What are you learning?
The Practice:Ask more questions.
Given relationships are your parents, your children, you can’t trade them in. They’re given. Friends on the other hand are acquired. You can drop them. Marriages are an ambiguous place; you can look at it either way. We changed marriages from a given karmic situation into an acquired karmic situation, where you can change it if it doesn’t work well.
When you have relationships that are “given” karmically, you have people that are from all different levels of consciousness. You’ve been thrown together with them, and it becomes about, “I can’t understand why we’ve been thrown together.” It’s the chance to see the way in which you have catered to your personality, and a chance to push against it a little bit.
I’m playing with such a delicate and uncomfortable edge, which is the idea that fulfilling roles brings freedom, and the roles are not just responding to your personality desires and yourself.
Gandhi once said, “Civilization is the art of voluntary renunciation.” Which means you give up certain things in yourself in order to be able to play a part in a dance.
So why would you invest in the family?
You would invest in the family because you understand that part of your incarnation and part of being in the way of things is to find your function within family. Now it doesn’t mean lockstep, it doesn’t mean that every mother is the same mother or every father is the same father. You have to hear your unique way through, but unique doesn’t necessarily just mean personality desire. What is appropriate in view of my skills, opportunities, needs of the family, economics, political situation, and so on?
When you’re poor, and a family of six is living in one room, it’s a very different set of roles and demands than if you’re living in a situation where everybody has their own room they can go in and lock the door. It’s hard to face, because we think we won that affluence which has given us the privacy to have our own rooms, but it’s really a mixed bag. It’s given us the privacy to become very isolated and cut off from each other and very private and very secretive and very ashamed and very embarrassed and very uncomfortable, with a whole lot of stuff to carry around with us.
Holiday season can be one of the most challenging and intense times of the year.
As much as you may love them, one of the most difficult things can be spending extended time with family members.
It’s sometimes those that you love and have the most history with are the ones who are able to trigger you the most and push your buttons.
There’s a saying, “If you want to see how enlightened you are, spend the weekend with family”.
Consider this: Your family members are also souls on a journey dealing with their own lessons in this lifetime. You attracted each other’s souls because there are certain lessons you have to work out. And that the family members who challenge you the most are actually your greatest spiritual teachers and growth opportunities.
For those of you that have kids heading to college or moving out … For those of you that have a sense of emptiness and sadness that your child is heading out on his/her own … leaving you to YOUR life. I share this little story from my life 9 years ago. I have recently repeated this experience with my baby … twice. He moved out into the dorms, then back in for a year … and most recently out again. I know that sadness you can feel … but man oh man, what a gift it is to release our children to their dreams, their lives and their creations. I say release very loosely … as if we have a choice. But we do … we can see it from a perspective of pain and loss vs. a place of gratitude and appreciation. – Enjoy it all my friend. – SDJ ♥
A woman came in to see me up in New Hampshire some years ago. She said, “My daughter’s using drugs. I don’t know why I’ve come to see you, but you seem to have an understanding of young people and all that, and the minister said I should come.” It gets very far out. So I said, “Well do come in and sit down. I’m sorry I don’t have a chair, but you can sit on this, I’ll make these cushions higher so you can be more comfortable. I’ll give you this, it’s an interesting tea, it’s made of 17 spices which include…” and I listed them.
It was 2010, and I was sitting in my beautiful, peaceful backyard, like so many other days, except this beautiful, sunny day was different. On this day, I was contemplating being thrown out of my house. I had two children to feed, and three weeks to find a job and a new place to live. I was FROZEN with fear and had no viable job prospects, so “how could I possibly find a place to live,” I thought. I was paralyzed by the fear and completely numb at the same time, so much so that I actually convinced myself that I was happy and at peace. Numbing my feelings was a coping strategy I perfected very early on. I even told myself that everything would just work itself out, and that I, the co-creator of my movie, had to simply let go.
Ask. Listen. Talk. Learn. The most important thing to me is having a playful and strong relationship with my boys. As a woman, I don’t relate to many ‘boy’ things, but what I can do is start interesting conversations, play, be silly and make sure we sharing amazing bonding moments together. As kids grow they’re able to have more sophisticated dialog with their parents – therefore it’s important to make sure your conversation with your kids evolve as they grow! My youngest son doesn’t like to read much so before bedtime we do more physical, stretching, snuggly giggly type of play. Or we like to watch funny animal videos on my phone and send them to our family members to get a laugh out of them! He just adopted a kitten so we have a lot kitten play. He built an amazing castle for his kitty and she loves it! We take photos of all his amazing creations so he can remember what he’s built! We ask him many questions about his kitten, what she likes and how he can best take care of her. Not only does this undivided attention make him feel good, it lets him know we are interested in what he has to say. What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids? Tell me! I’d love to know!
Crisis is the sucker punch of life. Unexpected. Lightening fast. Without a quick fix. It abruptly thrusts you into a steep learning curve of coping and survival amidst overwhelming consternation, confusion and chaos. Crisis is never well ordered. It’s impossible to make sense of it. And the new reality that arrives galloping along on its back leaves you paralyzed, scrambling to cope with even the simplest decisions.
There was a time when our dinner table was topped with three or four different meals. Considering my eldest daughter is severely allergic to five different foods and my wife didn’t eat chicken or beef, this might seem reasonable.
As summer comes to a close, I reflect on the incredible experiences I’ve had with my wife and children in the past two months. We’ve squeezed summer for a wealth of adventures, laughter, play and love. Still, as the season starts to change and the days grow shorter, I can feel the nagging melancholy that routinely pokes its head up when routines return and temperatures dip. I love the fall but summer symbolizes joy, freedom and youth to me. With another one gone, a sense of mortality and the reality of limited time creeps in.
How many times have you so badly wanted to fix something for your child because you could see the imminent pain looming around the corner headed in their direction? But, you know deep down that overcoming challenges is just part of life and the key to growth, and that it’s not your job to fix it. You know in your heart there is nothing you can do but sit back, breathe and allow them to walk down their path.
Fear created by the Empty Nest Syndrome – Part One: Fear for our child
Now is the time of year when school starts back up and our houses become quieter. For many of us, our children are headed off to college…or even scarier…the “real world.” The empty nest syndrome sets in! Who is going to protect them? What happens if they get sick, who will bring them soup and a cold washcloth? When someone is mean who is going to stick up for them?
Losing my daughter, Syndee, was life’s way of smacking me across the head and reminding me just how miraculous life, and childbirth in particular, truly are. As terrified as I was, I wanted to have another baby immediately. I was so nervous, in fact, I held my breath the entire time I was pregnant with Jake; which is kind of ironic since I regularly remind people to ‘just breathe’. The day I brought him home from the hospital, I sat on the kitchen floor and cried for hours, and not just weeping, deep animalistic crying that erupted like a volcano. I couldn’t have stopped it from coming out if I tried.
Two years later, Jonah was born, and by that time some of my fears began to fade. I was grateful for my two sons and I started to feel as if everything worked out just as it was meant to be; until our pediatrician discovered that Jonah had a heart murmur. My fears came rushing back with immense force. “I cannot lose another child!” “I could never handle that kind of pain again!” Thoughts fiercely bounced around in my head.
My Papa Sam had a very distinct teaching style. I think Nike’s “Just do it” sums it up. When I learned to ride a bike, Papa Sam held onto the back of my bike running down the street with me, for about three seconds, and then he pushed my down the hill (which in retrospect was probably not so much a hill but more like a dip in the road, but it felt like a hill at the time). Trust me when I tell you I learned how to ride a bike right then and there.
Born in the 60’s to two beautiful, free-thinking hippies, life was anything but “normal”. Our jet-setting parents, who resembled movie stars, had big parties, big hair, took us on fancy vacations and exposed us to a fast-paced way of life. Not your typical hippies, I suppose.
I want. I want… I want…. It’s one of the most dangerous phrases you will ever speak
How can five letters hold such power?
I WANT has the immense and immediate ability to rip you away from the grace and power of the present moment while disconnecting you from the joy, passion and peace that is your birthright.
As a child, we are often asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. This is a hard question for most children and usually most teenagers and even young adults. By the time, we are into adulthood, we have either given up the things of childhood or are keenly aware that society expects us to ‘mature’ and ‘act like an adult’. This reality makes it is hard to think about what adult life will entail when we arrive there.