Friday, July 26, 2013

My Me-Shine

This summer, we have developed a new nap-time routine.  My kids lay on either side of me on the big bed, and we each sing a song as we settle in.  My 5-year-old daughter sings all four verses of the Caspar Babypants version of "Baa Baa Black Sheep", my 3-year-old son sings the alphabet, and I sing our own variation of "You Are My Sunshine."

I have been singing that song to my children since before they were born.  I wanted something to sing to them, and as I wracked my brain, it is the best I could come up with.  Now, whenever they hear it they call it "Mommy's song." I am glad that I have given them something positive to associate with me.

My kids then tell me to sing it about different people, Daddy, Grandma, each gets to be a bit of a tongue-twister, but I do it.  They love the last line, where I say, for example, "Please don't take my Daddy-shine away!"

My daughter said to me earlier this week, "You need to add a verse about yourself!  We love you, so you need your own verse, too."

It took a bit for me to choke the words out through my own hesitations, but I made it through.  Each time they tell me to make sure I sing about myself.  It has grown into a real exercise in valuing myself and loving me as much as I do others:
I am my sunshine, my only sunshine.
I make me happy when skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear, how much I love me.
Please don't take my me-shine away.

At first it seems a bit narcissistic and awkward.  Granted, it is a bit silly.  But how often do I sing a love-song to myself?  If I struggle to see my own beauty and value enough to sing a silly song, how can I be serious about it?  Can I make me happy when skies are grey?  Are my internal resources close enough to mind for me to be the sunshine for my own soul?

I am thankful for my daughter for telling me to sing a song of love for myself.  She was really onto something, there.  How often do I forget to send my love inwards, as I am so intent on sending it out?

I am a good, decent and kind person.  There is nothing so awful about me to make me undeserving of love or beauty.  So, why do I find it so hard to love myself in general?  I've gone back up into my head, trying to convince myself that I deserve beauty, having let my focus away from the internal and deeper knowing of my own deservedness, power and beauty.  I thank my children for forcing me to look at it again.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nine Years

Nine years ago today, I was in Northern Minnesota, marrying the man I had come to love, my best friend since the first day of freshman orientation in college.  We were married in the church where he grew up.  I was wearing the most beautiful dress I had ever seen, and my mother-in-law's veil. Family and friends came from far and wide, and the weather was just perfect.  It was a beautiful event on a beautiful day.

Today, I am in Western Washington, living a beautiful life with the same man: the man I have come to love even more deeply than that day long ago.

Two kids, four vehicles, an apartment, a mortgage, seven job-changes and an intentional "I love you" every day...and here we are.

It would be a lie to say that every moment has been wonderful, but the truth of the matter is that I would not want to spend my life with any other person.  We frustrate and annoy each other like no other human could.  We fill in where the other falls short, we knock each other's rough edges, and we *get* each other.  We have the ability to geek out like there's no tomorrow, and love each other because of it all.

Never once has my devotion to my husband, or commitment to our vows, or my desire to cherish our relationship ever wavered.  I know he feels the same.  We made a public promise, and we are both stubbornly true to our word.

I lead a blessed and loving life. The man who has chosen to remain by my side through thick and thin is a large part of it.  We are both working towards greater self-identity and spiritual awareness, working away from enmeshment and codependency.  As a result, we are healthier, happier and functioning higher on a daily basis.  It is a lot of work, and we both firmly believe it is worth it.

Happy Anniversary to the man I love, my best friend, my partner in life, the father of my children, the perfect match for my soul, a central feature in the beauty of my life.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just This Moment

When Pope Francis was elected, I watched on TV.  I was so intrigued by the fact that so many people were recording on their phones and devices, I wondered if any of them were actually watching the event.  Of the thousands of people there, only a handful of them were actually there.  How often have I been so hard-set on getting a picture or video that I actually miss what is going on?

I realized it for myself when I was at the Children's Museum with my kids a while ago.  The theme was yellow rubber duckies, and there was a play pit full of them.  The kids were having a blast, rolling around and piling them up.  I had my phone out and was calling to them to look here, pose there, smile at me...and when I looked at the pictures later I realized I hadn't spent one second of the time simply watching them play or even playing along.  I couldn't even remember their laughter as they giggled in a pit of rubber ducks.

A bit after the fact, but still pretty cool.
This evening, the moon was rising over Mount Rainier in a phenomenal view.  It was just coming over the top, and as such the moon was enormous and almost full.  I started darting my attention around, trying to find a place to pull over and capture it.  There was a man on a motorcycle who was almost frantically trying to find a place to take a picture.  He would zoom past me, pull over, snap a shot, then zoom further down the road to take another shot.

I realized that in my desperation to take a picture, I was denying myself the enjoyment of this sight.  I took a breath and really let it sink in.  The moon was soft and nearly full, and appeared almost as wide as the top of the mountain.  It was extraordinary, like something you'd see in a National Geographic magazine, or a coffee table book.  True, having a picture to share on Facebook would be fun, but does the pursuit of the picture need to override the moment itself?

How annoyed am I that I missed one of Ichiro's final home-runs as a Mariner because I was trying so hard to get a picture of it?  It is an interesting mind-set to explore.  The great thing about the digital era is that I can take a thousand pictures of something and not be "wasteful".  But I wonder how much of my own life-experience I am missing because I'm trapping myself behind a lens.  How much of my children's joy am I genuinely missing because I'm so busy trying to capture photographic evidence?

I love taking pictures.  I love the challenge of figuring out how to frame a picture for maximum impact.  I love being able to capture a moment of beauty when it arises.  I need to find balance.  There is a beauty in balance, how much photo time I need to put in and how much time with my camera in the bag simply soaking up the energy of the moment.  My children won't remember all of the pictures I take, but they will remember if I was looking at them in person or through a viewfinder.  It is not often I see the full moon behind the mountain in such a breathtaking way, why not simply experience it?

That's it.  I need to clarify within myself when to capture beauty, and when to simply let it flow.  For now, I plan to practice observing and enjoying beauty, and letting some of the fleeting moments go.  They are fleeting for a reason.  The beauty is to be experienced and shared.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Little Hiccup

I haven't written in over a month, and I have missed it greatly.

This blog is a form of journal for me, a way to keep my thoughts straight and figure out what I'm thinking, feeling and learning along the way.

For a while now I have felt lost, a bit confused, and adrift.  My desire to be on a quest for beauty waned somewhat, and I lost sight of it.  Only this week, in conversation with a friend from my PTI, did I realize how much my focus on DESERVING beauty has waned.  I have been feeling weak, ugly, incapable and like a fraud.  It was too embarrassing to think about getting back to writing because I had fallen so far from my original intent.

Even though I know it is somewhat silly, I often find the messages in fortune cookies to be timely.  My favorite was the one I got on December 19, 2007 that said, "Welcome the change coming soon into your life."  I was 8 months pregnant at the time, and my daughter was born about 10 hours later.  That one is pasted in her baby book.

Yesterday, I got one that said, "Functioning superbly comes automatically to you."  I got to thinking about it, and decided it is more of a blessing than a fortune.  You know what?  I can function superbly.  This is encouraging to me.  I've been in a very rough spot, personally and spiritually, but I have been feeling a kind of up-swing this week.  I think I am ready to get back to having my eyes forward, practicing functioning superbly again.

I deserve to function superbly.  I deserve the beauty of functioning well.  I deserve feelings of gratitude for life and its challenges.  I deserve to be on the other side of this funk and get back to beauty.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!