You've Got to Remain to Bein' Yourself, You Can't Be Nobody Else... *

I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.
I will not compare myself to other bloggers, nor my blog to others' blogs.

Because when I do, I don't write. Or, I write, but don't post. This last week, I read posts that were inspirational, heartbreaking (yet hopeful), funny, honest, creative, generous... and every time I'd think of writing, I would then immediately think of something else to do. Like read more blogs. Or watch the new Iron Chef prove he earned his title. Or daydream.

It wasn't until this morning, when I was thinking of writing, and immediately dismissed it (maybe I'll watch that Grey's Anatomy I taped instead!), that I took a look at that. And saw my little self, looking at all those other blogs, saying "I'm not like them. I can't do that." Well, no, little self! You're not like them! You're like you! And there's nothing wrong with you, remember?

I forget that my voice is my voice, and I shouldn't try to make it like anyone else's. I keep learning that, and living that, then forgetting that. And, like today, remembering that again. I remember the very first time I consciously had that thought: "Who I am is valuable." I had gone to services at a nearby church a couple of times, and I found out they had a meditation circle before the service. The week I decided to go, I went there, and when I walked into the room, there was no one there like me. Most people were older (this was before I was older!), most were... business-y types, very conservatively dressed. Knowing me, and that time, I was probably in tie-dye and Guatemalan woven pants. Or, they looked like they had been meditating for years (I was just starting out). (How the hell do you look like you've been meditating for years? I remember thinking that, though.) I started to leave, then it hit me: Oh! If there's no one else here that looks like me, that means I need to be here! Who I am is valuable. I have something to offer this circle. So I stayed, and the circle was good, and even though that church didn't work out for me, the thought that I'm valuable has.

So, I won't compare myself to other bloggers, nor this blog to others' blogs. It'll just be me, my blog, my perspective, my journey with living with an open heart... or learning why it might not be as open, then looking at ways to open it further. This is one way. Writing when scared, taking that leap. Clicking "publish".


* Title quote from the inimitable Adrian Belew, from "I Am What I Am" on the album "Young Lions", co-written by the Prophet Omega. Adrian took a tape of the evangelist and dropped lines of his into the song. It's such a cool song!


My Personal Soundtrack

Julie Pippert writes about soundtracks in her Hump Day Hmmm. To be honest, I don't really know much about the Hmm, but I wanted to jump in with this:

I hear music in my head. A lot. I wrote about it in my first post, and the song I write about there is one of the reasons I chose the title that I did for this blog.

The first time I remember this happening, I had been hearing John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" in my head for *days*. Every time I'd quiet my mind, there it would be; also every morning when I woke up. Rocky Mountain High... Colorado... I'm a John Denver fan, but this seemed excessive.

I went to a concert where some friends were performing (not John Denver, it was a Grateful Dead cover band + originals), and I ended up meeting a quite attractive man there. We decided to go out to dinner afterwards. Over dinner, he told me he had been on his way to just a "normal" conventional life, but when he was 27, the summer before, he visited the Rocky Mountains for the first time. He had never even left his home state (NC) before. There was something about that trip that completely woke him up, and he had been interested in really *living* ever since then. Intentionally, consciously. So... I started singing "Rocky Mountain High" to him!

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home, to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him
You might say he was born again
You might say he found the key to every door

We both just busted out laughing, and were good friends for quite awhile, until we lost touch after he moved away. I can't say if there was any kind of higher purpose in all that, but it was fun and interesting.

Since then, I get song messages fairly regularly. Sometimes for other people, sometimes for me. Earlier this fall, and again last week, I was waking up with Jefferson Starship, of all things, singing in my head. I sometimes feel a little alone on this spinning earth, like everything is all up to me.. and I'm just me. How can I handle it all? Then, the song:

Precious love
I'll give to you
blue as the sky and deep in the
eyes of a love so true

And you can count on me
you can count on my love
you can count on me baby
you can count on my love to see you through

Oh, yeah - I forgot. I'm not alone. I can count on you. OK. OK, phew. I need to hear that sometimes!

When I was in my early 20s I was in an intense, fun, slightly wild relationship with an intense, fun, slightly wild man. Before we moved in together, we were listening to a station here, long gone - WGSP, Great Songs of the Past. They played songs from the 50s, 60s, & 70s, and you could usually go three days before you'd hear any one song repeated. One day, Elvis came on - "All Shook Up". Mr.Intensity looked at me, and said, "You hear that?" "Yep. Great song." The next day, again, there it was: "All Shook Up". "You hear that?" "Yeah! Didn't they just play that yesterday?" The next day: "All Shook Up". "Uh, Caren? You hear that?" "Yes." "Do you know why I've been pointing it out?" "No." "I've been wanting to tell you I love you. I'm in love. With you." "Oh. You do? And you are?" "Yes. And I'm definitely all shook up." "Oh. I love you, too."

The relationship didn't last, but I've never heard All Shook Up without thinking of him. That, and Stevie Ray Vaughn's Honey Bee, but that's another story.

Like a queen bee's honey
You as sweet as can be
I'm the king, baby
Buzz with me.....


Why I Work

We went to rent a videogame Saturday evening. Evan had picked his, and Seth asked, "Can I get one, too?" and I said, "Sure." Evan, who knows his birthday is coming up, AND is lately, suddenly aware of the adult world of responsibility, bills, etc., asked "Are you sure?" Before I could answer, Seth said, "Well - that's the whole reason she works, so we can do things we want." I'm glad he thinks that. Rent? Power? Food? Water? Nah. Naruto Clash of the Ninja 2, that's why. That, and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.


Business of Being Born

Thursday, I went to a screening of The Business of Being Born, a film produced by Ricki Lake. Wish I could figure out a way to post the trailer here, but I couldn't find it on YouTube. It's worth it to visit the BoBB site, and watch the trailer.

I was SO moved by this movie. I forget that homebirth and natural birth are so rare in the US. I had both boys at home, and the empowerment and connection with myself I got from that experience have been so important in my mothering life. I was thinking that women feel empowered when they schedule a C-section, but really, they're turning over their power to their doctor and the medical system here... which I truly don't trust.

I got teary several times, the first being during the first birth they showed. It was a gorgeous water birth, and the look of ecstasy on the mama's face as she pushed the baby out will stay with me for a long time.

Evan's birth was as pain-free as birth can be. Folks have said it's just that "moms are supposed to forget", but *immediately* after the birth, I said, "That wasn't bad at all!" The connection I had with my midwife, Damaris, facilitated that; she's one of the most beautiful souls I know. I was with her, too, for Seth's birth. The contractions with his birth were a little more painful, but still, very very manageable. Beautiful births, both of them.

Being an unlicensed midwife assisting a homebirth is illegal here - and lay midwives can't get licensed. Very few doctors (maybe 2 statewide?) are willing to be backup for homebirths. North Carolina Friends of Midwives is working very hard to get this changed, so we can have Certified Professional Midwives in NC. The screening was to raise awareness of the issue, and to raise funds for NCFoM. I'm so glad I got to go. The movie will be released on DVD in February.


It's OK to Feel Good

The discipline that we would like you to exercise is to make a decision that nothing is more important than that you feel good, and that you are going to find thoughts that feel better. Your cork floating is the only thing that is worthy of discipline. ~ Abraham

I read that quote this morning on Abraham-Hicks.com, and it just opened my heart up. I also felt a connection between what they had written, and my post about nothing being wrong with me. It took me a minute to figure out what that was - but I think it's my knowing that It's OK to feel good. It's OK to feel good! I can feel good without having to doubt myself. I can feel good entirely, without there having to be bad feelings mixed in. And, according to Abraham, not only is it OK to feel good, it's important to feel good.

What a job! My work is to feel good.

Do you feel good?


I'm No Longer Invisible

Image from www.fanniemay.com

In response to Christine Kane's latest post about the power of language, I was reminded of something that was reinforced for me recently on Tim Gunn's Guide to Style: If you carry yourself with confidence (stand straight, walk purposefully), not only will other people's perception of you be positive, but you'll feel more confident yourself! Just by changing how you walk! In my response, I said there's such a difference when I walk with my head up through the grocery store, and when I slouch through, trying to be invisible. I'm not invisible!

And that has been a lesson itself through this wonderful life I've lead. Just recently, I got - truly got - that my actions impact others. For some of you, this will be... duh! Of course they do! But I honestly didn't know that. I had been told that. I had been exposed to that idea, through the 12 steps. But I didn't know it on a real level. I was invisible, the invisible girl.

I believe I internalized that throughout my childhood. My wants and needs were rarely, if ever, heard. My ideas were not honored. I remember speaking to my mom, and frequently getting
no response. None at all. Being invisible was safer, anyway. If I was invisible, then no one would yell at me, or belittle me, or hit me.

Recently, the ex and I sold some things at a group yard sale. A cookie jar was among the items we were selling, and a boy, about 8 years old, *desperately* wanted that cookie jar. His eyes lit up when he saw it! He showed it to his Dad, and he showed it to his Mom. He was SO excited about it. I didn't realize his mom had said he could buy anything he wanted if it was under $1, so when he asked how much it cost, I said $1.25. He went away, dejected. I asked Seth to chase him down to tell him I'd love to sell it to him for $1, but before Seth could get there, I heard the boy *begging* his Dad to get it. His Dad held firm - "Sorry, but your mom said you could buy it if it was a dollar or less." I couldn't understand it! I mean, he *loved* the cookie jar - could his Dad not hand him a freakin' quarter? Conventional parenting would tell you to hold that boundary, that kids have to learn you mean what you say, etc. That's why I'm not a conventional parent. Anyway - when Seth told him about the sudden sale on cookie jars, he practically *skipped* over to the table to buy it. His Dad came over, embarrassed: "I don't know why he wants that thing so much!" I said, "You don't have to know why. Just knowing he does is enough." With a big smile. I hope he pondered that.

The whole exchange brought up so many feelings for me. I knew why he wanted it - or I thought I could guess. It was a Christmas cookie jar, that looked like a snowman. I figured he was picturing when his house was decorated for Christmas, there would be that cookie jar on the counter.
His cookie jar, that he had picked out, and bought. He wouldn't be invisible. He'd have an impact on his environment, his home. (Not that I was projecting or anything.)

Before I had Evan, I never weighed over 100 pounds my whole life. I was 27 when he was born. I didn't starve myself, or binge and purge. I was just small. I realized, after I never got back to pre-pregnancy weight, that I was keeping myself small. I didn't want to take up too much space. I wanted to be invisible. But having a kid, man, having a kid means I'm here. It means I have an impact. So, it took me a while to get that lesson on a larger scale. I hope, that by hearing the boys, honoring their needs and wants, taking their ideas seriously, they'll never feel invisible. Unless being invisible is their superpower that day.

I'm not invisible. I have an impact. I matter. Just typing those words makes me sit up straighter. Or was it, sitting up straighter helped me type those words?


Found... Art?

I was making pasta with garlic, and the boys decided they'd like turkey in it, as well. All I had were frozen turkey burgers. When I went to thaw them, I saw this

(My apologies to the vegetarians among you.)

and it made me laugh. I figured this could count as art every day - found art. I hope to learn some kind of program where I can draw on the photo. Can't you see a little bug face?


There's Nothing Wrong With Me -- or You!

I wrote this in an e-mail to Christine Kane the other day:

"Recently I decided to stop seeing everything I was doing as wrong or unhealthy - and instead, fully accept myself where I am. Seems obvious now that I'm writing it, but it has made the *biggest* difference!

An example is that lately, I haven't been wanting to connect as much with people. I stopped going to my drumming group (of traditional West African drumming), and I'm just not getting out as much. At first, I was observing that, and thought "Oh, no! I'm isolating! Must force myself to get out!" Then I stopped, and asked, "What if this is OK? What if, this is what my gut is telling me to do, and I can do it, and not think there's something wrong with me?" So I did. And it's been great. I have more energy, I'm doing more creative things. I started a blog (which is still too young to share!). [I've since made the decision to link it to my blogger ID. Yikes!]

I *like* this not thinking there's something wrong with me all the time! It's so funny, too, 'cause I always recommend Cheri Huber's There's Nothing Wrong With You to people. I think I read that, and it *did* bring more self-acceptance, but in my mind, I must have been thinking "There's nothing wrong with you... except all those parts that are sick and damaged. THOSE are wrong." Now, I've decided... there's nothing sick or damaged. It's all just who I am. And if I was meant to be anyone else, I would be."

It has been so freeing to not have to worry about my "wrong" parts. Not that I don't need to live with awareness, and compassion, and knowledge that my actions affect others. But it hasn't been helpful to only accept those parts of me that I didn't think were wrong. "There's nothing wrong with you... except everything that's wrong with you." Nope. There's nothing wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with you, either.

Gassho ~



Quote from Seth this morning:

"Butt. Pretty much anytime someone says that word, it's funny."

Butt. Heh-heh.


Day 5 of Day 1

I made myself laugh when I realized this morning that I hadn't posted because I haven't created any art! Like I'm going to get graded or something. Kicked out of AEDM. I'm looking at it like this: Like Patti Digh being on Day 6 of Day 1 of not complaining, I'm on Day 5 of Day 1 of creating art every day for a month. So there.

Yikes! I was quoted on Sandra Dodd's blog, and on her page about control. It's odd to send a quiet little e-mail that didn't even get a response on the list, and see it... exposed like that. LOL I feel like a proud mama to my thoughts. But, ya know - I was just being honest. Speaking from my heart, my open heart. I now understand the push to help others "get it" about unschooling. I guess that happened since the conference. It's not just our way of being any more, it's a movement. At the same time, remaining just our way of being. I'm not living this way to convince anyone else it's best, that's for sure. Which reminds me of this post from Josha on Radical Unschooling:

I had a reading from a woman who specializes in energy clearing and has a clear contact with, well something pretty cosmic. What was intended to be a clearing turned into kind of like a psychic download and it was pretty interesting for both of us. Part of it was about being part of a new paradigm shift in how people be with children.

The initial information she had was that I homeschooled the kids. She said well it goes way beyond that and it isn't for the kids, directly. It is for the parents. You (you me we) will be part of something that will radically shift how people are with kids and help them learn new ways to be because that is what the shifting consciousness needs.

Loving watching this all unfold and it is an honor to be part of it.

Peace to all of you wonderful pioneers, remember each time you can shift your thoughts to a more positive perspective and are able to channel a little more light and joy into your being and lives you are doing it for the whole planet! and all the children everywhere.

So, yeah, follow your heart, find ways to open your heart. I have this quote on my vision board:
"Life's short, so dream, dare and be your brilliance."
No idea who said it - I suppose anyone could have! Life's short, so BE with your kids, unconditionally support your kids. Go ahead and let go. It'll be OK - it is OK.

So is being on Day 5 of Day 1.