Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Forgiving Myself My Own Ignorance

IMG_5803.jpgIt takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
Thomas Sowell

When my daughter was born one week before my twenty-ninth birthday, I thought I was prepared for motherhood. I’d been a youth group leader and camp counselor since I was fourteen. For years, I taught kindergarten in Saturday school. Since becoming pregnant, I’d doggedly perused the 649 shelf in the library, hauling home and reading dozens of parenting books. I knew what to expect during my baby’s first year.

Scratch that. I was familiar with timelines for normal development. I had read about infant behaviors. I had developed a how-to-parent-a-newborn plan. And I was wholly unprepared to be a mother. I had expectations, for my child and myself. I thought having an agenda was a good thing.

Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhood.
Pam Leo

Within a few days of being home with my much-wanted, instantly-loved child, I yelled at her. She had been screaming for hours. I had changed her, nursed her, rocked her, left her in the crib for a bit, sung to her. In my ignorance, I never considered that she might be in physical or emotional pain, that there could be a reason for her distress. I was failing — so soon! — at being the kind of mother I had prepared to be, the kind I was supposed to be.

Immediately after I yelled, I lay on the bed beside her, and joined her in despondent weeping.

Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.
Mark Twain

Almost two decades have passed. I think I have forgiven myself for that horrible lapse of self-control, the abhorrent dearth of understanding, but I continue to regret it. My children are my greatest teachers, and I continue to remember the profound lesson: I have much to learn. Always.


This post was inspired by Forgiveness Prompts For #1000Speak January Link-up. #1000Speak is a group of bloggers from all over the world are coming together to talk about compassion on the 20th of each month. The above is my first contribution.

I write about my parenting journey, and the journeys of other mothers, in Swan Mothers: Discovering Our True Selves by Parenting Uniquely Magnificent Children.


Leave a comment »

Early Intervention

“When autism can be recognized and identified early, the parents have a golden opportunity to begin working to understand the child they actually have.”

Exactly! We can learn how to parent the children we have and love.

Unstrange Mind

We were discussing early diagnosis/identification and early intervention/therapy over on the Facebook forum for this blog and a reader, Megen Porter, made a deeply insightful comment: “It’s almost like early identification is important so you can intervene on yourself as a parent.”

What a brilliant way to put it, Megen! Thank you!

The standard meaning of the phrase early intervention is to jump in with hours and hours of therapy to try to get an Autistic child to be “indistinguishable from peers” as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. This means extinguishing Autistic behaviors, even absolutely harmless ones that are beneficial to the Autistic person but embarrassing or off-putting to onlookers, the classic example of which is hand flapping.

But Megen put a lovely spin on things by pointing out that it is the parents who need the early intervention. When autism can be recognized and identified early, the parents…

View original post 1,252 more words

1 Comment »

Summer Eating Ideas for Feeding Your Children Well

Through the years, my eating/feeding philosophy changed many times as I acquired new information.  I found “all or nothing” approaches difficult to maintain.  I like to be able to eat what is served when we are visiting family or friends or traveling.

At home, we eat mainly whole, organic foods, buying as many locally produced items as possible.  I enjoying preparing food for my family, but I also like to keep things simple.  Pizza night keeps me sane and eager to cook again.

There is no eating plan that suits every philosophy or family, but there are some guidelines that benefit almost everyone:

1.       Eat locally grown, whole foods as often as possible.

2.       Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

3.       Healthy fats and oils are important for developing children and brains, hearts, and arteries.  Include pastured meats, butter from pastured animals, coconut oil, and fish oils in your diet.

4.       Processed foods (anything that comes in a can or box) should be kept to a minimum.

5.       Gluten, the protein in wheat, seems to cause problems in many people.  Look at your menu and make at least one meal a day wheat-free (no bread or pasta).

6.       Eating at home is the best way to know what you’re eating. Most restaurant foods are full of partially-hydrogenated fats and other unhealthy additives.

In the summer, when most children are home, it is possible to introduce healthy eating habits. Consider trying one of the above ideas. And if you have super-picky eaters or children with oral sensitivities, see When Your Child Won’t Eat:  Help for Resistant Eaters.

Two-Part Breakfast

It is best to eat fruit on an empty stomach. It digests quickly and easily and, thus, can cause stomach upset when eaten at the end of a meal.

When children first want to eat, serve fruit. Serving only one kind of fruit is best for digestion.

Some fun and easy suggestions:

  • Serve strawberries or blueberries topped with sweetened sour cream
  • Sprinkle thinly sliced apples or pears with cinnamon
  • Make little cubes of kiwi or mango

The next time children are hungry, serve eggs. Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on Earth. The yolk is the food that grows a baby bird. Experiment with a variety of preparation methods to discover some your child enjoys.

  • Scrambled with some fresh herbs and cheese
  • Poached over sautéed spinach
  • Sunny side up on a piece of buttered toast

Healthy Snack Ideas

It is easy to rely on packaged foods for snacks. Nature provides plenty of foods in their own packages – though we can make them more desirable to children with a little preparation.

  • Celery, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, peppers (and any other vegetable) a creamy dip. It is easy to prepare one at home by mixing sour cream and mayonnaise with a healthy seasoning mix. Or, try dipping veggies in hummus.
  • Apples and peanut butter.
  • Puree berries with a bit of sweetener and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze and serve healthy frozen treats. Yogurt may be added for a creamy treat.
  • Cut up melon.
  • Frozen grapes or berries.

This summer, introduce your children to a new food or a new way to look at breakfast or snack time. Take your children shopping at the Farmers’ Market. Encourage them to pick a new fruit or vegetable to try. Enjoy the bounty of the season.

Leave a comment »

Transform Your Beliefs, Transform Your Life

My review for Karl Dawson’s Transform Your Beliefs, Transform Your Life: EFT Tapping Using Matrix Reimprinting.


UnknownAccessible and mind and consciousness-expanding, Transform Your Beliefs, Transform Your Life is worth reading both for those interested in learning about Matrix Reimprinting and long-time practitioners. Unlike some books which read like teasers and long promotions to take a healing course or engage a practitioner, this book gives you everything you need to try out Matrix Reimprinting or to take your practice deeper.

After a solid introduction to the science and history of EFT and Matrix Reimprinting, Part 2 covers Life Themes, including Conscious Parenting, Moving through Stress, Managing Pain, Recovery from Abuse, Transforming Grief, Clearing Phobias and Allergies, Body Image, and Goals. I enjoyed this organization because I could go directly to the topics that interested me.

Not surprisingly, one of my favorite Life Theme Chapters was Conscious Parenting. Here are a few excerpts:

…this chapter is not about blaming parents, it’s about empowering them to rewrite a happier childhood and create a positive, conscious platform from which they can parent.

Being a parent will mean that you’ll get angry at some point, that you’ll lose it, that you’ll feel inadequate, hurt, lost, lonely and afraid. Yet if you have the strength to realize what’s happening and are prepared to look at your own childhood scars and heal them, both you and your child will emerge stronger and more capable of handing what life has in store for you.

Another important piece that shows that the authors understand parenting:

…let’s also acknowledge that parenting is the hardest job in the world. Somehow we’re meant to navigate between unconditional love and setting limits, imposing discipline and empowering our children to be themselves — and be happy doing it!


 

Matrix Reimprinting has been integral to my healing and awareness-expansion journey. I highly recommend Karl’s book.

Leave a comment »

Another Look in the Mirror

Mirrors were once considered magical. They can be used to deceive, or reveal. Some believe mirrors are portals, divination tools, or repellers of evil.

Mirror Gazer by RachelHWhite via DeviantArt

A few years ago, I was receiving a shamanic healing with Julie Tallard Johnson. I lay on an ordinary massage table with my eyes closed. Julie, wearing jeans, a casual shirt, and no pretenses, moved her hands over my body. Few words were spoken, though Julie occasionally struck a large, resonant drum.

After some time, I sat up on the table and Julie held a mirror in front of me. I was unable to look into it. I covered my face with my hands, and cried racking sobs.

I wish I could bring this story to a tidy conclusion, explain what happened, how and why, but I cannot transmit the intensity with words. It was, simply, complexly, beautifully an experience.

But, since Liz of The Writing Reader suggested a Mirror Writing Prompt today, perhaps it is time to look again. I don’t have Julie’s mirror of course, but there is a mirror in my kitchen, not far from the table where I’m writing. [I go and look — and take a picture, so you can see me too.]

IMG_7802I don’t say anything to myself. I’m not into those “say nice things to yourself in the mirror exercises,” even though I’ve heard good things about them. No thoughts come to mind. Yet, I am calmly, deeply, profoundly pleased with my reflection. It’s good to see me.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? What do you think? How do you feel? Please, tell me in the comment box below.

4 Comments »

2015 in One Word: Playtime!

Resolutions seldom work. Every time I say, “I will . . .”  or “I should . . .,” I don’t. Choosing a Power Word is different. It is a way to set the tone for the year.

My word for 2015 is Playtime! Yep. With explanation point.

IMG_7692

  • I wonder how and where I will PLAY in 2015.
  • I wonder how many books I will publish.
  • I wonder how many times I will kayak, how many miles I will hike, how many countries I will visit.
  • I wonder how often I’ll laugh, and with whom.
  • I wonder what I’ll create PLAYFULLY with joy and ease.
  • I wonder how my writing time can be my PLAYTIME.
  • I wonder how beautiful and easy it will be.

What is Your Power Word for 2015?

Did one pop into your head when you read the question? Are you thinking about what your want in 2015? If you choose a word — or let a word choose you — please in the comments.

2 Comments »

Focus Finding Mission

I open Twitter and see the people doing it right: they focus on their niche, consistently tweeting on the same topic; their tweets have a distinctive voice and are routinely clever, or inspirational, or snarky, as befits their persona; their posts are nicely spaced, appearing every hour, around the clock.

I know this is the right way to build an audience, establish credibility, and attract a following. Every now and then, I attempt to follow these rules. Then, I get distracted. I retweet something, just because I like it. I type a random thought that came to me in the shower. I tweet 50 times one day, and then don’t tweet for days, or weeks.

I have a jumping-around kind of mind. My interests and thoughts scatter a hundred times in a ten-minute conversation. Ideas spin off, sometimes on rapid straightaways, sometimes into deep rabbit holes, sometimes in a thousand directions, like sparks of fireworks.

Source of Scatter

For 30 years, I was the consummate good girl. I created lists and schedules. I color-coded my school notes and files. I adhered to guidelines, suggestions, and shoulds. For 30 years, I thought the true me was the ultimate rule-follower.

From 30 to 40, courtesy of my children, I discovered all the ways that rules do not work. I stumbled upon books about alternative health care, natural living, positive parenting, and expanded world views. I realized that my rule-following youth was not a projection of Me, but a coping mechanism for surviving in a crazy world.

For the past few years, I’ve been learning to recognize my multidimensional self, to honor my non-linear thought process, and to unearth the real True Me. My tweets and blog posts reflect my winding, confusing journey. I may not be doing Twitter and blogging, right, but I’m doing it my way. I celebrate that.

1 Comment »

Through the Keyhole

I live with four other people, so our home decor reflects our collective energy. But the surface of my desk, is all mine.

On the far left corner of my desk, stands a vase of swan and hawk feathers. Each was lifted from the ground, by me. The feathers are from a magical land, on which my great grandmother spent weeks with my mother when my mother was a child; where my sister and I spent the majority of our childhood summers with our mother and grandmother; the place which has delighted me and my children for the past seventeen summers.

I do not recall picking up such glorious feathers as a child. I only remember seeing small feathers, the deep blue of jays and small brown feathers of unknown species.

About ten years ago, a pair of swans graced us with their presence. Each spring, they built a giant nest at the unaccessible, southern edge of the lake. The mother would sit on her eggs while the father swam around protectively. The cygnets would hatch in early summer, and we’d watch them disappear, by ones and twos, prey of snapping turtles. One summer, a cygnet reached maturity and its parent taught it to run along the water, rapidly flapping its wings, until it took flight.

The swans like to feed and groom near our beach. A few years ago, as they molted, they left a deposit of long, white feathers in the grass near the shore. I collected the prettiest. Many were frayed at one side, from use.

I kept the feathers in a plastic cup on my bookshelf at the summer place for a few summers. After, I titled by first book, Swan Mothers,I brought the feathers home and upgraded their container to a pretty vase.

In 2013, my son and I were walking in the woods in early spring. Wandering through a grove a maples, I found a large, brown and white striped feather. Then another and another. I photographed them and shared on Facebook. My cousin wrote, “Beautiful red-tailed hawk feathers. Just don’t take them home. It’s illegal to have them, to prevent poaching.” I deleted the photo, but kept the feathers.

After the first find, in a park, I began finding hawk feathers at the summer place. I watched the hawks circling and swooping, and listened to their distinctive cries.

The burst of white mute swan feathers and striped red-tailed hawk feathers remains on my desk. The feathers bless me with the Medicine of the winged ones. They agitate the air. They remind me to ride currents. They show me that I can rise above it all, and glide.

Swan Medicine: Swan can show you how to access the inner beauty within yourself and in others. Swan represents communication between the worlds, and is and excellent guide to the therapeutic powers of land, water, and air.

Hawk Medicine: Hawk awakens vision and inspires a creative life purpose. A Hawk totem is filled with responsibility because Hawk people seek the overall view. A Red-Tailed Hawk Totem has direct ties to the Kundalini, the seat of primal life force.

Leave a comment »

Parenting from the Gut, Heart, and Soul

“How high is an Olympic diving board?” Daniel asked one day as we were jumping off the dock into the lake. “Let me check,” said my friend, pulling out her i-Phone. A quick click and a few taps later, we had the answer: three meter spring boards and ten meter platforms.

“What do swans eat?” Jonathon asked a few minutes later, watching a pair swimming toward us with their cygnets. I opened the browser on my phone. “Seaweed, insects, and snails,” I replied.

With the internet in our pockets, or at least easily accessible, most of us have instant access to much of the knowledge of the world. We can answer almost any questions accurately by peering into our magic screens.

Parenting by the Book

Because many of us do not have experience with children, we approach parenting by researching and reading. Soon, we are armed with statistics and historical facts that validate our choices. It feels good to be doing things our way.

This type of information-gathering can help us uncover new ideas and remedy old hurts. At the same time, all this knowing can disconnect us from what we really Know.

I Know!  (So why don’t I believe myself?)

Growing up tends to silence our inner voice. We are shushed and learn that it is not right to be overly boisterous when we are joyful. Our tears are wiped away with gentle assurances that “It’s okay,” or a curt, “Big girls don’t cry.” When we are afraid, we are told there’s nothing to be afraid of.

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us understand the proper ways to behave. And most of these correct behaviors require silencing the small still voice inside of us that Knows.

Learning to Trust Ourselves

What if, when we want to know something, we spent time observing and considering what we see and hear before looking up the “right” answer? (We could have enjoyed watching the swans and guessing what they were doing when their heads dunked underwater.)

What if, when our children are distressed we checked in with ourselves and asked, “How can I help my child?” before asking our friends on Facebook for advice? (I suspect that we often Know what our children need and are actually led astray by listing symptoms and asking for solutions.)

Here is a simple and effective way to access your Knowing.

1.       Place your hand on your heart.

2.       Breathe into your heart for a count of six.

3.       Breathe out of your heart for a count of six.

4.       Continue until you feel centered and congruent with your heart.

5.       Ask your heart a question, such as, “How can I help my child now?” If you want to know something but aren’t sure how to phrase it, ask, “What do I need to know right now?”

6.       Listen.

I am not abandoning my smart-phone, library, or friends. I do intend to listen to my own wisdom, first, more often.

Where do you find information for the parenting journey? How do you determine if it is right for your family? Tell me in the comments.

Leave a comment »

What do you believe about yourself and the world?

We all have core beliefs through which we define ourselves. These are largely established by living life and are in place by time we are seven years old. Once they are set, we seem to attract — sometimes as if by magic, sometimes as if cursed — life experiences that validate them.

Past Dictating Present and Future

Long ago, we integrated both empowering and limiting messages into our very being.

  • You’re the smart one.
  • You’re so lazy!
  • Nothing you do is ever good enough!
  • We always get by.
  • There is not enough.

Recognizing how these beliefs influence us, we can decide to be mindful when speaking to and interacting with our children, as they establish their own core beliefs. There is no need to approve of or permit every action. We can notice and love what is good in our children. We can be curious about behaviors that we do not understand.

Before we react to our children’s actions and words, we can decide to consider the possibility that there is a reason for the behavior we are seeing. We can strive to understand. Observing without judgement and with curiosity can be life changing.

I Recognize a Limiting Belief

Earlier this year, I noticed that I have not been meeting my goals for a long time. “I used to be so Type-A,” I lamented to a friend. “I finished everything! Even things I didn’t like.” As I trailed off, a light bulb went off over my head.

A-ha! That was it! Throughout my childhood, adolescence, and early adult life, I had accomplished almost everything I set out to do. The strongest and longest-lasting example is that I persevered (persiverated?) through a college curriculum that perplexed and terrified me. This resulted in a degree in a field that did not interest me. Which led to jobs I did not enjoy.

I finally learned my lesson: Working hard gives me what I don’t want anyway. So, I will not work hard.

Now what?

Once we recognize the repeating patterns in our in lives, we can change them. Processes such as Matrix Reimprinting with EFT offer simple and effective ways to change.  (I teach the Core Belief Reimprinting process during my seven week Swan Mothers Circle.)

When I recognized that I believed that hard work gave me what I don’t want, I worked with my Matrix Reimprinting practitioner to find old stories that supported this belief. I began working with the Core Belief Process. And I am learning to work joyfully and consistently at that which matters to me.

Curious what I’m working on? I’m writing a fiction trilogy called The Weaving Gold Chronicles. I’d love to know what you’re up to.

Leave a comment »

Old European culture

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods

The writer gives life to a story, the reader keeps it alive.

Owlfoot Press

Publisher of the Old, the Weird, and the Wonderful

The Writing Blog

Essays, Abstracts and Rants across a wide field of studies

Then I Tasted Pierogi

My experiences with Poles, Polish Culture and Poland.

Secret Life of an OB/GYN

The Intimacies of Medicine

The Dream Book Blog

On writing, creativity, psychological reality, and dreams

Dances with Tricksters

Sacred Heart on Fire with Idolatry

Amy Sue Nathan, Editor

Professional editing for 21st century writers at any level

The Breath of Spirit blog

www.Thebreathofspirit.com ~ Spirit Communion for ascending the soul "into" the human experience.

Medicine Buddha Teachings For Mums

A Busy Mum's Guide To Meditation

Abducted By Books

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

On Becoming a Lemonade Maker

I write books and articles which will encourage, uplift and inspire you to find the courage to move forward and to become unstuck... even unstoppable in your life!

Karen's Two Sentence Book Club Reviews

Where the Books I Have Read Are Reviewed in Only Two Sentence