself "This Moment" to bring myself back, to remind myself to pay attention and not get distracted, to not insulate myself in the safety of not really being there. It is safe, to not really participate. I'm less likely to be vulnerable that way, less likely to get hurt, less likely to embarrass myself with visible emotion. I can act on autopilot.

I've become lazy about living my life.

I've become afraid to be fully present and engaged.

But that's not how I actually want to live.

I've also noticed a habit I have picked up of seeing people through a lens of cynicism, especially my husband. I've developed a tendency to assume that I know what people's motives are, and have tailored my responses around that assumption, rather than on what is actually happening or being said. This is disastrous. Who am I to say that I know what someone else's motives are? Who am I to impose my own opinion of who I think they are, or what I think they mean, rather than simply noticing and appreciating the complex, interesting, and unique individual in front of me? I'm not inside their head - the assumptions and the instant reactions to the assumptions have got to go.

I have been actively making an effort to strip away the years of mental conditioning that I have built up, and to see people with fresh eyes - a brand new perspective versus my same-old same-old point of view.  It's pretty exhilarating. I highly recommend taking your point of view and making it go all topsy-turvy. 

One frequent result of my old behaviors (which of course still exist - I am a work in progress, as we all are) was angry, frustrated reactions to things or situations that didn't really warrant anger or frustration. Unfortunately, anger and frustration all too often translate into a raised voice or a nasty tone, both of which I would prefer to eliminate from my life.

I read a blog post today that had an excellent idea for what to do once I've started down the road of negativity - telling myself to "Come Back." I don't have to continue down the road just because I started down it. I can stop and come back to where I was before.

Two phrases I am now incorporating into my life in an effort to be a human being that will be "remembered for my smile, not my scowl," a person who is "a safe haven, not someone to avoid" are "This Moment" and "Come Back."

Here is the blog post by Rachel Macy Stafford that inspired my own:

Come back.

"Come back.
Forgive yourself.
Forgive the one who wronged you.
Decide this isn’t over.
Decide you’ve only just begun.
Lower the bar. It’s good enough for the people who love you.
Scale back. Surrender the pressure to “do it all.”
Take ten minutes to do something you love.
Take an old hand or a young hand in yours. See loving memories and future possibilities in their palms.
Whisper: “Let it be. Let it be.”
Declare: “I cannot control, so let me release.”
Turn up a good song.
Call up a good friend.
Hug the person nearest you.
Hug the person farthest out of reach.
Put something of value in someone’s empty cup.
Put something of value in your own cup.
Walk outside and spot something beautiful.
Dig inside and find something beautiful you thought was gone."

Friday, March 21, 2014

For My Daughter, by Sarah McMane

For My Daughter

By Sarah McMane

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” – Clementine Paddleford

Never play the princess when you can
be the queen:
rule the kingdom, swing a scepter,
wear a crown of gold.
Don’t dance in glass slippers,
crystal carving up your toes --
be a barefoot Amazon instead,
for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.
Never wear only pink
when you can strut in crimson red,
sweat in heather grey, and
shimmer in sky blue,
claim the golden sun upon your hair.
Colors are for everyone,
boys and girls, men and women --
be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,
not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.
Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies,
fierce and fiery toothy monsters,
not merely lazy butterflies,
sweet and slow on summer days.
For you can tame the most brutish beasts
with your wily wits and charm,
and lizard scales feel just as smooth
as gossamer insect wings.
Tramp muddy through the house in
a purple tutu and cowboy boots.
Have a tea party in your overalls.
Build a fort of birch branches,
a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of
Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,
first stop on the moon.
Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,
bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,
not Barbie on the runway or
Disney damsels in distress --
you are much too strong to play
the simpering waif.
Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,
paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.
Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.
For the ground beneath will hold you, dear --
know that you are free.
And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mommy Daughter Night

Last night Caitlin and I had a Mommy-Daughter Night.   

I put my phone away.  I turned off the computer and the TV.  It felt weird to be so in the moment with no electronic distractions.  To me, that is something of a wake up call about my dependence on technology.  I have been slowly reducing my use of it, but the habit ("need") is still strong.  I will change this. 

We started with a game of Battleship, which I won by a narrow margin (I'm pretty sure she peeked at my side, the little stinker)

After Battleship, we busted out some art supplies and got to work.  I used crayons to color a picture of a giant crescent moon (with a very happy face, of course) in the night sky next to a unicorn.  I made her horn, mane and tail multicolored, and the moon blue.  Caitlin made a book with four pages:  the title page (I Love You, by Caitlin), I love my mommy, I love my daddy, and I love Gavin.  Illustrated, of course.  We listened to Pink Floyd "Animals" while we did our art.  I had forgotten the simple joy of doing something artistic and completely unstructured while listening to music.  It was freeing.  I imagined I could feel my brain cells moving in completely different ways than usual.  I loved it.

Then we played a game with these new, tiny little figures that she had picked up that day with Nana.  I don't know what they are called, but they came in tiny little balls.  Caitlin lined up the figures on the edge of a book, set another book in front of them as a "stage", and put on a show for them that consisted of bouncing the empty balls around on the stage.  One minute of our time equaled an hour for the tiny people and animals.

We then watched Kronk's New Groove, had popcorn and pumpkin bars, and snuggled on the couch.  After brushing our teeth, we snuggled in my bed, read a story (Bad Kitty and Poor Puppy), and went to sleep.  Not the best night of sleep I've ever had (she is a restless sleeper!), but it was nice to wake up with my little girl snuggled up next to me.  Daddy was kind enough to switch beds with her so that we could have our sleepover.

Once again, this amazing girl has opened my eyes to wonderful things I completely miss when left to my own devices.  She inspired me and reminded me of the beauty inherent in the simple things.  I am grateful to have such an amazing tiny teacher.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bike Riding

Caitlin learned how to ride her two-wheeler today without the training wheels!!  I was the one that taught her - not her dad - which I'm pretty excited about.  I'm proud of both of us!

Looking forward to some bike rides with my cutie pie six year old!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A New Adventure

I am beginning my new adventure as a full time stay-at-home-mom/student.... I am officially no longer employed (don't worry Mom- I checked with the manager and she told me I can come back whenever I need or want).  All I can say so far is..... this is AWESOME!!!!  Granted, I go back to school full time on the 22nd, so things will change a bit then, but right now I have so much free time!  My house is so clean!  I'm having so much fun with the kids!  I don't feel like I have to rush all the time!

I have started on my list of projects; the first two items on the list are to get my photo albums up to date (could it be that I am a year behind??) and finish Caity's quilt.  I am catching up on sleep, and have noticed a huge improvement in my mood and general demeanor.  I am making plans to actually hang out with friends again, and spending time just sitting and reading (what a luxury!).

Ryan is also much happier these days.  Esoterik Guitars is now his only job, and while he is working long hours, he is enjoying every minute of it.  Being able to focus on his business and having me supporting him at home has really reduced his stress level and increased his happiness. 

So right now, life is really good.  

I have also changed my major at school from Nutrition to Psychology with a focus on Marriage and Family Counseling.  I still plan to study Nutrition throughout my life, but my Bachelor's and Master's degrees will be in PsychologyBy the end of this year, I will have a Certificate of Specialization in Nutrition, so if I want to work in the field I can, as well as an AA in Family Studies.  My goal is to transfer to Cal Poly in January 2014 as a Junior, finish my Bachelors degree in two years, and my Masters two years after that.  Here's hoping we can afford it!  With the three degrees, the certificate, and my ongoing studies in nutrition, I will be able to combine all these areas of study if I decide to pursue my original plan of working with people with eating disorders.  I am very, very excited to continue school in this new direction.

2013 is shaping up to be a fantastic year!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Tooth Fairy Is Coming Back

Caitlin has lost her second tooth.... the bottom right one came out the day before Thanksgiving.  Her grown-up teeth look HUGE!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dreams and Such

Every night that I'm home to put Caitlin to bed we decide what we're going to dream about that night.  We've met up at the beach and gotten ice cream, we've gone flying (sans airplane) to Paris where we could eat any food we wanted and it would be healthy for us, and gone diving to the bottom of the ocean like mermaids.

Tonight she said we were going to go to a rainbow and find the pot of gold at the end.... and give the gold to poor people so they wouldn't be poor anymore.  I am madly in love with this child. 

We have this thing we do right now where one of us will squeeze the other ones hand three times saying "snuggle snuggle snuggle", and the other will do it back.  Our hands are snuggling.

I love how such little things can create such big happiness.