There’s always a time that comes when raising children that it becomes necessary to step to the side. We can only guide and set the pace for so long, then they begin to stretch themselves in and out of the comfortable and familiar places to see whats out there, what else is on offer. They begin this process of sifting and sorting through life’s offerings usually at a time when we believe they are most vulnerable. We are wanting to keep them close by, keep them securely tucked under our wings, keep them safe from all we know is out there. But the truth is, it’s necessary that they begin to know this for themselves. It’s necessary that we listen to what it is they are wanting and needing to do, at what ever age it presents itself, however hard at times it may be to hear. Our readiness as parents may not always line up with theirs. We must be able to step to the side, even if the words are hard to hear, even if we already know what the probability of the outcome will be. Even if we believe that their choice is not going to serve them well, it remains to be their choice. I have been learning to stand to the side of my children for some time now. Their choices are hard ones to hold at times, and it has become necessary to know when to keep quite and allow the sifting and sorting of their preferences to be that of their own. My children have been learning what works for them and what doesn’t from very young ages. At times its felt as though some of the lessons have been too hard, that they have been too young to be carrying such weights. Weights, that most of the time they have chosen for themselves. It’s not easy to stand to the side, in the deepest of love, and wait, wait to see if they will come back full circle. I’ve noticed, that most of the time they usually do, on most things. They begin somewhere with an idea of themselves and they want to see how it fits out there in the world. Then they play, explore, dream, fly and fall. And eventually, usually always they’ll end up somewhere where they first began. This is the beginning of their lives moving in circles, eventually everything always brings them home, back to themselves.
I have a person, and there was for a short time when i lost hold of her. This time is one of the hardest moments for me to think about now, now that i’m back standing in my truth. Theres a noticeable gap now. A gap in the memories we were creating together. One that, was probably necessary for things to play out the way they did, however now brings me a deep sense of loss. I regret that we missed time. I regret that i gave her up so easily, that i was willing to walk away from her, and the most devoted friendship I’d ever known and in turn my truth. Because to have her beside me would have meant not embarking on the path i was about to take, and for what ever reason, life was going to take me on that course. I know that i was deeply denying myself in this moment in my life, falling into the depths of a story that is still hard for me to make real sense of even now. I understand that she couldn’t have been here for me during this moment, she represented too much for me, she was the all and everything that was real and absolute about who i was and i was playing somebody else, in this moment. So Life in all its graciousness pressed pause on us for a while, until one day when she knew, it was time to once again press play. And in what can only be described as divine timing she returned and she brought with her my truth. She is the one i know i have travelled life times with and will continue travelling with for life times to come. Theres a knowing between us that runs far deeper than anything that could ever be explained here. We love profoundly each other and each others children, we forgive and embrace the highest parts of ourselves always acknowledging that rarely do we have all the answers, knowing how unnecessary it would be anyway. How comforting it is to know that when all else falls away, we are unafraid to let ourselves be seen by each other in all the shades and stories we carry, condemning neither against the other. Our children carry on the bond, walking their paths closely, more like siblings than friends, holding the memories we’ve created close to their hearts, knowing that the foundation has been laid for them to return to whenever the need calls. They know we have them, and they us and thats all that matters. This is the part of my life complete in its everything, nothing more could ever be asked, nothing about it requires change, it is the absolute already, and i am eternally grateful for her and the story.
I’m loving myself enough to say no. No in kindness, no with absolute love, for myself. I’m loving myself enough to know that whatever i am extending to myself in this moment will eventually flow on and through me to effect the whole. I’m not bothered by the resistance for I am sitting strong and sure and in the knowing of my truths certainty. I understand that it’s not personal. They are just reactions to my actions. The resistance will always come, not because what I’m doing is wrong but because there is a deep sense of loss of control from the other, and possibly they are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with this new me. A me that is valuing herself and will acknowledge herself and how she feels before moving on any decision. Moving this way, is intimate, slower, mindful and with purpose. It’s not always going to sit well in this fast paced, get what you want, kind of a world. And there are always going to be times when people just don’t want to hear you say No. Its alright, I’m not taking it personally. I understand that it is impossible for me to continue to please and accommodate everyone, without treating myself with the same deference. Life just doesn’t work that way. We cannot truly share with others what we are essentially denying ourselves. So I’ve taken myself back to the beginning, giving to myself all that i ultimately wish to share with others. I’m not resisting the resistance, but rather allowing their experience to be that of their own, what ever that entails, it’s not my responsibility to own or carry how others choose to react, anymore. My mantra for todays is ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do’ – Luke 23:34 So be it, amen.
We are settled enough here to begin now, this journey that only now do i realise that I’ve always been making my way towards. I’m stepping into the space of myself. Its necessary, if i am not to fall back into ways that are no longer serving to me. What matters to me now is simple. Truth. To be in the world as i divinely am, to know who it is beneath the layers. No masks, roles or expectations to play to any part that divinely isn’t who i am. I’m wanting the deeper understanding, as much as can possibly really be understood in this moment. It’s the deeper questions that I’m asking now, the same ones I’ve been asking for the greater part of my life, only now i am truly ready for the answers, no longer bound by the fear of what the knowing would entail. I understand now that nothing real can ever be lost by letting go of the story, nothing really exists that isn’t real anyway. It’s important for me to move into this place now, to not need to fill any gaps of myself with anything at all, not people, not things, places or experiences. The answers and knowing I’m seeking, are right here, in the depths of who i am. I understand, it’s not necessary to travel across the world for this. And although as tempting as it is, unnecessary to walk any long roads to Santiago, or be on the Ganges ‘Holy’ River for my prayers to be offered up and heard. It is not necessary for me to excuse myself from the life i have created. No need to stop, or pause in what truly matters. I can be a mother and find the truth of who i am in the same moment. It doesn’t require much to truly pay attention to your children and yourself, but it does require discipline, and the courage to let go of all that distracts and holds us away from them and ourselves. What is required is simplicity and less. Less stuff, less distraction, less doing, less compensating, less justifying, less hiding, less pretending. It requires giving into the less whist existing in a world that impels us towards needing more. It is necessary, to pause before deciding, to breath before reacting. Reminding yourself to choose love over fear in every instance and in every impending judgement you place upon another. Knowing deeply that what you think and say and do matters on the most unfathomable of levels. It’s knowing that forgiveness is incontestable and gratitude is absolute. Its willingness to move into these places of ourselves, because its our life right, the only way to go when you have spent enough time going all the other ways. You know that it’s time when you deeply understand that going backwards is no longer an option and life won’t allow you to stand still this time, not for this calling forward. I will undo, i will let go and keep going inwards and upwards. I won’t apologise for what can’t be during this time, honoring myself wholly for the first time in my life. From here, may only Truth follow.
Asperger would often just sit with the children, reading poetry and stories to them from his favourite books. “I don’t want to simply ‘push from the outside’ and give instructions, observing cooly and with detachment,” he said ” Rather, I want to play and talk with the child , all the while looking with open eyes both into the child and into myself, observing the emotions that arise in reaction to everything that occurs in the conversation between the two of us.”
-NeuroTribes, Steve Silberman
This is how i want my children to learn, i want to be the observer not the dictator to their curious and instinctual minds. I want to watch what they are drawn to, and where they take themselves naturally when provided the space, opportunity and environment to do so. I don’t want them ever to become accustomed to what is perceived as normal or abnormal about themselves in a class room, by the opinions that are deciding where they sit on some grand scale of intellectual competence. Children are loosing their natural flow. They are being denied the access to learn by instinctively following from their own interests, a naturally occurring process that is inherent to everyone. There is no room for individual self-directed learning anymore. Instead they are being shaped and moulded, and filled with information about things that are meant to support them in their lives, but really have nothing to do with their life at all. By the time they are reaching high school it’s all but gone. Thats when it really becomes prevalent to what is happening. It is then that they too begin to realise the sad truth of how little they matter in the system, how small their voices are, unless of course they have an exceptional skill that can offer some personal gain to the school. It becomes entirely about working hard, retaining the masses of information, memorizing as opposed to learning, endless testing and our children tirelessly keeping pace, trying to prove themselves over and over again. It is about them illogically having to have their whole life plan set out before them, at the tender age of sixteen. This is not the learning we are striving for. The learning we strive for is one that doesn’t require forcing information upon them with the expectation that they retain it and then perform it back in some way, as proof of a job well done. My children are learning to count, I know this. I hear them practicing all the time, for their own pleasure. I have also watched them refuse to count on demand or worse feel so under pressure, to prove themselves that they simply can’t. Testing children is much the same. It fills them with dread, panic and insecurity, and really is no way to conclude where a child’s level of understanding is really at. Testing children in this country in the educational systems is out of control. We test everything, even how fast they can run, in ‘beep tests’. This has nothing to do with nurturing the physical health of our children, or guiding them towards naturally being aware of how to take care of their own bodies, and everything to do with competition and adequacy verses inadequacy. Never before in our history has the pressure to perform been so rampant, you have to wonder how much learning is actually taking place. We are living in a time where we are now recognising the expansive neurological diversity amongst ourselves, more than ever before, and the educational options to cater for the diversity in our children’s differences is few. Parents are wanting a new approach, they are wanting individual learning styles for their children as they are uniquely learning individuals. They are recognising that many children cannot learn effectively in a traditional school environment anymore. With the number of children being diagnosed with learning differences it is inevitable that something will have to change. There is simply no one size fits all model that can be followed effectively anymore.
Children are savants when it comes to feeling where we are as mothers. Not just on any particular day, but on the whole on where we are standing within ourselves in our lives. When i look back now, it is clear that the times i was a little lost within who i was or where i was standing, were also the times when my children also struggled within themselves the most. These times on the surface would have seemed to the outsider to be no different, children were well taken care of, there was always love, nourishment, warmth and routine, our faces friendly and smiling. I knew well how to play happy. On the inside though, i was always wondering if i was truly standing where i was supposed to be. I was unsettled, feeling lost in my created world, like something other was always calling me forward. There was a search going on inside, i never really understood or even realised this at the time. Life was not allowing me to really settle anywhere that was not serving my highest self, not even for the sake of the children. The uneasy, unsettledness that was a continuous flow for quite some time within me, was i am certain now, mirrored back through my children in their movements and sense of being. I realise like a ballad, they are fine-tuned to our frequency, and that the music we are playing at any given time is going to be reflected in our children movements no matter how young they are. At times, i have been naive to think that they would be oblivious to the rhythms i was flowing to. That as so long as they were bathed, well fed and taken care of on the outside, that all the rest of what i was feeling would not be effecting them. I was so very wrong. I have come to a place of understanding now of how much it matters. That as mothers we don’t deny ourselves our lives or our truths. The ways in which we strive for ourselves and our worth are the ways in which we teach our children to strive for themselves, to strive for their own worth. My young children are still flowing to my rhythms, my older ones are recognising their own and transitioning from mine towards that of their own. Right now i am living truthfully, not just on a surface level but deeply within the layers of my being. Perhaps my inability to settle for anything that isn’t a true reflection of who i am or my simple unwillingness to sacrifice myself wholly, is what has now brought me to this place of divine contentment. I know that i have arrived within a place of my own being where i will never again ask permission from anyone to be who i instinctively am. I am flowing to a rhythm of truth, following towards my own wild heart. This is having a beautiful ripple-stone effect on the children’s sense of being. They too are content, happy within themselves and for now, riding on the frequency of my authentically living.
Time has slowed way down. The days seem to stretch on forever, it’s a welcomed change to the fast pace we had been keeping up until now. Everything is flowing beautifully, there seems to be no rush for anything at all. The more we step away from the routines and structured lifestyle that was defining our lives and time, the more we are settling into the flow of just being. Being in the company of ourselves and each other. Moving through our days unplanned, and to the rhythm of how we are feeling, keeping ourselves open to whatever the day holds for us. We have been here two weeks now, and i have been surprised by the settledness in the children. They have been unusually content with the move. It has played out smoother than i could ever have imagined. There has been no period of time where they are missing their old lives, old home, the stories we have left behind. There have been no tears, nothing to mourn. Everyone sleeps soundly here, wakes with ease, all the worries, all the things that no longer fitted, or served our highest selves have been left behind. We are moving to this new rhythm, it came naturally, there was no trying, nothing to change, it is all just divinely unfolding this way.