Month: December 2015
It’s interesting the path that I find myself on when teaching my Little Bear. I keep trying to teach him what is important and how much he means to me. However, there are a lot of deep lessons that I am learning from him. I know he’s only 7 and can’t fully grasp the lessons I’m trying to teach him, but his profound wisdom in response to my teachings leaves me dumbfounded at times. I know eventually the full depth of the lessons will sink in, and I hope he doesn’t forget what I’ve taught him.
This month I’ve had some realizations and he’s growing quicker then I thought. He’s entering into the age where society is having more of an impact on how he grows up. It’s hard to be healthy in a profoundly sick society. And I can’t protect him from everything, which is why I’m instead choosing to empower him to live his life the way he chooses and learning to live with the choices he makes. I’m learning to let go of my “failure as a parent” when he chooses to make decisions that support unhealthy habits. It’s a learning process for both.
When he was little I had control over so much. I had control over his environment, control over who he spent time with, and control over what he ate. He would make a decision and I could enforce it either as a “good one” or a “bad one”. That evolved as he got older and I taught him at an early stage that there are parameters for blurring the lines between what’s good and bad. Instead I’ve emphasized respect. Respect for yourself and respect to those around you. What is good for one person can be bad for another. And it’s about choosing what’s “good” for you and what you want to draw into your life.
More and more he’s growing farther away from me and developing his own sense of self. This is the journey of all parents and all children, it’s natural. The pivot in life has come, where he’s not just learning from me – but those who he chooses to spend time with. This is why I chose to try to teach him about what’s important to me and be a good example, because if you want the world to change, you have to be the change you want to see in the world. In order to change the world, you just need to change the dream of just one generation. And my Little Bear is in that category. He’s apart of this young generation who will grow into inheriting this world we are creating for them. Which is why it’s a passion of mine to throw all that I can into raising him.
This blog post was birthed because I was profoundly in awe at his journey questions on what interests him and what he wants to learn more about. A few Mondays ago, he wanted to learn about gratitude and what that means to him. His lesson stuck and changed me as much as it did him. The weekend after that Monday, we went on one of our many “adventures” together. I know he’s exposed to parents who are able to throw down money on their kids and get them food and drinks or material things – without it being much of a struggle. I am not hiding him from the fact that we can’t afford much, but instead of directly saying “we can’t afford it”, what I’m choosing to do is emphasizing the fact that we are not that type of family.
That Saturday morning was different, I wanted to share a drink with him. A special treat. He recognized it for what it was, because there have been so many times when he asks for something and I tell him “no” because it’s not within the budget (I don’t explain it to him that way though). He was very excited about the drink and was eager to hear the lesson that I was going to give him when we stepped outside together.
It wasn’t my intention that he dropped his full cup of hot chocolate – ironically it happened when I was about to explain to him the concept of “holding onto” things and being in the moment. Because once that moment is over, we can’t get it back.
It wasn’t my intention that Little Bear “cried over spilled milk”. Yeah, I could have gone inside and bought him another hot chocolate, but I’m that ass hole parent that drives home a point and finds the lessons in whatever happens. Of course I comforted him when he cried, but he definitely was present when I showed him why I pulled him aside at a rest area in New Jersey. He was devastated because he knew I don’t get him things that often, and he was hard on himself because he forgot to be grateful.
Biggest lesson: we all make mistakes. When we realize we made a mistake, we own up to it and apologize to the person, place, or thing we didn’t fully respect. But sometimes it’s too late when we realize we made a mistake and we drop the hot chocolate. Our lesson today was about awareness, and being fully present. It’s about being grateful for what we have and letting others know how much we appreciate them in the moment.
Being a good parent is about being a good archer, and about being the bow itself. The child is the arrow. We do everything within our power to make sure to give them the right direction to go in. We love them. We support them. But ultimately, in order to let them fly – we have to let them go. Let them make their own decisions. When they hit their mark, we celebrate with them. When our children trust us, they will keep coming back to us to be restrung when they fall or miss their mark.
Be the bow.
There are stages that children move through, and it’s the parents job to recognize where they are at in their mental maturity when explaining lessons to them. When they’re young and little – you are EVERYTHING to them. Because you are their world, and you are all they know. Don’t underestimate the power parenthood has on their life. Be aware before you drop the hot chocolate. This week was my realization that I am not the center of my sons world anymore. I am a big influence, but it’s definitely my time to be the bow and preparing him for his journey in life. Right now, he keeps constantly coming up to me to be restrung and set him right on the path. I’m glad that trust is there. I know the time will come where he will come to me less and less. And even though the distance might cause some parents grief, it will give me a sense of satisfaction because I know that he can soar on his own for longer and longer strides. Until that time, I’m proud to be his parent and I’m grateful that he’s graciously taken the lessons I’ve taught him so far.
Fly high, my friends.
It’s been a few weeks since this beautiful moment, but it was a beautiful moment none the less. I host weekly journey groups on Mondays in Fairfax, and I bring Little Bear because he enjoys the time with me, as well as sharing what he found with his helping spirits (He’s a bold child, I don’t know where he gets that from…). Well, this particular Monday was the same where I picked him up from his after school care in order to go to Journey Group.
Casually I ask, “So Little Bear, what are you going to journey about today?”
Little did I know how much of a jaw drop of a response I was going to get, he sits and thinks about it for a moment. I can figuratively hear the cogs turning in his head. He starts off his response slow, but then he picks up speed as he comes to his decision. “Well I know that I made you upset that one time when I asked for a toy and you told me no because I wasn’t grateful for what I had. So I want to journey to my helping spirits to show me gratitude and what that feels like. Because I don’t like seeing you upset and I want to know what it’s like so I can appreciate what I have. Is that a good journey, Momma bear?”
Stuttering, my brain tries to pick itself up off of the floor after the explosion my heart had across the steering wheel, “Y-y-yes, sweetie! I think that’s an AMAZING journey question!”
Sometimes he astounds me with how profound his wisdom is. I love how children naturally have this gift, and I’m trying hard to make sure that society doesn’t squish this out of him. It’s funny because the thing that I’ve learned about journeying is that it’s not the journey itself that’s the important part. The depth of the answer you receive depends on the question. Sometimes adults spend a good majority of time trying to decide a proper journey question to give them the best possible answer – and this 7 year old child thought about it in less then 1 minute.
His response was just as profound. I have him keep a journey sketchbook so then that way when he gets out of his journey he can immediately draw or write it down. It’s proven so helpful because when we first started this exploration, he often forgot his journey if he wasn’t the first one to share.
Caption: My journey was good because I was listening to my spirits. Then I asked my journey question. They said it feels like goodness and goodness feels like thankful.
After journeying, we generally have about 15 minutes dedicated to sharing (depending on how many people come to journey group) in case people want to share. Little Bear is almost always one of the first to share. We talked a little bit more about what gratitude is, and I asked him what it felt like when he asked his helping spirits to show him what it feels like. He told me “it’s like when you’re waiting a really long time for something. You know that happy feeling in your tummy when you can’t wait? It’s like that! That’s what thankful feels like. Except I wasn’t waiting for anything. I was just feeling that.”
I didn’t know that my heart had the ability to expand as much as it did. He’s an amazing blessing to this world, and I can’t wait to see what he does in it.
I am so blessed to have the friends and community that I am surrounded with! The artist that created the work above painted my main three power animals (although they are not my only ones) and I will start using them for the Journey Group events on Facebook! It also matches one of my songs I sing to “Power Up” to honor my Bear, Eagle, and Otter. If anyone has interacted with me for any duration of time, those personality traits are obvious in me haha. Thank you so much K. Hansen! You and your farm are an inspiration 🙂
Announcement! The Journey groups are now digital! I have officially figured out through trial and error, and MANY MANY wonderfully compassionate (and patient) people. I feel like we have comfortably worked out some of the major kinks as well as the technology learning curve that I had. Please bare with me as we continue down this venture. Personal thank you and gratitude go out to Laura K., Melissa F., Julie F., both Ashleys (In New York and Baltimore), Nancy F., and Lisa B.! I’m sure I’m missing people, but know you’re in my hearts ❤
If this is the first time you are clicking on this and are just being introduced to the concepts of journeying, please visit this page for more information. If you have not been to one of the journey groups and are interested in finding out about the structure, click here. Since now this is digital, I look forward to seeing more people online for those who resonate with these teachings.
Now let’s dive into the nitty gritty!!! The topic for the four months we are currently in are inspired by the lovely Angeles Arrien. She wrote a book called “The Four Fold Way” and if these teachings resonate with you, please read the book – it is much more extensive and can help broaden your senses. This has quickly become apart of my cosmology and has made mine a more complex cosmology with deeper symbology.
Last month we talked about the love of the healer and how we figure out what is in our path to discovering our own self healing – eliminating what stands in our way of being who we truly are. This month is about the warrior and about how we stand up for who we are, what we believe in, and take our experiences to turn them into wisdom. Join us this month as we explore what the warrior means to us.
For a more in depth summary and support structure for more information on the Warrior, click here.
For right now the journey groups are run by donation. Suggested donation is $5-$10 per person. I have made the decision that starting in January I will begin charging for them. More information to come, and if you feel these journey groups would really help, then I will not turn away people based off of price – Please reach out to discuss bartering. To be discussed on a case by case basis.
December 7th – Exploration of the basics of the warrior, and the warrior archetype
December 14th – The Shadow aspect of the warrior, and do we recognize when we’re living out the shadow?
December 21st – This is the Pagan holiday of Yule! Bring your own journey question, but the theme will be based off of the Winter Solstice and what the longest night of the year means to us.
December 28th – Addictions and the need to know – What are we addicted to? How to overcome addictions and how to feed or nourish ourselves in a healthier and more holistic way.
As always: any questions or concerns, or to suggest journey topics for the next month, please call/text 571.306.3197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org