A Travellerspoint blog

Series of letting go

It has been a series of mishaps this month...culminating in the final one last night, in which my husband not so gracefully launched a stemmed wine glass full of wine into our living room wall. He tripped over his computer cord, which was stretched across our living room, at which we were attempting to watch free TV... and had to let go of his glass in an effort to save him from falling on his head.

It was a big ca-chang, bing, crash, and then I turned from my computer to see him diving onto our couch and shards of glass all around me on the floor. It took about three seconds before we burst into laughter. Not that this singular event was funny, but just the fact that it has been one ridiculous catastrophe after another recently... at some point, you really have to laugh at yourself and the absurdity of it all.

So we did have a good hard laugh, then we got down on our hands and began to gather up the pieces, and sweep the remainder of ourselves together. It was like collecting the pieces of the life that we are hanging onto, and putting them into safekeeping, while those that lie broken and scattered are carried to the trash. Moving is like this...it requires that you pick apart pieces of your life and examine them one at a time...perhaps that is why it remains so deliciously addictive for this philosophy major to continually be uprooting herself, place to place to place. It requires a tremendous amount of self-reflection, examination, and a pulling away of grain from chaff. What is necessary, what is not? What helps me along, what hinders me? What could we use, what is a waste? It can be healing to the soul to ask these questions, and to literally shed weight of excess items and parts of the self that you no longer need for the next step.

Like preparing for a long journey it takes discipline, patience and an honesty with yourself to glean your being for those nuggets of self that run through everything, that keep you who you are no matter what the circumstance, that hold you to your place in life, your purpose and your goals. The rest can be painful to let go of, and it can hurt a great deal to say goodbye to promises unkept, dreams unrealized, belongings that you treasured, ideas you long held, and the things that maintain our comfortable life. The known is very powerful. But the unknown is what lies ahead. And to get there, we must travel lighter than we have, and we must shed the weights and hurts that hold us down and keep us tied to place and time. To look ahead is to let go.

Posted by globalmomma 13:42 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii accident pain moving move Comments (0)

A moving quote...

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"We each struggle to understand love and to love well - to allow those whom we love to grow to their fullest potential, even to follow paths we didn't have in mind. To love is to stand before another, just as they are, and to meet them with great care, not letting our own wants and needs dominate. The ego wants to fix other people and control the flow of things. It wants to be gratified. But everyone we love is on their own journey, and we are only responsible for our own becoming. Love comes to move us past our small distracting wants and wishes toward life itself. Even when specific circumstances dictate that we must leave or move away from a given situation, even then, we learn to move in love. We cannot embrace the full meaning of love and live the same way we were living before. The hallmark of love is the change that arises"...
Paula D'Arcy

Posted by globalmomma 09:40 Archived in USA Tagged storm door weather change path hawaii open shift momentum Comments (0)

The 2 second walk...

that took ten minutes...

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It took me literally ten minutes today to walk with my two year old son to the car. Actually, it was eleven. I try to follow the principle of 'letting your child lead'. Not necessarily because I am that enthusiastic about wanting him to explore every last detail; but more importantly, because it is generally easier at this point than if I lead him to the car, kicking and objecting. As a two year old, it seems to be his job to want to do everything himself, to object to my outstretched hand, and to deny me the simple luxury of walking in a straight and purposeful direction. He wants to question, to figure things out, to try something again and again until he gets it right, and in his words, to "just go see it".

So today, we absolutely had to leave the house with the most giant beach ball we have, and bounce and kick it down the sidewalk to the street. Then we had to go check out the landscapers, who are in our condo complex nearly everyday either mowing or planting or trimming. Today, they were climbing palm trees and cutting down branches. Since this is one of the more exciting of their tasks, this took us several minutes to observe, explain, and take in. Then we had to explore the garbage, which is a new favorite for my son. He asks if they are coming to pick it up. No, not today, it's too early. Let's get into the car to go to the park now, and maybe when we get back, they will come. Hmm, he ponders this for a second before asking the same question again. "Garbage - pick up?" No, honey, not today. "Dump it?" He loves the men with their orange shirts and their large forklift that comes to pick up and then dump all the garbage out of the large neon orange dumpsters at our condo. In fact when they come, he races out to greet them as if they were the ice cream truck.

Next, it is onto the mailman, and the mailbox. Again, he asks the questions. "Mailman coming?" Nope. Key? He takes the keys from my hand, finds the correct small key for our box, and pushes it into the lock. He twists and opens the door. "No mail", he states. No, OK, let's go then. We take a few steps further and have to jump a few times. Then we have to inspect some flowers and snails. He points and names them: purple (flowers), rock, snail. Finally we reach the end of the walk and climb into the car. "Turn it on?" He wants to start the car. He climbs over the passenger seat and into the driver seat. I go around and hand him the key. He again presses it into place, and with my foot on the brake, he starts the car and turns the wheel back and forth. He's so content why should I be bothered with this routine? I pick him up, and settle him into his car seat in the back, buckled in and finally ready to go.

I laugh to myself. Sometimes this waiting game is easier than others. Patience is a tricky virtue, it comes and goes like the tides. At times, I feel I can sit and enjoy his musings, and follow him to see where he goes. Other times, it is literally all my willpower not to pick him up and buckle him into the car, changing ten minutes into two seconds. I know the meanderings are actually his education, and that my need to get somewhere is often not important, so I try my best to go with the flow and let him explore. The old adage 'life is a journey, not a destination' is definitely written by someone who spent time with a toddler... it doesn't hurt to see the world from their point of view every once in a while. Who knows, if your mind is open, you may actually discover something new.

Posted by globalmomma 13:50 Archived in USA Tagged home travel house child destination condo waiting journey mail patience toddler garbage point-of-view Comments (0)

How to be a mindful parent

I ask myself this question at least once a day: How can I be a more mindful parent? And then, how can I translate my experience?

I see this as my life's greatest calling, not being the perfect mommy, but being the most mindful mommy that I can be. I of course would love to be a perfect mommy, since it is the most important job I could have, who wouldn't want to do it perfectly? But despite my desire, I can accept the futility of this endeavor. I can't be the perfect mom anymore than I can be the perfect wife, perfect doctor, perfect woman. It still makes it hard when I do something that is not perfect, when I make a mistake in how I speak to my son, or when I give in to his demand to watch a movie even though I told him 'no'. When I do something wrong, it is comforting to know that the mistakes are part of the growth, both for myself and for my son. The difficulties in life, the struggles, the errors, I cannot make them disappear. I cannot make my son's life perfect any more than I can make myself into the perfect mother.

Instead, I have to help him navigate the waters of disappointment, frustration, mistakes and hurts. And to help him see them as a vehicle for growth and enlightenment. I tell myself that each mistake, each less-then-ideal moment is a chance for me to grow as a person, to see the world in a new way, and hence, to show my son how to cope with imperfections and mistakes... with a positive attitude and clear vision.

How to be a mindful parent... my most recent lesson is to ADMIT WHEN YOU ARE WRONG. Admit when you make a mistake, even to your children. They appreciate the vulnerability, and it is healthy for them to see the struggles and challenges we do through. Model humility. Let them see you make mistakes and apologize to them when you wrong them. Celebrate these moments as a way to show your children how to solve problems, how to cope with a problem, or how to be vulnerable with their feelings.

I was listening to my son yesterday as he was playing in the kitchen, mumbling to himself as he typically does. I heard him in the midst of a conversation with himself say, "oops, try it again", in response to dropping a ball. Again, "oops, sorry try again". I smiled inwardly. I have been trying to teach him by telling him that if he falls down (which generally upsets him), it's OK, if you fall down, get back up and try it again. We never know how much of the words that we say actually get through to our children, but I know for sure that children observe every action they see, and they absorb so much of their environment. If we can model the behavior of making mistakes and not letting it deter us, it is better than saying it again and again.

Posted by globalmomma 18:42 Comments (0)

25 ways to love your child...

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(1) Accept who they are, and that it is not you
(2) Nurture their talents
(3) Allow them to feel their feelings
(4) Don't rush to change their minds or make them stop crying - help them cope and feel better on their own time
(5) And teach them that you will be there for them, no matter how they are feeling
(6) Encourage and compliment them for the little things - throwing a ball, drawing a picture, saying 'thank you'
(7) Be firm about sleep - a well rested child is a happy child
(8) Make them laugh
(9) Don't put them down, build them up.
(10) Read to them, again and again...even that book that drives you insane...
(11) Give them guidelines, and be consistent
(12) Try to see the world from their perspective
(13) Spend time playing, interacting, and showing them new things
(14) Feed them healthy food, to inspire lifelong good nutrition and health
(15) Allow them to make choices: what to wear, where to go (park or pool today?)
(16) Hugs and kisses
(17) Provide activities and exercise everyday
(18) Let them make mistakes
(19) And teach them to try again
(20) Be patient with them
(21) Talk to them - explain things - they why's and how's - they understand more than we know!
(22) Support them when they try something new, or during big changes
(23) Appreciate their limitations
(24) Show them you make mistakes too, and you keep trying
(25) Believe in them

Posted by globalmomma 15:18 Archived in USA Tagged new love support accept appreciate patience Comments (0)

Path of Intuition

Is gratefulness something we can teach to toddlers? Can young kids feel empathy? How do we help our children to follow their intuition and be in control of their choices?

I am pondering these topics now as my son grows and begins to show signs of understanding complex relationships and ideas. I have read at least a dozen times this conventional belief that children under age nine are not capable of complex thoughts, and that - as toddlers - they are expected to only think about their own needs and desires. While it is often true that young children often focus on what they want above all else... I actually think contrary to the belief that children are ego-centric at a young age, I think that is simplistic thinking. I find that we can nurture a child's perception of others by validating their feelings, and also by encouraging them to think about how other people feel. I watch my child look at another child who is crying, with a real look of concern. I often tell him 'it's OK honey, that baby is just hungry.' Or that child may be a little tired. 'Don't worry, they are OK.' I have perceived this empathy coming from him many times, and I also see it in other children. When a child falls down at the park, the others stop and look, or try to help. They are aware of other beings and their happiness or unhappiness. I believe this tenderness and empathy can be cultivated.

Sometimes this awareness comes out in other ways too. I watch my child interact easily with some people he meets, he will say hello, point to things, engage with them. Other times, he backs away. I try not to push him in this way. I try not to force politeness just because it seems appropriate. I try to trust him when he chooses to either connect with someone or not. How do I know why sometimes he guards himself from people? Maybe that person is really stressed out, or unhappy, or whatever - maybe he senses something that I don't - I want him to follow those instincts, not to be bullied into being sociable if he's uncomfortable.

Today in gymnastics (which he usually loves, and goes into full force) my son was reserved. He wanted to hold my hand and pull me around to the various stations and trampolines set up for the kids. I went with him, but part of me wished he was enjoying himself more, exploring and engaging with the other kids like he typically does. I spent the money for the class...we are here for an hour doing what we would have done at home... Who knows why he wasn't into it today, was he just tired? was there a kid or parent that made him uneasy? was it too crowded? I asked him to join the group circle at the end of class, and he said, "No? No?" (as in, I don't want to, do I have to?) I said, "OK, honey, it's OK, you don't have to if you don't want to." He repeated, 'no, no have to.' He repeated it a few more times with conviction when I asked him again if he wanted to go over with the other kids.

He made his own choice, and I tried to accept it, even if it wasn't what I preferred. Even if we looked odd watching the other kids play while he observed from across the room. We were there for him to explore, for his playtime, so I try to let him guide it when I can. It's difficult though to keep a balance between conventions of friendliness and manners and order, but also allow for freedom, intuition, and feelings. I try to remind myself to let him guide the experience, and not to push or force him into 'enjoying' it.

I find this toddler period of parenting to be extremely rewarding, because of all the feedback they can give you, all the new experiences and new learning, and most of all, their new abilities to really express their feelings, and my new responsibilities of modeling behaviors that keep me always pondering the right path. I am thinking all the time now about the choices I make, and how my child perceives the world because of me. How can I teach him to be grateful for the things that he has? By being grateful myself. And by talking to him about it everyday. I try to consciously think of those characteristics that I would like to teach him, and how to preserve the capable, aware, amazing child that he is. I feel children are born to us as gifts, and as teachers, and they choose us, their parents and families. It's a giant responsibility, one that I find both incredibly humbling and highly enlightening.

Posted by globalmomma 05:43 Archived in USA Tagged guide hawaii class control trust connection intuition feedback gymnastics reward Comments (0)

Sunset

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I am watching my first Hawaiian sunset in over two weeks, after being 'off island' traveling for the end of May. As the sky turns azure blue to lavender to flamingo pink and orange, I am reminded of the beauty of this place, the serenity, the warmth of aloha. I am also reminded of my blessings. I try every day to remember how lucky I am to be a mom, how special it is to be able to form the beliefs and the knowledge and the core of a new being. It is a true gift to have that responsibility, and one I try to keep in mind as the mind gets bogged down in the annoying, sometimes difficult details.

The sunset is a way of reminding me of what's important. For some reason it takes the day's worries, the errands, the stresses or troubles, and they disappear with the sun as it blazes around the Earth. The solar system, nature in general, it evokes a sense of peace and a restoration of priorities because we can clearly see how small we are in comparison to the grandiose system that we are a part of - how our lives with their ups and downs are if anything a small bump along the journey, a blip in the ecosystem of reality. When I watch the sun dip into the vast ocean after a long day, I think, 'thank you for the reminder'. I do the best I can and let go of the rest.

Blessings to you all :)

Posted by globalmomma 11:52 Archived in USA Tagged sunset ocean lucky special peace joy aloha blessings Comments (0)

Packing Light

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Another long trip from Hawaii to the mainland. First to the Bay, then a drive to Lake Tahoe. Another flight to Seattle, and then back home to Hawaii. Our son has become such an experienced traveler. I have heard not to travel with kids, that it is difficult for them. Actually, it doesn't seem to faze our son. It is my husband and I that appear worse for the wear. Sometimes we get less sleep staying in an unfamiliar bed. We are hot and sweaty from hauling many bags around. We have come to the conclusion based on our 9 (!) bags from this past trip, that somehow, someway, our packing strategy & our bag count has to change. We are currently traveling with two more bags than we took for our three month excursion through Italy. With five more bags than our joint trip round the world in 2003. Granted, a toddler needs many more items to keep them entertained than travel sans children, or even travel with infant. With infant, you need diapers, wipes, a rattle and possibly a monitor and you're good. With a toddler, you still need the diapers and wipes, but now you also need a ton of food and snacks, books, the trusty blankie or in our case 'wolfie' (the stuffed wolf Bodhi sleeps with), several key books, a few toys, an ipod and speaker, a video player... I could go on, but we realized between my husband and I, we bring about a full bag for each of us, the other 7 seem to all be essentials for Bodhi.

So...now I realize that the real deterrent to travel with children is the sheer volume of items that you need for them to be comfortable and entertained. We are going to go through some serious inventory work and some downsizing, much like corporate America has been assessing their work force and productivity. What items can we live without? What items are duplicates? What items can we possibly replace with newer more efficient (or smaller) versions?

We recently received a tiny Monster iClarity bluetooth speaker as a gift. This is perfect, because it is a wireless speaker, small and perfect for travel because you can 'stream' music from your computer, ipad or iphone = perfect travel device. No need for additional ipod used solely as a nighttime wave machine. Speaking of technology, the ipad has been the greatest travel invention of our time. OK, we still bring 'real books' along too, but we also have a virtual library of books, apps, videos, and hours of plane ride entertainment of one small device. It has easily been the best purchase and best travel device for our son. At first, I admit, I thought it was indulgent for a two year old to play with such a pricey machine. I thought it was overkill. After several long flights from Hawaii to the mainland, I can tell you that was some of the best money we spent, letting him have our old ipad, buying a new one for ourselves. Our two year old is blissfully entertained and able to sit in his car seat on the airplane for several hours without fussing. And this is the same child who refuses to sit in a stroller or sit still for more than several seconds: always, always on the move. Climbing, jumping, running, swimming, hiking, bouncing balls, moving from toy to toy, into everything and anything. This same child can be mesmerized by an Elmo app for an hour. AND it has taught him the alphabet, how to trace letters, and countless words. Pretty incredible stuff. This admitted techno-phobe is now a complete convert to the amazing world of the ipad.

But I digress...other things that we do to make travel easier are to always travel with small detergent packets, for washing on the go. I recommend if traveling with children to get a few items that are synthetic fibers (i.e. a fleece sweatshirt, instead of cotton) and that way, you can wash and easily drop it when it gets inevitably dirty on first wear. The amount of clothing you need to pack for a small child is ridiculous when you consider during half of their meals they spill something, they are still occasionally waking soaking wet from sleep, and jumping in mud puddles or climbing trees. They get dirty. It's best to have clothes you can wash and re-wear. We try to bring toys that have multiple functions or can provide different forms of entertainment. I like flashcards, and crayons or those invisible markers. We usually bring a soft ball, some type of bath or water toy, and a truck or train. Nothing annoyingly loud with batteries for the airplane. I like to bring toys that don't have small parts, and not ones that are favorites...ones that are dispensable, or at least can be easily replaced. I don't like to have to worry about finding small pieces or leaving something behind that will cause tears. Less travel stress = happier momma.

The essentials for me (to travel with less stress) are the sleep routine items. For us, that means 2 books, Wolfie his stuffed wolf, alternative milk, (soy or rice if we don't think we can get it where we are going), and his wave music that we put on when he sleeps. That way, he feels a sense of home no matter where we are. This seems to be a key component to our success with traveling. When Bodhi was younger, we traveled everywhere with our own crib. We literally hauled an extra bag that was his travel crib. He slept so much better that way than when we tried various cribs in different hotels. You know, they smell different, the sheets are different...you can't blame him really. I reasoned, better to have his own crib, even if we set that bed in a different place every night, he has a comfort, a piece of home. Like the calm in the center of a storm, if you provide an anchor for children to feel secure, than I think they have no problem adjusting to external fluctuations of time and place. Plus, it made us more flexible to stay in pensions, rental houses and other places where sometimes cribs are not available. Now that he's older, he does OK sleeping on other beds and cribs as long as we are with him and he has his bedtime routine. And when your child/infant sleeps better on a trip, I don't think I have to tell you how much better that is for everyone... to us, it's the most important thing of all when traveling with your child, to bring the items they need to sleep well.

Posted by globalmomma 05:21 Archived in USA Tagged children travel well with light sleep packing change time beds clothing toddler adjusting essentials cribs Comments (0)

My Worst Mom Moment

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Today I had a real mom moment...one unlike any I have had in recent weeks, a total lapse of concentration. I set up a play date reunion in Seattle for one week before I got there. Everyone was there to see us today, and we don't arrive in Seattle until NEXT Friday. Oops. Apparently I cannot be trusted with planning, which is why I have officially passed over all confirmations of airline reservations, car rentals and the like to my husband, who although he doesn't get much more sleep than I do,apparently is more evolutionarily capable of handling it.

I was giving myself such a hard time over this mishap today...
until I realized, hello, I have so many things to juggle: work, family, groceries, food, writings, schedules, money, house, projects...

I find myself making a list, checking everything twice. I was actually feeling pretty good about keeping it all together until my husband reminded me of my OTHER worst mom moment, which came this week. We were rushing from Tahoe down to Reno to bring our son to the Children's Discovery Museum there. It is a great museum, full of art, education, nature, science, discoveries! So Bodhi climbs back into his seat, gets his video player, and his snacks I packed, and off we go. Several miles down the road I look back to discover that he was never snapped into his car seat. Instead of panicking, I lean back from the passenger seat and snap and tighten him into his seat. I can't believe I forgot. Even more surprising was that I took it in stride. Oops, my mistake. I recalled the only other time I did not strap him into his car seat. He was about 3 months old then, and we were on our way to my mommy's group (yes, the very same as above for mommy mistake #1) He was asleep, so I strapped him in but didn't tighten him completely. I was waiting until I turned on the car, to keep him asleep, but then I forgot. I noticed about three blocks from our house on a neighborhood road, and quickly pulled over, tightened him up, and sobbed for ten minutes. I couldn't believe I could forget something so essential. For someone so precious.

It seems as our babies grow up, we become a little more relaxed about making mistakes, and give them a bit more room to explore. I have been talking with my good friend Amy who just had a little girl, three weeks old today. I remember those first weeks, wanting to protect them from everything, Not wanting them out of your sight. Every peep was attended to, every second you want to be by their side. As Bodhi has grown, I find I take a step back. At first, I followed him as he crawled and climbed on the playground. Now I watch from a bit further away. I let him work things out, pick things up, try things on his own. But it's been a slow and steady process of letting go, of understanding that he is less fragile, more capable, and of giving myself a little more room for mistakes. When you have a baby, you feel you have to be perfect: meet every need right away, know exactly what your baby wants at all times, be ready to nurse at any hour, day or night. Now I realize that accepting my own flaws and mistakes will make it easier for my son to accept his own. Being your very best, and trying your best, is enough...you don't have to be perfect to be the best mom.

Posted by globalmomma 05:19 Archived in USA Tagged best baby tahoe perfect mom reno motherhood perfection Comments (0)

Mother's Day

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...the one day in the world when we are formally acknowledged for the toughest, most demanding job there is. I don't think there is any other job that requires this much of your soul, mind, and your heart...at least, I hope not.

This is my own third Mother's Day, and I remember each one, like a badge of congratulations for all I have done for that year. This year takes us from the middle of Italy last May (where I spent last year's Festa Della Momma), through our summer traveling throughout Europe. Mostly full of adventures and new experiences, but also filled with some difficult times trying to figure out where we would end up next, where our next footsteps would take us, and how I would continue to convey consistency and security to my son who was sleeping in a new place every week.

This experience of traveling on the road with a one year old taught me, or I should say reinforced in me, that home is where you are. That life is wherever you are. That the journey is taken day by day. And that doesn't make it insecure or scary. It makes it present. Many people think it's necessary to build a stable foundation of a home, a place, a routine that helps a child feel safe. I thought this too, perhaps from something I had read. I thought it was best to be in the same place day after day. But what I realized from last year of travel is that what is most important to feeling safe and secure the people around you. We found friendships all around us. We found community from town to town, place to place. But wherever we went, we went as a family. The safety and the trust that I was worried about interrupting in my son last year, I actually reinforced and strengthened with our roaming. You know why? I helped him see that where he laid his head did not make his home; wherever we were as a family, that was home. Home is where the people around you, they support you, they surround you with love.

So this year on Mother's Day, I am thankful that I can spend it in such a beautiful place, on Hawaii Island; but more importantly, I am thankful that I can spend it in the comfort of my home, which is my family.

Posted by globalmomma 01:43 Archived in USA Tagged home travel italy family day security hawaii heart safety festa mother's della momma Comments (0)

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