Friday, March 20, 2015

Revelations in Parenting

Parenting is messy.  Not just physically and around the house but it just really can mess with your mind.  All your past thoughts on parenting, who you thought you were, how you were raised, and your beliefs about your upbringing, and of course the MASSIVE amount of information hurled at us every stinking day through social media, gets carried on through you, to the present.  Subsequently drives you further away from being present, trusting your instincts, like really really listening to your heart in regards to parenting.  

For me, studying Early Childhood Education adds another element to the messiness.  While I have this intellectual information about Child Development and the expertise and  experience of sharing, teaching, observing, facilitating and living my life with this connection, I still fall down the messy sinkhole of parenting my own two.

Parenting (sometimes) has been such a huge challenge for me, nothing at all how I expected it to be…the good the bad and the ugly side…all…nothing how I imagined. 

And my thought patterns have been very unkind and unforgiving for most of my parenting life.  

I’ll preface this first with;  I need you to know I recognize and see all the true beauty from my children.  Love, admire and would go to the ends of the earth for them….

However… with some families (I trust…no…just me?) there are some really shit, challenging, soul crushing events, times, fleeting moments with the children that quite frankly have made me want to ‘fly the coop’ and never come back.  Of coarse that does not happen, if only in my mind, but that’s my feeling. 

Back to the thought patterns.

As an example, my son who sometimes has trouble regulating his feelings and emotions (all part of his triple ADHD/Anxiety/LD diagnosis) can say, do and be extremely hurtful and destructive …in the moment.  Often times they are directed at me.  For years I would react to everything he said, and did…mirroring sometimes his behaviour…because I was so appalled and hurt, embraced and ashamed….and made it about him ‘attacking me’, which of course only prolonged the episode…prolonged the hurt and prolonged us from getting to the root of his outburst and  the truth behind his emotions.
My thoughts during and after an ‘episode’ would be:
“I am such a failure at parenting.”
“Parenting is too hard”
“I am not good at being a mom”
“How am I so bad at this”
“My son must really hate me”
“Nothing I do is right”
Honestly the list is long, sad and has been on repeat for far too long. 

ANYWAY. sigh. Good news:
My most recent, and most amazing revelation about parenting came to light shortly after my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training began in January 2015.  The first 40 hours of class is The Soul of The Teacher training…what that means is we need to get real about our shit…acknowledge, deal and work through it so we can be present for when our students are in practice.

So through one of these kriyas my thoughts popped up like a 3D movie: 
“You are sooooo wrong about yourself as a parent.  You are a great parent.  Your children will NEVER be able to say:
“ My Mom was never there for me.”
“ I  never really knew if my mom loved me” 
“ My mom never hugged or kissed me”
“ My mom never supported me”
“ My mom doesn’t get me” 
“ My mom didn’t try” 
“ My Mom never relished in our uniqueness” 
“ My mom was never proud of us” 
“ My mom didn’t get help for me” 
“ My mom didn’t care about our health and nutrition”.  

Never ever ever in the history of history will MY kids be able to say ANY of those things.  
And wow oh wow did I ever feel the biggest sense of release and relief after hearing this amazing truth and finally gave myself permission to let that shit go.  My vibes were so high after this revelation I felt as though I was walking around like a peacock with the brightest plumage.

Shortly after this revelation I got to test out my new beliefs…because as you know….some fires never fully go out…a ‘big emotions event’ took place….I was able to ‘be there’ for him, while he felt his feelings….recognized it has nothing to do with me….wait for the fire to simmer….then put it out with time, patience, understanding and acceptance.   And I have since afforded myself the luxury of those same gifts…time, patience, understanding and acceptance.

Being the CALM one magiCALMess at a time

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Start at the Beginning

I have been inconstantly blogging on clever&Lovely since 2009.  I started writing it, right in the middle of the downward spiral of my businesses, rolz&sassy, my Canadian Made fabric baby wearing company (2006-2010) and my brick and mortar baby boutique (2008-2010) of the same name.
I started both of my businesses on pure passion, drive, love and I saw a niche market.  I expanded too quickly and was super naive to the art of running a business and felt very alone.  I was running my businesses on pure fear and subsequently sabotaging the businesses and living a fear based life, that sadly trickled into a full time job itself.  To say it was awful is a gross understatement.  Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of heart and soul based moments throughout that time, but was exhausting with the undertone of fear.  (I will one day write a post about my rolz&sassy business and the beauty of the lessons learned)

However and furthermore (both said with a British accent) my clever&Lovely life is taking a long and jagged right turn to Easy Street!  Not really “Easy Street” per say. (if just really fit that sentence).
More like a nicer, calmer, kinder, heart centred Street.  I have been practicing meditation since January 2014, and have been a wayward practitioner of Yoga since 2000.   

My life is becoming more clever&Lovely since beginning my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training in January 2015.  At the tender age of forty-one, I am doing the work to heal myself from myself, breaking open, breaking loose, breaking free from my old self and my soul shattering thought patterns.  Moving my body through Kriyas and listening to the story that is unfolding through the movements and starting to live my life in the most Lovely way possible…as Myself.  A Kinder, gentler, heart focused, love centred ME.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nuns Farts and Rhubarb

It's Sunday morning, my house smells like mine did when I was growing up.  Like fresh baked pies.  It smells glorious.  I am wrapped in nostalgia this morning.  How lucky we were to grow up in a home where fresh baked goods were the normal, everyday occurrence.  I remember being surprised when other kids never had a homemade butter tart in the their lunch.  How spoiled.  I was spoiled in love, attention, slow food and baking.  Spoiled in obtaining recipes handed down from generation to generation.  I am trying in earnest to give these simple, profound, memories of love, smells, sights to my kids, that one day when they are parents remember and think of me and inevitably their hearts warm and they too have this same nostalgic moment. Le sigh...I am a sentimental gal, I can't help it.

So, I was gifted a large amount of rhubarb this past week, this morning I baked 3 rhubarb cream pies, one of my moms best recipes.  And always my Birthday request instead of a cake.

The Pie Lady

Rhubarb Cream Pie

2 Eggs (Beat really really well)
Then add: 1 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Flour
Beat Well

Then add: 3 Cups of diced Rhubarb
Mix thoroughly 
Pour into unbaked pie shell, cover top with pastry

Bake at 400 for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Enjoy warm or my favourite the next day cold from the fridge.

Now on to the NUNS FARTS
I believe this 'recipe' originates from my Auntie Judy's side of the family, so credits to name and baked good goes to her. 

You take the left over dregs of pastry roll it out.  
Spread butter all over the pastry
Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar
roll it up
slice it
bake it 
Enjoy the warm "cookie" type pastry.


Have a lovely day, slow down, take it in the little things, enjoy the smell and taste of a Nuns Fart.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

The King of Green - Lawn-Boy

Every spring for as long as I've been alive my Dad has a sacred ritual of starting his Lawn-Boy.  
Step 1.  Roll it out of shed
Step 2. Quick wipe down
Step 3. Push gas button
Step 4. Pull the cord. Wait. Starts!
Every year, one after the other it starts after the first or second start.  
Without fail his lime and kelly green Lawn-Boy fires into action and another season of lawn maintenance takes place.  
You may be thinking "Well, duh, isn't that what a lawn mower should do?" 
And to that I say "Well, Yes young chap." 
But what makes this so extraordinary is that my Dad's Lawn-Boy has just turned 40!!!
That's right the old boy is 40 this spring.  
The only thing my Dad has had to replace is his belt about 15 years ago.  
What a piece of machinery, Lawn-Boy sure knocks it out of the park on superior design and reliability.  
Not sure how Lawn-Boy measures up today as we've never had to purchase another lawn mower.

Here's to another 40 years, eh Dad?

Lawn-Boy gets my Clever&Lovely stamp of approval.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Lake

The lake is silenced
By the weight of a trillion
Tiny, light, feathered
Unable to move by
The shear strength,
Pressure and force
Of the cold
Straight jacket
That is winter.
Majestic in its 
Obvious Beauty
As it blankets 
It’s existence.
The suns rays
Willing the lake
To make a break.
To hear the waves.

By: Marcia Spencer

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Multiple Miracle-gasms

...a love story

On Monday January 20th around 4:20 in the afternoon, my Spirit shifted.  It was another treacherous winter drive home from work on highway 21 from Port Elgin to Kincardine, the roads were a layer of ice, thick with snowy slush and the snow was coming down.  The drive home was lots of traffic coming from both ways.  Both hands were on the wheel, slower speed and very aware, cautious driving was going on on my part.  Very present to the fact I wanted to get home safe. 

As I was making my way through Tiverton I started to accelerate a little more, I was going between 60-70km (normally 80).  My truck slowly started to fishtail, I let off the gas and tried to ease my truck straight. This did not help. In a short period of time this is what happened.  An otherwise very busy on coming traffic, miraculously had no traffic in this time frame, as my truck fishtailed into the oncoming lane 2 to 3 times, once back in my lane, the side of my truck hit the snow banks on the side of the road and my truck barrel rolled while still moving forward, then the nose end of my truck hit the snowbank hard and my truck flipped nose to tail and landed in the deep deep snow facing the opposite direction I was going.

While all of this was going on, here is what was going on in the cab of the truck:  I remained freakishly calm.  The contents of my work bag, my purse, my extra winter gear, a large coffee I didn’t touch, scattered in slow motion as I twirled and flipped upside down in my truck.  My heart beat slowed, my thoughts slowed.  The moment I was in the air flipping upside down, I remember thinking “I’m upside down in my truck, I’m okay, I’m okay.”  I slightly braced myself for the landing, and nothing, the hunk of metal and myself landed in THE DEEPEST snow (Miracle), meaning a very gentle impact.  No airbag deployed.  Just me sitting with my seat belt snug against my body.

I sat for a few moments in silence. Repeating in my mind.  “I’m okay.  I’m alive.  Oh my God. Oh my God.  Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You….A sensation of peace and warmth surrounded my body.

The passenger door opened and a lovely young redheaded fellow (Earth Angel) opened the door and by the look on his face I knew I survived something pretty amazing. (Miracle) As he opened the door my iPhone fell out and slipped under the truck, he handed me his to call Dalton.  My body had taken over and I could not physically dial the phone, my hands started to shake way beyond control.  I asked him to dial.  Although his hands shook, he was able to contact Dalton.  He stayed with me for a bit, talked with me, I assured him I was good and he should leave (he was en route with his dad for an appointment).  After he left I had an uncontrollable need to get out of my truck.  I got out and stood beside the door.  Looked to the sky, repeated over and over “Thank You”.  My body started to shake but I felt calm, elated, and very very aware of this Miracle.  Very aware of another force greater than myself or any human form.  While waiting in the cold every second felt like an hour.  A large pick up truck pulled over with a Gentle Giant (Earth Angel) at the wheel who ‘ordered’ to “Come get in the truck and get warm”.  I gratefully obliged. My body trembled, my mind now racing over the event.  He was calm, called 911.  My Cousin (Earth Angel) is passing in his van and turns around to help.  Dalton shows up with Sasha.  My cousin takes Sasha.  Dalton and I hug.  The energy between us needs no words, we know what just happened, we know.  A Neighbour (Earth Angel) pulls over.  OPP (Earth Angel) shows up.  My neighbour takes me up to the hospital.  Dalton stays with the OPP.  My neighbour was so calm, empathetic, kind, he stays at the hospital until my family (Earth Angels) shows up.  My parents and Dalton arrive.  I break down.  We know, we all know we experienced a miracle.  We are grateful.
I leave the hospital.  Embrace my children.  They will never know the power and meaning to me of that particular hug.  I am grateful to have my arms wrapped around them.  Dalton and I stand hugging in silence.  We know.

I drew myself a hot bath, with lavender.  I stayed in there for two hours.  I cried.  A.LOT. I said “Thank You” A LOT. It was probably the biggest cry I have ever had in my life.  It was a spiritual event I am sure of it.  It wasn't just a cry, it was a release of the realization I am so much more than who I think I am, it was a release of just realizing the magnitude of this Miracle to me, the release of absolute overwhelming GRATITUDE for my life and EVERY person in it.  I am not ready to leave this earth.  I have work to do.

I have extremely vivid vision of my Guardian Angels orchestrating the gentle guidance of my ‘out of control truck’ swerving all over the road and flipping through the air. Their arms linking together to protect me from this potentially tragic, fatal accident.  The others holding up the oncoming traffic so no one else gets hurt.  It consumes my thoughts sometimes. Now when I think of the happenings of this moment in my life, I experience a full body hug sensation, almost like I am being zipped into a wet suit. I am forever changed. 

There were so many Miracles that happened during that moment, one of them being to always keep my eyes, heart and mind opened to receiving them everyday.  They do not just happen during these tragic events.  They are happening every. single. day.  Some smaller than others but they are happening.  I encourage you to notice yours.

Love, Light and Rockets all the way!

If you are interested in miracles I encourage you to check out this website by Gabby Bernstein.  She really helped me realize I was in fact not going crazy. :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recess: By a Boy for Boys

Long Live Recess
by Roland Spencer

  Basically everything at recess started getting banned around the end of September.  And by everything I mean…

Soccer:  I personally don’t play soccer but I see the soccer boys get frustrated every time the game gets banned.  Soccer is their life at school and the second thing to hockey for most of them.  When it is taken away they feel mad and sad.  They need to be given chances to cooperate, and practice team work without adults.  Getting put ‘on the wall’ every time they touch each other in the game, feels abusive (offensive and insulting) to them.  If someone is being ridiculous, pull them off, to cool down, talk, BUT let them get back to the game to play and have fun.

Manhunt (hide and seek, tag):  Manhunt is one of the only games that we like to play.
The teachers are always mad at us for getting muddy and bringing it in the school, but you don’t get it cause most of you have kids that are younger (or don’t have kids) and aren’t into this stuff yet, and boys are supposed to get a little muddy, what do you expect from an 11 year old kid? For me I feel TRUE, I feel how I should, getting a little muddy is as close to how freedom feels in the summer as we can get.  When you take Manhunt away we feel like bags of potatoes because we can’t do anything.  We feel restless and stir crazy when awesome games are taken away.

Just imagine if we kids banned coffee because you spilt it and were getting too talkative because you have too much of it.

Being boys (fighting, running and body slamming,hands on): Being a boy means that you are a daredevil, sometimes you just “do” before you think.  Most boys Do first then think.  e.g.. riding a toy dump truck off the pier.  It’s hard for boys to sit still, and not touch each other, it looks like we are being rough and sometimes aggressive but that is how boys are with each other, that hows we get along, thats how we understand each other.  Being boys is hard at school because most of you are female teacher and you can never know what it is like to be a boy, but we need you to understand that we need you to stop (what feels like) picking on us, bully us, and you are getting mad at us for bullying when we aren’t.

Bringing scooters inside:  Most scooters that we have, have nothing to lock them too.  Most scooters that are good are well over $100 and a lot of us have saved up our own money for them, so if we can’t bring them inside it feels stressful to us.  Maybe we could have a scooter corner in our class, or keep neatly tucked in at the coat room by our hook, if its not put away it goes in the office for the rest of the day, and get it at the end of the day to bring home, but you get the chance to do the right thing the next day.

Lets Make Recess Fun Again

 Let Boys be Boys - Means let them work things out for themselves sometimes.  Give them time and space to do the right thing.

Add scooter, skateboard and bike at recess.  It would really make me and a lot of kids happy and we are more likely going to pay better attention for our classes after.  My Dad and I and my buddy will volunteer and make a mini half-pipe for the yard.  And obviously we will wear helmets, if kids don’t wear helmets they don’t get to ride.  We could even teach other kids how to scooter at recess, maybe the Home and School would donate to get a few extra Razor Ultra Pros from Walmart ($400 for 4, plus helmets) to keep at school as good learner scooters.

What if we could get some Volunteer High Schooler Boys for the 2 recess times to hang with us for free play and ‘organized’ games.  Energetic, fun, cool, teenagers to look up too.

What if the recess Teachers and Monitors learnt to trust us more?  Cut us some slack?  Give us the chance to work things out in our own way?

Sometimes us kids feel so overwhelmed at school because of all the rules and every teacher has different rules on top of the school rules, we have rules at home, we have rules with all different family members and we have our own personal rules.  Wouldn’t it be nice to at least take some of the rules away.  We all know we need to play fare, we all know to be nice and we all know to not hurt each other too bad.  We also know sometimes we will get hurt and thats okay, and most parents are okay with that to…isn’t that what life is about sometimes….learning from experiences and from our mistakes.

When you see two boys bump shoulders in passing, we are just saying “hey” with our bodies.  It’s just in fun.  Your office would not be as busy if you let stuff like that go.

Boys like stupid jokes and acting goofy and being rowdy.  We can’t help it.  My mom says “its obnoxious to people but we all need to be understanding.”

I would love to talk more about this with you.  I would like to thank-you for (reading) or listening and I hope you will take some time and think about my ideas.  It would mean a lot to me.  I have copied some links to a great video, a must watch and an article my mom and I found.

Hi.  Just a quick note.  For months (and part of last school year) my son has come home sad or frustrated about recess. Recess for him is one of his only reprieve from classes that are a struggle for him.  And now recess is a struggle too.  We have talked off and on about this topic for a while now and the other week I said “Well do something about it.  Make a change.  Start a conversation about it.”  Our kids are full of insight and ideas, (even (especially) the ones that are struggling with the teaching style.)  They are (as all kids are) so worth listening too, they are begging to be heard and trusted and matter in the school that just doesn't fit them.

We brainstormed his ideas first on paper.  Broke it down into his top issues. Then went from there.  I sat at the computer and typed while he talked.  These are his words, his ideas and his frustrations  and his solutions.  We talked about who he'd like to read this essay, and what he would like to see come of it.  He mentioned sharing it on my blog.  I reminded him some or many people may read which he replied "Good". 

I also want to point out I have the utmost respect, admiration, and love for anyone that choices teaching as a profession, just like parenting it is not for the faint of heart, and just like parenting, we do or should always strive to be better at it than the day before.