Saturday, November 23, 2013

No worries

'Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.'
-   Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Parenting with enough love

Here is a newsletter article I recently wrote for school...I thought I would share it with anyone who wanted to read it:

I have been an early childhood educator for twelve years and a mother for over thirteen.  When I considered what topic to write about for this article, I had so many competing ideas.  Most of them derived from my graduate work this year and the many things I am learning and practicing in the studio environment.  I started several articles but there remained one topic, more than any other, that demanded my attention and that was the principle of enough love
Several years ago, I became aware of the slippery slope of too much doing.  As a single mom, I realized how easily I could overlook the quiet and unobtrusive invitations by life to show up fully present.  Each day we are invited to fully embrace the gifts of the moment and savor opportunities to be wholly available with those we love.  As a busy mom I knew that the two people most likely to suffer from a busy lifestyle were my children.  And so, in 2010, I coined the term enough love.  Together, my boys and I decided to use the phrase enough love (which was quickly shortened to enough by my youngest) whenever they needed me, really needed me, to be present.  Now when they ask for enough love I stop and give it to them.  What this looks like varies from day to day, but often one or the other of them will be having a challenging day and just need arms to wrap them in warmth.  They will say, “Mom I need enough” and I stop what I am doing and hold them for as long as they need.  Sometimes I listen and sometimes it’s just a hug.  In these moments I am not thinking of the dishes in the sink, or the bills on the counter. I am simply holding them and loving them for as long as they need me.  It seldom lasts longer then a few minutes before they push gently away and say “Thanks mom.  I have enough.” And off they go, into their own busy lives.   In three years they have never asked for enough love except when they needed it.
This simple practice has had a ripple effect in my life.  It has changed how I parent and it has even effected how I teach.  I strive to be fully present with the children and adults who enter the studio.  I try to listen deeply to their words and questions and to continue to provide the support necessary for each of them to climb their own mountains, no matter how high.  As a mother, enough love looks like a loving embrace.  As a teacher it looks like a genuine curiosity and interest in who each child is and what interests them and motivates them.  It looks different depending on the roles we play but it is always enough.
Recently I underwent heart surgery, and in the weeks leading up to it I found myself more frenzied, emotional and less patient then I am ordinarily.  One night my oldest son came in to my room and said, “Mom you need enough love” and he hugged me. Soon my youngest son tackled me with a tight hold and there they sat hugging me until I smiled and said, “Thank you, that’s enough”.  It was a great lesson.  As a parent and a teacher, I practice being present and available for the children whom I am blessed to know and learn alongside.  But as an adult it is easy to forget that each of us, no matter our age, needs enough.  At times we need to show up for ourselves with open arms, fully present and available for whatever is arising.  We need to occasionally set aside our own busy schedules and to do lists long enough to offer ourselves enough. And in so doing we will always have enough love to share.

Monday, November 11, 2013

a favorite Rumi quote

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing,
there is a field. 
I'll meet you there. 

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase
each other
doesn't make any sense.

Rumi 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Kindness


KINDNESS
By Naomi Shihab  Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and send you out in the day to mail letters and
 purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

this moment

“You have to remember one life, one death–this one! 
To enter fully the day, the hour, the moment whether it appears as life or death, 
whether we catch it on the inbreath or outbreath, requires only a moment, 
this moment. 
And along with it all the mindfulness we can muster... (24)” 
― Stephen LevineA Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last