Saturday, December 18, 2010

Changing body. Changing Spirit.

I am trying to understand this strange new person who wakes up in my daughter's room everyday. She has always been temperamental and sensitive. I have come to expect that most dealings with her will involve a challenge. But the cool, snippy voice, the poker face, the propensity for burrowing into her messy bed, and not coming out except for meals or to watch WHAT NOT TO WEAR—these are new behaviors.

I worried for the first few weeks of her personality shift, until I overheard other mothers anguishing about their pre-teens' new personas: Where has my little girl gone? Why has she become an angry hurricane? What’s with the curt tone? And then I found a one word salve: Hormones! How could I have missed the signs? 

Years ago, when I told my daughter the story of “the birds and the bees,” I neglected to research (and remember) what to expect when you're expecting ... puberty. 
This phase of my child’s life, like all the others we will navigate together, requires me to conscientiously explore new information. Today I will slow down to study, prepare for the temporary discomfort and challenge, and eventually come through with an expanded sense of physicality. 

And, I'll relax. Until the next time she calls me a fashion disaster.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Managing tantrums

My children Jake and Lily are well past the tantrum stage in their young lives. Hopefully I'll get there soon! All kidding aside, I remember the moment I transitioned from frantic Mom to calm Mom in terms of knowing I could successfully handle the emotional storms of my passionate children.

Lily was two and a half. We were at our weekly music class. I had just finished telling Margo, mother of a newly turned two year old, that Lily had finally stopped having tantrums (and had moved onto what I called "willful displays of power"). The teacher, Jill, asked the children to pretend to be babes in Toyland, when Lily threw herself down on the ground and refused to take another step until I played Ring-Around-The-Rosy with her. 
I thought we should stick with the program and not insert our own agenda. This was one of those moments when a mother isn’t sure whether to honor the creativity and whimsy of her child or insist on getting back in line. I didn’t want the other mothers to think Lily was spoiled or that she always gets her way. 

I tried to pick her up and join the circle again but she arched her back and burst into tears screaming. I wanted to cry, too. What do I do now? How embarrassing. I wanted to scream, Shut up! But suddenly I heard my inner voice whispering instructions as though a 9-1-1 operator was talking me through a medical emergency. Stay calm. Relax your mouth and forehead. Talk to Lily softly. Pick her up now and rock her to soothe her. Walk away from the group slowly. You are a wonderful mother. Cup the crown of Lily's head. Give her words to explain her feelings: I know you are frustrated, Lily.
By the time I made my way through the list, Lily had melted into my hug. She pointed at Jill who was passing out bells for the next song. We walked back into the circle. 

A few of the mothers gave me looks that seemed to say, Poor Andrea. But I did not need pity. I was not powerless. I congratulated myself for managing with grace one of the many emotional phases Lily will experience. My strong maternal voice and good instincts lead me through. 

Lily and I rang our bells and laughed.

Friday, January 01, 2010

This ONE resolution covers them all

Rather than resolve to accomplish a long list of improvements in the next 365 days, I commit myself to just one new perspective: I will live deeply in the little moments of my life.
Instead of thinking until I'm blue in the brain, I will BE.

When the moment feels good, I will observe and appreciate. When the moment is difficult, I will ask myself what I need to learn from the challenge.  ‘This too shall pass,’ will help me move through the trying times. I know that I only have this small passage to navigate. There will always be another moment and another day but I will take them one at a time. If I make a mistake, I can always start over.

I will bring the gifts of every moment into the next little moment.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The word for peace

May it be peaceful in my house,
May it be peaceful in every house,
In my mind may it be peaceful,
In every mind may it be peaceful,
Where I walk may it be peaceful,
Where everybody walks may it be peaceful,
All around me may it be peaceful,
All around the world may it be peaceful.

I will not stop in my quest for peace. I want serenity for myself. I hope for it for everyone. I begin my peace practice by sending wishes for little moments of peace to everyone who draws breath on this magnificent planet. The more I say these words, the more I encourage my children to say them with me, the more peace we will know and share.

Every day this week, I will adopt a country, learn its word for peace, and send my good wishes to mothers, children, and their families all around the world, praying for peace on earth.
Spain-la paz
Italy-la pace
Brazil-a paz

I send a message of serenity as I chant peace.
I am at peace. The world is at peace.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Put your heart on it

Tune your ear to the heart and all paths lead to happiness.

I make my important decisions by listening to my heart. I start with my intellect to sort out the pros and cons, but in the middle of the night when my mind is reeling with the weight of a decision, it is my heart that leads me to a peaceful place. When it is difficult to sit still and wait for my intuition to guide me,  I remind myself, sim lev which means “Put your heart on it” in Hebrew.

Give every little moment all your heart.