Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have I Stopped Thinking?!

HA! 3 months without a post . . . one might think that I have stopped using my brain . . . but nope, that's not the case. The truth is my mind has found a sense of peace.

Over the last several months I have forced myself to find time to read . . . and form a coherent thought. It really caused me to lay out the jumbled mess that was my head ever since our world started turning in December of last year. I had mentioned before that for some reason I all of a sudden at the snap of a finger one day felt the urge and desire to have another baby. I couldn't explain why . . . but it was there. Well, a funny thing happened . . . one day I knew I was pregnant - 6 days before there was any chance of seeing it on a test . . . and a calm washed over me that I cannot explain.

In my world and my life I see one of my purposes for existence as being a mother . . . but for a long time I have wrestled with that being my only purpose - surely not! And while I have come to realize that in my view no one has a sole purpose - it seems impossible to have 1 purpose when every action you take can affect so many people and circumstances in this life and in the universe as a whole - motherhood for me is my main purpose. It is the one thing that no matter how tired it makes me, how frustrated I can be, how completely useless and worthless I can feel at times because no one around me seems to care about my "job" or my "performance" - it is what really brings me the unbridled joy that I have yet to find anywhere else in life . . . besides in my husband's arms . . . .

Knowing that we have created another life - and realizing the immensity of it this time - I have just found calm . . . . and I don't say it often, but I am able to look past the crap and the junk that we have stumbled on and say that on the other side, we have come out stronger and happier . . . and calmer . . . and all I can do is revel in that peace for now and try to live in it - because it's completely against my nature to ever stop and be content and happy . . . but I kinda like it . . . for now . . . .

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Permission to Change

You know how you have an idea in your head . . . and you think about something often. But for some reason it takes reading or hearing it from someone else, anyone else, to make it really click?? I just had that happen!! I found a new blog, - and her post today was a letter to her 25 year old self . . . apparently, if we had met at 25, we would've been friends - because I felt like I could've written this to myself . . . a weird sense of peace came over me . . .

I can’t promise that at 29 you’ll have all the answers or that you’ll feel 100% confident in the direction you’re headed. You’ll wonder often if you’ve made the right choice to stay home, if life would be easier on all of you if you went back to work. You’ll question if you’re cut out for this stay at home mom bit or if your son would be better off spending his days with people who actually *enjoy* painting and rolling Playdoh with toddlers. There will be some days when it hits you like a ton of bricks that now, more than ever, you are miles away from what you paid tens of thousands of dollars on a 4 year degree to become. But what you will have learned by now, Jill, is that the best gift only you can ever give yourself is permission to change- to change your mind, to change your views, to change your opinions, to change your goals.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The writer on one of the blogs I follow did a post on being "real" on your blog and posed the question "How real are you on your blog?"

I think that's an awesome question!! That goes to the core of my issues with some blogs, or probably the facebook/myspace thing in general. Some people only put the good out there for the world to see. What's the point?! I mean, think about it - you don't see people with facebook statuses that read "getting a divorce right now because I found out my husband is cheating" or "not in a good mood today because we just realized that I suffered a miscarriage". Granted - those aren't exactly things that you share in blanket fashion to the world . . . but if something good happens, people have absolutely no problem posting about a the positive opposites to those above situations. So what are you doing - putting out a half cocked version of yourself for the world to see. I am in no means a pessimist - I'm more of an optimistic realist!! haha - but why is it necessary to portray only a particular version of yourself to the world?! And why share only half of your life? So the world can read it and think that you live in your own perfect little world?!

Now that being said - I keep my family blog pretty positive . . . but mostly because I don't have too much to complain about. And also because I will print it to a book one day for my daughters to look back on . . . but I don't leave out the negative stuff. I've written on there about the issues we've had over the years . . . health of family members, decisions about careers, poop being flung all over my living room and other not completely sunny events :)

So what would my "Real" post say . . . if I wanted the world to see the "real" me . . . trust me, my head is a jumbled up mess of thoughts that I don't think anyone would want to decipher . . . but since I think that there's only one person that reads this blog . . . I'll let it out . . . the "real" me, stream of consciousness . . . .

. . . the real me . . . I wonder every day in almost every minute decision and activity that I do if I am doing what is right and what will yield what I want for tomorrow . . . I wonder if I've lost my drive and ambition for a career . . . and when I think I have, I wonder if that's okay because I want to raise my children . . . I want to have another baby but know it's not the financially responsible thing at this point in my life . . . but does that really matter . . . some days I pat myself on the back for being an above average mother . . . most days I fear that I am missing something . . . should Marlie being tieing her shoes by now . . . why doesn't Samantha feel it's a priority to use the toilet . . . I struggle with my want for a clean orderly perfect house and my need to just step back and let it go . . .I love my children more than words . . . but if I were being honest, I love my husband more than words plus maybe one . . . I try to find the time for my marriage and my husband because one day those beautiful girls will be the independent souls we have taught them to be and I don't want to sit down and wonder who is sitting next to me when I'm not the 24/7 parent anymore . . . I like money - and frankly I think it makes a lot of shit easier - but I don't think it's important enough to take the place of moments in life . . . should I regret turning down $80k because I wanted to spend time at home with my girls . . . so I want money, but I want the time more . . . I'm almost obsessive with the time we spend together as a family because we went without it for so long, too long . . . maybe that will go away in the future, but I hope it doesn't . . . I think we have found our rhythm as a family and it is awesome . . . but like I said, I don't think we're complete . . . which brings me back to that baby thing . . . very prevalent in my mind right now for some reason . . . . but I've gotten scared by friends having miscarriages lately . . . I've also been encouraged by friends having babies . . . will I ever completely shake my inherent horrible habit of comparing myself to other people . . . maybe if I meditate enough . . . .

And that is just 3 minutes inside my head . . . that is why I do not take bubble baths and have to completely block my mind when meditating . . . because me and my thoughts alone are enough to drive myself nuts . . . .

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Finding the Peace

This last year of my life has been a challenging one . . . but I am able to look back and see the lessons, so I guess that makes it a good one. My defining point was Jayson starting a new job and leaving for 10 weeks, followed by a life threatening surgery for my Mother, a stint in Children's Hospital with Samantha, Jayson losing his job, moving to a new city, dealing with a house that won't sell, my losing my job, and coming to terms with my place in our redesigned life! And those are seriously just the highlights . . .

I was fortunate to have ample time to read (and ample in my book is any 30 minute block of time) while we were at the beach. It has helped me with meditating and finding peace right now.

You see, I have always been a planner. I was going to be a lawyer when I was 5 - so I majored in Poli Sci in college (luckily gained perspective enough not to head to law school). Both of my daughters have been born in June - that is not an accident. I had a career, children, a wonderful husband, lived in the town I grew up in, and we had a beautiful home. I was good with that . . . or was I?!?! While I thrive on plans and following a path - I also have this sick part of me that thrives on change, chaos, and nothing remaining constant. But it is pulled by what I know to be "right" - well, right as defined by the mainstream.

So I am learning to balance my need for a plan with my love of chaos - I call it organized chaos - it is my home and life on a daily basis :) But the struggle is really what life is all about - the Buddha called it suffering. It is inevitable - but it is manageable. And eventually it all comes to an end . . . and that's really not as morbid as it sounds, it's simply truth. I think that the cliche phrase that will sum it best is "Life sucks and then you die". But the part that is left out is life only sucks sometimes, because you can manage suffering and be happy through it all. And if you see that the bad situations, and the good ones too, will come to an end - it makes the bad a little easier to handle and the good a little easier to absorb while they're occurring.

My top 3 things that I am working on right now and seeing the impermanence of . . .
  1. Our house going into short sale because I just can't do it anymore - maintaining a mortgage and rent while simultaneously dropping down to 1 income?!
  2. Is it okay if for a while I am actually fine with being a SAHM - am I abandoning everything I know with goals for life in a profession or making money to contribute to my house?! Yes - I think it is. After all, I am doing a pretty damn important thing in raising my children - but so did my Mom and she worked 50 hrs a week and was the only parent . . . this is a tough one - like I almost feel a slight sense of stupidity and laziness for just wanting to be a Mom . . . but I am finding the joy in the spot that I'm at. And it's like I told a friend - I have always said your twenties are the time to screw it all up and you can say "I was in my twenties" . . . and I have a full year before I enter what I consider adulthood - my thirties!
  3. Our home - it's funny that our rental feels more like a home than our beautiful house did. I can't explain it - but it's just a gut thing. But it too is not permanent . . . I called my husband at work and asked him to bring me home a salad - the response I got?! "How 'bout I bring you home a salad and the opportunity to move to Chattanooga?" I knew it!!
All in all though . . . I am feeling very at peace right now - I'm not stressing over goals, deadlines, expectations, and things I can't control . . . . and if I were being honest, I would say this is probably the first true time that I've been totally content . . . . I like it . . . . but it probably won't last :) And that's okay! Because content is great - but I want the ups and downs too - because that's what keeps life interesting . . .

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Buddha Nature

I have a necklace that I used to wear every day (until I received a new one with sentimental value for Mother's Day). It was a circle that folded into itself on one end and flowed out with an openness on the other and had the following words inscribed on it:

All the strength you need is right there inside you

That is a major basis of my life philosophy . . . it is one of the main reasons that Christianity doesn't work for me. To look to an external source for strength, happiness, comfort, or a myriad of other emotional build-ups just seems so contradictory to my innate sense of being.

Buddha Nature is very roughly the idea that inside everyone exists a perfect Buddha. All we have to do (and I don't mean to make it sound simple) is look inside ourselves and realize it. Look inside and know that we can be our own strength and comfort.

This has proven to be difficult for me at times. There are times when so much shit has rained down on me that I've quite honestly stopped myself and wished that I could believe in something like a God to take some of the burden off of me. I wished I could believe that it would be okay because my life was in the hands of some transcendent being's "hands". Unfortunately, I have a mind that works in different ways, and I can't believe that. But it can be damn tough to remember that I have what I need inside of me . . . I have the strength that it takes and the Buddha Nature necessary to realize peace and be mindful.

I have been struggling lately to remember this. That ever present term of modern life - fulfillment - has been rearing it's ugly head. Am I really going to be fulfilled as a SAHM? Am I really going to be fulfilled in my new career choice? Is it going to be enough fulfillment to raise my children to compensate for the decrease in income?

I truly and literally HATE that word!!!! It's not endless achievements or things that are going to make me complete, or for goodness sakes FULFILLED! It's the peace and calm of living a mindful life . . . and that is something I have the ability to create . . . and I have the strength, right here inside of me . . .

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Coming to Terms

UGH - this is not really philosophical at all, but I have to rant to work out how I am feeling right now.

One of my dearest friends who is married to my husband's best friend just told me today that over the weekend she miscarried. Now, this is their 3rd baby so is there is some silver lining that she has 2 beautiful children to look at and find some comfort. But it just hit me so hard when I was trying to find the words to say . . . I am not one that generally lacks words or phrases in any discussion!

I don't know whether to go to my logical place and say that this was an event - and treat it exclusive in itself as that. Or to appeal to my other side that says there was a reason, because causally everything in this universe is connected - but 3 seconds of that mode generally sends my head into a tailspin!

I think I have to take the advice I gave her and look at my own beautiful little girls and find peace . . .

On another note, I am finding difficulty in my position right now. I am pretty certain that my staying home with the girls is bringing out my own characteristics that I feel I am totally lacking in. Even though I consider myself moderately intelligent, I have a serious lack of confidence in my ability to teach my girls. Clearly, something is working, because they are both scary smart - but I just don't ever feel like I am doing/showing/teaching/playing enough!

But as I finished typing that, I took a deep breath and realized that is part of me - I will always want to do more for them - my expectations of myself in being their mother are higher than most goals I place for myself . . . but in the end, the beauty will be in the attempt and the journey - because of course it will never be enough to me . . . but if they look at me every day and say "I love you Mommy" with a smile, maybe it's enough for them . . .and sometimes it's not about me!!! :)

And that is the end of today's personal therapy session . . . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Identifying the Lesson

I happened to be on the chapter highlighting finding the calm and realizing the lessons in situations and read this:

I have to learn the lessons of humility, which is why I find myself at this time, confined to domesticity, out of networks, beyond a "reputation" I had established, trying hard to find out who to be in this new place. Unnoticed, a non-earner, the epitome of everything I never wanted to be (at home, a full time mom, dependent on a man). I find that there are many gifts in this space of quiet pausing between who I was and who I will become.

This was written by a woman who had an established career and left it to move with her family for her husband's career . . . sounds like a familiar story to me at this point in my life!!

I have been struggling a little with my own thoughts on this. While I love and adore my children, and they are my world, I have never been the woman that longed to stay at home with them. I don't know if this comes from my own insecurities about being the only caregiver and educator - like I think someone else who's licensed would be a better option?! Or if it's just that I need blocks of time when I am able to concentrate on a job other than being a mother?!

Well . . . now I have been put in that situation. And the passage above is so true - I have now become the epitome of what I never wanted to be. But, I am also able to see those gifts. I see who I have been and I know what I want to be in the future . . . so now is the time to be mindful of my moments, and take each and every day to live the actions to develop the character that I want my children to look back and remember. I will sit back and be mindful of my interactions with my daughters . . . I will remember to meditate . . . and I will remember that emotions are just like everything else in the world - they too are subject to the impermanence of life . . . so I will treat them as such.

The beauty of motherhood - it makes you question all of your values and it turns some of your opinions completely upside down. Forget college . . . . welcome to the world's greatest learning experience . . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Take a Breath

It's almost sad that I sang the Elmo song "Take a Breath" when I typed that title . . . but not so much sad as just a telling commentary of my life!!

I am feeling a little overwhelmed with all that is on my plate right now. HA! I just spent 4 of the last 8 months as a single parent, and NOW I am feeling overwhelmed. I find a great sense of peace that our family is together now . . . and I am adapting to the fact that my career is going away and being replaced by another . . . but these are the top 10 things that are going through my head right now - and it's only 7:30am
  1. Jillian Michaels is not my friend - but if this remaining 18lbs comes off, I will let her slide since she made a workout video that I can do in 20 min . . .even though I now feel like I can't really move
  2. Why can I not find more time to read?!?!?
  3. How in the heck am I supposed to build a business when I don't like soliciting? I like the people side, and I can sell . . . but you see, I need the people!
  4. 45 days until the beach - 18 lbs in 6 weeks should be doable - can you tell I am all of a sudden very tired of my remaining baby weight! And if 18lbs seems like all of my baby weight, take into account the following numbers: I was 265lbs the day Marlie was born and 188 the day I found out I was prego with Sam - then 245lbs the day Sam was born - I'm down to 184 - 166 is the goal!!
  5. I seriously need to work on my spirituality - but I am moving forward - finding the calm and Zen in the everyday life - you try doing a load of laundry and finding peace - I'm trying, and it's working
  6. If our house does not sell by the end of May, then it's going to be savings dipping time - this does not thrill me
  7. I am now paying for people to mow my lawn in Clarksville and in Knoxville at the same time - again with money going out the door
  8. Am I teaching my girls enough?!! Is there enough educational output going into their brains each day . . . this boils down to my constant fear that I am not doing enough - that fear subsides when my daughter looks at me out of the blue and says "I love you Mom" - luckily she says it often so the doubt can't creep in!
  9. I am grateful and confident in my decision to move every time my husband comes home happy from work - and on time! He has earned it and I am thankful that he has that
  10. I realized that in a few short weeks I will not answer to anyone on the professional front - I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders . . . now I have only myself to blame/thank for my success/failure . . . . weight back on!
So now it's written . . . I've typed it out . . . and as the phrase goes . . . RELEASE AND BE AT PEACE . . . and take a breath . . . .

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Current Book

Turns out that I may have lost my ability to read anything without pictures or pop-ups . . . or maybe that I've just lot the time and quiet to do it!!

This is the current book that I am going through and so far LOVE!!!!! I've never thought about the fact that as a group, mothers would be the most familiar with the Buddhist sense of suffering! It's so true - because there are times when you give it all up and suffer for your children. And also that the love between a mother and child can exemplify the form of pure love and understanding that prevails through all of Buddhism.

I can't wait to keep diving into this book - but I have to keep stopping to remind myself of things like precepts, tenets, parts of the eightfold path and the noble truths . . . it's a reeducation!

Monday, March 22, 2010

And so it begins

It seems that in the recent weeks all the change that has occurred in our life has propelled my mind into a spiral - neither really downward or upward - just a continual circle.

I think that a lot of it hit a head the other day when I had someone outright balk at me for not being of the Christian faith. This seems to have catapulted me into a strong feeling of necessity to hash out what I've put on hold since I graduated college - my world views and my moral frameworks . . . and I feel compelled to do it quickly before I have to teach my children.

When I was in college and studying philosophy, my brain was never given the break to exist in anything other than a constant questioning state. By the time I was done on that last day and had completed 2 20 page theses (1 on ecofeminism and the other on my definition of religion) I think my brain shut off . . . and I let it.

Well - 8 years after the fact, break time is over. I have a lot of things that I want to accomplish, but the first and foremost is being an effective and engaged parent. Being challenged the other day so blatantly has made me realize that the time has come for me to be cemented enough in my belief system and my views on morality because I need to start relaying that to the 2 little people running around my house.

So off to my bookshelf I went to go and recapture what it is I found so appealing about Buddhism in college . . . which lead me to Amazon, because I need a little help redefining and making this applicable to children.

And in an attempt not to clutter up the blog about our family that I intend to print as a chronicle for our children, I've just decided that it will be healthy for me to have a separate page (that most likely no one will read) for my own random thoughts. If nothing else, that BA in Philosophy has at least earned me the ability to be my own devil's advocate and work things out . . . by typing :)

Let the learning and endless talking begin . . . .