Monday, October 31, 2011

Working on It...

"If you want your children to succeed, show them how to fail. If you want them to be happy, show them how to be sad.        If you want them to be healthy, show them how to be sick.      If you want them to have much, show them how to enjoy little." 
--William Martin from The Parents Tao Te Ching

Friday, October 28, 2011

Divinely Reassigned

"I have been Divinely reassigned."  --Excuse from The Universe
I finally talked to my sister on the phone last night, a full 36 hours after our scheduled check-in by phone (we are going to be interviewed on the radio today about our advice column Dear Soul Sisters - click HERE for the replay). When I called her I led with, "Sorry it has been so much longer than we planned. Things just sort of....came up that didn't expect the past two days."

Without skipping a beat she said, "You mean you were Divinely reassigned?"

I had to laugh. That summed it up perfectly. "Yes," I replied, "I was definitely Divinely reassigned."

What ensued was a lively conversation in which we considered all of the possible senarios in which we might use this excuse. "I'm sorry I can't have a root canal today, I've been Divinely reassigned."

And who could argue with you? Saying you have been Divinely reassigned works on so many levels. First, for those of us who believe in a Higher Power, a Divine Universe assisting us behind the scenes, it is so often true. What we have planned is not what God has in mind for us that day and He/She makes no bones about it: THE PLAN HAS CHANGED.

Second, how exactly does one argue with someone else's Divine guidance? It's a bold, if not completely arrogant move, and not many would dare to go there.

Third, it just sounds good. Much better than, "I just don't feel like it today," "I'm sick," or even, "I'm just not that into you."

"I'm sorry, we won't be dating anymore, I have been Divinely reassigned to someone who treats me better and, oh yeah, has fresher breath."

It's fun to play around with this concept, but in all seriousness, how much easier would our lives go if we allowed ourselves to be more open to Divine reassignment? If we recognized that every plan we make, every date we pencil in (even in ink), every course we set is subject to Divine reassignment and met that not with wails of protest and mountains of resistance, but with a shrug, a laugh and a slight course correction.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Resisting Resistance

“What you resist, persists.” --Carl Jung

This quote has been playing in my head for the past few days. I didn't even know where it came from. I am sure I read it in some book or on Twitter at some point in the past few years. It isn't even one I wrote down. (When I went to find it in my quotations database – yes, I am just that geeky – I couldn't find it so I had to turn, gasp!, to the internet.) But I've been playing it like a favorite song in my head this week.

My son is getting better. At least I think he is. He is complaining less about his stomach aches. He is going to school. He is running around more and eating pretty well. He is blaming me for pretty much everything. Have I mentioned the blaming?

I am the pinnacle of all that is wrong with the world right now. I cannot do anything right. If I give him a gift, it is unwanted. If I give him a hug, it is shrugged off. If I make a suggestion, it is rebuffed.

I have tried everything in my mom arsenal. I have tried talking. I have tried asking questions. I have tried doling out consequences. I have tried ignoring. And, yes, I have even tried yelling. All to no avail. I am still to blame for life and everything shitty in it.

It feels like a window into the teenage years.

But this week, this quote has helped me get to a new and different place. A place of not resisting.

When he starts a diatribe about how awful life is and how it is all my fault I do not resist. I don't resist what he is saying; I just listen. I do not resist how he is feeling; I let him feel. I do not resist how I am feeling; I let myself feel.

It's really funny, but I can sense how my not resisting his negative feelings is helping him. I am not sure why. He no longer feels judged? He no longer feels wrong? He feels more free to be himself? But I can feel it working.
And as I think about it, it makes total sense. Life is hard. Bad things happen. Bad feelings come up. As a parent we are so conditioned to keep our children safe. To make them comfortable and happy. To meet their every need and to take care of them. It is hard to realize that as they grow and mature this is no longer our job.

As they grow and mature into pre-teens, teenagers and young adults our job is more to guide than to direct. More to love than to care for. And more to allow than to resist.

My job is changing and I need to change with it. The problems my son is facing and will be facing over the next ten years cannot be fixed with a hug and a band aid. The problems he is facing now are the beginnings of the adult problems he will face for the rest of his life.

If I resist this fact I stunt his growth and I get in his way. If I keep him from feeling the feelings he needs to feel, I keep him from learning the things he need to learn. And that is not my job.

I need to stop resisting the fact that my little boy – my onetime baby – is on his way to somewhere I cannot always go with him. The sooner I do, the better off we'll both be and, hopefully, the closer we will remain. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Freedom: It's All in Your Head

"Freedom from the past, or anything else for that matter, always comes in the very instant you stop thinking about it."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Leting Go of "the" Truth

"The problem created when you decide the 'truth' of something is you've cut yourself off from the greater 'truth' of infinite possibilities."  --Temple Illuminatus (@Illumine_Nation on Twitter)

I have been on a search for "the truth" lately. 

The truth I have been searching for is, "What is wrong with my son's stomach?" and "What should I do about it?" I have thought about it. I have meditated about it. I have talked about it. I have consulted experts about it (two doctors, one naturopath, a psychic, a massage therapist and many, many other moms).  And yet, the "truth" has alluded me.

I have gotten some answers. Some that seemed to help; others that didn't. But no one has given me the "truth," in its unadulterated and completely recognizable form.

Is it physical? Is it metaphysical? Is it mental? Is it emotional? Is it stress? Is it a virus, a bacteria, a parasite, or something we haven't yet considered?

Last Thursday he was back in school, although not happily, and not without a lot of trepidation on my part. Still so many questions: Would he be okay? Would going to school make his stomach aches worse again? Was he "supposed" to go to this school anymore or were these stomach aches "a sign" that it was time to move on?

My monkey mind latched onto this one and held on for dear life. I was in a complete tailspin without even realizing it.

This quote brought me back from Crazytown.

My search for "the Truth" with a capital T was as futile as not doing anything at all would have been. And the answer lay, where it always seems to lie, in the present moment, in the knowing that comes with not-knowing, in the greater truth of infinite possibilities.  

How ironic then that this would be the week that I learn to access the Akashic Records and give my first reading? 

If you think the Universe doesn't have a sense of humor, I am here to tell you otherwise. 

All the time I was monkey-minding and hand-wringing the situation with my son, the Universe was calling me to even greater knowing that comes from not-knowing. It was a gift that helped me get through the week and one that I can't wait to share with the world. I don't know what form this work is going to take, but I am looking forward to all of the infinite possibilities.  

[If you are interested in an Akashic Records reading, send me an email and let's chat about the (infinite) possibilities!]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Going out to buy some roses...

"Misery and joy have the same shape in this world: You may call the rose an open heart or a broken heart." --Rumi

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

So easy to say; so hard to do...

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light." --Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Serious Business Indeed

"Parenting is serious business. It brings out the best and the worst in us. It demands that we confront our brightest and darkest selves." --Dear Sugar

This column in the Rumpus simultaneously broke my heart and made it sing. Motherhood is tough, parenting is hard, and compassion is healing. I hope you will enjoy it too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

No matter what, the rain falls...

"Mostly, change is as inevitable as rain in the spring. Some of us just put on our raincoats and splash forward, some of us choose to stay home, a few admirable nuts shed their clothes and cavort in the yard, and some people go out and get deeply, resentfully, and miserably wet. And no matter what, the rain falls." --Amy Bloom in O magazine

No matter what, the rain falls. I love that. And truer words have never been spoken about fall in the Northwest. The rain falls, and it falls, and it falls...and then it falls some more. 

Sometimes at this time of year it seems impossible to make any progress, to get anything done. I start to eat more, exercise less and want to sleep ALL THE TIME. 

Nonetheless, life does go on. Dishes need to be washed, garbage needs to be taken out and laundry needs to be done. 

It also seems to be a time of great change. The weather, of course, is changing and because of that the clothes and shoes we wear are changing. School starts, so for many of us our schedules and routines change. The holidays start to loom so there is something new to focus on every month. 

A lot of changes are happening around our house this fall. And a lot of changes are happening in my writing life. Starting later this month I am teaching a class (would love for you to attend btw...) and my sister and I are starting to write a book together. I am also doing some writing for Verity Credit Union and have applied to be the next Verity Mom

So....a lot is happening. 

So far I have managed to keep up with TRO (the refrigerator oracle), but it hasn't been easy at times and I have not been as pleased with every post as I would like to have been. 

So (that's a lot of so's in a row :) as last year around the time of my blogaversary, this year I am making some changes to the format of TRO. Instead of posting three times per week with whatever strikes my fancy that day, I will be posting quotes whenever they come to me and then once a week (probably on Fridays) I will write a longer post about the week. What has been going on, what I have been working on, what I have learned and what quote or quotes have informed the week. 

My hope is that each post will be a meatier, juicier morsel of goodness to devour. Similar to some of my favorite posts like this one and this one and this one

I hope you will continue reading and sharing this journey to enlightenment with me. We've still got quite a ways to go I'm thinking! 

May you be one of the admirable nuts shedding their clothes and cavorting in the yard this fall!

[Don't forget my class, WRITE YOUR LIFE, starts this Friday. I hope you can join us!]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Well, is it?

"Is who you are enough?" --Kimberlee Gorgo

[NB. I am teaching a writing class this month entitled, "WRITE YOUR LIFE!" For more information see my website at:]

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WHY NOT indeed?

"WHY NOT do what makes you happy?"

--The Universe to me in a meditation

I have been getting a lot of signs lately that it is essential for me to spend time in meditation right now. And I have been doing that and benefiting from it I know. But I had no idea just how much I needed it until this afternoon.

We are going through some stuff right now. (I think most people are as we enter fall and head towards 2012...) My older son isn't feeling well. Our house is a mess. Family members are experiencing hard times, etc., etc.

One of the things that is happening is that my older son has been having stomach aches since this summer. They were sporadic then, but are coming on more and more often lately. Every day in fact. Just in time to go to school.

Every morning I think, "This is it. This is the day he is going to go back to school." I wake him up, set out some clothes, make breakfast....while he just lies there and moans.

We have seen doctors, with the only diagnosis being "stress." We have talked to the school counselor, who suggested breathing exercises, which seemed to help for awhile. We have had some tests. Are thinking about more and are seeing an ND next week. But the thing is, I am just not sure I want him to go back to this school.

For the past four years it has been great and I have loved being a part of this community. Lately though, it just doesn't seem to fit.

There is more pressure in fourth grade. Do well. Be neat. Work hard.

None of those things are bad in and of themselves, but there is a general feeling of pressure, pressure, pressure that makes me uncomfortable. Other parents are telling tales of crying over homework. Anger and frustration at all the work that has to be done each night. Crumpling up papers. Breaking pencils.

They are in FOURTH grade.

Am I the only one who thinks this is excessive?

Obviously I'm not. Almost a year ago I wrote about the movie Race to Nowhere, in which it is documented how stressed out our current performance-based education system is making kids. One of the subjects in the movie is a third grader with stomach aches (!).

As I got ready to go pick up my second grader this afternoon (who is doing great by the way and having a terrific year) I felt overwhelmed at having to deal with going to school, having to talk about how things are going, having to answer the question: Did he go to school today?

So I did the only thing I could think of. I took to the floor with my blankie and my meditation CD and started to breathe.

I only had ten minutes, but after just a few I started to feel better. It's okay. I can do this. It's going to be okay.

The thing is, the real conflict is within myself. A former "good girl" who always followed the rules and learned early on that unless you've lost a limb you go to school, I am really struggling with being in this in between place with my son's attendance.

I am sure the office staff is two seconds away from calling the truant officer to come and arrest me. I am sure the teachers think I am the worst mom in the world and a total wussy slacker who doesn't make her son "buck up" and get back to school.

And the thing is: they may be right.

I don't know if my son is really sick or just trying it on, but just the fact that he is trying it on so hard (if he is) tells me something is wrong. He has always liked school. Loved his friends. And never worked me for a day off when he wasn't legitimately sick. So even if it is "just" stress, that's enough for me. Because it has changed my son into someone that I don't recognize. Someone that scares me.

So I'm lying there meditating, thinking about all of this and about how happy my son is at home and how happy he would be if I decided to home school him, even for a little while.

And then I started to "should" myself about that: Maybe you "should" be tougher on him, maybe he "should" be forced to suck it up, maybe/"should," maybe/"should," maybe/"should."

And THEN, from somewhere deep inside, that still, small voice that knows the truth spoke to me and said, "Why NOT do what makes you happy?"

And THEN I started to laugh. And cry.

Why NOT? Why not let our children be happy? Why not do what feels right instead of forcing them to do what feels wrong? WHY NOT do what makes him happy?

There is so much information out there about what makes a good parent and what makes for a good education and what makes for a successful person, but rarely does it have anything to do with what makes us happy. Yet, at the end of the day (and at the end of our lives) would we rather have been happy or smart? Happy or successful? Happy or a good rule follower?

Life, liberty and the pursuit of HAPPYness. That's what it's all about. That's what it's always been about. What makes you happy? What makes your heart sing? What makes you feel free and alive?

Do that. WHY NOT?

A couple of Post Scripts today:

1) To see a preview of the movie "Race to Nowhere, "click the arrow to view


2) Today is my 2nd Blogaversary! Happy Blogaversary to Me! Happy Blogaversary to Me! Happy Blogaversary Dear Refrigerator Oracle! Happy Blogaversary to Me! 

May you have a HAPPY, HAPPY day!

Monday, October 3, 2011


"Slow down and agree to get less done. Every day take two things off of your "to do" list." 

--Anne Lamott

Last Thursday I showed up to dinner with a friend and the first thing she asked me was, "Are you okay?" 

My answer? "I don't think so."

Last week was a beast of a week and it culminated in that Thursday. Just sitting down to dinner and talking with a friend helped. 

That night I decided to go away for the weekend. The next morning I got online and looked up an old article in Seattle Woman Magazine that I remembered reading in 2009. It was about local retreat sites. 

I chose one, called up the owner and asked if I could come that afternoon. He said yes and off I went. 

Never has a place been so perfectly designed for retreating. Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island truly is a little bit of Heaven on Earth. 

Designed by Chuck Pettis, author of Secrets of Sacred Space, it is a wonderland of wonders. On this 72-acre nature preserve there are sacred spots at every turn: a labyrinth, Tibetan prayer wheels, a native American medicine wheel, prayer stones, stone circles and even a stupa. Each imbued with its own special energy. 

I walked. I prayed. I meditated. I slowed down. 

I also wrote, but not frantically, as I sometimes do in order to GET IT DONE so I can move on to the next thing. I wrote mindfully, purposefully, with passion and with love. 

And I made a promise to myself to do this more often. To take more breaks. To take more breaths. To get less done. 

I urge you this week to look at your own life. Where are you racing around like a chicken with your head cut off? Where are you frantic and frazzled? Take a break. Take a breath. Agree to get less done. 

[Here's another great article in the same vein from my Twitter friend Fiona: Writing Your Way Towards Slow]