21 February, 2009

Beautiful and Fierce!

Family ties, do they really bind? If so, let me be the one to break them! A call came today from one of my mother's sisters. This particular aunt is one in which I have forged a relationship with in Atlanta. There were times I lived with them between my "ins and outs" of Atlanta. It was one of those, "Let the cat out of the bag" talks were I learned why my cousin spent 3 days in jail.

As I listen to the details, my mind was racing back to when I was a teenager. There was no way in the world, I would have made those choices. There were certain things I revered and the law was one of them. I have a hard time connecting with the younger generation. The ones in my family have little to offer in terms of a contribution for society. There is this "I'll get mine", or the "World owes me" or the "I am too fragile, don't be so honest with me". The last one is basically a statement which means they don't' want to hear the truth, or be told flat out. It is too much and if you are blunt, they interpret it into being mean.

I grew up having my aunt's and uncles, great aunts and great uncles, great grandparents, grandparents and parents riding me. If I stepped out of line, made a poor choice; I heard about it, over and over and over again. Their choice of words were not sugar coated and I certainly didn't run home to mommy and complain about how mean they were being. What good would that have done? She would have said I deserved it.

God forbid, I dare speak my truth, be blunt, honest or just factual... if it isn't buttered up, it is considered mean and uncaring. You know, the world isn't this rosy place in which everyone's precious little feelings are held in tact. In fact, it is pretty ruthless. Having spent some time in Europe, it seems they have it down. There are no excuses for honesty. You deal with what you are dealt and move on. I didn't witness any sugar coating. Actually, they can tell an American straight away in the approach and lack of candor.

I am fed up with being the overbearing, over opinionated, mean cousin with the harsh delivery. Grow up, deal with life and maybe look inside yourself to see why a certain person's delivery bothers you. Why is it, we look for blame outside of ourselves? Is there no personal responsibility? When do we grow up and deal with life truthfully and honestly?

You know, when my boys make bad choices, they know about it. I don't brush it aside and say, "Well you tried". No. They made a bad choice and there is a consequence. I want them to be prepared for the world. I don't want them to fall apart when their boss berates them for the first time, or a love interest rips out their heart. They need to know life is brutal at times, but getting through it in tact, well that is worth celebrating!

What have you truly accomplished in life, if you made it through bruise free? Did you really experience the full depth of your inner spirit? Did you really challenge your thoughts, change your behaviors, learn something along the way?

I am forgetting myself...they make a pill to get you by these days... pain free. This is not me. I would rather deal with life head on and take my lumps. Because when I come across something truly breathtaking and beautiful, I will know it, feel it and experience it in its fullness and glory.

I have said it before, my life is mine and I refuse to take any more excuses from those who are not willing to accept their lives. I make no apologies for being the honest person I am. I worked hard to be me and I love who I am. This is to be celebrated not berated for being honest.

There is much for me to learn on my path, but I am willing to learn it. I wish family members would learn to do the same and accept their challenges.

Did I mention how much I love being here in Florida, on my own Island? I am isolated and surrounded by Mother Nature's awesome waters. Which are beautiful and fierce... much like me, Beautiful and Fierce....

18 February, 2009

Circle of Women

There has been much written regarding the power women share within a circle. I have had the unique opportunity to share in such an experience a couple years ago. Through
SpiritHeal Institute with Sarah Weiss, I participated in Heart Circles. Our first group was all women, 13 to be exact. This was a powerful experience to be with 12 other women of different ages and spiritual experience/background. We journeyed into our hearts and found a connection that grew strong. This strength was healing and inspirational.

Last night, as I retold the day's events to hubbie, I couldn't shake this happy feeling of being HOME. Home has a myriad of meanings for me. First it is the idea that finally I can call Key Biscayne home. This idea of going "home" - OHIO, has forced me to look deeper within myself to define home.

Anyone who knows about the zodiac sign Cancer, will know we crabs tend to hold onto things far too long. I have been holding onto Cleveland, OH far too long. It is the city I was raised in and it has left an impression on me. My task is to allow the impression to stay but move away from the impression so other places can also leave their mark.

I count myself blessed as I have been able to call many places home. There was Atlanta, New Orleans, Meinz, London and Urbino for a time. (There was Macomb, IL, which is a struggle for me to call a blessing. But it was 2 years of my life with a few great outcomes...a Master's Degree, a terrific friend and a neat relationship with a professor who seems to always give great advice).

Now home is Key Biscayne. I want to know this place inside and out so I can feel as if I get "it". If I get "it" then I am living "it". This place has been magikal in that it has quietly asked me to rethink the meaning of HOME. With its gentle tides and blowing palms, there was a beckoning to acknowledge what I have right in front of my face.

HOME also means a new HomeSchool group; we joined in February. The boys and I were part of another group last year, however, their ultra conservative Christian view/rules were too stifling for me. The entire time I was there, I didn't engage one adult in conversation, I was never introduced to the class I volunteered in, and I struggled to keep my opinionated mouth shut!

There was much said about the election and how one side favored life and other wanted to kill babies... how those liberals were going to redefine marriage to mean something unholy and how the poor needed to pull themselves up without a handout. These moments, I was reminded how open my mind really is. It also reminded me that Christian is a word that I still struggle with. A Post for another time... the difference of Catholic and Christian according to the MystikMomma.....

HOME is the name of the group we joined and in the first day, I was talking to a handful of moms. They met me with smiles, encouraging words and the willingness to physically take me to the boys classrooms so I knew where everything was. (Never happened with the previous group, NEVER).

We attend these enrichment classes every Tuesday. Each session, I learn more of each mother I met. I share more of myself. There is a strength building among women of common purpose. We are all there because we want to offer our children the best possible educational experience. We have made sacrifices in order to be present with our children, teach our children and expand our own comfort zone in order to accomplish said task.

This common purpose draws us in, makes us strong. We are a circle of women. (There are dads too, but mostly the moms are running the show). This strength or influx of maternal energy is what I leave with every Tuesday. Empowered, determined, uplifted, my new circle of women has been found.

I have come HOME is so many ways.

16 February, 2009

Parenting Disaster Averted!

A couple of great days behind us, as parents and children, YEAH! In reading a blog by Pioneer Woman, I came across this idea for a family store. Not certain what post it was in, but the idea struck a cord with me.

Basically, the idea is to create a basket of goodies, could be small toys, stickers, coupons for TV time, chocolates etc, whatever the children really want and like. Then make a list of chores or duties for each child to accomplish in any given day. Create a monetary value for each chore/duty. At the end of the week, they tally up their "money" and are able to make a purchase at the family store, i.e. basket of goodies.

As I find blatant bribing wrong on many levels, if it works, I am for it. I am tired of struggling, growling and feeling helpless when it comes to cleaning up or getting motivated to do school work. This seems to provide visual incentive and serves as a budgeting lesson to boot. I am all for an activity which serves as a lesson.

The boys are super excited about their family store items and are begging me to set it up. Now the trick will be pricing out each item so I am not running out to the store every week, but provides some opportunity for each child to buy something.

We picked up Lego sets, stickers, mini Slinkies, trading cards, chocolates, journals, origami kits, new pencils etc. I am thinking one trading card is worth 1 dollar. The larger items will be worth 10 dollars. Each task is worth 25 cents. So in any given day, they can earn 1-3 dollars. At the end of the week, they could have 15 dollars to spend.

Again, we are starting out and will refine as we go, but the change in my boys behavior is amazing! I will save the lesson on intrinsic rewards for when they are a little older.

14 February, 2009

Knickers & Knockers for Valentine's Day?

Just looked in the back of a GQ mag and there in the ad section was this scantily clad woman (very skinny, young girl) wearing nothing but her knickers. The company was called Knickers & Knockers. So is this what men read, browse and are told to buy the women in their life?

Knickers & Knockers...well it made me laugh. After 8+ years of marriage, the knockers are knocked and the knickers were kicked off a long time ago! Plus the body has seen some wear and tear, not certain those pretty knickers would look too good on me anymore.

Happy Valentine's Day!

13 February, 2009

Parenting Disaster

Okay, the past couple of days have been a parenting disaster. Instead of being the enlightened momma I envision, I have turned into a mean, growling, yelling ugly monster. The boys have been on my nerves, not listening being the main culprit.

The discipline has been a very scattered process in this house, ranging from time outs, taken things away physical and on physical items, dare I say spanking, tasks given for misbehavior, star charts and discipline charts... I am over all of it!

It seems no matter what method we try to employ, the boys are continually finding ways to turn every stinking thing into play mode... of course getting off track of what needs to happen and then venturing into not listening mode. How does one teaching listening???

Listening is such a valuable skill. They will need to listen to others if they hope to have relationships with others. They will need to listen if they hope to ever hold a job or attempt a career. They will need to listen if they have children so they understand their children's needs.

Respect is another valuable lesson, respecting what the momma says or wants. If they just could understand and trust me, I explain to them over and over and over again...., they would be able to have more play time and more fun. But there are certain things in life where play is not part of the picture or there are other tasks at hand.

I feel my entire days are full of me yelling at them to listen to me. We never seen to accomplish what needs to be done and if we do, it takes all darn day!

I am fed up and just want to cry at how useless this venture seems right now.

11 February, 2009

We have made our peace....

Tonight after some lukewarm exchanges, hubbie and I seemed to have found a meeting of the minds. At least I feel this has happened. Tomorrow is a new day and things should return to normal between the two of us.

Relationships go through an ebb and flow process. I realize that hubbie and I will not always be so in love with each other where everything is perfect. There will be those misunderstood moments, hurt feelings and ignored overtures. This is after all human nature and we are working through our humanness one day at a time.

There are times I feel our society glosses over difficulty. We have been programmed for instant gratification and that "happy" feeling. The reality is we are human beings with a myriad of emotional choices. There are 12 main emotions with minor offshoots from those 12. To be fully human is to experience the range of those emotions. Aren't we to work on our humanness between others so we may experience true human exchange?

A tall order I know. But it is worth the time and effort. After all, if all we do is cover up aspects of our humanness, we are bound to repeat the experience again and again and again until we fully understand our true nature and purpose for this human life.

I say all of this as my view on dealing with some of the unpleasant things in life. It is necessary and I see value in working through the unpleasantness.

09 February, 2009

Little Spat

Hubbie and I got into a little argument last night. I was upset at his constant asking where things are in the kitchen and I decided not to answer him. Which he got upset at being ignored and then continued to extrapolate that into not caring about him and how mean I was. I in turn, got more upset that he always does that, makes it my fault and is never willing to own up to the fact that he doesn't pay attention or take my feelings into account at asking me millions of time over and over and over again.

It is draining for me to constantly remind him, show him, tell him etc. The bottom line for me is that he doesn't listen, pay attention or find this important enough to care.

So the bed was a little chilly last night. Yes we went to bed a little upset with each other.

But if this is what I have to deal with, I will take it. I love him after all and he loves me. These little spats are nothing compared to what others go through.

07 February, 2009

THANK YOU

Just a post for the Universe, I am giving thanks for my life. There have been many reflections, opportunities to look at behavioral patterns, gut reactions, instincts and such. When it is all said and done, I come back to this basic thought, I love my life. Not the life I led, even though I find much peace in patterns there... but in my current day to day life, the present!

I really have a good life and all things considered, meaning our economic times, financial challenges, parenting battles, life is really good. We are healthy, happy, together and supported by amazing people that truly love us. What more could we want? Our needs are met and lives are lived each day in love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Universe for allowing all the pieces to come together and let this happen, I am grateful, thankful, blessed and honored to be in this human existence.

06 February, 2009

Knitting Meditation


Okay, I have this desire to knit, really knit and feel it grooving between my fingers and needles. There is a picture on my vision board of yarn and needles, so it should manifest this year.

So far, I have just spent time knitting and purling... then of course ripping it out and starting over. Within the last month, I hit the groove.... aaaaahhhhhh the feel of the yarn between my fingers and the bamboo needles.... I get it now! I finally understand the difference between crochet and knit. I also get why there is this craze!

I do have some projects I would like to tackle. But for now, I am just excited to practice and let my fingers work the needles. It is my new form of meditation and it relaxes me. What a gift I gave myself this year! Thank you dear friend for bring yarn work back into my life after all these years!

04 February, 2009

HOME!

We are home, finally, the return to our Island Resort. There were many lessons learned on this recent trip to Ohio. As Ohio has been my home for the majority of my life...26 years, it will always have a stamp on my life. What I found interesting upon returning from this trip is how my life has evolved to include Florida.

I have suffered most of my life with the issue of living in the past or future. Most of my life, has been dealing with my past, while making grand plans for the kind of life I want to live. After all the reading, therapy and long talks with dear friends, I finally have come to a new chapter in my life called the PRESENT! I always knew this is where I needed to get to, but didn't really know how to do it, as we are a society that lives for the next agenda item. Possibly the last couple of years with family struggles, I came to a place of surrender. I am tired of fighting an uphill battle, waiting for tomorrow to bring a brighter future.

Our move to this Island Paradise, (I find that funny to say), has been a real departure from anything I would have considered a year ago. In order to make this move work, I was forced to let go of EVERY idea for my future and embrace what the present offered me. Hubbie and I did it, more so me. But the fact remains, we made significant changes to our previous lifestyle and figured out a way to live in this present moment. The boys also had some changes to adjust to. There are no more tubbies for them. This is one of the hardest to cope with. I have 2 nice big showers, but no bathtub. We let go of a garage and traded in for one single park space, and a very small 4'x2'x2' storage locker. We left our very efficient appliances in Ohio for others to use and care for, leaving me to deal with inefficient appliances that really don't offer the sort of choice I opt for. Not too mention the clothes are NEVER dry and I refuse to spend more money on 2 cycles of dry time.

However, in light of these inconveniences, we are together, safe, living in a gorgeous resort style environment with a beach as a playground. Not many people can say that. I also know that this is temporary. We will embark on another journey when the time is right. But for now, the boys have a playground of beaches and palm trees to dazzle them. What a treasure for their life to have. My children are 6 and 4. They have lived in 3 states, enjoyed deep snow, intense fall, refreshing spring and now an eternal summer. They have lived in 4 homes and realize that there are perks to each and every one. They understand change and I try very hard to teach them how to embrace it.

So this present HOME is a great place for us to be at this time in our lives. I learned this lesson upon returning.

Other lessons...

I Love my hubbie, intensely. He is a wonderful father and he provides for all our needs in so many ways. Learning of another friends frustrations with her husband, made me really look into my relationship to see what a treasure I have. I am thankful, grateful and blessed.

Family, a common theme in my lifelong lesson book, is what I make of it. I was given a gift and a curse as a child. The gift was a large, warm, jovial Italian Family that lived life fully, with tradition, festive foods and intense passion. My curse was that I was also given a childhood abuse story that doesn't fit any abuse story I have heard to date. I felt forced to live in my past, as I struggled to heal from wounds no child should ever have to endure. Over the years I have seen the demise or degeneration of my Italian Family. The younger generations are removed from the core elders and really don't understand the full meaning of what their heritage is. It saddens me as I try to recreate a matriarch for my boys. My heritage played a huge part in my survival as a child. I also find such beauty in my ancestry. This is a gift I want to pass on, but I can no longer rely on my extended family to help me, as my mother relied on her extended family to shape me.

No, my lesson learned is that I am a sole provider in many ways. I am a trailblazer, making healthy choices for a stronger more secure life. I am making those hard choices that go against the norm in order to preserve integrity. I will no longer go home for events because that is the "thing" I "should" do. I will go home on my terms to visit with those I choose to see and share time with.

This is a hard lesson to learn and it was a long time coming. As a mother, I take this honor seriously, in terms of providing the best possible environment for my boys. It is my duty to choose the settings in which they will learn and develop. I want to give my boys the best and I strive to work with hubbie to find what those options are.

Hopefully, I have turned a corner in my personal development in this human existence. I feel different, wiser, dare I admit?

I have come home and the healing waters of my birth sign are surrounding me with their blessings.

I am HOME.