Thursday 23 August 2012

I'm away on holidays for a fortnight so I won't be posting anything until after September 7th.  Look forward to seeing you then.  Always love...

Raising intutive children - choice

Discipline.  It's a thorny issue with a two year old.  I imagine it doesn't get easier either.  This morning I hit upon a new idea.  Choice. 

Instead of telling James something is naughty - and I seem to be doing this with increasing regularity - I can give him a choice.  So I have started asking him, "Is this good or naughty?"  Ok, so my success rate isn't that high, but we are in the early stages at the moment!  I think it's worth trying for a few months.

I also should add, I need to ask the question when he's doing good things to, so that he begins to understand the comparison as well as the positive feedback he gets for being good.

The steps of life

We've had a dilemma in our house this week.  We received a gift that, for various reasons, we can't possibly use.  Dirk believes that we should hold on to the gift, because if we give it away we dishonour the giver and their kindness.  I see his point of view.  I really do.  I believe that we should share it.  I know someone who would not only love it, but get an enormous thrill out of receiving this gift. 

On the surface this is a question of competing values: respect versus sharing, not that they can't coexist, but they have sort of slipped into an uneasy stand off.

I know it seems as though I'm overplaying this but let's put my earnest-ness to make a 'good' - not necessarily right - decision, I have blown the whole thing out of proportion.  Why?  Because this little issue, it transpires, is a microcosym of one of my life challenges: be true to myself or please someone important to me. 

I've wrestled with this dilemma since childhood, and my pattern is nearly always to please others.  That's why, in my forties, such a small incident can become such a big deal for me.  This morning, I finally decided that sharing the gift was the right thing to do... sorry, the better thing to do, there is no right and wrong, just the intention with which we do something.  Almost as soon as I had, I happened to read the following...

"Each step you take is a clear message of intention.
Are you shrinking back, hiding away?
Or are you frozen in fear, unsure of what to do next, or where to turn?
Or do you have the courage and conviction to risk it all for what is true to you, and follow your heart’s wisdom?"  (Tracy Holloway)

I've been through all three steps these last few days but it was worth it, because, having reflected on it in this post, I know myself a little better and next time I may be able to skip a step or two.

Monday 20 August 2012

My son, my teacher

As my spiritual journey progresses, I have gained a great deal of insight into my open wounds, those psychological scars distort my thoughts, words and actions, over and over again.

My body is one such scar.  I have yet to accept it.  We live an uneasy truce at present, but I am always on the watch for treachery, on the verge of attack.  On a bad day, it can feel as though I am at war with myself, until the moment when I remember this is all an illusion, the body as much as the war.

And this is where James comes in.  He's a gorgeously chubby toddler with a smile to match.  I had been thinking that, to ensure he doesn't hate his body like I learnt to, I must feed him a super healthy diet and help him grow up slim. 

One day, it dawned on me.  I'm not teaching him.  He's teaching me.  He doesn't fear his body.  He definitely doesn't fear food.  He's comfortable with both.  It's not me who has to guide him (read:micromanage him).  It's for me to learn from his self acceptance and self confidence.

I had no sooner had this realisation when I read that the children who are incarnating now have no karma, yet they come in with challenges, not for their own benefit as much as for the benefit of their parents and those around them.  They are helping us to see our own challenges because we cannot always see them in ourselves.  It's often easier to pick out the flea in someone else's eye, I know this from experience.  Now I just have to learn from it!

The tale of the mushroom and the tarmac

This is a tale of paradox.  Which is stronger: a mushroom or a footpath?  Well, I would have plumped for the tarmac.  Mushrooms are very soft.  Very soft indeed.

Yet I'd be wrong.  Very wrong indeed!  Recently I have seen mushrooms growing up through tarmac in many places.  It's a sight that always catches my attention simply because it seems almost inconceivable that a mushroom is stronger - for want of a better term - than tarmac.

The mushroom makes a larger point.  The natural world is, unexpectedly, stronger than the manmade world and we would do well to have a greater sense of humility and understanding of our place on this planet.  We are guests who have assumed we are the owners, a delusional arrogance that is hurting Earth's most vulnerable guests most.

The humble mushroom shows that strength does not lie in force or in size.  It lies in honestly following your path.  The mushroom is living out its internal blue print.  It is responding to the innate drive to be, to express its mushroomness.  This gives me hope, because if more of us were to respond to our internal blue print with honesty, rather than pride, fear or greed, we could transform the world.

Raising intuitive children

Recently I've noticed that James says "'orse, 'orse!" and points out the window when I drive him around.  While I wish we lived near horses, we don't. The landscape of Greater London flats and high rises are the backdrop to our lives.

The consistency of him saying it when we were driving struck me.  Perhaps he can see things I cannot.  In fact, I would love to see the world through a child's eyes for just one day, as I imagine their view is far richer than our own, more full colour than black and white.

If he is seeing something, then it's down to me to help him remain open in a closed society.  But how?  So far, and this is a project in progress, I've been affirming what he says, asking questions, like what colour is the horse? What's the horse doing?  I think if nothing else, then he knows his world view is taken seriously. 

I am the first to admit, much of the way I treat him is to redeem myself.  I have vague memories that tell me I used to be clairvoyant as a child.

Honouring his vision of the world is the least I can do to support him as he starts his journey in the world; taking his perspective seriously, not belittling it, ignoring it or dismissing it but validating the way he is in the world seems the most appropriate way to raise a child who probably is intuitive.  And as his vocabulary expands, imagine what conversations we can have!

Thursday 16 August 2012

We choose our parents

My friend, a staunch Church of England goer, told me the following story about her son.  Now, if it were me telling the story, you could be forgiven for thinking I was exaggerating, but my friend... well, she just thinks I'm one twist short of loopy, so coming from her, this story is all the more incredible.

Her son was five years old when, out of the blue, he told her that he had chosen her to be his mummy.  She laughed and asked him what other mummies he could have chosen, expecting him to name other mothers that he knew.

"Oh, I don't remember them now, they were all over the world, not here," came the answer.

Stunned, she tried to ask him more specific questions, but he changed the conversation as unexpectedly as he had started it.

The story has stuck with me over the years.  It confirms a belief I had held for a long time: no matter how we feel about our parents - and I've had some rollercoasters with mine - we chose them.  From the soul perspective they are our perfect parents, because they provide us with the exact conditions we need to manifest our true potential. 

For those who have had challenging childhood experiences, this can seem incomprehensible, but what the soul views as best for us, is not always what our ego thinks would be best for us.  This knowledge also gives us the power to shift from passive victims to active participants in our own lives - however challenging they may be - encouraging us to accept the past and value the strength, wisdom and compassion it has enabled us to develop.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

The oddest thing

We - that is James and I - are just back from a week with my parents in Ireland. 

For the first day or two, James was obsessed with the vegetable rack.  He kept going to the onions, taking one out and bringing it to my father, or Gaga as James calls him.

I thought this was very funny, but rather odd. 
"Why in the world would he do that?", I asked.  "You'd know best," commented my Mum, "as a child you always had to bring Dad home an onion every time you went up to Gran's house."

So oddness is genetic it seems!

Friday 3 August 2012

Life is a party

One of the joys of parenthood is the extra hours in the day it gives you.  Especially at weekends.  Forget lying in to catch up on an ever accruing sleep deficit, feeling rested is now a thing of the past.

A few weeks ago, we were all up and dressed by 6.30am on Saturday morning.  Having some extra bounce that morning, I set about making a breakfast fit for a king.  I told James we were having a party.  He walked around the flat saying, 'party', 'party', 'party', as the excitement mounted.  He then got a bit confused and suddenly it was 'pate', 'pate', 'pate'... but as he actually loves pate, that wasn't a problem.

This morning I asked him whether he wanted weetabix or toast for breakfast.  'Party', came the reply!

Perhaps there is some wisdom in this: whether it's a blisteringly early Saturday morning or a random moment in the week, life can be a party.  Well, if not a party exactly, a little of the joy and excitement that a party brings, a little of that sense of giving thanks, of honouring a moment, of celebrating the most mundane happenings can undoubtedly bring more fizz to life. 

Why else are children the happiest people on the planet?

Fearless generosity

As with so many insights in life, it was obvious in retrospect: it is our fear that limits our generosity. 

It is fear that we will give away something that we may later need.  But is that something so irreplaceable? Or, digging deeper, is that need really a need, or it is more of a want?  Moreover, it is the potential of needing something, not even the actual certainty of it, that holds us back from following our innate, joyful, generous desire to share with others.

I wish this wisdom were mine, but I read it, and the truth of the relationship between fear and generosity jumped out at me. I suddenly knew myself better.

It makes it easier to be generous when I know that I'm facing my fears, when I can calm my ego with the thought that I have never yet lacked what I truly needed.  There is no real fear.  There is just the thought of fear. 

As Shakespeare said, 'Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so'.