Monday, September 30, 2013

The Practical Art of Manifestation


I was very happy to see this as a meme, as many of these principles helped me to leave my dysfunctional marriage and heal my life.  

The Goddess, The Serpent and The Sea: Building Pathways of Light

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Note to my Son - the most heartbreaking read I've had in a long time


I never said thank you for that time you put your hand on my back and told me it was OK to leave. I’d left you sobbing on your bed. You were in fifth grade then. Arms lean muscles reaching to cover bone. Lanky in form, but small in frame and wailing when I said that I was leaving your dad. Even though I was raising you, I had no legal or biological claim to you. Leaving your dad was leaving you.

I came back a few days later to take care of you. Your moon face beaming at me. And we pretended like nothing had changed, your hand warm in mine as we walked home from school. Your shoelaces dragged, untied through the gutter as we crossed the street. Without being asked, you did your homework. If you were good enough, sweet enough maybe I would stay.

When your dad and I finally split up for good, you were 16 and no longer good or sweet. Your voice dropped and hung flat. “I don’t give a shit,” you said. “It doesn’t matter to me.” The gaping holes in your teeth replaced by braces. The round of your eyes bloodshot red and lidded with weed.
Now, you are gone from me. On the day you collected the posters from your wall, you couldn’t stop shaking your foot. Even your voice trembled. I could not see the scabs under your shirt, but I knew they were there, trying to stake a claim to the pain you tried to cut away. I recycled the empty bottles of tequila in your room. Most of the calls have stopped—the substance abuse program, your CPS worker, the counselor from the county shelter.

You call me when you need something. A place to stay. A tent. Money. And I can only sometimes bring myself to pick up the phone when you call. My stomach tightens and heat rushes to my cheeks. Joy, longing, and anger collide. I tell myself that I don’t hunger for you. I pick up the phone. We, for a moment, pretend not to be strangers. Mother and son. And that still exists even if not bound by blood or law. On your 18th birthday, you called me back to ask me to sign over your college account to you. “You’re not in college,” I said.

I want to be angry because it gives me something to feel that takes the pain away. But I remember how we were.

~Tara Dorabji, excerpt from "A Note to my Son"

Read this full post at loveinshallah.com

Thursday, September 26, 2013

JK Rowling: 'I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life'

JK Rowling, the best-selling author of the Harry Potter series, said she is “prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life”.

The writer, who is president of charity Gingerbread, added she wanted to give hope to any single parents suffering “stereotype or stigmatisation” after being ostracised herself as an “unmarried mother”.

Rowling added writing the first of the Harry Potter novels with the help of state benefits to look after her daughter, Jessica, had “not been my plan”.

She has now used her position at Gingerbread to rail against the “particularly offensive” language of “skivers vs strivers”, saying “such rhetoric drains confidence and self-esteem from those who desperately want, as I did, to get back into the job market”.

Rowling, who separated from her daughter’s father 20 years ago, said her belief that she would immediately find paid work was a “much bigger delusion” than believing she could write a children’s novel.

Rowling has since been estimated to be worth around £560m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, and went on to remarry in 2001.

 She has now said she wants to use her position at Gingerbread to campaign for the rights of single parents.

 “I certainly identify with the results of a survey among single parents conducted last year which revealed that childcare costs remain the biggest barrier to work, closely followed by a shortage of flexible jobs: exactly the problems I faced when Jessica was young,” she said.

 She added: “I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life."

“Yes, I got off benefits and wrote the first four Harry Potter books as a single mother, but nothing makes me prouder than what Jessica told me recently about the first five years of her life: ‘I never knew we were poor. I just remember being happy.’”

Read full article: www.telegraph.co.uk

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No one can keep you from lifting your heart

I do not need to seek God.
 God is already here
 waiting to be found,
 soaked in my reality.
 My journey is to be one
 of recognizing God, always.
 already present,
 and surfacing that presence
 A Prayer
 Refuse to fall down
 If you cannot refuse to fall down,
 refuse to stay down.
 If you cannot refuse to stay down,
 lift your heart toward heaven,
 and like a hungry beggar,
 ask that it be filled.
 You may be pushed down.
 You may be kept from rising.
 But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
 toward heaven
 only you.
 It is in the middle of misery
 that so much becomes clear.
 The one who says nothing good
 came of this,
 is not yet listening.

 ~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DON’T ASSUME THE POSTURE OF A WILTED FLOWER



"When you slouch, you are trying to hide your heart, protecting it by slumping over. But when you sit upright but relaxed in the posture of meditation, your heart is naked. Your entire being is exposed—to yourself, first of all, but to others as well. Through the practice of sitting still and following your breath as it goes out and dissolves, you are connecting with your heart. By simply letting yourself be, as you are, you develop genuine sympathy towards yourself. When you sit erect, you proclaim to yourself and to the rest of the world that you are going to be a warrior, a fully human being."
 ~ Chogyam Trungpa,  Ocean of Dharma

 Art by: hollysierra

Awakening Women Institute

Monday, September 23, 2013

Take care of all our children



"If I had an opportunity to stand on a mountain and make my voice heard across the land, I would yell, Take care of all our children. They are the future, they are sacred, they deserve our care. Whatever we don't spend on them in terms of care, opportunity, and love will haunt the next generation in terms of more violence, sickness and apathy. And it will haunt us all on a spiritual level, because allowing children to starve and go without education is a crime of the spirit. ~Charlotte Davis Kasl

 Art by Elisabeth Slettnes

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Some of you should be worried....


Placating overworked moms


“Telling women…that motherhood is the most valuable job in the world is not just a patronizing pat on the head…it’s a way to placate overworked moms without giving them the social and political support they actually need to make their lives better.” ~ Jessica Valenti

Painting by Billedkunstner Elisabeth Slettnes

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Ladylike Trap

"Inherited wealth and power enforce patriarchy pure, and envy of this ladylike trap makes the rest of us behave against our own best interests." ~ Gloria Steinem

Friday, September 20, 2013

Responding to Intensity in Children

Typically, emotional intensity results in a range of behavioral outbursts that can be internal (including moodiness, anxiety, and depression) or external (yelling or crying, temper tantrums, and physical expressions of anger or frustration). Regardless of how a gifted child chooses to demonstrate his or her intensities, there are a lot of things parents and educators can do to help lessen the outburst and help teach coping strategies.

• Start early by helping the child talk about his or her emotions – Trust me, they may not want to – but taking the emotions from some raw feeling to a tangible thing that can be defined is an important first step in learning to control the behavior. Further, the development of an emotional vocabulary can assist in providing a common language with which to discuss emotions and behavior.

• Help the child discover his or her unique escalation cycle -Work to discover both your child’s and your own escalation patterns. Gifted kids have considerable talent for pushing a teacher or parent’s buttons. Knowing the things that push you over the edge will enable you to remain calm during emotional outbursts, whatever form they may take. Further, helping children discover their escalation pattern will give them a chance to learn to manage and redirect the feelings before they become too overwhelming.

• Develop a plan to deal with the intensity - Once you and your child has identified the escalation cycle, work with the child to make a plan for what to do when he or she is overwhelmed – when life becomes too intense. Important aspects of the plan should include relaxation techniques, ways to redirect his or her energies, and things to do INSTEAD of the internal or external explosion.

• Create emotional distance from the explosion – Should the explosion happen anyway, it is important to remain calm and create a distance between your emotions and the child’s. Anger and frustration always beget more anger and frustration, so it is really important for the adults working with the child to stay emotionally neutral.

• Take a breather - This goes for the child and the adults. The best way to create the distance I talked about above is to remember to take a break and calm down.

• Focus on the behavior you WANT to see, not only the inappropriate behavior you are seeing – Remember to focus on the good behavior you want to see. All too often we get into a pattern of responding to the negative behaviors strongly (because these behaviors emotionally hook us) and not responding enough to the positive behaviors. The result – more negative behaviors. So do a mental inventory and make sure to focus your time and energy on the positive behaviors.

• View behavioral outbursts, whether internal or external, are teachable moments – Yes, they are frustrating and annoying. Maybe even infuriating. But they are still teachable moments. Take the time to redirect the behavior, focusing on teaching the GT child how to understand and redirect the behavior.

The bottom-line to all of this: Intensity is not a bad thing in and of itself. Intensity is passion – the kind of passion we use to create.

~ Christine Fonseca

 Read more: christinefonseca.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Not anymore....

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You have wings

"From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings." ~ Helen Hayes

Saturday, September 14, 2013

88% of child abuse is directly related to alcoholism

This is, no doubt, a sensitive subject for many - but an important one to address in order to give children the childhood they deserve.

1:10 children in the United States are estimated to be living with an alcoholic parent and 88% of child abuse is directly related to alcoholism. There are a multitude of ways children are being abused in a home life of this nature: physically, developmentally, psychologically, sexually, and most often - through neglect.

The price innocent children pay is undeniable and, lets be honest, entirely unnecessary and undeserved.

Many thanks to our fellow advocate for providing the information for this blog post.

themamabeareffect.org

facebook.com/mamabeareffect

Friday, September 13, 2013

Still a tough one to swallow, but getting easier all the time...

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could no stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes."
~The Big Book

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Violence

“When a creature is exposed to violence, it will tend to adapt to that disturbance, so that when the violence ceases or the creature is allowed its freedom, the healthy instinct to flee is hugely diminished, and the creature stays put instead.”Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

You are confined by your own repression

"If you're going to hold someone down you're going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression." ~ Toni Morrison

Monday, September 9, 2013

EVERY child deserves...



“Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” ~Rita F. Pierson
Watch her inspiring TedTalk.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apparently baseball games are also unimportant....

My ex has missed my son's first two fall baseball games.  Not that this is unusual - it's just getting old.

If he doesn't plan to come, he should tell him upfront so he doesn't spend the entire two-hours looking around for his dad.

It's such a sad sight to see.

We don't have a car and have to bike more than 4 miles each way to get to a game, but we've never missed one.  Not to mention all the practices....

Yesterday, he said he couldn't come because he had a "meeting."  My friend rolled her eyes when I told her.

At 4pm on a Saturday?

Somehow, she managed to arrive an hour early for a child who isn't even hers and sit through the entire game - despite a demanding career.

I'm not sure what his excuse was today.  I'm sure he must have been at church from 3-5. (Ha!)

Since he hasn't made his child support payment for months, he can't use the "working" excuse again.  As in, his usual excuse is he has to "work" so hard to pay the minimal child support he cheats on - so he can not be expected to show up on time - or at all - for his parenting time.

It's more than ironic that the guy who won't take a drug or alcohol test to prove his "sobriety" or pick someone who could supervise his visits could blame me for keeping him away from his children.  Meanwhile, he has at least 3 opportunities a week via baseball that he doesn't show up for.

It is exceedingly clear to all of us why.

All I can say is thank goddess for men like my husband, who step up and raise other people's children when their father's are so blatantly inadequate. 

Her Name is Today


"Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time her bones are being formed, her blood is being made, and her senses are being developed. To her we cannot answer 'Tomorrow,' her name is today."

~Gabriela Mistral (Chilean poet and educator)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Because cars are more important than children....


“Divorced men are more likely to meet their car payments than their child support obligations.” ~Susan Faludi

Child support shouldn’t be an issue

If a court has ordered you to pay child support and you don’t, shame on you.

Talk is cheap. You can say you want to be a great dad post-divorce. But your words are hollow if you don’t do the bare minimum as a divorced dad: pay child support.

I’m a little agitated because I just read a story in GQ magazine about former pro football star Terrell Owens. It says he’s supposed to pay a total of almost $45,000 a month in child support – to four women.

Despite earning about $80 million during a 16-year NFL career, Owens is somehow behind on child support, some of the women claim.

Despicable.

It’s bad enough for an 8-to-5 guy to ignore his obligation to pay child support. But for a wealthy celebrity to stiff his ex-wife (or ex-wives) and kids – that’s unconscionable.

Child support is not optional, although some guys seem to think it is. You don’t get back at your ex by refusing to pay; that’s depriving your kids of a better life.

Don’t let down your kids

You may think your child support payments are too high. OK, contact your lawyer, go to court, and try to get them lowered. Fair enough.

But once the court has spoken, stop whining and start writing checks.

Your kids will eventually find out if you’re a deadbeat dad. Do you want to disappoint them? I hope not.

You’ve already put them through enough with the breakup of their family. Don’t make things worse by cheating them and their mom financially.

No one said paying child support was easy. You may have to work longer hours to make enough to meet your obligation. Sorry. You got divorced; you’ve got to face the consequences.

Obviously, not all dads drop the ball when it comes to child support. Many pay on time every month. Good for them.

Not a gender issue

Some dads don’t pay child support – they receive it. At least they’re supposed to. Women who don’t pay court-ordered child support are just as sorry as men who don’t.

This isn’t a gender issue. It’s a responsibility issue.

from singledadhouse.com

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our children’s drug problem and what parents can do to solve it

Excerpt from The Hidden Ten Percent by David Sheff

Know the risk factors for addiction

First, I’d know the risk factors that lead to addiction. When we understand that some kids are more likely to become addicted, we can pay closer attention and get help before drug use begins or escalates. Risk factors include:

The age of first use in childhood: Addiction almost always begins in childhood, because that’s when humans are physically and psychologically the most vulnerable. Children start using drugs precisely at the time that it’s most dangerous for them; from the time they are twelve until they reach 25, their brains are developing more than at any time other than at birth to age two. Research shows that the younger they are when they begin using, the higher the chance they’ll become addicted. Drugs cause changes to the developing neurological system that can become intractable. The evidence is irrefutable that drugs change the developing brain, sometimes irreversibly. They negatively impact kids’ ability to think and remember and can lower their IQ.

Learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and psychological disorders: Many studies have shown that kids whose brains are wired differently are vulnerable. At high risk are those with ADD or ADHD; psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, or other mental-health issues; dyslexia or other learning disabilities; eating disorders, and kids who are isolated or overly aggressive or who have battered self-esteem.

Trauma: Early childhood trauma or trauma later in life, from physical or sexual abuse or even from parents’ divorce, have been shown to contribute to the likelihood that a child will use drugs and become addicted.

Stress: Some stress comes in the form of the day-to-day ennui and  time-honored pressures that are especially pronounced during adolescence. Many teenagers feel defeated, confused, anxious, alienated, or just weird. They may feel inadequate and insecure—about friendships, their appearance, or sex. Kids face bullying and cyber-bullying. Some feel as if they’ll fail in life if they haven’t filled out their college résumés by the time they’re twelve. It’s much worse for many other children: those without parents or competent caretakers, the ones who are barely in school, and the many coping with abuse, poverty, and bleak and dangerous neighborhoods. It’s unsurprising that kids who struggle are more vulnerable to drug misuse.

Quality of parenting: Children in families with dysfunction are at high risk for addiction. The children of parents with untreated drug problems are in a particularly high-risk group. Parents’ ability to communicate with their children—to nurture and protect them—and their permissiveness play a significant role in kids’ relationships with drugs and alcohol as they mature. The kids of parents who sanction drug use and drinking — even if they’re advocating moderation or “safe” use — are in a high-risk group too.

I wish I had known more about the disease of addiction when my son Nic showed these warning signs, but I also wish I had known that while about one-tenth of our children become addicted, they don’t have to. It is not inevitable for any child, even one in a high-risk group.
Know how you can prevent addiction

Once we educate ourselves about the roots of addiction — why people use, and why some become addicted—we move forward on a new course, reversing the trajectory and prevalence of this disease. This is what else I learned: That parents can make a tremendous difference. Here’s what you can do to protect your kids:

Pay attention to your children. Parents are wired for denial—we can deny what’s in front of our eyes, thereby allowing problems to fester and build until they explode. Don’t ignore signs of depression, intense anxiety, anger that seems excessive, or dramatic mood swings. Pay attention if a child is isolated, struggling in school, or experiencing great stress in her life—a divorce or death of a loved one, for example. As a pediatrician told me, “If you think there’s a problem, there’s a problem.” If you’re uncertain, get help from teachers, counselors, therapists, or physicians. Parents may feel alone and isolated, but they don’t have to. Consult specialists before these problems lead a child to drugs.

Address family problems. Dysfunction in families can lead to drug use, but families can be fixed. If there are problems in your family, get help. Drinking or drug problems must be addressed. Seek help for anger problems or if there are arguments and persistent tension in the home. Be sure your children know they’re valued. Kids with low self-esteem are vulnerable. Parents influence the self-image of their children. Accept them for who they are, not what you want them to be. Parents can become better parents with couples counseling, family therapy, and programs such as Parent Effectiveness Training.

Talk to your kids. And listen to them. It sounds easier than it is. It takes patience and practice and practicing patience. Various couples and family therapies or Parent Effectiveness Training can help with this too.

Teach your children well. Use facts, not scare tactics and exaggeration. It doesn’t help to tell them just to say no: Teach them about the impact of specific drugs on the brain. Pictures are worth a thousand words: I’ve witnessed kids who had rolled their eyes when they were told about the effect of drugs start to pay attention when they saw scans (available on the Internet) of the brains of drug users’ compared with normal brains. Teach them what happens to kids who use—the toll on memory, IQ, and learning; the lower likelihood that drug users will achieve college degrees and their reduced earning power. Acknowledge that there are exceptions to these rules—retain your credibility by being honest—but make sure that they must know these risks. Finally, teach them practical strategies to help them safely negotiate situations in which they’ll be offered drugs and practice the way the strategies might be used. The Partnership At Drugfree.org [www.drugfree.org] offers suggestions. Indeed, the Partnership website is an indispensable resource for parents.

Have dinner with your children. This may seem quixotic to many families. Yes, it’s hard—parents work long hours, they’re making a living, and they’re exhausted. But this applies to anyone who is raising a child. If you can’t have dinner together, find other consistent ways to spend time with your kids. Quality matters, but so does quantity. Your children need you there.

Take a strong stand. Parents’ values matter. You may think that your kids don’t care what you think or that you have no power to combat the other influences in their lives, but you have more influence on your children than does any other force in their lives. Some parents think a little use is okay as long as their kids use “responsibly.” Others tell their children that it’s all right to drink, but not to smoke pot. Some feel that a little pot in moderation is acceptable, but not hard drugs. Some tell kids it’s all right to use, as long as they don’t get in a car with a driver who’s high. But no matter what conditions you impose or rationalizations you make, you are sanctioning drug use and drinking. I’ve also heard quite a few parents say, “I’d rather have them get used to drinking now, so they learn moderation. Otherwise, when they go off to college, they’ll go wild.” In fact, this made sense to me, until I read the research. Postponing use is safer. There’s no evidence that kids who drink and use as teenagers will drink and use less than they otherwise would when they’re older. Again, the opposite is true: Almost every adult who has a drug problem started using as a teenager, whereas kids who haven’t used by the time they reach college age have more likely learned how to handle stress, modulate their behavior, and sustain relationships. As one doctor said, “Teenagers with drug problems will not be prepared for adult roles…. They will chronologically mature while remaining emotional adolescents.”

Help your kids find safe ways to be kids. Teenagers are naturally impulsive and drawn to pleasure—like toddlers. “Adolescent humans are supposed to taste and to experiment,” explains Steve Shoptaw, a psychologist and addiction specialist at UCLA. Curiosity drives both teenagers and toddlers to experiment and push boundaries in order to enter into a new phase of life. Sometimes their explorations are dangerous. A toddler may touch a hot stove. A teenager may try drugs. Rather than try to fight the teenage brain, work with it—help kids find safe and healthy ways to experiment, take risks, and feel exhilaration, through sports, engagement with the community, wilderness programs, the arts, or “healthy risk activities,” as Dr. Shoptaw describes them, things like motocross riding or rock climbing. Encourage their passions.
Know what to do if drug use begins

Research shows that parents can help protect their children, but for now, there are no guarantees. However, even if a child experiments or begins using more drugs or more-serious drugs, parents can effectively slow or stop use. In these situations, we must:

Intervene immediately. This a progressive problem: That means it
often gets worse unless it’s treated. Remember that drug use doesn’t have to escalate to addiction for people to die or have irreparable damage. One-time use can cause accidents and fatal overdoses.

Rely on professionals. Consult with a psychologist or psychiatrist trained in addiction medicine, and have the child assessed. As a doctor has told me, “If you suspect that your kids are using, they’re probably using.” Rely on doctors who are trained to diagnose and treat drug problems. There are listings of such professionals atwww.aaap.org and www.asam.org.

Consider drug testing. There’s evidence that drug testing works as
a deterrent, plus you’ll have more information that can help guide you. Some kids cheat drug tests—there are how-to guides online for how to pass them falsely. Most experts advise against parents on their own testing their kids. They say that drug tests instead should be administered by professionals.

Seek evidence-based treatment. If a child’s use escalates and an
assessment indicates that treatment is required, find evidence-based treatment—that is, treatment that in clinical trials has been shown to work. Every child is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. Some kids need dual-diagnosis treatment if there are co-occurring psychiatric disorders. To find appropriate treatment programs, rely on doctors trained in addiction medicine. Again, listings of doctors with this training can be found on the AAAP and ASAM websites. Don’t rely on the Internet alone. Don’t choose programs with harsh discipline—boot camps or tough-love programs. These programs have been shown to do more harm than good.

So there’s the good news. We can effectively prevent our children from becoming addicted, and treat them if they do. But there’s cautionary news, too. Even if we do everything right—and which parent does everything right?—our kids are vulnerable. We must do the best we can.

Here is something else I know, something I’ve learned from those parents who have lost their kids and who have written to me: We must never give up trying to save the life of a child.

Excerpt from The Hidden Ten Percent by David Sheff

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The syringe in my front yard


I am so beyond frustrated right now.

My daughter just found a syringe in our front yard, right out where she plays every day with her little friends.

While I feel safe for the most part in our neighborhood, this is very disturbing.

She excitedly (and innocently) brought it right up to my face.

The first thing that came to my mind was the cocaine we found together in our home that her dad left out in the same fashion.

Recklessly.  

There are bikes and scooters scattered all across our yard.  But I suppose if a father, who knows his kids are there in his home can't save his reckless addiction for later, I can't expect a stranger to.

Not thinking of anyone else - kids included - in their own fix.

I suppose my ex would rather show up late (or not at all) for his minimal visits, not pay child support and refuse to take a drug and alcohol test - and then deny the children passports to Norway where we could live a much better life.

There is no end to the recklessness and the selfishness of addiction.

Right now I am just really angry.

This doesn't have to be the reality of my children.  But I suppose it is familiar (and somehow comforting) to my ex and his rich, entitled family.