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Blogging is what I do.  I love writing and sharing my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Reflection Time Selfie

Reflection Time Selfie

If this is your first time reading this series of my blog, please take a moment and read the introduction Elul Journey: A New Year Is Emerging – 5775  http://t.co/Y6vmXdO6GJ

Today is 7 Elul or 23 days until 5775; it is a time to reflect and to choose ways in which I can best move towards the High Holy Days and the days that follow.  While it is not easy to navigate life’s journeys, I always get to decide how to approach my life.  In this moment, I am choosing to walk gently and embrace each step with openness.  As I say this, I also realize that this would be a good time for a reality check.

During each blog post of my Elul Journeys, I will share a poem, a saying, a teaching that has helped me navigate the world.  Let me know what you think!

~ ~ ~

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

 — David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
©1996 Many Rivers Press

This has been a challenging few days or maybe even a few months.  I have been in a cocoon of  darkness while sorting out how to navigate my job journey, my parenting journey, and my soul journey.  It has been hard, but it has also been necessary.

What has been profoundly amazing is that I have felt held by loving friends that are waiting with outstretched arms to hold my spirit and nurture me just as I am.  I am feeling so blessed even as I face some very real darkness.

While darkness has been my companion, I realize that light always burns deep inside me and radiates throughout me and into the world.  Still I have to navigate what is and trust that everything will be good.  Time and again, I have learned that in order to see the full spectrum of colors, I have to be willing to face all the parts of me.

Knowing that I am surrounded by precious beloveds and faith can make it possible for the darkness to be quite sweet.

With blessings & light,
Chava

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Recently, a good friend, emailed me a photo of Shakespeare.  As I opened the photo, I was curious as to what I would find.  Would it be a fabulous quote by Shakespeare or a photo of the artist himself?  To my surprise, it was neither.  The photo that greeted me was a photo what I believe to be a ghost town somewhere in Shakespeare, New Mexico.

Courtesy fo Bob Carroll

Courtesy fo Bob Carroll

Since seeing the photo, I have been reflective about what perspective means. Each of us perceives the world through our own eyes and our own hearts.  Our experiences help us navigate the world we travel.  One person might face a difficult experience and find moments of light while another person faces that same experience and can’t function.  One person might find rock climbing exhilarating while another person might is brought to tears the first time they try repelling down a mountain.  And now Shakespeare has an entirely new meaning to me.  While I will always look forward to seeing a great Shakespearean play, I am more excited about the prospect of checking out Shakespeare, New Mexico.  Shakespeare has a brand new perspective to me.

Life can be challenging.  Experiencing life fully could mean a plethora of events can impact how you feel at any given moment.  Parenting, my work, my writing, the weather, my dog – any one of these realities can bring my mood up or down if I let it control me.  While moments can be rough, I am a strong believer that I get to decide how I walk in the world.  My hope is that I on most occasions I find the light in dark situations or that I walk gently whenever possible.

To quote a wise man:

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. ~William Shakespeare 

We really do have the inner strength to control how we walk in this world; we only have to make the choice to use it.

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He’s My Son – part 1

(Note: This was originally written in August, 2000, a very important sequel to this will be posted later today or early tomorrow.  Aryeh has given me permission to post his story.)

“Your child is wired differently.”  Those were the words spoken to me by our son’s neuro-psychologist.  What does that mean to me as a mother?  Does it mean that I struggle to be a good parent? Yes, it does.  I struggle with how to love my child when he tries to hurt me, I struggle with how to hold him when he is being destructive, and I struggle on how to talk to him when he speaks with hateful words.

I practiced and still practice attachment parenting.  I nursed my son for longer than most in our American society, I had my child in the family bed until he left on his own, and I kept him close to me until he wanted some freedom.  All in all, I practiced non-coercive parenting, which means that I didn’t push my child to be any thing he wasn’t able to be.  I listened to his vibes and found out that he was an easy child until one day I woke up and realized my child had changed.

Did he grow resentful when our nursing relationship stopped? Did I not love him enough?  Should he have been the center of my world forever?  Did I make a mistake when I had another child?  What did I do to hurt his little soul?  I can only imagine what is going through his little mind when my now 7 year old struggles with how to live an emotionally sound life.  Could I have done something differently?  I don’t know, but I do know that he deserves the best care and love that I can give him.

Aryeh’s life is a complete miracle; he was born with barely enough platelets to keep him alive.  He survived and after six weeks of life started to manufacture his own platelets.  As a first time mother, I found it overwhelming.  I felt frightened and alone.  He was my angel, but I didn’t know what kind of life he would lead.  As he grew, I was astounded at how normal and healthy he was.  He did things all during the normal period of time and he was happy.   I couldn’t believe I could be so lucky to have such an easy and beautiful child.

Today, Aryeh isn’t so lucky.  He struggles how to learn and how to control his emotions.  At the same time, Aryeh is an incredibly insightful person with a fantastic imagination.  He teaches his friends how to improvise and use their imagination.  Fortunately, he has many more good moments than difficult moments.  But when the difficult moments come, there is nothing that can calm him down until his body is able to relax and return to a gentle place.  It is so tough to stand by and watch him come to terms with his anger.  I want to hug him, love him, and show him how to free himself of his pain.  But it isn’t so easy.

When did he change?  At about 3 ½ years old, his motor skills stopped progressing like his peers.  At about 5 years old, I noticed that I had to prepare him for everything.  But I always believed that Aryeh marched to a different drummer than those of his peers.  That was OK, I did too.  I let Aryeh guide me on my parenting and he did a great job.

Looking back is difficult, but somewhere between 5 years old and 7 years old, my baby changed.  I wasn’t able to comfort Aryeh with a simple cuddle; I wasn’t able to speak soothing words that warmed his heart.  I couldn’t give Aryeh what he needed to be happy.  A mother’s love wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.  My little boy with the angel eyes needed more than I could give him. That realization has left me with a painful pit in my stomach and emptiness in my soul, but it has also empowered me to ask for help.  I had no choice.

In the beginning I began using alternative methods of healthcare such as chiropractic and homeopathy to help keep Aryeh focused.  I still believe in alternative methods of health care, but I also believe that the alternatives can’t give him everything he needs.  Both alternatives that I used have helped Aryeh tremendously, but I still need more help and he needs more help.

Today, I am learning how to use the systems that stand before me.  I am trying to learn from the experiences of other parents and professionals.  At the same time, I’m fighting my innate fear of bureaucratic systems.  I think out of the box and strive to keep my baby from perpetuating in the box.  But my angel has needs and I have to help him meet those needs and retain his spirit.

I now look forward to meeting the new professionals in his life: special educators, speech/language therapists, social workers, psychologists, and who ever else needs to join us for our ride.  He was already in the world of occupational and physical therapy, so now he will have even more folks to watch over him.  My previously homeschooled child will now become a student in the very technical world of special education.  I pray that he will learn to smile in the world of IEP (Individual Education Plan).  I quietly wonder whether these professionals will be able to keep his essence in mind or will they stand behind their prejudices and their realities.

The majority of our culture doesn’t have a clue how attachment parenting really works.  They believe it is a sign of weakness and abnormality in a dysfunctional family.  But if those same professionals saw our family flourish and grow, they would have their mouths hanging open in awe.  The neuro-psychologist looked as though nursing Aryeh for a long time was a real issue when in reality it probably helped Aryeh to live as a self assured little guy when the odds were stacked against him.

How do I reconcile all the issues of my parenting style with that of the technical world of special education?  I am not sure if I ever will.  The one thing I know is that I am my child’s advocate and I am the only one who truly keeps his interests at heart.  I also need to remember that everyone wants to help Aryeh succeed, no one wants him to hurt.  To an extent, I will need to let other people into our world; I have no choice it is for Aryeh.  He comes first.

 

 

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