Thursday, April 14, 2011

Terryl Inspired

I had my first son one week before I graduated college in 1997 and I had very little idea about what direction to go in for my career. I knew what my interests were, but felt like I had to make a decision quickly to take care of my son.  I decided on counseling psychology and a PHD program at The Ohio State University and was not able to complete the program because my son was diagnosed with a disability and began having multiple issues around 12 months old. I left school after completing 2 years and my Master’s coursework to focus on his needs and have never returned. Once making the decision to leave school after completing my Master’s degree, I was faced with a major block in my career progress.  I was told during my last quarter before completing my Master’s that I was 1 credit hour short of what was required in order to fulfill the requirements of my fellowship.  I was told that because of this, I would have to pay for the spring quarter out of my pocket.  There were two problems with this.  I had registered and taken the required amount of credits and there was a mix up because of a change in scheduling that I had made at the beginning of the quarter.  I had dropped a course and added another.  At the time, I had my records that showed that I had the required credits, however, computers at OSU said something different and because their computer said something different, I was being held responsible for thousands of dollars that I could not pay, not being able to work as a condition of my fellowship as well.  Since I could not pay and could not find anyone to help me correct this mistake, a hold was placed on my records which meant that I was not allowed to register that summer to defend my Master’s thesis in order to obtain my Master’s degree.  This also meant that if even if I wanted to transfer to another program, I could not because OSU would not release my records until I paid them money that I did not owe them.  As a result of this, I was not able to benefit from the time and money (through loans) that I had invested to receive something that would help provide for my son and myself.  I walked away with nothing.  Yet, I still had to fight for my son.
 I was unable to get a job for months even though I had a college degree and Master degree level of education.  A job anywhere! I was told that I was over qualified, even when I dumb downed my resume.  As a result, my A-1 credit plummeted.  I couldn’t pay my bills.  I couldn’t pay rent in my town-home, my car note, childcare…nothing.  I was stressed beyond my limit.  My body was erupting in hives from the stress and I had a break down and resolved to kill myself.  My plan was to take my son to his father in New Orleans and then disappear.  I gave everything away.  I used my Sears card which I had never used before to purchase new tires for my car and drove to New Orleans early one morning with my son.  After arriving there, I had serious issues with the lifestyle that my son’s father was living and could not in good conscious leave my son with him.  I had not told him that I intended to leave our son with him and so I pretended to be just visiting and left a few days later.  In the meantime, my family and friends were panicking because no one had heard from me or knew where I was.  I drove back to Columbus and since I no longer had a place to stay, went to my Aunt’s house for a few days while trying to decide what to do.  After much resistance I resolved to move back home to Cleveland with my Mother.  I was depressed and felt lost.  My relationship with my mother had always been strained and so this move was not a positive one in my mind.  I felt like a child all over again and trapped.  My mother was dealing with her own issues in her relationship and she still had two younger daughters at home who were 11 and 5.  One day I left my mother’s house to escape from the stress of dealing with the tension in the house between my mother and her boyfriend and to save my sister’s from dealing with the drama.  We were going to the library.  It had snowed a lot in the days before so there was still snow on the ground.  As I went to make a left turn into the parking lot of the Shaker Library, a car slammed into the passenger side of my car.  By the grace of God neither of my sisters or my son was hurt.  No one was hurt by the accident, which had been my fault.  I totaled my car.  That was the last thing that I had from my life that was mine besides my son.  I sank deeper into depression. A few months later, I came to Columbus for a visit to see my church family and friends and was overwhelmed with love and support.  One of my graduate school friends from OSU surprised me one day by picking me up for a visit and taking me a to a used car lot and buying me a car right on the spot!  She wrote a check for $1500 and gave me my baby, “Faith” a light blue Toyota Camry, and a second chance and some hope.  I never returned to Cleveland to live after that visit, I returned only to get my things and move back to Columbus.  I stayed with friends for a while until I was able to get my own small place for my son and myself about a year later.
 Keeping a job has been difficult over the years because it is difficult to find and keep an adequate provider for my son’s needs.  My son requires different types of therapies that mean trips to doctors weekly. I have also spent several hours a week in his schools fighting to ensure that he was getting the most out of his special education classrooms. While in graduate school I would receive calls daily to pick my son up because of his behavior and this continued even after I left school and was working. I had to get a lawyer through legal aid to make sure that the school actually provided my son the services that he was entitled to by law and which they were fully capable of providing if they put forth the effort. Through educating myself about his disability and finding out first-hand the deficiencies in service to families with those to disabilities, I found a new passion: advocacy. I have always loved to teach so this area of special needs youth/ adults and education fit me like a glove. I have since immersed myself in job positions that are in the MRDD field and/or teaching. Two years ago, I was a House Manager for a company that cared for the needs and rights of adults with disabilities. I enjoyed my job immensely and got satisfaction from it daily.  I was in line for promotions and was doing very well.  I was let go from this job because I had to take a leave of absence to find appropriate care for my son while I worked when he came home after living with his father in Cleveland for 2 years.  I took a 6 week leave and at the end of that time, I informed my supervisor that I had still not been able to arrange what I needed for my son.  It took me 2 more weeks to find an appropriate agency and hour requirements and trained individual to work with him while I was at work.  I informed the company that I would be returning and scheduled my classes to update my certifications and the day before I was schedule to take one of the classes, I got a call from human resources saying that I was being let go.  The reason given was that they hadn’t been able to get in touch with me on my leave to know what was going on and even though I had spoken with my supervisor and scheduled classes through human resources that they were unclear about my intentions to return and that I had not followed proper procedures.  This is also the explanation that allowed unemployment to disallow my claim.  The company that advocated for the care and rights of the disabled fired their manager who had a disabled child and was fighting for the care of that child!  I felt betrayed.
Unfortunately, because I lack the degrees I need, I am only able to make $10-$12/hr in my field despite my experience.  My family struggles to buy food monthly and relies on pantries and the kindness of those who care for us.  I have lost places of shelter more than once, and lived in a homeless shelter briefly with my children due to lack of income to support my bills which only include the basic necessities: shelter, food, utilities, car note, and insurance.  Not to mention the fact that in the quest to provide myself with better access to jobs and a career that would give my family a good quality of life, I have accumulated several thousands of dollars of school loan debt that I am struggling to be able to pay back that I have yet to benefit from in terms of earning potential.  When I was accumulating this school loan debt, I had little idea of what I really wanted to do with my life and therefore lacked the insight on how to use my education to provide more opportunities for me later.  With more than 15 years of life experience that has definitely changed!  My son is largely responsible for this life education that has led me to my gift and passion: serving those underserved who cannot speak up for themselves.   I wish to serve them in a higher capacity to effect change at the administrative level and provide the better quality of life for my children and those that I advocate for others on a daily basis.  I desire to apply what I have learned from life experience to help other children and young adults navigate through the process of career choice and building.  Our children truly need experienced adults to assist with these processes so that they don't have to go through the same challenges that we did and can avoid some of our mistakes.  I know that it is time for some these things in my life to made right and I am looking for a way to make that happen.  I have everything I need to succeed, only need the right opportunity to make it happen.  I deserve it and I have worked hard for myself and others and can wait no longer.  My 2 boys deserve a chance to have balance in their life and not an existence of continual struggle.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who Are We Really?

 I have often stayed out of religious debate or discussion because I have observed how damaging it often is to those who participate, those who hear and that no true relating or sharing occurs.  I observe people trying to convince another of how what they believe is right, or share their “facts” and disprove another.  Everyone believes that they have a lock on knowledge and that their “way” is THE way…I have ALWAYS had a problem with this mentality and behavior among religious folk.  It doesn’t matter what name you are called, it is practiced under all names and religions in the name of some God.  I think that our behavior is shameful.  Today I am prompted to share with you, not because I am interested in changing your belief or offering evidence of my knowing…but to share through my experience as I commit to do with my people in all areas and spirituality is but one…let those with ears to hear, hear and hearts to receive, receive…

As I continue in this home-school journey with my son, we have different discussions about the world, about life and about living.  We exercise our spirituality daily in different ways.  He practices meditation daily for at least 15 minutes before his school day begins.  Yesterday I felt it important to discuss the upcoming Christian Holiday of Easter.  We had had similar discussions before with regard to Christmas and on a different level Thanksgiving as well.  Well the Easter discussion went a little like this:

Mom:  “What is Easter?”

Son: “It’s when there is a bunny and eggs and…”

Mom: “Okay, I’m gonna stop you there.  There is a difference between the commercialized Easter that the world profits off of, and then there is Easter that is represented by the Christian church.”

I went on to explain how people profit off of these holidays by getting folks caught up in buying things and celebrating things that they know nothing about and do not even know if they want to represent what they are celebrating not even considering the meaning behind what they are doing.  I reiterated why we do not engage in these celebrations and displays that others do.  I then talked about the Christian story of Jesus and the resurrection.  Recounted it and then discussed the meaning of why Easter is celebrated by Christians today.  I then shared why we do not participate in Christian theology and belief.  I will share these reasons shortly.  This conversation was followed up this morning during our prayers and thanksgivings when my son talked about thanking God for “saving us” because he was worried “every night” about what would happen to him when he died and that he wanted to “go to heaven” so that he could be with God.  After he finished his thoughts, we closed our prayers and we began to have a discussion.  It went a lil’ something like this:

Mom: “Who saved us?”

Son: “God”

Mom: “From what?”

Son: “I don’t know…”

Our children will show us where we are what we really need to examine about what we are doing and how we are doing it.  We need to pay attention. I continued with a little Christian theology lesson on how Jesus is said to be the son of God sent to save the world from sin etc.  I then said, here is why we do not attend to this theology.  The spirit that Jesus, Yasuah, came from is the same sprit that we come from and that other great teachers and messiahs came from.  A religion was built around one historical figure who was said to have done many great things…this religion was constructed for political reasons and used in horrific ways.  The script upon which this religion is based has been “borrowed” and I use that term very loosely from ancient black peoples almost verbatim.   Aside from these facts the important message is that we come from a Creator of all things and we possess a spirit that is from our creator…we can never be lost.  Our spirit always was and always will be.  What is there to be saved from?  We have always existed.  There is no heaven to escape to when this life is over, because this physical manifestation is just a short stop on a journey of our joint choosing.  We come from many places and many times and will go to many places and times in our universe and existence, there are many possibilities.  We do not need a theology to save us or mask who we really are because who we really are is much bigger than any one book can contain.  I told my son that we were made perfect and exactly as we were meant to be, however that manifestation occurs.  That we have exactly what we need within us to manifest whatever it is our purpose to manifest in our time in each particular physical manifestation. That we need not beg or feel ourselves unworthy because of who we are, we need only to know it and give thanks for our be-ing.  In committing to being the fullness of who we are without apologies we give honor and praise to our Creator.

I have many Christian bretheren and sisteren that I love dearly and converse with on a level that they are comfortable with in most ways…I am able to share what I have to give without being caught up in the web of bondage that a lot of the doctrine and ritual of religion holds on our people.  I have many Muslim, some Neterian, Rastafarian, Nation of Islam, Buddhist etc. friends and associates…there is a reason there are many of us and many ways.  Let us examine where we are and more important why we are and then your path will be enlightened and your journey will proceed exactly as it was intended and planned.  That which is not for you will cease to be and that which is will be made apparent.  Continue to seek your truth and the answers will surely come and by all means, dear ones, do not swallow someone else’s truth just because they said it is so, or “Thus said the Lord.”

Continuing in Service to the Most High Creator,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Re-Claiming Our Children Pt. 2

About a month after writing "Re-claiming our Children" I began home-schooling my son. We are in the second week and are loving it.  It brings us together as a family in a way that  is so unique.  We talk about so many different things and from a wholistic perspective. He is 7 years old and I am so excited about the increased opportunities that will be available to him from the choice that I have made for his well-being.  I am using an online school program and supplement and adjusting or changing as we see fit.  I get this question every time that I mention to someone that I  am home schooling: "Well, Why? What happened? How long are you going to do that?"  The question is asked with fear and concern as if we are depriving him of something not adding something to him.  I was watering down my answer just to keep it simple but yesterday I decided that I needed to tell people exactly why we chose to do this.  It is not because my son is having a hard time in school, in fact he is an excellent student...ahead of his class.  He is home schooled because I saw a pattern occuring over and over again with children all over the state that I interacted with on different levels as a teacher, tutor, mentor, advocate, family member etc.  I saw children in the school systems going from healthy esteems and identity acquired and reinforced in their homes and family to vacant esteem, low esteem, suicidal thoughts and actions, violence, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, fear, and this is a short list.  I saw so many symptoms of what could be classified in the DSM-IV book of classification of disorders in our children.  These disorders manifest from somewhere.  Our current schools do not nurture self-knowledge and development.  They do not nurture self-love.  Even if this is happening in the home, the effects of the school environment: the  teaching methods and ideologies, quickly destroy the gains.  I speak so strongly on this because I have seen it and with my own son, but he is not the only one.  I know of at least 4 young boys in particular ages 6-7 who have spoken of killing themselves because of their feelings of hopelessness with regard to their schooling.  These are children who have loving parents who talk to them, who have outlets and are bright and full of potential.  These are not children who are constantly in trouble for one reason or another.  So imagine what the children who do not come from loving environments or who have history in the juvenile system, deal with drugs, gangs, abuse and more are feeling!!!  The morning that my best friend from high school told me that these words came out of her precious son's mouth, I made the decision that day to take my son out of school.  I had seen the signs in my son as well...watched in horror as in 3 months he went from a child who was articulate, loved to help and teach others whatever he knew, a leader, confident in his abilities, loved who he was as a young black boy and his black people--to a fearful, unsure, self-conscious, self-depreciating, self-hating 7 year old boy!  I could not believe how complete the change was and so quickly!  This is happening all over the country ! Our children are not seeing themselves represented in the classroom, in the books and not being related to in a supportive reinforcing manner.  I can get very specific on what's going on and what's missing but that is not my intent in this writing.  But I will say that there is a training for teachers in Columbus Public schools that is done for Cultural Awareness and the woman who wrote the book that the training is done from is a white woman!  Not only that but some of the language and thoughts in this book that is taught in workshop as fact and information to use in the classroom when relating to our children is blatantly stereotypical and absurd!  One example is a statement that describes the type of environment that most "urban" children come from as loud, chaotic, lacking in the expression of intimacy and love...does this sound like something that should be taught as a guideline to teach our black children?  And they cover up what is going on so that people swallow it and don't say anything about the nonsense that comes out of this book by having a black woman conduct the training as if to give it validity.  I will end now, cause I think I have said enough...but this is by no means over.  Wake up my people PLEASE!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Prepare for the Loss of a Loved One and Help Others

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 28:  Young girls embrace o...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Earlier this week, I asked a question on Facebook in order to get some feedback on how to be of assistance to my friends and family who are going through times of loss.  I got a few responses from people that I had not seen or heard from since High School and just befriended on FB within the last week and was so grateful for the time taken to respond.  The other reply was from someone that I may have met once and has chosen to take the time to offer himself as a source of knowledge and wisdom to those who seek in earnest.  I wondered about the silence from those other 200 or more people…What did it mean?
Speaking about death is something that is not very easy to do and very rarely approached in our society.  It is almost like a subject that is taboo.  We have such great fears about death and strong emotion that we often choose to ignore and avoid it when it is a phase of life that we all must face.  Just like any other time in our lives, it would benefit us greatly to examine ourselves and become familiar with our thoughts and feelings about death.  What it means to us, what are our fears and beliefs that surround death…In doing this, we can allow ourselves the opportunity to identify thoughts and beliefs that would inhibit the grieving process and our appreciation of the life that was and the recognition of the spirit that always is.
I belonged to a church several years ago that had a practice that we re-enacted every service and at any event: libation.  This was a ceremony that was adapted from our ancient African roots that honored the ancestors who came before us and those who had transitioned to another state of life, as well as honoring and acknowledging the elements and energy that make up all that is.  This ceremony was a reminder that we are all connected by divine spirit, that we are enriched and supported by our connection to all that is and ever was.  We call out names in this ceremony; names of heroes and sheroes who represent the spirit that we admire, respect, and consciously call forth to learn from and even emulate in the type of individual manifestation of spirit that we choose to be.  We call out names of our loved ones, friends and family and members of the world who have transitioned from this life in remembrance and acknowledgement that they may be gone physically, but forever exist.  I like to remind myself of one of the Laws of Thermodynamics.  This law says that: Matter is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes state.  The energy that we are, will always be and always has been, we only manifest it physically for a time or for many times, but our energy and essence always is.

I am grateful for this time of reflection and reminder and preparation.  I am grateful that there are ways and tools available to assist me to see things as they really are and not allow fear to cheat me out of a living experience of how great we truly are and can be.  I am grateful for that inner-knowing that we all have access to that guides and affirms and corrects and adjusts.  Today as in every day, I consciously choose.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I saw this post on another site this morning.  The person who posted this headline had this to say about this line: "WTF!!!"
There were no other posts on this topic...

This is what I have to say:

People are so imbalanced and this is why we keep seeing these stories that are crazy and unbelievable.  Until we start addressing the many issues that are in our communities, we will continue to see the same gruesome things in our society and even perpetrated against the children.  This should be a wake up call that something is drastically wrong.  These stories are happening more frequently.  Just sitting back shaking your head saying that it's a shame is not enough!  We have to start talking about the state of our relationships with ourselves and with others.  Talking about children not having people actively in their lives talking with them and teaching them by example and in word about life and guiding them so that issues like teen pregnancy, early sexual activity, drugs and violence and more can be dealt with with responsible adults who have some wisdom.  We have left our children on their own for years to just figure it out and do as they please for a large part in our communities.  We do not take advantage of the presence and wisdom of our elders in our families and communities and so they almost lose their place and we in turn lose their wisdom and guidance.  Parents are getting younger and younger and often do not have the skills, patience, maturity or guidance to navigate the life changing task of parenthood.

The question is: What are we going to do about this as a community to make a difference in what we see?  There are very concrete things that can be done.  We can make a commitment to share our wisdom gained through experience with youth and young parents who are learning what it means to be a parent.  We can go into our community centers and build relationships with the children there and their families.  We can go into the schools and volunteer in the classrooms, go on field trips and be the positive example that children need to see and keep  talking to them.  They hear us, they watch us...they only mirror what they see and hear around them.  Let us give them a grander vision to aspire to and not allow them to be immersed in a culture that is fed through the TV, Internet,  and Radio that glorifies excess vs balance and moderation; materialism vs spiritualism; quick-fixes and short-cuts vs pride in effort, discipline, and determination; egotism, competition, and elitism vs. interdependence and assisting others.  We are the ones who are in control of what our future will look like by the choices that we make each and every day.  Let us CONSCIOUSLY choose now.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Choosing to Face the Storm


I’ve been away from my beloved computer keys for over a week and have been anxious to return.  I had to take time away and focus all of my attention on relationships in my life.  Being able to adjust and respond accordingly to whatever life brings you is a valuable skill to acquire.  Sometimes because of the demands of a time or situation we are not able to operate like business as usual. 
So, last week was a week of intensive challenges, opportunities for growth, acknowledgment and awareness of self and others and ultimately—healing.  Took a lot of time and energy, didn’t always feel good, didn’t even want to go through it while I was in it, but I recognized the value of continuing even while in the storm.  I would like to share one of the lessons that I saw repeated through-out the week and with different people.  This is a lesson that I had actually written about almost a month ago and had not yet posted it to the blog.  Originally I began by talking about the habit of complaining.  By the end of the writing I was talking about forgiveness and releasing ourselves and others from old scripts and ways of relating.
I’ll skip the talk on complaining and get to the point: When we hold others captive by whatever their past contains, those people will forever be the same in our mind.  We don’t allow the truth of what currently is or the possibility of change in the future.  Sadly when we imprison others in this way, we also imprison ourselves.  This is reflected in our emotional baggage that we continue to carry, and if we are not careful, into our very personality expression and energy that we carry.  We become bitter, cynical, angry people.  At some point we have to learn how to truly look at ourselves and others and forgive, show compassion, learn our lessons and move on.  This allows our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to be fresh to look at each other and our experiences in a new way that is full of the possibility that is the true essence of who we are and capable of being.  We are just mirrors one to another.  Let us love each other through our rough spots just as we need to love ourselves through our own rough spots.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who Are You?

Someone asked me this question recently and I decided to write down my answer:

Who am I?
"I am a passionate, positive woman who works hard for what is important to me. I definitely dont travel an easy path and am not very mainstream in my beliefs and approach to life. Family is very important to me, relationships are very important to me.
I am a person dedicated to self-growth and the nurturing of growth in others. I use my writing to do this. Honesty, clarity, sincerity, love, justice, and compassion are very important values to me. I love to laugh, love to have fun...children are the most awesome creatures in the world to me. I nurture my spiritual self in many ways daily. This allows me to continue to be the essence of who I am despite many obstacles in my life."

If someone who didn't know you wanted to get a sense of the person you are, what would you tell them? How honest would you be? How complete in your answer?
It really comes down to how well you know yourself. There is a difference between an idea of who we are or want to be and our actual daily be-ing. If there is gap between those realities, all we need to do is observe ourselves, be honest, and make conscious efforts to transform anything that falls outside of the vision we have of our best selves.

So...who are you?


F8thQueen's Blog -
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, January 24, 2011

When the People You Love Fight Your Progress

                Protecting your sacred space to ensure your continual growth and progress is very important.  Sacred space includes your thoughts, your heart, your environment, and whatever you allow to enter into these areas.  Everyone in your world (your family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends) may not respond positively to your movement towards change or personal growth.  When these people identify themselves by their negative comments, dismissals, or even out right attacks, decide how you want to deal with them.  Do you want to distance yourself from them for a time?  Not invite them into this area of your life by limiting the information that you share?  Whatever course you choose, it is important that you not be swayed from your journey when you attempt to explain and include others so that they will overstand and accept you and your new choices.
                Know that the only acceptance that really matters in the end is self-acceptance.  Once you have that, your world will begin to shift to support the new be-ing.  Don’t waste your energy.  Send the negative energy forth with love and keep on moving.  Either others will see or they will not; come along on the journey, or get left behind.  We all have a choice, many choices in fact.  Choose to honor your highest good and keep moving forward.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Importance of our Ancestors and Elders

I was reminiscing the other day about my great-grandmother, the mother of my grandfather, who I was fortunate to know and spend years of quality time with into my adulthood. I was sharing stories with my husband of how I felt when I would go visit her when I was growing up. My great-gran was the matriarch of the family, mother of 8 with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Small but strong typified who she was to me then. Now I see her only as wise.
I spent a lot of time visiting my great-grandmother in the summertime. I was the oldest grandchild of her third son. This position of my birth gave me a benefit that I never fully appreciated until I was much older. Going to visit her was like being in another world because she had particular ways and routines that no one else I had ever been around adhered to. I groaned when she woke me up at dawn everyday…remember this is summertime! Before breakfast we would go outside and work in the flower garden. I pulled weeds, watered and whatever else my gran told me to do. Inside the house the duties would include one or more of these tasks, dusting, polishing silver, washing windows, watering house plants, making a proper bed with military corners, proper table setting and more. I had no appreciation for these tasks at all and complained to myself. It seemed unfair that I was spending my summer being a slave to my gran. Gran was a very religious woman and she read her bible everyday, so a bible reading was included in every day. Then there was the night routine! She watched her favorite TV shows which included Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and the 11pm news every night and following the news the house shut down. Though there were 2 unoccupied rooms out of the 4 total bedrooms, I always slept with gran with a few exceptions; this was not by my choosing. Gran had a habit that she maintained that utterly amazed me: She got down on her knees every night and prayed for about 30 minutes! This meant that I had to do the same…I always wondered what she had to say to God that took so much time. I imagined that she was listing every person that she had ever known with a thanksgiving or request with regard to each of them! Then after the prayer we got in her Queen sized bed on our respective sides. I was not the most conscientious sleeper in those days so my gran suffered many a night from my knees and elbows. At her advanced age, this was not a good thing, but she never kicked me out of her bed. She did however place three pillows between the length of us to absorb my blows. I’m not sure how much the pillows helped, but she didn’t complain much.
One of the other unique things my gran did was call people on birthdays and holidays and read out of the Daily Word. She always took time to share a word of wisdom and positivity with everyone. She also sent every grandchild and great-grandchild a birthday card for their birthday which always contained new crispy dollars. We looked forward to this every year! It wasn’t the amount that mattered but the fact that they were new and crispy that we children loved. Her home was where I nurtured my love of writing. It may have been where the passion began. I remember my first songs and poems written on her front porch swing at the age of 10. Since I always visited alone and there being no other children in the area to play with, I had lots of solitary time to think and explore myself. I also began my true love and connection with animals here as I developed a close sharing with her Weimaraner, Pepper. Pepper was the playmate and confidant that kept me company during these visits.
As I look back I see how much richness and virtue and value my gran taught me by her seemingly strict methods. I learned discipline that has served me well in many areas of my life. I learned the value of hard work, the value of taking care of things that belong to you, of keeping a clean home and entertaining others. These are things that were not only taught to me as a female, but to my other cousins as well and my brother. We each got our turn in our training. At the time, I thought that I was the only one. I learned to think of others as well as myself and to serve in whatever way I can. These are all things that our children need more lessons in today and the messages are not being passed on because we have changed our methods so much. Much of childrearing is self-directed by the child. Parents have few or no expectations and requirements of the child. I remember when I began to see the marked difference in the generations…the lack of discipline and responsibility. Sometimes the wisdom of the elders may seem harsh or unnecessary, but it is their experience that guides them and we need all of that wisdom.
I was listening to the radio this week and heard an interview with a Chinese-American elder who wrote a book about what it is like for an older person to advance in age: I Love a Broad Margin to My Life By Maxine Hong Kingston. She chronicled her thoughts and experiences starting from the age of 65 to 70, her current age. It was profound to listen to her simple wisdom that reached far deeper than any grand philosophy of any professor or leader. She gave a definition of what it means to be an elder and who is an elder that was the most comprehensive definition that I have ever heard. I will attempt to paraphrase: An elder is not a specific age designation…it is the recognition of responsibility to teach others and guide the community and world to make it better…using wisdom earned through experiencing life. Not only was her sharing profound, but the callers, also elders, continued to floor me with their depth and wisdom. See the link at the bottom for more on this wonderful woman.
There is so much lost in our present age when we fail to tap into the wisdom of our elders and stories of our ancestors. Take time to talk with those who are still among us, hear their stories, their wisdom. Record the memories that we are to pass down through generations so that we know who we are, where we come from and have a more solid sense of where we can go.
A 'Warrior Woman' Confronts Mortality, In Verse : NPR
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Good Way to look at the "Recession" or the Economy Issue

The Statue of Liberty front shot, on Liberty I...Image via Wikipedia
I read this today...see if it contains some wisdom to help in this time when people are struggling...

 " is ironic that at the abundant banquet of life, most poor suckers are starving or trying to buy what should be had for free. Don't be one of them. Use this downtime to appreciate your current status, to make practical decisions that are based on the actual effort you are willing to expend and to reassess where your relationship is heading in the future. What you value, protect or work at will eventually take on a life of its own and give back to you that which you have put in. Get real about the progress, priorities and quality of your love life, domestic situation or standard of living. Above all, keep it simple and don't worry about what other people do."

If we really overstood this and applied it, our reality would be completely different from that which we speak today I think.  Entitlement, ingratitude, greed, excessiveness, independence and more rule our daily lives as we pursue what is called "The American Dream" or believe in "The survival of the Fittest."  These are concept sold as the American way...concepts that do us a disservice as a whole as opposed to concepts such as interdependence, responsibility, and temperance.

Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness need not be our reality...there is another way, and the answers are often very simple.  Let us examine ourselves and find the simple in the seemingly complex and create change right where we are.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Movement towards the use of Natural Products

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...Image via Wikipedia

How often do you find yourself looking at the ingredients of what we put in or on our bodies? Not often?  Well, you might want to.  What you will find in food and non-food items alike are ingredients that you have no idea what they are.  So it follows, if you don’t know what the ingredients are, how do you know if it is something you want on or in your body?
As consumers we trust that if it has made it to the market, it must be safe even if it is not necessarily good for us, right?  That is not necessarily true.  Just because the FDA or USDA approves something does not make it safe.  In fact the criteria that these agencies use are bare minimum criteria:  What is the amount of something a product can contain and still be ok to use or consume.  For example, the level of mercury that can be in our fish or in vaccines and be considered to be ok for consumption or use.  Or the acceptable level of blood present in milk from the host animal that can still be used.  Who sets the criteria?  Based on what?  Are these standards shared with the public to determine if the public agrees that this is ok for them?  It is our choice whether to partake or not.  It would be nice to be informed about what and how much of something we are partaking of before we choose to or not to.  We are told that scientists, who do research, know the amounts that are harmful to the body.  So we are to trust them because consumption or use in moderation is ok, even of toxic elements.  That’s the theory.  Really?  So we can use minute amounts of mercury (and not so minute in terms of babies and vaccines) overtime and it not harm us?  There is no additive effect?  So the use of lead is bad and we accept this as poisonous.  We warn people of its usage and effects and we can keep the public informed in this case, but not others that are used in manufacturing and products such as mercury, fluoride, manganese and more?  We just absorb it or flush it out of our system.  That’s what our liver and excretory system is for right?  To cleanse us from the poisons that we put in our body?  Here’s an idea, why don’t we choose NOT to put things in our body that we KNOW are harmful.  Let’s stop crossing our fingers with regard to the medical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural cartels that are willing to gamble with our lives in order to make a profit.
Is there any doubt that many of the “advances” that we have made in the name of convenience, progress, and profit are the very same things that are creating the rapid increases in disease in our time?  The statistics are going up, we’ve all heard them.  Do we not see a link or is it ok just to put the responsibility on the person and blame it on lifestyle choices?  In fact, it is those who produce the products to be consumed that have control over the increase or decrease in the wellness of our society as a whole.  It takes each of us to do our due diligence to pay attention and choose consciously.  Not to consume something just because it’s easily accessible or cheaper.  As we struggle in this economy, how can we afford to spend more when we have less?  I say, how can we afford not to?  It is a matter of sacrifice and making a decision about what is more important to you: saving money or prolonging your life and improving the quality of it, saving time or getting more out of the food you eat by how you prepare it?  In the long run, the very thing that you are trying to save, money, is what you end up giving away as you pay for the results after we become sick or pay for medication or vitamins to supplement what we can do ourselves. 
I choose to spend a little more now for my family to ensure that what I offer to them  is safe and nurtures their being and development, and not harming or degrading them in any way.  What about you?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sex in Relationships

Sexuality and gender identity-based culturesImage via Wikipedia

I'm up late on this one my family 'cause it's important in many ways...what am I talking about? Sex. How it is approached in your relationship is very important and says a lot about who you are as individuals as well as a couple. You ever heard it being said that the foot represents a map of the whole body and the wellness of the body can be indicated by what you see in the foot? Well I think the same concept applies to life on the large scale. If you look at any aspect of a person's life you can get a snap shot of who the person is, what their issues are, their strengths etc. Well I am talking about sex now, so this applies as well. Unfortunately due to society's inability to relate to sex in a way other than secretly and taboo or overtly crude and boorish, we have a lot of issues when it comes to sex as a society. Individually, we have feelings of inadequacy, we have our egos tied up in our sexual prowess, we have wounds from sexual misuse and abuse from those who use sex as a way to exert power over others, we have shame...the list goes on and on. What do we do with all these things? We take them into our relationships that we have with one another and they react. So how do we deal with all of this? Whatever "this" is, the answer is truth, transparency, patience, and understanding. So often issues reveal themselves because we are not communicating when we are going through something, or when something doesn't feel right, or when something is bothering us. Communicating about the issue can be the most difficult part. Why? Because it requires the courage to be honest with yourself about what is going on and then to be courageous enough to share your truth with another. That is a tall order for most of us. It is not easy to do. It requires discipline and a commitment to yourself to be the best of who you are capable of being. Then after such consideration, to display that truth before another takes something special. The act itself should be highly reverenced, respected, and recognized for its significance and the trust and intimacy that it communicates. If we go into our verbal encounters with this frame of mind it will be so much easier to listen and participate with open compassion towards the person that we say that we love, rather than the defensive jousting that often occurs as if we are engaged in a battle with our enemy. I would like to suggest that as we approach our mates in a discussion about sex or as we engage in sexual activity that we think in these terms: 

"You nor I are lacking in anything. I dont need you to prove anything to me nor I to you by performing to a certain level. All I desire is an intimate experience with You. It is the spirit of the act, the mutual intimacy and sharing that drives the me that is satisfaction. It's about us. We make it what it is, and what it isn't. "

If this is not where you are in your sexual relationship, you have different goals and objectives in your sexual activities. Explore those and know what they are. Make sure the person you are participating with knows what they are so that you truly are consenting adults. By all means fam, let's keep talking...please share comment, encourage... Peace
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Even On bad days...

Sometimes in life we have those setback days, days when something happens in your experience that triggers a weakness in your make-up.  We all have them, the growth edges that we are still fine tuning.  Even if we acknowledge and accept the wholeness of ourselves with our growth edges, when these areas are exercised in our experience, it can be a very trying time.  The purpose of the surfacing is for healing and growth to occur.  We often just see it as someone pushing our buttons and making us feel uncomfortable and so we avoid the conflict.  I encourage you that as you go through times like these, that you don’t lose sight of the fullness that you are.  Don’t make you, your weakness. You are more than this.  Negative self-talk can strip us of every ounce of progress you have made and reduce you to a helpless child—if you allow it.  Know that even in our weakness, we can still be strong and know that nothing stays the same.  The next day or even the next moment allows new opportunities to recreate ourselves anew.  It is this reality, that is more than some distant hope, that gives us a reason to be.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, January 14, 2011

Giving our power away...

Group of children in a primary school in ParisImage via Wikipedia
Soooooo...I go to my son's school today and had a pretty positive experience. I got to reminisce on how much I miss teaching and being around children. Children are so refreshing and enlightening and they tell you so much about what is going on in the homes of the people we never see but make up the world we live in. We find out beliefs and attitudes and more. I like to use these times of sharing with children as a time to check in and find out whats really going on in the world versus what we say is going on.

The only aspect of the visit that had a moment of pause for me was a brief exchange that I had with the teacher while we talked about my son's behavior in the classroom and his academic progress. We both spoke of his difficulty in staying focused on a task and being very interested in socializing and what is going on around him to the point of interfering with the task at hand. So the teacher asks me: "Have you taken him to the doctor to see if they can give him something to help with that? I mean, he is not hyperactive..." 
Now in the past I would have gone into a whole speech about not approving of medicating children in order to get them to behave the way that we think that they should and closing the discussion down. But I chose to teach by example and said, "No, what we do is work on ways to help Solomon calm himself at home. Help him to recognize that he does not have to be doing something at all times. We encourage stillness and time for reflection as a daily practice."

What I recognize is that the very things that we seek to medicate in not only our children, but in society as a whole are things that with a little effort and discipline we can take care of ourselves. Instead we have been conditioned to take a pill to make the undesirable thing go away. We start at an early age teaching how to give your power over to something else. We let institutions control us, other people control us, and the new acceptable form of control: legal prescription drugs. You don't teach a child how to be self-disciplined by giving him a pill to let something else control him. You teach him how to have control over himself! And we wonder why we have generations of children who seem to be out of control! We have been conditioned to give it away...
Enhanced by Zemanta