I haven't felt much like sharing here since Dave's Dad passed...there has just been so much learning and growing going on inside of me that words have been inadequate (so much learning and growing that I'm thankful my head and heart haven't exploded!), and an audience without a face seemed too impersonal.
But today I chose to create some space to do some writing here, and some sharing of a few photos...so here are some written snapshots, thoughts, and ponderings...strewn with photos from our lives...
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Sam has been looking forward to the release of Vampire Weekend's newest album. It is being released tomorrow, but since we pre-ordered it from iTunes, it was available for download today. Sam didn't know this, and while he was sleeping this morning, and as Jake readied himself for work, we downloaded it, and added it to our iPods.
As I was doing work around the house this morning, still while Sam slept, I listened to it and its sound filled our house. The sound brought me Joy because it's music my boys love.
I was cleaning the bathroom, and as I emerged, I saw that Sam was awake...happy happy happy and really loving waking up to the new music.
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I was talking to Jake's sweetie last week about how we came to unschooling. I told her that it was totally Jake ~ he brought us here. From the time this child was born ~ even before he could express his feelings (which was quite early...he was not here very long on this earth before he learned how to express himself and communicate his feelings), he felt it was an assault to his spirit to have anyone think they needed to *teach* him anything.
And, man, I understood quickly that he had a point.
I have been having passionate conversations lately with my honey along these lines. He's always trying to figure out what will make me happy, and then trying to live from that place. Yes, he loves me so SO much. Yes, this *does* present a challenge at times.
I want him to live from his own heart...from his own Truth...from his own desires/needs/passions/Joy/interests/questions/answers. This is what we are all meant to do...not without consideration for anyone else, but STARTING at that place deep within one's Be-ing, listening to one's OWN inner voice...and then going from there.
I have told my sweet man numerous times that I am the only one responsible for my own happiness/Joy/Life. And even when things are difficult, challenging, sad, frustrating, even painful...I can shift back to choosing happiness (I prefer to use the word and concept *Joy*, actually) fairly quickly (or just choose to stay there).
The point I am trying to make with him is that, much like Jake has always known and felt, someone else trying to *claim* something that is a part of your own Be-ing is an assault to the spirit. The person trying to claim it (teachers in school, parents controlling children, or even my sweet honey wanting to make me happy) takes from you your own right to choose how you feel...your own right to learn as you live...your own right to get what you need/desire from the world in your own way, in your own time. Someone else claiming that as their agenda, *their* work, cheats everyone involved from Truly Knowing and Growing and Be-ing.
Joy is always present...it's up to us (ME!) to choose it and claim it and own it. I Am Responsible For My Own Joy. No One Else Is.
I do love how we...in our family...in our home...are all still learning so much about life and love and Joy and ourSelves and how we work best with each other... I just love growing and learning every day...especially in the company of each of these amazing human beings that is my family.
P.S. ~ OhMyGoodness...after I wrote that, I went to my Inbox and here is today's e-mail from Abraham-Hicks:
Your joy factor will remain constant as you are continually refining your ideas of what you want, and that's why it is so important for you to get everybody else out of the equation. They've got their own game going on; they don't understand your game. Give them a break; stop asking them what they think. Start paying attention to how you feel. Joy will be yours immediately, and everything else that you have ever thought would make you happy, will start flowing, seemingly effortlessly, into your experience.
Thank you, Abraham!!
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As I was walking into the post office in our little village this morning, I saw a mother and a child walking up the sidewalk. The mother sounded angry, and I felt saddened when I saw her yank her child's arm and then bend over to get right in her child's face. I heard words like behave, naughty, and good girl. Each one of those words make me cringe and I never used them in the direction of my own children's hearts. I saw the world from the perspective of my child...even and ESPECIALLY when they were wee like this child was.
As I was at the window in the post office, waiting for the clerk, the mother and child entered. They walked, hand-in-hand, silently toward the line.
The little girl quietly asked, "What can I do, Mama?"
The mother's answer was, "Nothing. You can stand there and be quiet."
The sweet little girl then asked (and OH how I loved her for it!), "What ELSE can I do, Mama?"
The mother's answer: "Nothing."
I turned around. I smiled at the mother. I smiled at the child. And I said, "I actually think you can sing a song! Or you can take turns with your Mom telling parts of a story. Or you can play *I Spy*! There's so much you CAN do, even when you're in a place like this."
I think it was the mother who cringed at that point.
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As we were waiting for the church bells in Oneonta to ring, signaling the fact that it was noon and Jake would be finished with his job at the library for the day, Sam and I sat in the car and listened to the new Vampire Weekend album.
Church bells! There they are! Oh, how I love them!!
Jake came out of the library, opened the car door, saw that Sam was with me today, and his face lit up! He pointed ~ to nothing, really...but just to the interior of the car, saying to Sam, "Huh?? Huh??"
I had no idea what he was talking about and I didn't think Sam knew either. But I was wrong.
Sam said, "Yeah...I know."
Jake reaffirmed, "Isn't it the best album ever?"
Sam smiled. "Yup."
Jake: "I LOVE White Sky."
Always wanting to stay on top of what my kids love ~ both for the benefit of our connection with each other and because their Joy expands my own world so much ~ I asked, "Which track number is that?" (because that's how I was relating to the music at that point).
Jake, "The second one."
Oh yeah...I did like that one, too.
The energy in the car was just Sheer Contentment as we drove to the grocery store...listening to the new music together, sharing in this connection with each other, and I knew all along that I was the most blessed witness in the world at that moment...blessed with these two boys who have always been the absolute best of friends and who share a connection with each other that I will never truly be able to be a part of...
...and that's exactly perfect and as it should be.
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(2 of the photos strewn throughout this post are from our Dec. 21 trip to NYC with our friend, Darby...it was wonderful to see the sparkling, Christmasy city through her eyes, as she had never been before!...and we saw Jason Mraz in a venue that seated only 130 people. Yup. Awesome.)
I am so excited and can barely stop thinking about an upcoming trip to NYC. We will be picking up Sam's sweetie at the Albany, NY, airport (she's flying in from Georgia). And then we will be driving from there to New York City. And by we, I mean Sam, Dave and I. Jake has sweetly chosen to give us an incredible gift (and by us, I mostly mean me...and my honey).
While I love being in New York City, I wasn't sure how it was going to work out or what it was going to LOOK like, being with just Sam and Ashlan. We are a family who does greatly enJoy each other's company (we are rarely without one another), but I definitely wanted to give them some space to be with each other without me, and to see the NYC sights without me (Ashlan has never been before).
So while I wasn't exactly dreading going, I did sort of feel like I was just taking Sam and Ashlan, and my happiness just wouldn't be a factor (yes, I felt like I would be a 3rd wheel!)...I felt that I could find something to do, but I don't TRULY enJoy being in the city by mySelf (I have done that before, taking Jake and Amber to the city for the day when we picked up Sam at LaGuardia...Jake and Amber went to the MoMA with friends, and I walked around by myself...not having much fun at all...wanting my honey to be there with me...and so I ended up just leaving and I drove to LaGuardia and hung out there for a few hours, waiting for Sam's flight to come in).
And so while discussing what this would actually LOOK like one night over dinner (it has been my Truth that if I can't *envision* something...if it's cloudy or unclear in ANY way...then it's just NOT meant to be, and something needs to shift until I can find some clarity... It has ALWAYS happened that when I trust in that and listen to that and follow that, the plans/ideas that come to us are even better than any that we could ever have imagined...and so many more possibilities and opportunities open up to us...and yes, all is well...), Dave said something about how he wished he could come.
I said, "YES! Come with me!"
And then we looked to Jake, because it was Dave and Jake who were going to stay home and care for the dogs.
Jake thought a minute, and then said he would do it if he didn't feel so uncomfortable about being home alone.
And so the discussion went on...we talked about Jake's feelings more, and we discussed thousands of scenarios/possibilities. Jake will be going to NYC the end of January to attend the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Conference, and so he would get his NYC fix then...*and* he was able to go in December when we went to see Jason Mraz in a NYC nightclub while Sam stayed home with the dogs.
We talked and talked and talked and Jake got to a place where he felt confident and good about it all and so he said Yes...
Wow. What a huge gift.
Yes, we will be paying him to care for the dogs, just as we paid Sam...but it's *still* a gift and a huge one at that, because we have no expectations of our children to do such a thing, or to sacrifice anything for anyone else. Every decision is from their own heart, and has to be completely owned by them, or feelings of resentment from being coerced will arise.
Jake is looking forward to flying to Pittsburgh to visit his sweetie in February, and he knew that the money he would make would pay entirely for that flight. He also grew to actually LIKE the idea of being home by himself...and decided that it would be a good growing/learning opportunity for him as well.
And so...I can now PERFECTLY see how this will work out, what it will look like! Clarity is a beautiful gift of what is POSSIBLE!!
My honey and I are so excited to have this time together in the city ~ with Sam and Ashlan, but basically alone much of the time.
We will be married 25 years this May, and we have always CHOSEN to be with our children. Whenever we thought we wanted a vacation just for us, we started thinking about the Joy of seeing the world through the eyes of our children, and being with their wonderful company, and we chose to be with them.
Even our 25th anniversary trip...it started as a trip to Greece for just Dave and I. Then we knew for sure that we wanted to share the experience with Jake and Sam. So it shifted to ALL of us going to Greece. Then I did more research and realized the extent of travel that it required to GET to Greece (I do not travel well...especially by air...and am usually sick for days afterward), and so we shifted again and chose a U.S. destination ~ Florida (our goal, after all, has been to have a beach vacation).
After realizing that it would be impossible at this point of our dogs' lives to have someone else watch them for us, we shifted to ~ yes...believe it ~ BRINGING the dogs with us, too. And so we shifted to DRIVING to Florida and staying at a pet-friendly beach cottage.
Well (yes, more...)...after the reality set in that we were really talking about 24 or more hours in the car with four people and two dogs, we shifted yet again. I found a wonderful pet-friendly condo on the beach in Tybee Island, Georgia (only 15 hours away! ;). And THAT will be our 25th anniversary trip this year!!
What was my point (no...really...I lost it...)?? Oh yeah!! ~ being in NYC with just my honey. Yeah. It's a first. But nothing that we felt we were missing out on...just something that happened because we always walk toward Joy for EVERYONE in the family, and because we are open to shifting and re-defining and questioning until we all have CLARITY and until we are ALL satisfied with what is before us.
Yes, it is possible. You don't have to make ANYONE unhappy...the possibilities are infinite if you keep shifting and examining and re-defining and talking and respecting and honoring and making sure that all is well in everyone's hearts.
Because really...all is well...
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One more word/thought...
I have heard from many people who have talked to me about how they are struggling lately...how they have lost their Shine...
The common thread in their conversations is the lack of Trust.
Another common thread is their need to Control.
With Control there is Fear. There is Lack. And it's exhausting.
Lay down thy burdens. Release control. Shift to Letting Go. Shift to Trust.
Trust in life. Trust in your children. Trust in the hearts of humans. Trust in this moment. Trust in the fact that no matter what is happening, all is well right now...in this moment...
No longer lend your Strength to that which you wish to be Free from...
Trust in our children and their hearts and their desire to learn through Joy and Life. Trust in their direction, their passions, and jump right in there with them!! The worlds and perspectives and Truths that my children have opened up to me because I Followed Them are immeasurable
and have brought such Joy to my own life, as well.
Trusting in my children not only nurtures their lives and our relationship, but for me, it opens up a greater world of Trust ~ Trusting in MY life and MY desires and MY path...and when I am filled with Trust with each breath I take, there is no room for fear or lack. Only abundance. And it's from that place of Joyful Abundance where I will live today.
Trust is deeply intertwined with Joy and Gratitude, in my life...in my Be-ing. No matter what is going on in our lives...even as I continue to walk through this process of grieving and honoring the passing of my father-in-law...I can connect to those things ~ Trust, Joy & Gratitude ~ and they uplift me...they carry me...they help me to place my foot in the right direction and take the next step toward my Highest Good.
They are ever-present in my life...
And All is Truly Well.
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