The Joy of Being Alone.

Right now my house is quiet. Blissfully quiet. The kids have all been delivered to their respective schools, my hubby is working at Starbucks…on his laptop, and I have about 5 places I need to be right now and a huge project I need to finish by tomorrow. So naturally I don’t want to do anything at all right now but sit in the glorious silence that surrounds me. And once again, the silence brought my fingers to this keyboard, and here we are.

The silence is where I can be wholly me, unaltered by others’ energy fields, their expectations, their desires, their needs, their incessant whining about needing to be fed on a consistent basis. What’s that all about anyway?

Silence is golden. And it’s something you don’t fully realize until it becomes really really hard to obtain. It wasn’t until we had 3 kids and 2 dogs running around that we understood just how golden silence really is. It’s funny that we need the contrast of what we don’t want to finally understand what we do want. If you are constantly running around like a headless chicken, it’s high time you throw a cushion on the floor and take a seat.

I didn’t understand just how unhappy I had been until I started to get glimpses of happiness. You can spend your whole life in a downward spiral of gloom and doom  thinking it’s normal. And while it may indeed be normal, it’s not what you are meant to live.

Are you smiling right now? You should be. Are you excited when you wake up in the morning or do you have an adult temper tantrum in your head when you open your eyes? Are you happy to be alive, happy to make choices every day about which direction you want your life to go? Are you crying happy tears right now, or sad ones?

Let me ask you this: When was the last time you laughed so hard for so long that you just couldn’t stop. And when you looked at someone, they started laughing too, just because you were laughing, and when you think about that moment now, you laugh about it still! Was it yesterday, or was it when you were a child?

Without knowing it, we learn how to be adults from our parents. Children see and hear everything, even the things that adults wish they could desperately hide from them, because the loudest things we hear aren’t being said, they’re being felt. When my marriage fell apart my kids saw it, they heard it, and they felt it. I knew it, and I did my best to hold it together. I don’t know if I did it for them or for me, but I knew that being strong was the only choice worth making.

Choosing fear was not an option. I had chosen fear my entire life, and look where it had gotten me. So I chose differently. I chose love. And it was the best choice I have ever made in my entire life. I decided to love everyone and everything, but most of all, I finally gave myself permission to love myself.

Among other things, meditation saved me. I believed in angels and guides already, so I decided to go all in and entertain the whole God idea. I sat in silence and prayed. I prayed for strength and courage and guidance and infinite love and support. I prayed to all of the Archangels I could name to enter into my life and help me transform into this person I knew I could be. I prayed to Archangel Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel, Chamuel, Michael, Remiel, Raziel, Zadkiel, Jophiel, Sandalphon, Metatron and more. I brought them into the car with me, into the shower, everywhere. I stopped listening to music. I stopped watching television. My perspective had totally shifted and I wanted one thing more than anything in the entire world: I wanted to stop being numb and start directing my life. I wanted to take my power back and be blissfully happy.

For the first time in my life I understood that it was my job to make myself happy – no one else’s. I finally understood just how much I had given my power away throughout the years. I gave it away all over the place. I gave it to anyone who did anything better than me. I gave it to anyone who did anything at all because I assumed they would do it better than me. And all the while, this really awesome spirit inside of me was suffocating, willing me to step up and step into my power, but it was too scary to be strong, so I kept choosing fear.

This seems like the perfect time to introduce my favourite quote. And while Elanor is granted having said this, it seems to be a paraphrase of a conversation she once had. Either way, I wish I could have coffee with her sometime:

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Why would I keep choosing fear? The best answer I have for this question is that a fear response on this level is learned. Learning not to touch a hot stove was something I could learn all on my own. It’s instinctual. But learning to be scared to talk on the telephone is not. Mostly I learned how to be scared from my mother, and because I operated at the vibration of fear, it was the only signal my antennae picked up. I was so fearful that I was attracting fearful people to my experience. I could only see the fearful outcomes of situations because I never entertained the idea that maybe I could be strong.

Over time I had chosen fear so often that it was an ingrained response. My fear neurons had created a super highway in my brain and there was no off ramp.

Two years ago, I sat down with a psychic medium who told me that I hadn’t laughed in 3 years. At first I was defensive. But a split second later I knew she was right. 3 YEARS! That is a long time to be unhappy. Thank God I was on a quest to be happy. It was my happiness quest that brought me to her in the first place. She told me that I too had gifts. She told me that I have the power to sit on her side of the table, and I knew she was right. The more I sit in silence, the more I am able to tap into them.

You too have powerful gifts. The best way I know to access them is to find joy in silence. Get to know yourself intimately by carving out a few minutes to enjoy your own company. Get to know the spirit within that is wanting so very badly to be heard.

Don’t use an excuse. Don’t do that. Don’t say that you don’t have time. Make time. Instead of laying down immediately when you go to bed, sit up. Sit on your bed, prop yourself up with pillows, and breathe. It’s that easy. You’re meditating. Turn off the radio in your car. Close your eyes at red lights and take a few deep breaths until the guy behind you honks to tell you your time is up!

Take a break from social media. That should free up a few hours ;). If there is a show you’re really excited to watch, watch it! Enjoy it, and be happy! But if you’re mindlessly flipping through television stations, turn it off and hang out with your spirit. It’s time well spent. Take your power back and be happy, wild, and free!

The Best Mirror in the World

Our children are our mirrors. They reflect back everything we do and all that we are. There is no escaping it. Habits, phrases, curse words, manners, laziness, energy, indifference, passion, perspective; they absorb it all like little sponges.  Your children will mirror the best of you and they will mirror the worst of you.

A few weeks ago we went for a walk and encountered a woman standing in the street yelling at her husband, who was near their house. I wondered if she had any idea what she was doing. It was a snapshot of their relationship, and while I don’t know the circumstances around this moment, my inner being could feel her pain.

Then she turned it off and said hello to us as nice as anyone has ever said hello. And after we passed, I wondered why we do it. Why are we the nicest version of ourselves in front of strangers, and the worst of ourselves to the ones we are supposed to love the most. We do it because we learned somewhere that it’s what you do.

As adults we can easily turn off our normal behaviour and be pleasant in public. We have the ability to turn off the hurt in our hearts and say hello to a stranger with kindness. But children aren’t yet aware of these social norms. They will not censor for others’ benefit. And that is the most beautiful thing about children. I love that about them. I immediately thought about how she was teaching her children in that moment. They are our mirrors, and being a parent is a golden opportunity for change.

Yes we can’t be loving all the time. We will have moments that we crack and let the darkness in, but as you become more and more aware of the cracks, you can heal them. You can keep the light in and the darkness out.

The first shift in awareness occurs when you shift from sleep into awareness. When you wake up from being the victim of circumstance and realize that you have the power to create your world, you have completed the first of many shifts.

The second shift occurs when you become aware of your actions. You see yourself reacting in ways you did in the past before you woke up, but you can’t seem to stop it. And that’s ok. First, you will be aware of these reactions, and then you will start to change them. Sometimes you will succeed and sometimes the tape will play out just as it would have in the past. It may take you years to feel like you have your reactions under control, and that’s ok too. Life is a sea of contrast. There is always room for improvement.

And just like improving your level of fitness, at some point you will shift from walking and running into running and sprinting. Eventually you will shift from watching yourself do something that you would rather not do, into a place of calmness and non-reaction. This is what I call the shift of detachment. When you can stop the cycle of reacting and place your focus, desire, and action on producing a different outcome, you will have successfully achieved a state of detachment and allowing.

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When I can detach from what my children are doing and keep my sanity about me, and act with love and guidance rather than anger, then I feel I have done the best I can do with my current knowledge.

When I have told them ten times to put on their pyjamas and they’re still running around like little crazy minions, I can get completely unhinged and yell at them.  I am aware while I am doing it that I am in misalignment with the version of myself that I wish to be – not just for my children’s sake, but for my own. As soon as I become aware, I take a step back from my yelling and reassess the situation. I don’t want them to go to bed with anger between us. I want them to feel loved.

So, I set them up for success. This may mean I actively get them dressed and brush their teeth while they continue to play. I don’t mind. Or it may mean getting them into their room and giving them the one on one attention they need to get the task done themselves. Whatever feels right in the moment is the path I take. The path changes daily.

Some nights I completely lose my mind, and that’s ok. I’m not perfect and I never will be. But I can forgive myself and learn from my mistakes and move forward. Self forgiveness is the key to lasting change, so be easy on yourself and keep moving forward.

I talk about my shortcomings with my children. I tell them why mommy acted the way she did, why it’s not okay, and tell them that it is not their fault. I tell them what I want to do differently next time and how they can help me to be the best mommy I can be.

The other day Oscar and Luca were on their scooters and we were crossing a busy street. They assume that because we are moving, it’s okay to cross, meanwhile as adults, we are assessing the situation and slowing down. They know to stop before every road and yet kept going because we were moving forward. We immediately yelled and screamed at them to stop, which is of course was out of love, but comes across as anger to a child.

We explained that we were not angry with them, but that they needed to be careful when crossing the street. In that moment we were acting out of love, but there was no time to lovingly address the situation! This is when it is important to talk with your children and explain what is happening.

I am constantly asking myself how I can act out of love with my children. Asking the question begs our subconscious to come up with an answer. Again, awareness is the light that shines on the darkness. How can I shift from fear and anger into love in this situation?

If you are angry around your children because of any number of reasons, they will internalize it without giving it a second thought. They pick up on the energy we are offering. Even as adults we tend to internalize anger. We may think, “Why are they mad at me?” or “What a bitch!” when 1, we are not the source of their anger and 2, we have no idea what circumstances have led to that behaviour.

And after they internalize this anger, they will radiate it. They will play it back to you. They will throw it in your face and you will know that you created this behaviour. Children are always watching, always mopping up our behaviour when we are least mindful of it.

Whether you are swearing in traffic, yelling at the dogs, stressed out because you’re going to be late for work, or whether your anger runs deep along the lines of resentment or withholding love from yourself, your children are taking it all in and learning that this is how they are to act in the world.

The more you can act out of love, let go of external circumstances and be loving anyway, the more your children with exude these behaviours. The more loving you are the more loving they will be. The more patient you are the more patient they will be. If there is something that is lacking in your children, then you must look within and see how you have been creating this behaviour.

For instance, I have a habit of saying “I hate that!” And of course, Luca is my little mirror and now he “hates” everything.  Now I am in the process of undoing the damage that I so carelessly created. Here’s another example. Our dogs go crazy when someone comes to the door. It’s like our 8 year old dachshund wants to kill them. I’m not kidding. He’s out of control. (Yes we created that behaviour too…) And due to our not being incredibly careful with our words, Oscar now tells the dogs to “Shut the fuck up!” He’s 4. I wonder where he got that? Another habit we need to unravel. I plug away at it every day.

Our kids listen to our actions rather than our words. We speak very clearly when we act. Actions don’t lie. Words do. When you tell a child to do A, but consistently show them that B is your preferred action, they will perform action B because they want to be just like you.

Are you the adult you want your children to be? Ask yourself this question and then change your thoughts and behaviours accordingly. If you want them to eat their vegetables then you have to eat their vegetables. If you want them to be kind, then you must be kind. If you want them to be healthy then you must be healthy. And it all starts with self love, which I have covered in previous blog posts, and which I will write about until the end of time. You must put yourself first if you are going to be able to give your children the best version of you so that you may help them to create the best versions of themselves.

Your children are your greatest chance to improve your behaviour for the better. Sometimes, when we have not yet managed to love ourselves, we will change for our children. If you need to use them as leverage, then use them. If you can’t love yourself for yourself, then love yourself for them. Eventually you will come to realize that it’s one and the same. We are all one.

Summertime: Parenting 101

Children are definitely life’s greatest teachers, and while summertime is a period of slowing down, it’s also a period of exponential growth. As a mom of three young boys, it means that I’m stretched in so many ways that it’s grow or die. Well, sometimes I grow in the morning and die in the afternoon. Thankfully one of my kids still takes a nap!

We’re only a few weeks into the summer and we’ve already logged a good portion of our 10,000 hours of both tennis and soccer. We’ve moulded with play-doh, practiced our painting and drawing skills, climbed trees, and spent most of our days hanging out at the park with friends. We’ve frequented water parks, hit up the zoo, and tore up the town with our 3 wheeled scooters. These kids literally never ever slow down!

Though raising 3 young boys is challenging, it’s an amazing opportunity to work on my inner game. Some days are great, some days are good, and some days I wish I had parented a heck of a lot better. But tomorrow is another day, another chance.

We are never the same person we were yesterday. Every day we learn. Each morning is a blank slate; a new chance to be the person we’ve always wanted to be. Every day is an opportunity be a little more calm, a little more tolerant, a little more patient, a little more loving, and a little more in touch with your spirit self.

Having children is one giant lesson that never ends. It took me until the 3rd kid to really get a hang of letting go, and I’m thankful that I’ve got that one under my belt. You choose you battles.

Parenting is knowing when to be firm and when to be soft; when to be a friend and when to lay down the law, guns blazing. It’s knowing when to let go and let their spirits thrive, and parenting is always leading by example. Are you the adult you want your children to grow up to be?

My kids make me acutely aware of where I need to improve. Whether it’s my 2 year old whining about wanting chocolate or my 4 year old repeating a bad word, they’re my mirrors. But they also remind me of where I’m doing really well. When my 2 year old asks his 1 year old brother if he had a good night, when my 4 year old gets up from the dinner table to find a soother for his little brother, and when strangers tell me how talented my little scooterists are, it just makes my heart burst.

When you think of how well you are parenting, don’t just think about your downfalls. Don’t do that. Think about a few areas that you need to improve and think of what you can do today to change your parenting game for the better, sure. But also think about what you are doing well. Think about how proud you are of your kids and be sure to let them know it.

When we’re at the park I hear a lot of “Don’t do that. Don’t climb on that. You can’t do that. Yadda yadda yadda.” There is a time and a place for that, and I’ve said them all a thousand times, but just like us, what our kids need to hear more of is what they are doing right. Today I heard a grandmother berating her grandson for squeezing out too much sunscreen. She was relentless. She tore him down when she could have let it go and built him up with “It’s okay, that happens to me all the time!”

Build their confidence. Tell them why you are proud of them. Tell them how amazing they are for working hard learning a new sport. Tell them how much courage they have for doing the things they do. Compliment them on their good behaviour and push them to try something out of their comfort zone. The next time you want to yell, ask yourself first if you can let it go and find the lesson without the raised voice instead. Why tear them down when you can build them up?

And at the end of the day, once you’ve parented your way through the past 14 hours, know that it’s okay to crack open a bottle of wine. As a parent, I completely agree that it’s not only okay, but so entirely necessary!

xoxo Amy.