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April in Review

May 3, 2009

A bit late on this, but I wanted to keep it going. Again, the idea and format for these reviews is from Mon at Holistic Mama, so go check out the others participating!

Summary

This month was really about finding my voice, on this blog and elsewhere, and continuing to contemplate a new direction I feel brewing. I sense there’s still a few months of ‘transition’ time before I will really see clearly on this.

Fun

Vacation in my beloved Canyon Country, which led to a post on Nature Mysticism, and then the haiku I found for that post led to the post on Art and Mysticism, and to an article on Zen Haiku for BellaOnline.

Ladybugs and snails – with spring here the kids are obsessed with both, and luckily we’ve found lots outside for them to look at.

Akashic Record Reading – For my birthday in March, I had a strong intuition to request an Akashic record reading with Akemi at Yes To Me. It caught me by surprise because I haven’t been much interested in such a reading before, and the tradition it stems from is very different from my own background. But the reading was done in April, and was exactly what I needed. I feel that the 2nd Chakra Series I just finished was a direct result of it.

Challenging

My husband was out of town for 4 days. Discovered I am not cut out to be a single mother of three preschoolers. The level of energy required is just unfathomable (see Slice of Home below for a glimpse.) Hubby feeling very appreciated about now.

Thoughtful

Parenting a four-year old has been heady business lately. Here’s some of what we’ve been dealing with:

Gender Discrimination: She saw the DVD Mulan, Disney’s Chinese warrior-princess movie, at the library and wanted to rent it. She’s been saying she wants to go to China ever since a classmate’s grandfather did a presentation on Chinese New Year at her preschool, so (despite my general dislike of Disney princess movies) I said yes. It’s about a young Chinese woman who disguises herself as a man to join the army, in part to escape an arranged marriage by her parents and in part to save her family’s honor because they have no son that can go. The whole message is supposed to be ‘girls can do anything boys can do.’ But of course that only needs to be said if you’ve ever heard anything different, which my daughter has not. So the entire thing sent her into gender-processing overdrive, with questions like ‘Why doesn’t she want to get married?’, ‘Why does she have to dress up like a boy to be in the army?’, and ‘Why won’t her friends listen to her anymore when they find out she’s a girl? I did the best I could, using the general ‘this was a long time ago in China when people were ignorant’ approach. But she still doesn’t want to go to China anymore. I guess I’ll wait to tell her most of the world wasn’t – and much still isn’t – any better.

Conformity – We got in the car for school and I noticed she had two different shoes on. After a bit of back and forth about who should go in the house to get a matching shoe, she finally said ‘Why do my shoes have to match anyway?’ A very good question, for which I did not have a very good answer. And since I have vowed to have reasons for the things I ask of my kids, I let her wear the mismatched shoes. But (and I’m still not sure I should have done this) I took the other two shoes with us and put them in her cubby. Sure enough, when I picked her up she had a matching set on. She said she ‘got tired of everyone asking her why her shoes didn’t match.’

Thoughtful

I didn’t say much to my daughter on the shoe issue, and am still chewing on this one in general, but it did remind me of something I once heard Gangaji say, along the lines of: “Lots of people fear spiritual communities because they are worried about cults, about being taken advantage of, or being controlled. But you’re already in a cult. It’s called SOCIETY. A true spiritual journey helps you break free of all your limiting conditioning. Which is not the same thing as rebelling against it.”

Website/blog Find

I thought this was beautiful, I guess it’s been around awhile, but I was reminded of it at 100 Musical Footsteps. All of these dancers are hearing-impaired:

Words

Let’s count the Gangaji quote above for this section shall we? These are supposed to be brief, an art I haven’t perfected yet!

Favourite Tip/Idea from web

Ditto here, I’m running out of steam! But I did update my blogroll this month, so check out some of those if you haven’t already.

Slice of home

6 minutes at our house:

First the twins get a gymnastics lesson from big sister...

First the twins get a gymnastics lesson from big sister...

Then she teaches them hide and seek, here she is seeking (and don't ask me what she's wearing, they played dress-up before this...)

Then she teaches them hide and seek, here she is seeking (and don't ask me what she's wearing, they played dress-up before this...)

...and here's the hiders - about 10 feet away from the seeker, challenge isn't really the point of the game:-)

...and here's the hiders - about 10 feet away from the seeker, challenge isn't really the point of the game:-)

Here's the next seeker, very proud that she can count to ten now too....

Here's the next seeker, very proud that she can count to ten now too....

...and the hiders in this round, giggling madly, just in case you miss the lump...

...and the hiders in this round, giggling madly, just in case you miss the lump...

25 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2009 1:36 am

    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for the link love. I’m glad my Akashic Record Reading inspired you. It’s good to try something different, isn’t it?

    I like the format of your monthly review. I have been doing gratitude posts that are meant to be personal sharing. They are now monthly — I might adopt the basic structure of this review.

    Cheers,

    Akemi

  2. May 4, 2009 2:04 am

    You have written some stunning posts this month MM. I’m digging this ‘finding your voice’ thing. I’ve been loving your writing.

    That hide-and-seek is hilarious isn’t it? I love that when they don’t see you, they think that they are hidden, however much of a big, giggly lump is on show!

  3. May 4, 2009 8:59 am

    There. I think the linky thing may work now…

  4. May 4, 2009 9:43 am

    Hi there Lisa – had to laugh at the cult called Society! And thanks for the video of the dancers with all the arms – I called Frank in to watch it with me and we both loved it.

    Lovely to hear about your April!

    Cheers – Robin

  5. mommymystic permalink*
    May 4, 2009 8:14 pm

    DW- thanks for the link fix, it was bugging me (sorry to be so anal, but you do DO deserve the clickthroughs too!!) On the hide-and-seek, yes it is hilarious, and they just squeal in delight every time they are found, no matter how many times we play…definitely one of those things I have vowed to do as much as possible for as long as it will last!!

  6. mommymystic permalink*
    May 4, 2009 8:16 pm

    Yes, I love that quote too (I paraphrased it here ‘cuz I couldn’t find the original, but I think I got pretty close…) Thx for commenting!

  7. Carin permalink
    May 5, 2009 5:49 am

    What a great sounding month! Love that you feel you’re feeling you’re finding your voice on this blog and elsewhere, I’m still looking for mine so very inspiring.

    Love the pics 🙂

  8. May 5, 2009 6:27 am

    Wow! I love that video – thanks for sharing.

  9. May 5, 2009 10:37 am

    Hi Lisa,

    You would think that in the day and age we live in, gender discrimination shouldn’t have to still be something to deal with. Sadly, it is. I think of my daughter, now 12, and how we’re trying to show her that she can do whatever she wants. Although the older she gets, the more influences from the outside have an effect. Hopefully we’re pointing her in a direction that will lead her down a path of belief in ‘all is possible’.

    And I love the pictures, they’re all great!

  10. May 5, 2009 12:08 pm

    That’s so funny about your daughter and that dvd. I had never thought about that if they are not brought up with those issues, then they have a whole bunch of different questions! Never ends, lol.,

    Can’t believe you were even trying to cope with 3 preschoolers!

    I alos want to have real reasons for what I ask of her. If she wants mismatched shoes, then it’s her choice. I like that your daughter made up her own mind.

  11. May 5, 2009 12:49 pm

    Lisa,
    You know I always love to read your month’s end posts. I think everyone should do this process–of reflection and integration–me included. In an ideal world we would, then perhaps we’d realize that the wholeness we seek is already here…in the silliness of our children, in Gangaji’s wisdom, in hubby’s devotion, mismatched shoes, intuitive readings, snails and you and me and all of us. Loving your words and insights today. You keep us real. Hugs.

    p.s.FYI, did you know that in the Jesuit tradition this process you demonstrate here (basically) is engaged in at the end of every day? it’s called a Daily Examin. We invite ourselves to reflect on how (in Catholic terms) we were with God, as well as how God was with us. Being of a slightly different bent, I might put it this way: How did I embrace my wholeness, my sacredness, and bear witness to and support the wholeness and sacredness of every thing, every being. 🙂

  12. May 5, 2009 1:21 pm

    This is so wonderful, Lisa! I really enjoyed the Hide N Seek pics…it reminds me of when I was teaching my daughter to play.

    I’m with you on the whole “finding my voice” thing. I’m struggling with that on my own site…trying to figure out exactly what I’m trying to say, and who I’m trying to reach. It’s a learning process, for sure. As always, thanks for being such an inspiration. Not just to me, but to everyone.

  13. mommymystic permalink*
    May 5, 2009 4:07 pm

    Carin – thanks for coming by. I think ‘finding my voice’ has ended up being one of the big gifts of starting a blog for me, which I didn’t really realize would be part of it when I started it…I think I thought I already HAD one, but writing regularly like this is really an awakening process for me (I was never a journal-keeper, so maybe this is a little like that.)

    HS – yes, that video is amazing, isn’t it?

    Mon – yes, it’s an interesting time right now, as she becomes more aware of the world and what others think. I do realize this is just barely the tip of the iceberg on that front, so have been thinking a lot about this balance of encouraging freethinking in a constructive way (i.e. not just total chaos…which my household tends to run towards anyway, with three this age!)

    Jan – I have been wanting to learn more about the Jesuit tradition for some time. Isn’t there also a tradition of a 28-day retreat for laypeople or something along those lines? It seems to be a very contemplative tradition, so it definitely intrigues me.

    Jay – yea, see my note to Carin above – I do think blog development (at least on a personal/spiritual blog) is this self-discovery process…looking forward to seeing where yours goes too!

    Lance – 12 is such an interesting age, for girls especially I think, because they are on the brink of so many adolescent changes. I do think this generation is inheriting such a better gender outlook than prior ones, so it will be interesting to see how that manifests.

  14. May 5, 2009 4:50 pm

    Lisa, your post reminds readers how children’s cartoon movies are no longer as simple as they used to be. The complexity of layered narratives meant to appeal to adults as well can certainly challenge parents to deal with resulting questions they do not anticipate. It calls into question the true nature of a children’s movie and why societies are so hellbent on urging children to grow up so fast?

    The series of images of your children are a wonderful addition to this down-to-earth, heart-to-heart reflection. Your writing style offers an appealing sense of connection to your readers. That suggests you are also candid and forthcoming with inner self.

  15. Hathor permalink
    May 5, 2009 9:02 pm

    MM, In regards to your daughters shoe choice, I like the way that you were thoughtful on this topic. This brought back a memory for me of when I wore shoes that I had picked out myself with an outfit that did not match very well when I was around the same age. A neighbors mother made a snide comment to me about it. I was very sensitive to this, and made it my mission for the next 15 years to match and look my best. I did not have a conversation with anyone at the time about this, but can see now how it dramatically affected my sense of outer self expression. Then spending my 20’s swinging in the opposite direction. I guess it’s a fine line to walk. How to learn when conformity is appropriate, and when self expression is.I am still figuring this one out:)

  16. thezeninyou permalink
    May 6, 2009 12:39 am

    Wow great post! Good stuff. Glad you found your voice…hoping that May brings about more insights and lessons ;). I am amazed about that video! I saw it last week for the first time and was blown away…I had no idea they were hearing impaired! That is truly amazing!

  17. mommymystic permalink*
    May 6, 2009 2:12 am

    Liara – I hope I am ‘candid and forthcoming’ with both myself and readers – it is sometimes easier said than done, as we all know!

    Hathor – Yes, this is the line we are ALL struggling to figure out I think, the line between conditioning and rebellion, and what the proper balance is.

  18. May 6, 2009 3:57 am

    My husband was away for one entire month in April in the States on a business trip. I did not have an easy time handling my kids as well. I definitely understand what you are going through and am not sure how you manage with three preschoolers.

    Your post got me chuckling. Oh yes…I have been having that too….questions that do not appear to end….my raised eyebrows over what my girls are wearing for outings, and them hiding under my blanket etc etc.

    Love the video too! So beautiful!

  19. Anonymous permalink
    May 6, 2009 1:29 pm

    Dear Lisa,
    I know you already responded on my blog but I wanted to officially post your award from me here, so your readers can offer you kudos too! You are a true SISTER to me–and to so many others. I admire your passion for living and learning. And I appreciate how you support me in doing the same. Thanks for being you and for being a soulful presence in my life!
    Blessings, Jan
    http://www.awakeisgood.blogspot.com

  20. mommymystic permalink*
    May 6, 2009 7:55 pm

    Evelyn – a month??? That would definitely test my equanimity big-time. Of course, lots of single parents do it all the time, so I am lucky to have a true co-parent, I know.

    Jan – thanks again for the award and I am proud to call you sister!

  21. May 6, 2009 9:30 pm

    Nice growing month for you! That video is wonderful, it reminds me of a Thanka I have in my bedroom.

  22. May 7, 2009 12:36 am

    I love the way you take a closer look at your children and see the world through their eyes. I have a tough time being mindful with one. You have three? I bow to your strength.

  23. mommymystic permalink*
    May 7, 2009 7:23 am

    Matthew – yes, there are a lot of lovely AvalokiteĹ›vara thankas.

    Mermaid – did I give the impression I was always mindful? Definitely false advertising, lol!

  24. May 11, 2009 1:09 am

    I really loved this post — hearing about and seeing your kids, and your parenting moments, the links and quotes.

    Thank you!

  25. mommymystic permalink*
    May 11, 2009 8:13 pm

    Stacy – I’m glad you liked it! That is always what I like about your blog too, and I have gained much insight from your explorations of different ways to interact with our kids.

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