Hopes

When I was a kid, I distinctly remember my mom saying “don’t get your hopes up.” I rationally know that it was a moment-in-time-specific saying, but it stuck with me, and has had a profound effect on many things that I do. I halt my emotions, rather than feeling them, in order to put myself in emotional limbo until all.the.facts.are.known.

I was doing this with my recent pregnancy. Because my sister-in-law had a 10 week miscarriage, I was afraid that an early announcement would bring about a similar result (not rational, I know), but announced secretly, anyway. I was afraid to let myself get too excited about being pregnant, in case it meant losing it (and then deciding the next steps, which almost 90% would be not trying anymore). When Potamus asked for a sister, and I want a girl, I held off even entertaining the idea that it could be a girl. Sure I know that I’ll love another son, but I want a girl.

In the past few days I have been catching myself calling the baby ‘her.’ I spent ten hours cleaning out our office/guest room and moving the changing table from the garage into our new nursery/guest room. I know it’s just nesting, but when my parents arrived I was just naturally calling it ‘her room,’ and saying, ‘when she gets here,’ etc. And I realized, when doing my mindfulness app, that I actually want to get my hopes up. Will I be sad, and go through the emotions if anything were to happen to this baby, or if she were to be a he, yep. And I’d also be fine. I’d know that I can handle emotions and changes and everything turns out okay.

So I’m letting myself get my hopes up. And I’ll deal with the consequences later. Because I’m tired of living like my life is on hold until I know X or Y or Z happens.

A Break in the Clouds

perspective

perspective

In the past 24 hours, Seattle has been pelted with an insane amount of rain, complete with incredible thunder and lightening displays. It seems like Fall has been ushered in, in a very wet, dreary way, but then, just as soon as the storm started, the sun came out. I was walking to my car and realized that it was sunny, warm, and I probably shouldn’t have dressed Potamus in a sweater since it was approaching 70 degrees. What a drastic, dramatic, and unexpected shift in the weather.

And it was just like that with my mood. Two days of just feeling down, depressed, frustrated with my parenting and then Voila (which my mom pronounces wahv lah, haha) my attitude changed. And I’m feeling misty eyed just thinking about it. The first perceptible shift was while trolling around on Facebook and seeing this story posted by the yoga studio that I attend. This gist is: we shout in anger because when we’re upset our hearts feel very far away from the person we’re upset at. Whoa, that was such a beautiful image and I couldn’t help but think about how it has been troubling me and Potamus and Boof in the past few days. My heart certainly has felt distant and shouting has ensued.

The second shift happened while nursing Potamus to sleep, while I was reading Huffington Post on my phone. This article called “A Letter To My Son’s Best Friend” almost made me cry, as I was experiencing, momentarily, how fast Potamus is growing up. The author, writing to her son’s stuffed bunny, says:

He’s going to outgrow you. And me too, in some ways. No, I’m actually not fine with that. Yes, thank you… I would like a tissue, please

There are moments where I am exhausted by the constant neediness. The way in which I am being tugged on and pulled at and cannot satisfy his need to be near me. There are the hard times where I’m still 100% parent, even when Boof is here, because he will always choose me over daddy (unless I’m out of the room or out of the house). It’s exhausting. And it’s temporary. But when I’m totally, completely, and utterly exhausted, it’s hard to be his whole world and give just a little more.

It reminds me of the deep pranayama breathing practice we do to start the Bikram practice, where the instructor says “breathe in, a little more, another sip of air, just when you think you can’t, breathe in a little more. It might feel uncomfortable, or make you feel dizzy, but one more sip.” And then repeats that on the exhale. Because I can always get just a little more air in, and I can always exhale just a little more. 

So, just for today, I’m going to give a little more, love a little more, breathe in the sweaty sleeping toddler neediness a little more, because it is going fast.

What things have you encountered that change your perspective just a little bit?

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey: A Movie Review

I wasn’t allowed to watch much television as a child, save Mr. Rogers, so my experience with The Muppets and Sesame Street is rather limited. My conservative Christina parents did not like that Count Dracula was a vampire, and had various other misgivings about the whole Jim Henson world, so my exposure is a few random snippets of the shows over the years. However, I was around during the Tickle-Me-Elmo phase, and while mystified by the appeal of a squeling red doll, I did recognize that The Muppets and Sesame Street characters were influential to most of my peers. In fact, thanks to my height, Big Bird, was one of my nicknames growing up!

So, in looking for documentaries that showcase career development or overcoming obstacles, I came across Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, which chronicled the life and work of Kevil Clash, as he pursued his dream of being a puppeteer, and eventually gave Elmo the voice and character that we know today. While thinking of myself as a reasonably interested individual, the ADD media generation has certainly worn off on me, so I give documentaries about 5 (long feeling) minutes to grab my attention. If the documentary fails to draw me in in that time, no matter how good it might get further along, I am done and moving on to the next one. This is what happened while prepping for my lesson. I started on documentary and BLOOP moved onto another and BLOOP moved on to another until FINALLY I stumbled across Being Elmo.

I was skeptical at first. How would this relate to my life, let alone the lives of my students? But hot dang, the first five minutes went by and I was rivited. The storytelling is magical, and really shows how Kevin followed his dream against the odds and ended up doing something that he loves. While I did feel that it was redundant toward the end (think minutes last 10 minutes), the fact that it kept my attention for so long was amazing.

So regardless of whether you grew up loving The Muppets or Sesame Street, or, like me, you have limited exposure to it, this documentary will entertain you and leave you inspired. I am excited to share the story with my students, in hopes to inspire them to follow THEIR dreams like Kevin did!

Focus, Intention, Purpose

ImageThe last few weeks at work have been hard. I wonder if they’ve FELT harder than they actually have been, though, since I tend to project anxiety and fear and frustration onto events and then focus on them intently. It’s like a meditation, an object of focus, and that tends to be the fear/anxiety/frustration spot that my mind rests on, rather than on the wide open space between all of the crises that arise. I think that’s the largest challenge in my line of work…navigating the space between the fires I have to put out.

So, this week I’ve been trying to focus on the large gaps of amazing time I get to spend with Potamus, as this summer IS slower than the busy season. I am also trying to focus on setting an intention for the future, but not trying to propel my anxious self too far ahead. It’s like that biblical verse about only fretting about today because tomorrow will take care of itself. I tend to try and project my current, very anxious preoccupied self, into the future, and into the busy season and think “oh my god, I can’t handle this. I can’t handle workin 16 hour days and shuffling my baby around between places.” But truthfully, that ISN’T happening (yet), as I am currently at home watching The Olympics with Potamus snoozing peacefully in our bed. It’s his 2nd nap of the day and it’s not even 1pm. Not stressfull. No crisis here, and with only 1 client on my caseload (and they are currently in the inpatient unit) I don’t have a whole lot to do.

So I’ve tried to open my heart, set an intention toward abundance and structure in the job department..or in the life department actually. The last time I did this, when I was in a session with Courtney, I ended up having the craziest experience afterward: I got a new job, found out I was pregnant and bought a new house…all within a few months. I was at a place where I was open to change, to abundance, to newness and fullness, but lately I’ve felt small and constricted, like the Grinch who’s heart was too small. My heart feels like a raisin that’s additionally dried out and shrivelly because it was kicked under the couch and has been relaxing next to lint for the past 7 weeks.

I’ve noticed a subtle shift inside me because of this new focus. I’ve actually found several jobs online that I think I would love AND fit my criteria of part-time or structure. Hmm, perhaps my whole world doesn’t hinge on one perfect position. Perhaps, as Anne Lamott says, I can just hop from stepping stone spotlight to the next. Even simply seeing different options for work gives me hope.