"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posts tagged ‘love’

The Never Ending Story

There are some wonderful things associated with memorable moments in my life and this movie is one of them. It brings me right back to my early twenties and all that was happening in my life then with a clarity that reminds me once again what a pivotal set of moments this was in my life.

I was a 22-year-old mother of a 4-year-old child who was born with a heart defect. I was in many ways still a child myself. I was a stay-at-home mom by choice, a decision my husband and I wholeheartedly agreed on. It was easier to survive on one income then compared to how it is today yet it was still pretty darn tough. We lived in poverty, from paycheck to paycheck, here and there receiving assistance from the Women, Infants and Children program as well as a time or two where we were grateful to qualify for and receive Food Stamps. Those programs got us through some lean times for sure.

So much was going on with me. I was doing my best to do what I thought I was supposed to do. I remember asking my sister-in-law, who became a mother at an age even younger than me, “Is this it? We just pop out babies, drink coffee, clean, watch soaps?” And her reply of “Yeah, pretty much!” It was the first time I realized how much meaning was placed on the roles outside the home and so little on those inside the home.

My son, Jeffrey and I were closely bonded. We sorta grew up together those first years. We were alone together a lot and found lots of things to do to keep us occupied. We talked a lot. I always asked him “What do you think?” Or “How do you feel about it?” and would get the most interesting answers. At the age of two the answers were short and to the point as he was learning to communicate with me. As his vocabulary expanded it brought some really interesting perspectives on the many questions within life through the wisdom of a toddler.

As I can see it so clearly now with my grandchildren, babies are input machines. They soak in – eat, sleep, breathe, feel – EVERYTHING about our environment as quickly as their little brains and bodies will allow. Curious about everything and everything is input. When they have something to say and can pick the words out of those they’ve been given to communicate with, sometimes what comes out of the mouths of babes can be profound.

That summer before Jeffrey’s fourth birthday was when we watched The Never Ending Story together. It was a story about a young boy coming to terms with his death of his mother. We watched it over and over and over again. Together we followed Bastian on his journey to defeat the nothing. We were with him being chased down the street by a gang of boys, we were with him in the book store. It was as magical to both of us as it seemed to be to Bastian.

We talked about the emotions and questions the movie brought up for each of us. Artax and Atreyou in the swamp moved us to tears together. We talked about why it felt so sad. As the Nothing raced across the land spreading its fear and darkness we jumped and gasped together at the first sight of the wolf and his glowing eyes. It prompted us to talk about our fears and what we can do about them.

I do my best not to talk down to my children. I believe they arrived in my life with more wisdom than I will ever possess. I do my best to honor their intelligence and tell the truth in the best way I can. I speak in language that isn’t baby talk or dumbing it down, but is age appropriate and real. I believe there is a part of them that may not understand the intricate meanings of the words but can get the essence of them regardless.

Just after Jeffrey turned four he was scheduled for open heart surgery. It was to be the first of a two-part series of surgeries to correct his heart defect. He would then have the second part when he turned five. We arrived at the hospital prepared to stay for about a week. Although the hospital was only twenty minutes from my home I chose to sleep there in the room with my son. I didn’t have my own car to travel back and forth and even if I did, I’m not sure I could have left him there alone.

The first night was spent preparing for early surgery the next day. Papers were signed, questions were asked and answered and we were all a little on edge. After Jeffrey laid down to sleep for the night his nurse suggested I go over to the playroom where several moms who were also spending the night had gathered. I was homesick, lonely and afraid and it sounded like a great idea.

There were four or five women sitting in a circle of rocking chairs chatting when I entered the room. I made my greetings and took a chair to become part of the circle. Topics moved across the small talk spectrum for a few minutes when it got to movies. One mom asked if anyone had seen The Never Ending Story. Most replied that they had and how scary it was. I added that my son and I watch it together all the time. Suddenly I felt pounced upon. “How old is your son? Four years old and you let him watch that? That’s insane. You don’t do that to a child. It’s too scary for them.” Etcetera and on and on. I was instantly the worst mother ever born.

I left the room feeling more homesick than ever. I called my husband and cried on the phone but all I could say was how homesick I was. I had trouble communicating what had just happened in the playroom and how it made me feel. The Never Ending Story had been a beautiful bonding experience between me and my child and it was something I treasured. To have no chance to even explain that to these women and to have been so set upon with such judgmental hatred had really upset me. Five out of six women agree that you suck as a mother, Lisa. Majority rules, right? It must be true.

Thankfully, there is always a dawn after a dark night of scary storms. The morning of the surgery had arrived and we were anxious. Jeffrey was bright and happy and ready to get started so he could feel better. If he was afraid, he never showed it. We trusted and believed we would see each other in the recovery room. And we did.

For the rest of the week in the hospital I did my best to encourage and support my son in his recovery. I avoided any contact with the playroom moms. Sometimes our eyes met in the hallways or elevators but there was no more conversation. There didn’t need to be as the lines were clearly drawn. As sure as they were that I sucked as a mother I was equally sure that they were dead wrong. The evidence of that was in my child and my relationship with him and THAT was all I needed to put their negative voices to rest in my mind.

I do wish I had been able to communicate my story in the playroom as an example of how they might bond with their children over things like scary movies. I feel it’s such a gift to both mother and child to have that kind of soul connection. So much of what we are taught to do as parents is about authoritarianism and bending our children to our will in obedience, mostly because as adults we are supposed to know better and know what is best for them. But what if we don’t? What if our children are as equally our teachers as we are theirs?

So, there’s one of the “untold stories” of my early days of motherhood and figuring out how to be the best version of myself in a world that I sometimes seem to have little in common with. It felt important to finally document this time in my life.

 

 

The Two Wolves Within

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice…

“Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It’s like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.”

“I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

Jeffrey Dwaine Buckalew, Jr12.22.82 - 04.23.00art by Johanna Pieterman

Jeffrey Dwaine Buckalew, Jr
12.22.82 – 04.23.00
art by Johanna Pieterman

But…the other wolf… ah! The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all of the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.”

“Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

— — A Native American tale told many times around the Sacred Fire

A Perfect Day

Listening to my “Willing to Grow” playlist on my iPod while I’m working. This song by Jann Arden really speaks to me today …

“…follow your voice back home…”

A Perfect Day by Jann Arden

You can do it I know you can, I know you will

You can make it I know you can, get up the hill
You can be anyone you want, just close your eyes
You can picture a perfect day inside your mind

You’ve gotta pull your head up, stand your ground and face it all
You’ve gotta hold your heart out to the universe
If you believe in who you are my shining star
If you believe in who you are my shining star

All you weary, all of you on your own
Listen clearly, follow your voice back home
All you broken, all of you without love

Shine On!

If you believe in who you are my shining star …

You’ll be fine, you’ll see when the morning comes

You’ve gotta hold your head up, throw your shoulders through the wall
You’ve gotta count your blessings, count your lucky days
You’ll never know unless you try, until you risk it all
If you believe in who you are my shining star

All you weary, all of you on your own
Listen clearly, follow your voice back home
All you broken, all of you without love
You’ll be fine, you’ll see when the morning comes

All you weary, all of you on your own
Listen clearly, follow your voice back home
All you broken, all of you without love
You’ll be fine

Celebrating the Gift of My Birthday – A Tribute to Waking Up

With 48 autumns, winters, springs and summers behind me, today I begin the journey of my 49th year of life on this earth. My birthday wish for others is usually shared as “Enjoy an incredible day celebrating YOU!” so today, as I make a wish for myself, it is the perfect day to explore what it feels like to enjoy an incredible day celebrating me.

Lisa's 49th BirthdayCelebrating me means that I am required to acknowledge my own gifts … things that I am or that I bring to the world that are worthy of celebration. One way to do this is to reflect on how much I have grown. To look back one week, one month, one year, ten years ago … and see and acknowledge all of the positive steps forward I have made.

I feel that the biggest gift of my life, a gift that continues to bestow blessings on me every day, has been that of my awakening. There was a point several years back where I began listening to the small, still voice inside me whispering “Wake up, Lisa!”

I wish sometimes that waking up happened all at once … apparently it does happen overnight for some, but for me, waking up has been happening continuously over the past several years. When I think back and count them, they total nearly seven. Seven years of day-by-day increasing awareness. What does increasing awareness mean?

Back in the early stages it meant that I was re-awakening to me. I began hearing the whisper of my own spirit, re-connecting to my passions, my purpose and the essence of my Self as a woman. Then a bit later the perspective widened to include the awareness of what’s happening in the world. There’s a saying “When the cat is away, the mice will play.” and I woke up to see a rodent-dominated world that my sleeping self could not see. I was too numb.

What numbed me?  Pain, grief, guilt, fear …. all assisting in keeping me asleep. Asleep I am easy to be led. When preoccupied with my internal pain and my attempts to numb it I became like a sheep. As a sheep I was easily herded to follow along with the rest of the flock.

I started dreaming of flocks of sheep. White sheep, black sheep and silver sheep. In my dreams the black and silver sheep were lifting their heads up out of the flock or standing up on hind feet to get a different perspective on where they were being led. The silver sheep wandered back and forth between the white sheep and the black sheep not saying much at all. The black sheep would call out to the other sheep, “Wake up! Don’t go that way, go this way!” but the white sheep would continue on following the path they were told to choose … right to the slaughterhouse.

The grazing areas the sheep were led to were certainly green, the chemical companies saw to that. The White and Black Sheepsheep became excited seeing the vibrant color and anticipated how great it would be to gobble it all up. The first few bites were juicy and delicious, but the pasture, although lush and green, somehow lacked the nutrients the sheep needed to feel satisfied inside. Although they watched their bodies grow fat, they were far from healthy and felt slow, sluggish and still ravenously hungry. They yearned for green pasture that would not only be pleasing to the eye, but that would also satisfy the hunger.

As I started noticing what was going on in the world I began to see how a entire populations of people are being herded like sheep through one lush green pasture after another not even realizing that they are ultimately being led to the slaughterhouse.

I recently read a quote that said, “The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.” As I awakened to the truth of what was happening while I slept I became angry and I quickly disassociated myself with my life as a white sheep. I identified deeply with the black sheep, rejecting my former white sheep self completely. I raged against the machine of manipulation that had kept me asleep for so long. I refused to follow along blindly any further.

Once the anger passed, I quickly realized that separating myself from the flock called attention to me in a way that was not conducive to continued life among the flock. I realized that if I became a “management problem” I would be culled. Problem solved.

I also realized that while my life as a white sheep was primarily spent in a hypnotic state of following along, there were a lot of wonderful things about that life that I was not ready to walk away from. This was when the silver sheep started speaking.

Like my inner voice, the silver sheep whispers softly which requires me to be in a space of quiet peace so that I may hear the words. Her words were few and were delivered simply as “Love. Courage. Essence.” Reflecting on the silver sheep and the words she shared, I began to notice that her fleece was not silver at all but was made up of individual black and white strands that twined around each other so tightly that it gave the appearance of being made up of a single strands of shimmering silver. In her fleece she displayed the perfectly balanced blend of black and white – the gray, or in my view, the silver space in between.

This was when I began to understand that life was not meant to be about choosing sides but was meant to be lived in honor of both the black and the white. This is also when I began to see the numbers 1+1=3. I did not understand it at first as I know that mathematically 1+1=2 but the silver sheep kept showing me examples of how two things, two people, two events coming together in collaboration create a third thing that could not have been created without the initial two things AND that the third thing appears as greater than the sum of the contributing parts.

Most recently the silver sheep has been whispering “Love. Accept. Forgive.” And then “Start with you. Begin now. I love you.” “Start with you” means that I am meant to love, accept and forgive myself first. “Begin now” means that at any moment of any day if I discover that I am not acting in a loving, accepting and forgiving way toward myself I can choose to begin again. The great thing about this is although the choice is made to begin again, I am not starting at the beginning each time, but I am continuing to build on prior investments in learning how to honor myself.

“I love you.” To me, I love you represents my higher self or my spiritual self reminding my physical self of what I came here to do and who I came here to be. It reminds me that the journey is and always has been primarily about Love. It carries with it, “I believe in you” and “I support you” which when combined with 1+1=3 translates to me to mean I believe in us, I support us, I love us.

I have been blessed with being an aware participant in my own magical awakening, understanding that when I allow both the dark and light parts of myself, as well as both the physical and spiritual parts of myself I am actively collaborating in the creation of something that is so much more than the sum of the parts. Integrating one part into another can be an intense and emotional experience, but with the right tools to assist with the integration, Wooooo Hoooooo!!! I am so totally enjoying the ride!

I have always found it so much easier to celebrate the gifts of others than to celebrate myself and my own gifts. I feel this may be due to how we are conditioned to not feel too good about ourselves so that our ego remains in check. When we do get “too full of ourselves” there’s always someone out there waiting to bring us back down a notch or two.

The trick is, or more accurately, the gift in that is we get to choose what to celebrate regardless of what anyone else may think or feel. Each and every day brings the gifts of a birth-day where, if we wish to, we can choose to be re-born into the true Essence of our Self. On this day, my 49th birthday, I choose to celebrate the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of me and I honor the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of you.

Happy Re-Birth day to ME, to YOU and to US! Woooo Hoooo!!! Enjoying the ride!

The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

“…been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, everything changes and my thoughts they get scattered but I think it’s about … forgiveness … forgiveness … even if you don’t love me any more …” ~ Don Henley

The Heart of the Matter is a 3D project that was inspired by some of the gifts I have received on my personal journey of growing and evolving. I find that the most effective medicine for the times when I am feeling an ‘inner unrest’ that requires time for reflection to ‘sort it all out’ is to take that time out in nature. Being in nature takes many forms such as tending the garden or walking on the beach however, one of my favorite places to sit and be quiet with me is under a large, old maple tree in the woods near my home.

I often seek the solace of nature when I am experiencing emotional turmoil. It can feel overwhelming to experience the many things I cannot control about my life and my relationships. Sitting still and allowing the peaceful perfection of the natural world to act as my safety net I find that I am able to ground myself and allow that peace to resonate within me. Sitting quietly under the maple tree assists me to let go of the extraneous things that distract me and to go deeper into truth to get to the heart of whatever is currently bothering me … to get to the Heart of the Matter.

Here there are no ringing phones, no knocks on the door, no emails to read or write … no external chatter. My inner ‘to-do’ list is put away for a while. Here I am able to let go of the world and its demands and I create the space to allow my sometimes seemingly incessant inner chatter to be quiet.

The Heart of the MatterA tree in the forest has no option for moving on to greener pastures when the going gets tough. It must grow where it is planted. There are many things we can learn from this growing while standing still. The development of this project revealed several insights which led to the evolution from “March 2011 Tree” into “The Heart of the Matter”.  One set of insights came in listening to Don Henley sing.

I reflected on forgiveness for a while asking to know what it really means to forgive. Forgiveness on the deepest level would mean that my emotional response when thinking about something that brings me a sense of pain would instead bring a sense of peace. Forgiveness would mean that I would truly understand … to know like I know like I know … no matter how painful something may have felt in the past, the pain can be healed and the wound can disappear. This has already happened with some of my formerly painful emotional responses. My body no longer acts in fear. I am at peace. I am now simply required to expand that feeling into other painful situations.

There are still some ways in which I have not truly forgiven. Here in this place of resisting forgiveness there is a connectedness to being right. Does forgiveness mean that I was wrong? Does forgiveness mean that my pain was not real? Does forgiveness mean that the other was right in what they did or said? Does forgiveness require letting go of justice?

Early one morning as I sat processing and reflecting on some of these questions around forgiveness my son Josh played a song from his phone that he said I just had to hear. The song asked … well, I will quote the lyrics here…
_____________________
What Would You Say by Trailer Choir
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Qhgvn1gak&feature=share

what if the moment came and
you knew your life was down to minutes
lighter’s flame was all you had to see
and you found a pen and torn up piece of paper
and a note was all you could leave

13 men felt trapped in a mine in West Virginia,
only one made it out alive
but their love lives on in the words
I can not wait to see you on the other side

what would you say(x2)
(CHORUS)
in the lines on a page from the life that you made
could you write it with no regrets
would you know in yourself you gave somebody else
all the love that you had inside
right down to your last breath

would you tell your momma thank you for the way you love me
daddy don’t cry everything’s gonna be ok
would you tell your little boy that
you’ll be watching him from up in heaven,
you’ll never miss one game

what would you say(x2)
(CHORUS)
in the lines on a page from the life that you made
could you write it with no regrets
would you know in yourself you gave somebody else
all the love that you had inside
right down to your last breath

what would you say

(CHORUS)
in the lines on a page from the life that you made
could you write it with no regrets
would you know in yourself you gave somebody else
all the love that you had inside
right down to your last breath

what if the moment came and
you knew your life was down to minutes
_____________________

The first few lines of the song brought tears to my eyes and before long I was sobbing as wave after wave of emotion swept over me. I felt the purest of truths hit me deep in my chest and spread with a peaceful warmth throughout my body. Here in this unexpected emotional journey I touched the Heart of the Matter.

What if the moment came and I knew my life was down to minutes?

What would I say?

Love, Accept, Forgive - Begin with you - Start Now

Love, Accept, Forgive – Begin with you – Start Now

What would YOU say?

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