This week many children, teens and young adults are setting out into a new school year… kindergarten, a new grade, a new school, college, university, travel, adventure, homeschooling kitchen table…
My heart and mind are with them, imagining them heading out into worlds known and unknown, into positive and challenging situations, into collectives in which they hopefully are well welcomed, and encouraged to bring their unique selves, to shine bright, whatever that means – quiet, loud, colorful, tentative, joyful, inquisitive, bold, shy, …
But we know that is not always so. This world doesn’t always meet our kids with kindness. Sometimes school is hard, really hard, for all kinds of reasons.
I borrow here an excerpt of a prayer I wrote for my daughter this summer. I share it here for all children everywhere, as they grow and step more and more into the big wide world that is a lot of everything – light and dark, welcome and confusion, encouragement and hurt, beautiful and daunting, exhilarating and crazy-making, tender and terrible.
Perhaps you can hold this prayer and care with me for all children everywhere, as they make their way, one step at a time?
~ BLESS YOU AS YOU STEP OUT INTO THE WORLD ~
May your heart stay soft and open as you step out into the world more and more.
May you be protected and guided, discerning when to lean out, and when to curl inward.
May you stay ‘home’ within yourself.
May you stay true to your Self – as you try out different styles, gestures, mannerisms, ways of communicating: please remember your soul, your very own unique authentic self. It is this deeper self that is your anchor and compass. It is this true self that holds and shares the warmth of your Heart with others. That discerns what is right, good and healthy for you and others.
May you keep spreading Light, through your words, your thoughts, your deeds. May you look out for those who need your Light, who you can coax out of their shells and make them feel like they belong too.
May you delight in this Life, and may Life delight you. May you be sheltered, healthy, inspired, creating rather than reacting, joy-filled and con-fident (in trust).
May you keep following the threads of truth, the resonance you experience, trusting those whispers to discover your unfolding expression and service.
Know that you are so very fully and completely loved – by Life and all manner of expressions of this Life. Know that you are not alone. And remember to ask for help whenever you need it. We are here for you.
Artist: Claudia Tremblay
With all my Love,
PS: Registration is now open for our upcoming integral parenting course – Parenting as a Spiritual Practice, which begins Oct. 10th. If you or someone you know is interested, you can find out more here > www.integralparenting.com
And we so appreciate you helping spread the word! Thank you.
June 21, 2016
A daily practice that is growing in me and becoming a welcome habit is to view my fellow adult beings with the additional perspective of imagining them as the child they were. I find it a quick, effective way to have more compassion, to understand an other more fully, to judge less and inquire more.
We are tender hearts, wrapped in adult-looking costumes.
Let’s not forget this as we interact with one another.
Behind the facade, behind each exterior is a tender heart, a vulnerable self.
Remembering this can help us soften, listen, bring forth kindness, curiosity and a generosity of spirit as we relate with each other.
Tender hearts walking around in adult-like costumes.
Yes, even the grumpy co-worker. And the impatient woman standing in line behind us at the grocery store. The nervous, fluttery chitchatting mum and the quick-to-react, intense spouse too, as well as the “whatever” uttered too often too easily. All of them. All of us.
There is an innocence tucked in each person. There is a vulnerable tender heart at the centre of us all. Under the mask of the coolest styliest person, under the slightly distant turning away of the shy one, under harsh words that are uttered, under the closing down of communication, under the overbearing loud in-your-faceness, under all of it, there is the tenderness, the innocence we share, we all had and were at the beginning.
Keeping this in mind opens us to seeing deeper, not excusing current behaviours, but understanding more completely, and then, with this bigger view, possibly hearing under- and overtones that could easily be overlooked, swept by and missed… and yet, if seen and heard, can provide doorways to presence, to healing and regeneration.
So this my invitation today: look for the tender hearts walking around in adult-like costumes.
With great love to your tender heart, whether you carry it out on your sleeve, tucked in gently and safe but within easy reach, further under the surface or deeply buried,
Dear fellow mothers – and with mothers I mean all of you who pour your hearts and minds, bodies and souls into mothering, into nurturing and sustaining Life in its myriad forms – so, to all of you, blessed keepers of the Hearth,
As I sit quietly this morning, listening for what I really want to share with you to honour and celebrate you today, the inner nudge is clear: share a prayer.
Here it is, for you, this mother’s day.
When asked to present a TED-like talk at Integral Life’s “What Next” conference in Dec 2012 on the future of parenting, I sat down and challenged myself to come up with the most condensed version I would pass on to a parent/caregiver that I think would make a REAL difference. Here it is: Integral-evolutionary context and three essential keys on how to “parent the future” as well as pointing to the “future of parenting”:
January 30, 2016
Often I don’t even notice it. Just how biased toward productivity I am.
Once in a while I get a glimpse. And in those moments, once-in-a-once-in a while, I even catch it and say to all the possible productive possibilities, “Not that, not this, not that” until I find myself finally stopping. Like this morning. It’s rare. It’s precious. To the point of inspiring me to write about it in case it inspires you to stop, really stop, sometimes too.
I wake up. The house is quiet. It is Saturday morning, no rush of up and go. The house itself seems to be breathing quietly. Even the hum of the fridge seems softer. Here I am awake, sleep is done, early morning reflection and meditation too. What now? Read more
In the week following our daughter’s birth, one dear friend came visiting bearing the gifts of gold and frankincense. And a few days later, independently, another close friend came by with some myrrh. And so our wee lassie was graced with these three gifts, reminiscent of the gifts the three wise men brought to honor, to acknowledge and gift the baby Jesus. A beautiful gesture of honoring the Christ in her, the potential of awakening to Love, to the fullness of Life, here in this lifetime, in herself and with others.
October 27, 2015
This really is the essence of it all, isn’t it?
To choose Love.
Over and over and over again. And when we don’t, which of course, will also happen many times, then to choose love toward ourselves and one other again. And again. It is the essence of forgiveness. The beginning of renewal and healing. The action that is a response, that is creative, rather than reactive.
As I became a mother and experienced the vulnerability, the cracked-openness and the simultaneous demand by Life to gradually release my daughter as she ventured out into the world in ever-increasing circles, I asked my mother, “How did you manage that? To let us go, to not worry too much, to not stifle us with your fears and protective instincts?”
She gave me a reply that has stayed with me, that guides, comforts and strengthens me in my mothering and my letting go. Read more
Sunday afternoon, with an hour to spare, I wander to the garden to thin some baby carrots – those wee beginnings of carrots, just tufts of green really – so as to create more space for the few I leave to fully grow and flourish. The sun is warm on my back as I get busy with this task that takes focused attention: one pull too many and a whole potential carrot is gone!
As I make my way down the rows slowly and carefully, I notice the challenge I face every time I perform this gardening task: To enable a few to thrive I need to pull out a lot of others and the thicker I originally sowed, the more I have to yank out. I don’t like yanking out baby carrots, even if my logical mind tells me they’re just tiny carrots and my gardening experience knows that if I don’t do this, none of them will do well. Read more
A few days ago, as I brought my Christmas mail to the post office, a young mother caught my eye. She was planting a quick kiss on her envelopes before dropping them in the mailbox. She did it covertly, so no one would see. But I did.
I asked her if she does this with all her mail. She nodded. We exchanged a few words and a moment of mutual recognition.
Ever since I remember, my mother has drawn a small “God bless you” cross with her forefinger on envelopes before dropping them in the mail… letters, cards, and bills. She does this to bless their voyage, encourage safe arrival, and to share a blessing with all who come in touch with the mail and especially the one receiving the mail. Read more