I've been pondering the quote on this page. For a while I focused on the word "judging". I've grappled with judging and judgment many times. And I've kind of come to the conclusion that "judging" is kind of part of the human experience. After all making a "judgment" means that you are forming an opinion about something. That is what I do as a parent and as a writer here. I share my opinion about what I think is right and wrong, about what makes life sweeter or more difficult.
So the above quote really caught my attention. Will I ever *truly* be awake if I can't stop "judging"? I think of awake as being conscious, deliberate, and thoughtful. I am confident that all of those adjectives describe me. So how could I evolve more along these lines?
Last week I had an experience that pushed me closer than ever to my awakening. A couple of popular bloggers (and by popular, I mean these writers have hundreds of thousands of readers and followers - it's humbling) wrote posts that really got under my skin. And I'm not going to lie, part of what smarts so much is that they *are* so popular and these views that don't jive with me AT. ALL. are embraced by their readers.
So I started to think about how I want to feel and what I can do to achieve these feelings. Lately I've been advising lots of people to stop watching the news or inundating their consciousness with every little detail of the world's happenings (they aren't often happy). But I wondered if maybe I could use a little of my own advice. What purpose does it serve for me to read these blogs if they are just upsetting me? I mean, yes I could comment in an attempt to make my views and opinions heard. But really, I'm not deluding myself into thinking that I'm going to make much headway in forums like those.
I also do think it's healthy to hear different opinions of things. But quite honestly, it was as much *how* these opinions were presented that bothered me, as the opinions themselves. One in particular just wasn't respectfully presented.
So I made a choice to stop subscribing to these two writers - even though they are talented and funny and I often enjoy their work. It just wasn't worth the mental turmoil it was causing me.
A refrain in one of those irritating (to me) blog entries was "I don't care." And actually it's not that I mind those words. Sometimes the words "I don't care" are empowering. But if they are said to dismiss others or to fool ourselves into believing that something we really *do* care about isn't worth our time, then these words can be dangerous.
Ironically, these three words also led me to feel closer to my awakening. I'm getting closer and closer to "not caring" what others think. Don't get me wrong, I still *do* care greatly about other people. But the more comfortable I am in my own skin and in my choices and thought processes, the less I worry about what others think of me. Also, I cannot worry about other people's paths. Everyone is on their own personal journey of growth and each one is unique. Some people are going to resonate with my message and "truth" and other people aren't. And the more I can let go of trying to control what others think, the more I am able to stay on my path. That's what it means to be awakened and to not judge others. Because we can't help those that don't want to be helped. We can't force a horse to drink even if we are holding its face in the water. It's not my job to try and get people to agree with me.
My job is to be me and love everyone the best I can.
My biggest worries on Friday December 14th were to keep my son awake all day (no naps allowed for little boys who stay up till 11 pm!) - and then to keep him asleep at night. Oh, and also whether I should pack one suitcase or two for Florida.
12/14/2012 - 2 days after "12/12/12" - the world did come to an end for many families.
How do we process a tragedy like this? How do we carry on when something as horrible as this happens? Until 1 pm that afternoon I was contentedly going about my day, trying to pack, feed the kids, and to keep our excitement about our travels and Christmas at an enjoyable rather then a frenetic level.
I talked to my mom for almost an hour and a half earlier that morning. (What did we talk about?? A friend's mother who passed away, unschooling, birth, money, taking risks... what didn't we talk about?) It's another luxury in my life - that I am fortunate enough to have the time and desire to talk with my mom almost every morning - oh yeah, and I'm lucky to have my mom still here with me.
I realized later that night that I was talking to my mom when the shooting occurred.
For me, 12/14/2012 will forever be divided into before knowing and after - between ignorance and awareness. The horror and grief that swept through me as I read the articles. The tears that sprang to my eyes and that I quickly wiped away, before my mature, sensitive 6 year old could see them (mature, but not mature enough for this kind of news). I tried calling my mom back but they weren't home. So I talked for a few minutes to a friend about the senselessness of it.
Then I herded us outside. It was a beautiful day - warm for this time of year, sunny, and blue skies. It was like a huge spiritual oxymoron - the discrepency between my internal and external environment. We ran and played. Gerry cried, he was so tired (and as it turned out, starting to fight off an illness). Marisol played with neighborhood friends. I managed to smile and have fun but the thought of the children and families was always present in the back of my mind.
There is no making sense of what happened. I liked these words that I read today on The Libertarian Homeschooler's Facebook page:
A thought in the midst of the shock.
Some people have such a way with words. And they offer us hope. Because if we don't have hope in times like these, then what do we have? If we allow the despair to overwhelm our souls then what will tomorrow bring?
We all have different ways of processing things and dealing with tragedy and that is ok. Some need a break from Facebook, others want to devour every status update and poignant picture. Some people need time alone while others seek solace in the company of loved ones. Me, I *need* to talk about it. And now write. I like to read different people's thoughts too - people I respect, people who are trying to make the world a better place. And of course tears are cleansing. But considering I'm the same person who was proud if I made it through a week at school without crying in 6th grade, there have been surprisingly few tears. Today, I felt strangely normal, if a little subdued. I could feel guilty about it, but I don't. We cannot "Be the Change" if we are depressed ourselves.
The biggest surge of crying came on unexpectedly as I texted my sister - "I love you". Marisol was not in the room and my guard was down. I know that I am largely holding it together because of and for my kids. And the irony of that strikes me hard and cold - what about the people who have lost their 6 year old - their reason for hope, for carrying on... for keeping it together?
We need to be the light for them for as long as they need it. And I know that I personally cannot be the light if I'm too focused on my desire to know. To know details of what happened and of course any information that may help explain *why*? Because there will never be a satisfactory answer for that question. So we must move on and each do our bit to help heal and better the world.
In our house we get all of our news from the internet - no televised news here. This helps so much - to filter and minimize the amount of sensationalized information, and more importantly, the images that are allowed into our consciouness. Television is powerful and our minds and imaginations are too. But we have a choice in how we use them.
Still, I have not totally been able to resist seeking information. And when I do, my body realizes the full meaning of "heartsick".
Mostly, I've been carrying on by doing what I do every day. Being the best mom I can be. Connecting with my loved ones. Being even more grateful. By appreciating the mundane.
Night time is harder. The kids are asleep and we are left with our thoughts. Last night I could not help but wonder how many people across the country - no, across the world - were thinking about the shooting and the victims and the terror that must have filled them in their last moments. Why does it take something so tragic to unite us?
Yet there are already divisions too. Even I have had thoughts fleet through my mind, like - "Really? They're posting about *that*??" So I remind myself that everyone deals with these things in different ways. Not only that, but I can never presume to know what is going on *inside* of another person.
There are many opinions about why these things keep happening and what we need to do to stop them from happening. Discussions are heated. Some people think it's disrespectful to the grieving to even bring up issues like gun-control or mental health care. I tend to resonate most strongly with people who are focusing on deeper, wider, and more spiritual answers - of spreading Peace right here and now whereever we happen to be.
All of these ideas have the potential to ignite impassioned debate. The most important thing we can all do is to be kind to each other and remember that we all want the same thing - we want these things to stop, we want to be safe, we want to be loved. So we must wrap our passion in love even when our convictions burn bright.
We are in an interesting space in the hours and days following a tragedy of this magnitude. On one hand what truly matters is brought into sharp focus. This
blog, my Christmas craft, the state of my house... none of it really matters.
But at the same time it all *does* matter. Our daily lives, the choices we make
every moment, the words we choose when speaking to others. For me it has only strengthened the truth that there really are No Guarantees and No "Re-dos" - there is only the Present Moment. So I'm using this as an opportunity to recommit myself to make the here and now the best that I can. I hope you will all join me.
This is going to be just a stream-of-consciousness type post - just some of the thoughts I've had swirling today.
After my post on Monday - which I stayed up quite late to finish before the "deadline" for Blog Action day - I've been thinking how I must be irritating some people by insisting that some parenting practices just aren't nice. And I have to admit it makes me a bit uncomfortable because I don't like making people feel bad. But then I thought, well hey, that's kind of good if someone's bothered by something I wrote, because that means that it got into their head and it's sticking there. Maybe it's like a little grain of sand that will rub until it turns into a beautiful pearl.
Tonight Marisol and I were reading Dr. Seuss' story about the Grinch and she said that she likes people with the Biggest hearts -then she looked right up at me and into my eyes and said, "I think you're one of them". Oh my goodness, did I melt and cry? Oh yes I did!
I don't write here to brag about how wonderful my kids and life are, or to show off how perfect and compassionate I am. Because although my kids are wonderful and I love my life, we're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination - we have meltdowns every day and I feel my heart contract and turn cold when she freaks out about something that seems insignificant to me. But we've been making a habit of saying what we're grateful for at night before going to sleep and tonight she said, "My life", and she keeps telling me in so many ways, and I just want people to know that they can have that too! I see a lot of hurting parents and kids and I just want them to know it doesn't have to be that way.
I feel a bit like I'm becoming "One-note-Nelly" and my monotone mantra is "Be Nice to your kids!" but I guess it could be worse. And I have some different stuff coming up soon that I'm excited about (how's that for a teaser? Stay tuned!) So in the near future I'll be a little bit less like a 1-Hit Wonder (although I'd be excited just to have 1 Big Hit at this point!)
I was messaging with an old friend a bit and talking about how writing here just fills me up in a way I never could have predicted. She mentioned that she's not surprised and it's a good way to connect with like-minded people. I guess it kind of is. But actually that was more what my "secret" blog was for - and Xanga is a great blogging community for that because you can search for specific things, like homeschooling, and then "friend" or follow people. Other great places for finding people you gel with are Yahoo groups - I've found international and local groups which have been great for inspiration and making friends in real life.
But again as I wonder why (wonder but don't question... it's too good to doubt it) I'm doing this - writing, sharing - why I've been able to keep it up so consistently for so long, I'm realizing that it's my way of living out loud. And it feels great.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.