Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Big Idea Monday- Inspire Someone

Our happiness in this world depends on the affections we are enabled to inspire.
-Duchess De Praslin

Have I mentioned I am always late? Usually 10 minutes, not two days. Sorry for the delay. Here is this week’s installment of Big Idea Monday on Wednesday. Before I throw my whopper of an idea out to the universe, let me share with you the coolest site possibly in the history of the Internet. I just found it by googling “idea”. If you type in any word and than hit the “inspire me” button, the site will present:  color schemes, photos, quotes, YouTube videos, books, articles, Wickipedia references, you name it- all related to your word. Talk about an inspiration. My quote and image today came from a search of the word "inspire". The page says that inspiration is fleeting so the search results constantly change. Love it!  As if that wasn’t enough, there is a related site to find inspiration for story ideas and blog posts. I don’t know this genius named John Watson, who created these sites. But he is my hero.

My idea for this BIM is....drum roll.....a screenplay about a 10- year old boy named Ben, who inspires a cynical professor so much that he comes to believe the boy may be Benjamin Franklin reincarnated. It needs some flushing out. I am attending a 3-day screen writing workshop this weekend. So maybe I will invent a movie yet. Wish me luck!

Do you have a big idea? What are you doing about it?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gratitude vs. Appreciation

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of god wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.
-Alan Cohen

Last week over Thanksgiving, I finished the Lisa McCourt’s book Juicy Joy: 7 Simple Steps to a Glorious, Gutsy You. My copy is filled with dog eared pages where I found soulful tips on imagining your ideal life.  This book is one I will reread. I liked it that much. McCourt's  take on gratitude was especially liberating, like undoing your pant’s top button after an overindulgent meal with family you see once a year. The author distinguishes between the word gratitude and appreciation. Appreciation is like unconditional love. Gratitude tends to carry with it certain expectations. 

-You should feel grateful for your health. 
-You need to be grateful for what you have. 
-You must never appear ungrateful to others who may be struggling with less.

When you have desires for something more or simply something different, you may feel guilty for not being satisfied with what you have. McCourt used the example of money. If you don’t feel like you have enough or your current job does not pay satisfactorily, you could go through the list of why you shouldn’t want more money.

-I am lucky to have a job in this economy.
-I need to be satisfied with where I am at in life and not be materialistic.
-If I don’t have enough money, I need to cut back on spending.

In the end, there is a fine line between your “grateful” self pep talks and talking yourself into believing that your undeserving. When you force these expectations of gratitude, you are mentally focusing on “scarcity” or what you lack. You may be saying thanks, but that doesn’t translate into feeling thankful.

Instead, try appreciating the little things that go along with the thing your desiring more of. If it is McCourt's money example, try feeling the freedom when you make a purchase for yourself. Look through a photo album of a vacation that you paid for. Dwell in the pleasure to spend on a thoughtful gift for a friend. When you can savor the feelings associated with that thing that you like enough to want more of, you will be attracting more of it into your life. You will feel abundant in whatever that thing is for you.

I am trying this appreciation technique with something I long for more of.....time!

Today, I am enjoying the solitude of writing alone in my office. This afternoon, I look forward to decorating our house for Christmas with the kids and making invitations for a Gingerbread House party for my daughter’s pre-school class. Tonight, it will be a treat to cook a quiet dinner at home after entertaining visitors for a week. 

Is there something you want more of? Can you appreciate it?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time Travel Tuesday- Swimming Holes

The water is your friend. You don't have to fight the water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move.
-Alexandr Popov

When is the last time you found a swimming hole and dove in alone? On this chilly November Time Travel Tuesday, I say go now! Do it! Don’t wait! I found mine tucked away in a swank Coral Gables neighborhood. It is a natural spring that some of Miami’s founding fathers had the good sense to build a casino around in 1923. Today, the Venetian Pool is treated like any other public park facility. But there is nothing ordinary about it. There are quarried coral rock grottos and caves to explore. Waterfalls and look out towers too. There are courtyards shaded by overgrown bougainvillea and a man made beach. You will find black and white pictures of movie stars who spent leisurely Saturdays in the spring and of course, the distinctly Miami-looking life guards lounging around waiting for the occasional tourist to take their picture.

I left a writing conference downtown and crawled through traffic on US-1 to first find a place that sold bathing suits and than to go on the hunt for this historic gem of a pool. I wasn’t disappointed. When I asked where the changing area was, the young cashier gave her equally young co-worker a strange sideways glance. The kind of face teenagers make when their parents do anything to draw embarrassing attention to themselves. “Your going swimming?” She asked in disbelief. After all, it was cloudy and in the lower seventies. Turn on the heat, break out the hot chocolate, sweater weather for locals.

If you try this, I would suggest you don’t even dip your toes in. Just jump- feet first. After the initial shock wears off, it is well worth the completely alive sensation. I admit I haven’t swam by myself, maybe ever in my adult life. I was driven to go out of frustration. I had just spent three days at a writing conference with author Lisa Mccourt. Lisa’s book Juicy Joy: 7 Simple Steps To A Gutsy Glorious You is filled with imaginative tools to cultivate joy. Lisa paints vivid pictures to hold in your mind as you meditate. The problem was it wasn’t working. I spent the better part of two restless nights in my hotel trying to reset my pinball-game brain. Somewhere around 3 am, I decided I needed to create a memory to revisit in my head. Maybe swimming in cool, fresh water would make me feel cleansed and at the same time refilled. Fanning my hands out and swirling in broad strokes allowed me to imagine my distractions and repetitive thoughts dissolving in the naturally fed pool. Floating on my back, I imagined all 820,000 gallons of pure springs flowing through me, toes to head. 

I don’t know when I will have a chance to find another swimming hole, but I know I can return to that memory. The taste of the water. The smell of cold. The smooth like wax feel of the coral rock beaten under the constant falls. The sight of black birds swirling clockwise like a tornado retreating into the grey sky.

Have you ever created a memory that you can revisit that gives you a sense of peace, hope or relief?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Big Idea Monday- Angel Investors

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.
-Edgar Allen Poe

My 13-year old son is always coming up with brilliant ideas.  If I had written any of them down and actually helped him do something about it, we would be ga-jill-ion-airs by now. We live in the land of Billy Mays, the late-gadget guru  pitchman and Home Shopping Network (HSN). We also live a short drive from Thomas Edison’s winter home and lab where he and Henry Ford spent years trying to develop an alternative to manufacturing rubber tires. So now there is a new resource in our backyard. Actually, it is technically in everyone’s backyard, because it is a website called Edison Nation. What started as a PBS series called Everyday Edisons has evolved into a partnership with retail giant HSN to find  and launch the next big thing. Not only can you submit your ideas and get help going to market. But there are companies constantly advertising what inventions they need. There are "how to get started" videos and some really inspiring success stories. Think about all that stuff that says “As Seen On TV”  or at the check out counter at Bed Bath and Beyond. Than think about your next door neighbor becoming a millionaire selling their spill proof bowl, or baggie dispenser or “eggie” or a cat nail filer.  

I will not share my son’s latest idea with you for this Big Idea Monday, but I will share mine. I just secured several domain names with the word angel in them. Lots of kids write letters to Santa. Some write letters to God. They even put a stamp on it. When I was young I used to mail letters to angels. Quirky, I know. But it always made me feel better to write down my prayers.Putting it out there made it that much more powerful. Instead of those letters going to a Dead Mail center to be shredded. This would be a place to anonymously (or not anonymously) to post your wishes, your dreams or even your confessions. There could even be a menu option of registering your name in case your prayer attracted an “angel investor”.

I leave you today with this story link about a boy who wrote a letter to God asking that he take good care of his dog that had just died. That letter was found by a real angel. Warning, don’t read it if your wearing mascara!

Do you have a big idea? What are you doing about it?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Funeral Crashers

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is the very single best invention to life. It is life's change agent.
-Steve Jobs Stanford University Commencement Speech June 2005

Yesterday, my day started at a funeral and ended at a child’s birthday party. Both experiences were, for lack of a better word, enjoyable. Life-affirming, maybe? I have always been an avid obituary reader. I love the writer’s skill in summing up an entire life in 400 words or less. The healthy husband who cared for his ailing wife of sixty years than died within hours of her. The woman who wrote thousands of thank you cards, including one to the hospital worker who prepared her last breakfast. Every ordinary person sounds fascinating in their obituary. It always makes me wonder what I will be remembered for? 

You have heard of wedding crashers? I felt like a funeral crasher yesterday. It was a service at the local Unity church for a 70-year old woman I have never met. I went to show support for her daughter. It struck me that no one talked about the woman’s accomplishments. There were no resume items listed off. Instead, there was story after story about how this woman made others feel. It was the time she took to help someone figure out a computer program or the recipe she shared with a co-worker’s wife. It was how she made a new person feel welcome or the recognition she gave to someone struggling to do their best. It was the way she talked about her daughters and grandchildren that made others feel hopeful that their own parents talked that way about them. It was her love of music and books that she shared freely with friends. It was her undivided attention she gave to whoever she was speaking to. I never met this woman, but I would like to be like her.

Buddhists contemplate and meditate on death as a way of recognizing impermanence. They use death as a reminder of the fleeting nature of time to help them live life to the fullest. Some Tibetans are even encouraged to visit cemeteries to eliminate fear of the inevitable. 

Knowing this tradition made me feel a little less weird about my lack of sorrow at the funeral, even my irrational thoughts that maybe I should “crash” funerals more frequently. But it did not prepare me for my  four-year old daughter’s questions. In the car on the way to the birthday party, she asked me why I had to die. Would I still be her mommy when I died? She said she didn’t want me to die. She didn’t go with me to the funeral, by the way. In fact, I didn’t even mention to her anything about it. So not sure how she picked up on it. Than later after the birthday party, she had a friend come over to play. They were running in circles and my daughter joyfully yelled, "I am dying."

What do you want written in your obituary?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hello Fear

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of it's dream.
-Paul Coelho

"The Innocent" from Kooza
Have you ever seen something that you totally didn’t “get”, but you liked it anyway? An opera or maybe a painting that spoke to you even though you couldn’t explain the meaning behind it. That is how I felt about the show Kooza.  I never really get the “story” in any of the Cirque Du Soleil performances.  There are usually clowns. There are tight rope walkers and contortionists and flying acrobats and live music. You are amazed and thrilled and entertained all at the same time. So who needs a story?

When I went to the traveling show last week, I had been in a really dark place for a couple of weeks emotionally. The next day, I woke up feeling light. The weight suddenly lifted. I felt like it had something to do with the show. There was something about seeing people perform so imaginatively. Something about pushing the limits of the human body and the limits of safety that was inspiring. But there was more to it, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on until today.

I just left a workshop with “joy expert” Lisa McCourt, the author of Juicy Joy: 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gutsy Self. Lisa is extremely insightful. Her class makes students confront what they like least about themselves, their worst fears and the worst things that ever happened to them. It was shocking that in such a diverse group of people, we shared the same pain and insecurities. Men. Women. Married. Single. Thirties. Fifties. Parents.  Childless. We all carry guilt.  We all feel alone with our secret shame. We all feel out of control and too controlling. Selfish, yet a stranger to ourselves. We all fear being judged or worse, being invisible. We all wonder what “enough” feels like.

I felt exhausted and at the same time uplifted at the end of class. It was reassuring to not be so disconnected for a change.  Lisa McCourt has mastered the art of loving her imperfections as much as her star qualities. She has mastered the ability to see unwanted situations or personalities in our life as gifts. She sees all experiences as learning experiences that allow us to grow into the person we are supposed to be, which is exactly who we are right now!

I looked up the story of Kooza after class today. Here is what the website says: Kooza is the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world.The Innocent’s journey brings him in contact with a panoply of characters such as The King, The Trickster, The Pickpocket, The Obnoxious Tourist and his bad dog. Kooza explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power.

It is Lisa’s story. It is my story. It is The Innocent’s story. It is our story. 

What is your worst fear? Write about it. Visualize it- in all its hairy, ferocious detail. Can you look it in the eye? What will you say to it?

Tag-Your it!

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
-Dalai Lama

-Psst. Did you forget something? Not a birthday. Not an anniversary. Bigger. Let me be your calendar reminder. Its World Kindness Week. If you didn’t know, don’t feel bad. I didn’t either until my Canadian friend mentioned it like it was a national holiday. I love those Canadians.  Apparently Monday, November 13th has been celebrated as World Kindness Day since 1997 when the World Kindness Movement formed in Japan. Now, 20 countries participate. One day just wasn’t enough, so they made it a whole entire week. Yea!

Send flowers. Write a card. Use your imagination. There are a million and one ways to be kind. If your having kindness block, here is a helpful list of ideas brought to you by The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Here is my list so far this week (and that was before I knew about the holiday)  Received more than I gave and when I gave, I still received more.

Kindness Received
-A hotel worker stayed with me on the phone and talked me through a scary neighborhood
-A different hotel worker found a beautiful shell on the beach and brought it specifically for my daughter the next day.
-Another hotel worker showed interest in my daughter’s artwork like it was a masterpiece.
-My husband sent me flowers, just because.
-An old friend is investing in our friendship again.
-A classmate took the time to go to lunch with me to listen and learn. Now I have a new friend.
-A police officer helped me back up safely.
-The triple A guy came quickly to change a flat.
-A teacher shared her joy and wisdom with me.
-Two college students walked me to class and expressed interest in my blog.
-Multiple doors were held open.
-My neighbors published a flattering article about my blog to be supportive.
-A homeless man directed me which stop to get off the metro mover.

Kindness Given
-I gave a homeless man a dollar but than asked him for directions and talked to him on the metro mover. I don’t think the dollar was nearly as helpful as making him feel valued.
-I pulled my car over to help a man in a wheelchair. Turns out he didn’t want to be pushed anywhere, he just wanted someone to listen to his story. I gave him $10 too.
-I gave flowers and handwritten thank you cards to two neighbors.
-I helped my son mail thank you cards.
-I invested in an old friend.
-I invested in a new friend.
-I held doors open for others.

Have you thought about how many people treated you with kindness in the past 24 hours? Make a list. It will make you feel really lucky!

Monday, November 12, 2012


The few wonders of the world only exist while there are those with the sight to see them.
-Charles De Lint

This month has been more about a lack of imagination than exploring mine. The past couple of weeks, I am ashamed to say I broke several rules on my absolute no list. Don’t waste time debating problems with no solution. Don’t waste time in useless conversations. Don’t forget to think about how other’s perceive my words and actions. Don’t speak before I think. The list goes on and on.

I have been caught up in a power struggle over something that, in the big picture, simply does not matter. Yet, I allowed it to suck the life out of me so there was no energy left for anything creative. No light, at all.

Than a strange thing happened. There were unusual sightings in our home. My husband had a vision first, than so did I. My husband spotted the first genuine smile he has seen on me in weeks. I woke up in a good mood. Than when I went into the bathroom, I saw what appears to be a fairy apparition on our medicine cabinet mirror. When you move your head from side to side, it looks just like the fairy’s iridescent wings actually move. I called the whole family into the bathroom. They saw it too. Of course, my son and husband just sort of shrugged it off as a neat toothpaste spot. But my daughter, exclaimed “I dreamt about Tinker Bell last night. This must be where she comes and goes through. It is her door!” she explained. “So she can visit her sister,” she reasoned. 

Where does she come up with these elaborate stories? Oh ya, that's right. She still has an active imagination.

Well, I'm not too far gone, if I was the one who spotted it. Or maybe I am too far gone, depending on how you look at it. You can put me in the same camp with people who see Jesus’ face in potato chips or the pilgrims who used to flock to that financial building on US-19 in nearby Clearwater, Florida. The one that the Catholic church eventually bought after someone noticed a figure on the windows that appeared to look like the Virgin Mary. Non-believers thought it was a stain from the sprinkler’s hard water. But hundreds of thousands of people got comfort and joy from that stain. The sick and the desperate prayed to that stain for miracles for eight years until vandals destroyed it in 2004.

I like seeing my fairy when I comb my hair, and put on make up. I am not windexing the stain away, in case she wants to come back. 

What do you see when you look at my medicine cabinet mirror?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cruising with Osho

Make every moment a celebration. Celebration is gratitude for whatsoever life gives to you.

As holidays loom, I can hardly concentrate on anything much less this month’s focus on imagination. I prefer to revisit October and the study of intuition for a moment. I want to tell you about a book written by Osho called Intuition, Knowing Beyond Logic. Osho was a mystic who travelled through out India in the 1960’s and 70’s denouncing organized religion. The philosopher attracted a colorful following to his ashram that was affiliated with the Human Potential Movement. In the eighties, Osho became famous as a “sex guru” when he started a, shall we say, “loving” commune in Oregon. He and his hippie converts drove around in  a fleet of Rolls Royces. Osho was eccentric, but his writings still reflect some profound wisdom.

If your ready for a flashback to a different time, read this book and imagine yourself cruising in a Rolls with Osho's beard flying in the wind. Not surprisingly, he talks a lot about being childlike. In fact, he goes back to that theme again and again.

“The child has the quality of non- knowledge, innocence. He looks with wonder, his eyes are absolutely clear. He looks deep, but he has no prejudices, no judgements, no prior ideas.” Osho preached.

Children know truth. We know reality, which is our idea of the truth. An idea that has passed through layer upon layer of filters, according to Osho. Unlike the other intuition books I read in October, The bearded philosopher didn’t give any specific “how to” steps to get to the heart of your intuition. To him, the key was awareness of your prejudices or filters, and that awareness can only come through meditation.

There were a couple of illuminating examples that stuck out. First he talked about our physical senses being dulled. He questioned why humans have an inferior sense of smell compared to animals. Why is it our sense of smell becomes so much more keen when we are pregnant? Osho listed six filters that hide the jewel of your inner knowing. Dulled physical senses. Rationalization. Conditioning. Sentimentality. Repression and a corrupted intuition. He also dispelled notions of success. Using the analogy that Jesus was crucified and Buddha was a lowly beggar, Osho challenged conventional definitions of success. The mystic believed one’s greatest achievement is to know yourself. A success that can’t be measured by anyone else’s standards.

Kind of deep for a mid-week post....but interesting stuff. 

Do you know yourself?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Not Perfect

Perfectionism is self abuse in the highest order.
-Anne Wilson Shaef

And so it starts. My 4-year old came home today describing the party she is going to have at our house so she can invite her boyfriend over. Her boyfriend. After a few questions, I discovered her “boyfriend” doesn’t know he is her boyfriend. He is a friend. He is a boy and she says she loves him forever.  Tonight she wanted to draw an elaborate picture for him. She wanted one of them surfing at the beach. She asked me to help draw the surfboard. She hated it.  She wanted a unicorn. Nope, not good enough. She tried to color a heart by herself. Big crocodile tears came rolling down her cheeks. “It’s not perfect”, she kept whining. She cried until her eyes were bright red and the snot was covering her lips. She never finished her picture.

This isn’t the first time. The waterworks start just about every time the crayons come out lately. She can’t put what is in her imagination on paper. What is in her beautiful head just doesn’t translate. My son never tormented himself like this. Is it a girl thing? If so, when do we grow out of it? Because in that moment, I clearly saw my reflection in my daughter's tear streaked face.

Before this, I thought perfectionists must be pretty close to perfect because they try so hard. I didn’t relate to the label at all because you can’t be a perfectionist and still feel so imperfect, right? But that is, in essence, the textbook definition of a perfectionist. Always striving to get rid of that feeling through the next big thing.

My adult way of dealing with it is to remind myself to live in the present, let go of expectations. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination. I try to focus on what I do have, instead of what I don’t. I try to dwell on my accomplishments, not what is yet to be achieved. But still, there it lurks. Impossible perfection. Nothing will ever quite compare to my imaginings. It is why movies are always a disappointment compared to a favorite book. It is why my happy memory of a friend or a vacation destination is far more flattering than the pictures.It is why my plans for the holidays often lead to anxiety and  It is why enough is an elusive, frustrating word when in comes to myself and the ones I love.

My emotions ranged from concern and empathy to complete frustration and dismay when I couldn’t console my daughter with her pile of crumpled papers. I wonder if that is how my husband feels when dealing with my occasional irrational tantrums.  A dose of healthy perfectionism can motivate you to realize whatever your imagination can dream up. But there is a dark side. A neurotic side that can push loved ones away, leave you feeling depressed and pessimistic when you fail to reach unattainable goals. A side that makes you procrastinate or give up without ever trying because you feel overwhelmed, guilty and anxious. Psychologists say that it can be caused by genetics or environment or both. There are many rational suggestions on how to parent a perfectionist child. The one that struck a chord with me was to model behavior. Be flexible. Set reasonable expectations. Don’t take yourself and your mistakes too seriously. Learn from them. Try again. 

Whether it is in your career, your role as a parent or just looking in the mirror, beware of perfectionism. It is fear disguised as drive.   

Are you a perfectionist? Take the.Perfectionist quiz

Monday, November 5, 2012

Big Idea Monday- For Linguaphiles

The True alchemists do not change lead into gold, they change the world into words.
-William H. Gass

Did you know that November is national novel writing month? Aspiring authors can visit a website called to help them knock out a 50,000 word book in one month. That is about 1,700 words a day for the next 30 days. The word count this year is up to 619,600,034, as I write. This concept allows writers to connect locally for moral support, feedback and editing or find other writers within their genre anywhere in the world.  You can track your word count, bounce ideas around, get pep talks to battle writer’s block and even find sponsors to go to print. This lovely idea helps support 300,000 writers of all ages and it is all run by donations. Eight literary lovers formed a non-profit called The Office of Letters and Light. Brilliant! Since November is imagination month on this blog, I am taking the 30-day challenge for my first attempt at fiction. Wish me luck. I can use a few people passing out goo and water on the sidelines for this particular race. 

But first, the short sprint to come up with a new idea for this Big Idea Monday. My first idea was to learn a new word a day and share it on a blog. But a quick google search found that someone already came up with that one.Wordsmith Anu Garg learned English as a second language by learning one new word a day. If your a linguaphile (a lover of language and words), you can join the half million other people who subscribe to his simple, but inspiring idea. Get a new word and definition every day via email or give a word a day to someone you love.  Ok, scratching my head now. Can’t exactly say he took my idea since apparently he started this word movement in 1994.

Ok. Ok. Got it. My contribution to the literary idea whirlpool is to make up your own new word and share it with 10 people you know. Who, knows maybe it will catch on? Maybe it will even be featured as the word of the day in Urban Dictionary or describe a new thing that everyone needs like a sneed.

My made up word of the day is:
honeydon't  (verb)
a passive aggressive technique to use on your significant other when you want to guilt or threaten them into doing something they don't want to do.

Wordsmith’s word of the day is:
Emulous (adjective)
Eager to imitate, equal or to surpass another.

Urban Dictionary’s word of the day is:
Eh hole (noun)
A canadian asshole.

What is your word of the day?

Friday, November 2, 2012

No Dress Rehearsal

Every child is an artist. The problem is remaining an artist once we grow up.
-Pablo Picasso

First, let me say that my daughter has three grandmothers and four grandfathers. She had no less than seven princess/fairy costumes to choose from for Halloween. She has every imaginable accessory too. She wore one to the pumpkin patch and a different one to her school party. Her dad was in charge of getting her dressed for trick or treating. If your a mom, you probably know where this story is going. She came down looking like a disheveled street urchin.  The term "hot mess" comes to mind. She told me she was an “ice cream fairy” and was quite pleased with her choice to mix most of her costumes together. I sent them upstairs to try again. Pick one, I demanded. 

They came back with an equally ridiculous ensemble. This time she managed to layer five of the dresses on top of each other and a plain green t-shirt over one arm and neck for some reason.. No beads. No pretty crown. No matching wig. No sparkly slippers. This time, she was a “lemonade sunflower princess.” 

My initial reaction was to insist she conform.  I wanted an adorable picture for Facebook. All that money wasted on real costumes. What would the grandparents think? The neighbors? But her smile was so genuine. She was so sure of her self. So sure of her choice or rather figuring out a way not to choose. I relented. 

In the month of November, the focus shifts from intuition to imagination. My daughter, the royal lemonade sunflower princess, is the perfect muse for the new  topic. Why be Merida or Snow White when she can be someone no one else has ever seen. Someone born from her imagination. I love her confidence in the beauty of her vision. I love her insistence that she doesn’t have to limit her choices. She can create her own choice. I love that she recognizes that there are no dress rehearsals. This was her moment to put on her favorite wings, her lucky t-shirt, her comfy pajama bottoms, her twirly tutu and carry her baseball backpack. If she waited until tomorrow, it wouldn’t be right now anymore.

I pray that I remember this moment the next time my way too adult initial reaction kicks in.

Who is your muse for your imagination?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Intuitive Parenting

Have you ever read something and thought it was written specifically for you? That is how I felt when I came across Tricia Savoi's website called Absolute Awareness. Tricia is a Calgary-based mother of two and former teacher turned writer, speaker, clinical hypnotherapist and inspirer. Her site talks about how she rushed from activity to activity, usually felt stuck or guilty or both. How she longed for something "more" but didn't know what the "more" was. How relatable. Savoi created an integrity code for herself and tries to live her life as a soulful person so she can live by example for her children. She talks a lot about intuitive parenting on her blog geared toward busy moms trying to recover their true selves. Savoi also offers a free eBook to find more time in your day. Brilliant! 

What is intuitive parenting?

Intuitive Parenting is knowing that there is no “one size fits all” parenting manual; that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to parent.  It’s about equipping ourselves with knowledge, tools, and strategies, but then filtering all our decisions and choices through our inner knowing; our intuition, because each child is different and requires a unique blend of parenting that serves their personal soul needs.

 Where did you come up with this term?

I can’t take credit for coining this term, since I have encountered it before, but the reason I use it and it fits so aptly with what I do is because I believe that the solution to our parenting struggles and frustrations boils down to listening to our guidance system, which is our emotions; our intuition. 

Can you share an example of an experience where intuitive parenting had positive results?

To me Intuitive Parenting includes creating a safe space with our children, where they know they can come to us and share their thoughts, feelings and concerns without fear of our anger, judgment, or trying to jump in to fix it for them. 

I have set this up with my children by calling it a “safe place,” which isn’t necessarily a fixed spot, but is created by them simply saying, “Can I talk to you in my safe place?”  

My son (age 10) and I were not in agreement about a particular video game that he really wanted to play.  I strongly disagree with violence and it didn’t sit well with me.  After weeks of his relentless asking, and my firm no, my son finally asked if he could talk to me in his “safe place.”

We found a quiet place in his room, and he started by asking me my reasons for not letting him play.  I gave him my reasons, one of which involved the explanation of how violence affects our energy, hence our vibration (we talk about energy a lot in our house, so this wasn’t new to him and he could understand) , and I was concerned how exposing himself to this type of game would affect his energy, as well as condone violence.

We said he understood my views, however went on to point out that that doesn’t impact him energetically the way it does me.  And he reminded my of my own teachings (of course! Lol) that things affect everyone differently because everyone has different sensitivity levels.  He also explained because we talk about listening to what our bodies are telling us that if we could come to a compromise that he would really listen to his body and what it was telling him, so if he felt he was getting drained he’d stop.

I intuitively knew that by refusing to let him play this I was making it the forbidden fruit, therefore all the more appealing.  After some more discussion we did agree on a compromise, and he was allowed to play.  After that discussion he played the game about three times, and has never played it again!

But what I was most happy about was his initiation of that conversation and his ability to share his thoughts and feelings.  I believe because we started with the “safe place” a few years ago that it paved the path for having these types of conversations.  Instead of us dictating to them, we are able to communicate instead.  That goes a long way in easing struggles and frustrations. 

When you try to be an intuitive parent, are you also a more intuitive person in other aspects of your life?

YES!  There is no way to have one without the other.  I believe that by becoming intuitive within our own lives sets the foundation for being an Intuitive Parent.  

This is where it all started for me.  I had shut down my intuition, and because of that was encountering struggles in my personal and professional life.  I wasn’t happy.  I had a good life, BUT still could feel a void that something was missing. That is what prompted me to begin to open up and start to listen to the guidance I was being given.  It took time, and because I wasn’t accustomed to listening, I had to refine that skill.  I called these “intuition experiments.”

Once becoming more in touch with my intuitive side, I recognized that I also need to parent this way.  We get bombarded with so many dos and don’ts that it can be very overwhelming and paralyzing for parents to know what to do to raise children that are healthy, happy, and lead meaningful and fulfilled lives.  

Once again, it boils down to truly knowing our children, and knowing there is no blanketed solution to all our parenting frustrations, but when we are able to be more in the moment and tune into their needs, as well as create an open place for them to come to, we create a strong foundation to raise our children with confidence.  

The starting point is definitely with us learning how to listen to our own needs.  When we can listen to our own soul needs, it opens us up to being able to actively listen to our children’s needs.  We are able to respond and make choices based on knowing and trusting our inner guidance…for us, as well as our children. …And this also means allowing our children to remain open to their intuitive selves and letting them grow into who they are. 

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