Happy 6th birthday Carter
This week I have Perspective on my mind. My thoughts are a little bit rambly as usual, but I think that maintaining a healthy Perspective on Life is an important skill and habit to cultivate, so I'm going to attempt to break it down a bit. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment and let me know what resonated with you or how your experience has differed! I want to hear it all.
We all know that "losing Perspective" isn't a good thing. But what does that mean? And what is a "healthy Perspective"? And who gets to decide?
For me, having a healthy Perspective on life means that I am able to see the big picture, prioritize appropriately within the *actual* circumstances of *my* life and put things into place - within my mind and heart and more practically within my schedule - How do I spend my time? Where do I put my attention?
One thing that embracing an Unschooling philosophy has really helped me understand is our individuality - how we each learn and process the world is very unique. So there isn't one "right" way to find a "healthy Perspective". So what is True for me, may not be for you.
But I also know that for most people BIG life events often "give them perspective" - things like the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, losing your job or home, a difficult break up etc. A loved one recently said to me that they didn't like thinking about people dying. The first thing that popped into my head was, well maybe that is something you need to dig into then! I know that over the years facing death as a general concept and also as a very real experience in my personal life has led to great expansion of my Perspective on Life.
Another example in my family's life was when my husband lost his job. Much of the world was focused on Politics and who had just been elected to President of the United States of America. At that point in my life I just didn't have the time, energy or desire to focus much on those topics. I was intensely focused on the problem my family faced immediately. Survival does that. It changes your Perspective.
Last point - this is not about "Finding" Perspective and then being done with it. Perspective is dynamic. As the circumstances of our personal lives and the world change (as they constantly do) we need to adjust what is most important in our lives. This is a journey and a process. Evaluating how you are prioritizing your time and attention is a healthy habit to get into so you can continually adjust as Life flows. Those big "Perspective Giving" events are helpful, but most of our life is spent in between those moments. So we have to actively and consistently choose what matters most to us and then actually apply those values to our lives.
This is getting long so I'm going to wrap this up! This is a conversation that I'd love to continue with you. Leave a comment now and let me know what are the most important factors influencing your Perspective on Life right now.
Are you happy with these factors playing such a big part in your Life? Or are you desiring a change... a shift in Perspective?
ON Trust with a capital "T"
I recently wrote about being Carter’s mom and how that has made me trust more. My exact words were: “He teaches me to Trust with a capital T”.
A friend asked me the following: “I wonder if you could offer more thoughts about how he (or being his mom) taught you to trust more.”
First, let’s define Trust:
I began the post about Carter by saying this: “Parenting a child with special needs doesn’t require a different philosophy. Sometimes we may *think* it is different or we are learning different lessons…or ways of being/doing…. But really, parenting Carter just magnifies what I already know to be true and brings my life philosophy more sharply into focus.”
Let me explain further. The truth is we don’t know the future for ANY of our children. We don’t know how long they will live, what jobs they will have, what successes they will achieve or challenges they will face. We don’t know any of it. But most of us have an internal program that ASSUMES the best. If we didn’t, we probably would do our best to avoid being parents!
But when you have a child who does not speak or use the toilet at 5 years old – well let’s just say Doubt, Uncertainty and Fear are very easy friends to allow into your Life. The Truth (with a capital T) is that I have absolutely no idea what Carter’s future will be, AND that is actually not very different from my other children. Allowing fear into my mind, heart, body… soul – does no one any good. It doesn’t help me, Carter or anyone else in his life. So I have to actively CHOOSE Trust (with a capital T). I have to have a firm belief in his abilities and MINE to navigate this journey together. I have to have CONFIDENCE. I have to believe in the possibilities for the future – aka I need to have HOPE.
Is it easy to choose this state of being? Sometimes, yes. Oftentimes… no. But there is plenty of evidence for why it is the right and best thing to do, whenever possible. First of all – I have lots of evidence that me, Carter, his dad and everyone that loves him CAN and DO navigate this Life pretty well together. The first (almost!) 6 years of his life have been pretty darn good. We have chosen Trust as much we possibly could and the results have been a happy, healthy, connected Life. So that is a pretty great foundation!
This past year I learned about Spell To Communicate (S2C). This has made me Trust that we will figure things out even more. Reading JB and Jamie Handley’s book, “Underestimated: An Autism Miracle” was just what I needed. We now have evidence that what we thought to be True… IS. Carter understands us. He knows what we are saying to him. He is a smart cookie. Carter’s developmental challenges are not a matter of intelligence or receptive language – they are a matter of motor control from his brain to his body. Not only that, there is a pathway for us to help him learn to communicate with us. And that is like a existential sigh of relief to a mama’s soul.
I am beyond-the-power-of-words-to-express grateful for the fact that we learned about this when Carter is so young. There are an uncountable numbers of individuals that have been trapped in their bodies, minds intact and unable to let others know. That is heartbreaking. But the hope and Trust that our family has found is foundational to us moving forward. It gives me resolve to push Carter more than I would have a year ago. I know he can do this.
It doesn’t change my Philosophical core though. It just reinforces it: Love over Fear. When we are unsure about our children’s future, Fear does us no service. Fear causes us to freeze or be frantic. It spreads to those around us. The more we can choose to Trust the more we will be anchored in Love. Will we make mistakes? Of course. We are human. But to choose our relationship with our children - every time - over voices of fear that come from society, conditioning or our past…. That is the way forward my friends. Choose Trust. Choose Love. It won't steer your wrong.
I’ve never been a fan of unsolicited advice. In fact, I think that unsolicited advice often backfires. On the other hand, if someone *asks* for advice, it can be helpful, BUT often the person asking for guidance already knows what’s right for them in their heart and is just seeking confirmation.
But gosh, sometimes it is difficult to hold back when we know what others *should* be doing! (That's a little self-deprecating humor for those of you who don't know me very well yet!) So that's where having a blog/email list/group comes in handy - I can say what I want here!
This is the logo from when I taught Hypnobabies. I called my business “Hypnobabies4Peace” and my tagline was: Peaceful Births, Peaceful Parenting, Peaceful World. My cousin helped me make the logo and asked me if I really believed that – more peaceful births would lead to a more peaceful world?
My answer was – and still is – a resounding YES. Now, the first important thing is to define the word “Peace”. A Peaceful Birth does not have to be “pain free” (although pain free births are possible!) A peaceful birth doesn’t mean that everything goes “according to plan.” The essential components for the most satisfying births are: 1) an informed, empowered woman and partner and 2) a supportive care giver. And when a woman and partner feel content in her/his heart, body and soul about how the birth of their precious child went - isn't that the essence of Peace? Two simple things… Simple but not easy to secure unfortunately.
The same can be said of Peaceful Parenting. Peaceful parenting doesn’t imply a “perfect” home or relationships. It doesn’t mean “quiet” or that there isn’t chaos. Peace is found within each of us, and when parents do their personal work (mind, body, spirit) they are powerful, positive leaders and influences in their home.
I absolutely believe that “World Peace” begins with each individual. And I also believe that humans are complex, messy and most of us have been hurt along the way. The most difficult harm to undo is when we are mistreated as children. Because this damage becomes part of our psyche and influences everything we think, say and do - often for our whole lives if we don't do the work to heal. That's why I am so passionate about the power of parenting to change the world. Because the less harm inflicted on children - which they have to later heal or undo as adults - the more likely we are to thrive collectively.
So my (unsolicited) advice that I really wish people would heed is to do 3 things:
Do you dream of a more peaceful world? I’m sure you do. I can’t imagine there are many humans that don’t!
It’s not really complicated. But we do need to each commit to the work.
That’s it. My unsolicited advice to the world. The beautiful thing? When you do these things, your life flourishes! Every day I get up and try again to do 1, 2 and 3. I will never be perfect - none of us will be - but the practice and journey are beautiful and worthy.
I’d love to hear what you think of my advice! Does it rub you the wrong way? Or have you already adopted a similar philosophy to guide your life? I want to hear it all!
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.