Teach Me

I wrote this poem over a year ago now.  It was when I was at the cusp of learning that I wasn’t in charge of my life, that I could turn it over to something different, to God, to the Universe, to the Creator.  I wasn’t sure how to turn my life over, so I wrote this and I liked it.  It helped me to know that I could metaphorically move over, even though I didn’t quite know how, and allow a greater part of me to steer the ship.

Teach Me

Teach me dear Lord how to share my gifts with the world.

Teach me to walk in the light of divinity’s grace so that others walking near me and around me may find the path to the love that they are.

Teach me to spread breadcrumbs and pebbles of light that will shine with your grace so that others may see the shimmer and find it reflecting out of their hearts and their eyes.

Teach me because I don’t know how and I long to share my gifts.

Teach me.

My heart hears your song in the wind.

My hands long to hold the hands of those lost in the darkness;

to whisper to them to follow the path to the light and

to remind them of their own grace,

your grace.

Teach me to love my own heart so that the love overflows and ripples out to all hearts.

Teach me to be kind to myself so that I have more to give others.

Teach me to surrender and bow to the divinity that courses through me.

Teach me to dance in the full spectrum of light that I am.

Teach me to sing to the oceans with my voice and to drum my praise and gratitude.

Teach me to lead when I don’t know the way.

Teach me to relax and have faith in your everlasting presence and love.

Teach me to be a master so that I may dance, sing, love and embrace all that is.

Teach me to become fully integrated, so that I may welcome home all the lost, banished and shamed parts of myself.

Teach me.

May the waters of heaven wash through me and cleanse my body, spirit, mind and soul.

May the waters of heaven wash through the hearts of all.

May we all sing our songs

once again.

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What our experiences can teach us if we are willing to see it

I think we’ve all heard, “it happened for a reason,” about an experience that we are going through or have gone through.  Sometimes that statement can be so obviously true, or super infuriating if the experience is what we may deem as horrible and painful, and it may lead us to wonder what we have done to “deserve it.”

The guide that I’ve been going to see for nearly two years now to clear out all the old energies, karma, emotions and memories, has been repeating several truths to me and I’m starting to get that our experiences can teach us and show us that which we haven’t wanted to see, if we can allow it and be willing to look deeper.

Last week, I got off the bed in our spare room, stepped onto the floor and a sharp, stabbing pain filled my foot!  I screamed out really loudly and I was scared about what could have caused it. I felt the panic rising in my chest and I was nervous.  I gently took my sock off and there was a small piece of wood sticking out of it.  I’ve had splinters before, but this seemed more like  a shard of wood or something and it frightened me even more.  My husband wasn’t home and I realized I was going to have to deal with it myself, which I rarely have done in my life.  My Dad was always my splinter remover and that job just fell to my husband since he was good at it.  I never questioned it, but just said to myself, “ya, I must go to a man to get my splinter removed.”  Ha, I’m laughing as I type this because that thought was so true.

I hopped over to the bathroom to get some tweezers and I was really starting to feel like a victim by the time I got there.  Despite all the tools I have learned for connecting to myself, breathing deeply, acknowledging the fear and feeling it, I was in panic mode and no tool thoughts were able to enter through the panic I was feeling.  I grabbed the tweezers and yanked it out.  It was still really throbbing and painful and I lay on the bed and tried to come deeper into my body and to send some love to where the pain was. It was only after the piece of wood was out that I was able to start using some tools, but the panic had taken over and it was slower going than if I had connected to myself right away.  That’s okay, it was all part of what I was meant to learn and see.

I limped a fair bit on and off for nearly a week, so I figured that there must be another piece of wood in my foot, which kind of kept me in a slight fear mode for that entire week.  Finally, the day came when I walked and the pain was so excruciating that I knew that there must be more wood in there and that my body had been working so hard to push it closer to the surface for me. I had probed around with the tweezers when I initially took it out but I hadn’t been able to see anything.  So, after feeling that pain at the end of the week, I knew that I would have to break through the skin (yikes!) and pull out the beast!

Robbin (my husband) and I were armed with tweezers, nail clippers and needles to try to get it out, and I was squirming and too scared to let Robbin try to take it out.  I tried myself and I felt a lot of “this is so hard, this is going to hurt, I can’t do this,” thoughts and energies moving through my body, so I stopped and breathed and connected to myself.  I thought then that I could let Robbin do it, but it was like I just couldn’t, so I decided to try it myself again.  It got a little easier and less scary, and then I stopped and realized that the reason why this happened to me was so that I could take back my power from splinters and from my body being hurt and hoping/asking that others take care of me.  I mentioned that to Robbin and I felt much lighter inside.  I was able to really dig out the thick skin (yikes, but this time it was much less of a yikes) and then I was able to grab it. I breathed, got the tweezers ready and I pulled it out.  It was sooooo long and thick, it was crazy!  It was an inch long and a millimetre thick at one end and likely a millimetre and a half at the other end.  I exclaimed out loud about it and then I didn’t want to look at it!  Robbin encouraged me to, to look at it, appreciate what my body had gone through, and what a personal victory I had just achieved in its removal.  I looked at it from that perspective and marvelled at it and I felt so free, so happy, so empowered!  It was the biggest splinter I’d ever seen and I was able to see the lesson it had for me and I was able to free myself from the grip of “help me, I don’t know what to do, I can’t do this by myself.”  Hooray!

I took out the garbage that night and it was really cold and refreshing and I got to the end of the driveway and I looked around and then I was overwhelmingly compelled to run up and down the driveway pumping my arms in the air and yelling, “I did it, yes I did it!”  Tee hee, I don’t think anyone saw me, but if they had, they would have joined me I’m sure!

I hope to keep getting the secret messages that my life’s experiences have to share with me!

I’ve come a long way with my body

I have come a long way with my body.

I used to hate my body.  I used to think it was horrible, smelly, hairy, ugly and fat and wrinkly and useless.  Those are a lot of horrible adjectives!  I used to hide my body, be shy about it, think it was something to be hidden and something that I didn’t deserve or want.  I remember being 16 and thinking that I could cut off the backs of my legs so the cellulite wouldn’t be there, and part of me knew that was really wrong, so thank goodness.  I am so thankful that I always retained some aspect of love in my heart, some aspect of my true divine nature, that always came right when I needed it, to hold me up and to support me, to show me how far I had stepped away from my true self, from my heart, from the beauty that I am, that we truly all are.

Now that I am on this healing and evolving and opening journey, I see my body totally differently.  In fact, the change started before that.  When I first met my husband Robbin, I immediately noticed how comfortable he was with his body.  Why does he have this I asked myself?  What is this?  How could he actually brush his teeth naked?  I wanted to try that!  I have vivid memories of my Dad screaming when I opened the bathroom door while he was in there.  It was then that I realized that maybe I could have many different models for life, for viewing my body, for taking care of a home, for living and actually feeling responsible for my life, instead of feeling helpless (that wasn’t mean to imply my parents taught me to be helpless!  It’s just that as I went out into the world, I found from watching others, from other ways of doing things, that I could reclaim the power I had so readily given up in my life and live my true life!).  So I slowly started to come out of my body view, that exceptionally narrow view of my body.

I remember after my food healing (please see the My Healing sections if you’re interested!), that I walked away with such a different feeling of the body, that it could take in what it needs and let the rest pass through.  Really!  I remember thinking that to myself. I don’t need to worry about what I eat, I don’t need to think I’m going to be fat or worry about what to eat, etc, etc, that I could get into a place in my heart that remembered that the body has it’s own wisdom, that I don’t need to do anything, just nourish it and it will take care of the rest.

I remember when my daughter Zara wanted to be tickled naked.  She loved the feeling on her body, on her skin.  She was not quite 2 and a half and she asked me if she could tickle me while I was naked too.  I decided to challenge my beliefs that my body was gross, so I went for it and I got naked.  I laughed, like those deep belly laughs because I was doing it, and I was enjoying it.

That of course led to some brilliant teaching opportunities about the body.  She was looking at my vulva (I didn’t realize that was what the whole region was actually called, until I met Robbin, thank you dear Robbin!!), and so I said, “mine has hair on it, yours will too when you get older, and you’ll get boobies when you’re older too.”  That led to a discussion about periods, breast-feeding and of course, to the parts of the vulva, all while naked!!  I leaned forward and showed her all the parts of her vulva, the labia, the clitoris, the urethra, the clitoral hood, the vagina.  She was repeating them and pointing to them.  I was so pleased, so proud!  Here I was, teaching my daughter about her body, the body that I thought was ugly and no good, when it truly is a miracle to be enjoyed and marvelled at!  Then she looked at me and asked me to teach her about my “vulva parts.”  I couldn’t believe it, but I went for it.  I showed her the deal.  Then I realized that there was this undercurrent of grossed out within me while I was teaching her.  So then I stopped, I said, “Zara I used to think my body was ugly and that the vulva was not a very nice part of it, but I don’t believe that any more. My body is beautiful and so is everyone’s, we all have the same parts, they just look different.  I’m going to explain my parts again, while connecting to the love I have for my body,” and then I did and I felt like I was glowing inside.

What’s up now fears about the body!!  Haha!  Conquered!  In your face!  They were fears that weren’t really mine in the first place…I remember being 13 and my track and field coach had to get up off a bleacher to get something and we were encouraging her (I can’t remember why).  And she said, “Oh well, I’m wearing shorts and there’s all this cellulite on my legs, I can’t go and get it, people will see it.”  Boom. Imprinted into my mind.  Cellulite = not worthy, ugly, don’t ever show your legs.  Thanks coach.  I still carry that one, but it’s more than just from her, it’s everywhere.  I still catch myself, looking at the cellulite and thinking there is something wrong with it.  Is it not possible that it’s the way my body prefers to store fat?  I don’t know!!!  I’ll take a look at that belief again and again until I can be at peace with my body, all the way at peace!!

You know, it doesn’t matter that I’m six feet tall, that I have a nicely proportioned body, brown skin and shiny hair, it really doesn’t matter what the body looks like on the outside, it’s the perception and the beliefs inside that shape everything.  Over the past few years, I have come to have more instances when I look in the mirror and say, “nice!” than instances when I look and say, “you look like crap, you are ugly,” and for that I’m grateful!  May the balance keep shifting!!

How could I ever have thought my body is ugly? What is on the inside changed my perception of the beauty of this body of mine! This was from a few years ago! My goal this summer is to do the same without the shorts!! Here's to celebrating my body and being an example out there to the little girls who will see me out there instead of hiding my body!

The joys and benefits of breastfeeding, yes, even a toddler, yes even a 3 year old

Breastfeeding!  You know, it’s amazing.  I used to think it was gross, that it wasn’t natural, that only “sick” people did it for an extended period of time!  How could something so natural have so many judgements about it, so many incorrect perceptions and notions?!  How did this happen in our culture, where in every other continent in the world, it is so natural, it is so universal, it is so supported, encouraged and taught?

I think that North America has been so lost for the past while, so stuck in expectations, perceptions, being better, having more, and we’ve all lost touch with ourselves, with what we can do, with what our bodies can innately do, with what our hearts truly want, all of it.

Since Zara was born, our now three year old daughter, I knew I wanted to breastfeed.  My dear, dear friend Natalie was such a role model for me in so many ways.  She taught me about breastfeeding, she introduced me to La Leche League (www.llli.org), she taught me about cloth diapers, reading parenting books, and parenting from a place of love and respect.  I hold her in such high regard!  And she is hilariously funny and is such a wise, deep soul.  She goes for life, she challenges herself all the time, she taught herself how to sew, cook, and now she’s learning to be a midwife.  All in all, she’s impressive and inspiring.

Back to the story.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed.  As time went on, I saw how helpful it was for Zara, how it calmed her, helped her get back to sleep, how it made her feel better when she was teething, awake in the night, or when her body didn’t feel right for whatever reason.  As she grew, I saw it’s integral role in bringing her comfort, nutrition and helping to ease her transitions through her early years (crawling, eating, walking, talking, etc).  I read some super helpful books about breastfeeding an older child, How Weaning Happens and Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, and both of those helped me to see that you couldn’t force a child to breastfeed, that weaning happens in its own time, how mothers naturally start to help their children wean as they get older and how weaning naturally instead of when it is the mother’s choice to do so, can be quite helpful and less traumatic for the child.  All of it lit up my heart and made me see how helpful it was, that I wasn’t forcing Zara to do it, that I could support her in her growing years through breastfeeding and that I would naturally help her to wean.

As I started to heal, I saw how I was holding onto breastfeeding because it made me feel needed, how it gave me importance, how it helped me fulfill the huge fears I had inside about being abandoned and lonely.  Jean (the healer/coach/guide our family sees) helped me to see this when I was at her house one time and my right breast started throbbing.  I told her about it and she encouraged me to go to the pain, to see what it was about.  All this terror and fear about being alone, being abandoned, about being unimportant and useless came up for me.  It was very upsetting and disturbing.  I was so glad to feel it, to release it so it wouldn’t be unconsciously be influencing Zara, preventing her from growing up in her own time.

It was quite a journey for me in the next weeks after that healing because there were more releases at home as Zara was taking longer breaks between nursing and it brought up more of the fear and pain within me.  There was one night when I felt it acutely and I cried and cried and cried and unfortunately, because it had been so deep and so present (despite my lack of awareness), Zara felt the pain too from within her, and we both sobbed and sobbed.  Robbin came upstairs and he was like, “Bradlee, are you sure this is okay, what is going on, are you sure you’re not just stuck in the emotions, that they aren’t taking over?”  I told him we were both releasing it, somehow I knew it, I knew it would be over soon.  I felt so horrible, so guilty that all of that was unconsciously in me, that Zara was feeling it, that it had been in me and therefore in her heart too because we’re all so connected, so we both cried, I think it was like 45 minutes.  I just held her and told her it was all leaving and that it would be over.  Then I was holding her and this bright blue flash went across my eyes and then the bright blue light turned into a bird and it flew away.  At that point, we both stopped crying and we went to sleep.  It was very profound.  I knew we had been supported by God, by the universe and that it had been essential for me to allow that release to happen, no matter how hard it was, and that Zara and I would both be so much more free because of it.

So here we are, about 8 months after that time, and she is still breastfeeding.  I’ve doubted myself over these past few months, wondering what I was doing to  make her hold onto nursing, especially since I had been gone over night once and she had made it through the night without nursing (she still wakes at night and I help her get back to sleep with nursing), and since I had taken a Groove Method facilitator course and had been gone from 8-5pm two days and she had been without milk from me.  But at the same time, I’ve giving myself tons of credit.  I’ve released so much from the abandonment fears, I’ve released so much to allow all three of us to be ourselves, and that, like all nursing toddlers and children, Zara will eventually decide that she doesn’t need milk anymore.  Will it be tomorrow, no.  Will it be in a few months, who knows?

Now, I’m just focusing on what I know.  All I really know is that I love her sooooo much, and that it is an honor to be able to hold her in my arms, to comfort her, tickle her and bring her peace and joy as she gets used to being in our world, which can be pretty damn crazy sometimes.  That’s my sacred responsibility as her parent, to love her, guide her, teach her and comfort her, so that her transition into the world can be filled with love, instead of hatred, fear, loneliness and confusion.  And if my breasts can help with that transition, so be it, they’ll be doing more than looking nice under my shirt:)

The empowering nature of teaching

I love teaching our daughter how to do things.

Zara was so excited to learn how to put jam on her toast

I want her to learn how to use that body of hers.  I want her to feel like she can do anything.  I want her to learn how to take care of herself in this world.  I want to empower her.  Teaching her empowers her and that is the most powerful thing I can do as a parent.

Today, I taught her how to put a hanger inside a shirt to hang it up. She was so proud of herself, so excited, so pleased to be a part of family life.  We were doing the laundry and instead of using the dryer for all of our clothes, we hang the shirts all up on hangers and let them dry that way.  She’s been more and more interested in doing the laundry, she hangs all of her clothes on the drying rack and today was the first day she wanted to be included in hanging up our clothes.  I was so pleased for her, so inspired to continue to teach her, to empower her to learn how to be in this world, how to teach her to respect our environment by not using the dryer, for example.

I try to use all of our outings and experiences as teaching moments, I don’t try to be annoying about it, but just as the opportunities come up, we talk about it, to include her and to teach her.  Here’s what I mean: we went out for supper the other night and we wrapped up all the napkins and food scraps into the paper table cloth they put on the table for us to draw on and we brought it home to the compost bin.  I would have been too shy to do this in the past, but we have a city program for it, so I may as well bring it home instead of letting it go to the dump just because restaurants aren’t included in the composting program.  I thought it was great, it made me feel great, it gave us a chance to explain composting again and the difference between composting and garbage dumps for mother earth.  And maybe because I wasn’t embarrassed about it and because the waitress thought it was really cool, maybe Zara will do the same, maybe she’ll show others to do that too.

The other day, she had been eating pretzels, and they’re awesome because they’re in the shape of letters so she loves learning how to spell words (thanks Loblaws!), and there were lots of crumbs on the table.  I saw her brush them all off the table. I went over and I said, “We could just sweep them up with the dustpan and broom (she LOVES to do this!!), or you could make a little dustpan with your hand and sweep them into your hand right off the table and then put them in the compost bin or the sink.”  I showed her what I meant and no friggin joke, the next day, there were crumbs on the table and I saw her start to put them on the floor and then she stopped and make the hand dustpan. Holy moly.  Simple, eh?  I think we could all do this a bit more, with everything!!  We would be constantly teaching each other, including one another, instead of living isolated lives.

Zara also loves cleaning with us.  She loves to clean the bathtub and the toilets. I hope this lasts!  Tee hee, at least she’s learning how to do it, so she’ll know for when she leaves the house and it keeps her engaged and teaches her about how to care for a home.  And she’s teaching me so much too, empowering me, pushing me to be me, instead of the limited me I always thought I was.  This summer, she wanted to walk on the grass down the street (we don’t have sidewalks) and for some reason, there was this part of me that was nervous about walking on other people’s grass….I felt it and didn’t want to teach her that, it’s all part of the planet, it’s just grass, why can’t we walk on the grass!?!!  She felt it too and she kept saying, “Mommy, come with me,” and eventually I did, and I’ve been free ever since.  Now we run up to the neighbors trees, run around them and we go for it.  I hope our neighbors start to do it too.  No one has ever said anything and I’m not sure they ever will, they may just admire our freedom, the freedom that comes from empowering oneself, pushing past limits and teaching about life.  I love living with Zara, teaching her, learning from her and being in the love with her and Robbin.  May our love continue to grow and may I continue to be open to teaching her and learning from her.

An ode to my girlfriends

Hooray for girlfriends! I got this picture from thethirdboob.com

I love my girlfriends.  They have taught me so much in my life and I will always keep them close in my heart and surround them with love and light and gratitude.

For them, I write this ode:

My dearest friends, I love you.

For all the times I was shy, closed off, scared, negative, judgmental, you showed me the way, you lifted me up, gave me a hug, and showed me another way.

For all the times I thought I was unloveable, unworthy of attention, you stood by me, supported me, and showed me unconditional love, when I wasn’t even aware that it existed.

You are all beautiful.  You are all pure light.  You are all so special in your own ways.  As we grow and our relationships change, I love you, and I am here for you.  It is now my turn to be there for you, because now I can, from a place of healing, from a place of love, from a place of grace, instead of from a place of hurt, from a place of longing, from a place of judgment.

To my friend Davis, who had the courage to say to me when we were in university, “hey you’re pretty judgemental, eh?” when I didn’t even know it.  That was the start of my journey of letting go of needing to make statements about others that didn’t match the feelings in my heart.  That was the beginning of the end of the suffocation I felt inside about judgement.

To my friend Val, who taught me how to be a friend.  She brought me ice cream when I was locked in my residence apartment, between studying and basketball practice, when all I really wanted was to go out and play outside.

To my friend Carla, who is more wise than anyone I have ever met.  To Carla, whose depth of soul astounds me, whose courage is so deep and so strong.  To Carla, who is inspirational and so giggly and fun, and who loves to dance as much as me.

To my friend Steph, who asked me how I was doing many years ago and I hesitated to answer and she said, “you know Bradlee, it’s okay if things aren’t going well, it’s okay.”  She gave me permission to be me, instead of the perfect person I always thought I needed to be.

To my friend Margo, who is so open, so sensitive, so bright.  She is so inspiring, so dedicated to being her true self, to honoring herself and her children and her family.  I am so glad to have met you and to have the privilege of being your neighbor!

To my dear sisters, Alka, Dionne and Robyn, who were my first real sisters, who showed me that we can debate about work things and still be close.  I didn’t realize at the time that if we argued about how a policy document should be done, that it didn’t mean we were friends anymore.  They were my first Ottawa friends, and therefore my family.  I will always love them!  They each contributed so much to my life, with their openness, their generosity and their caring.

To my friend Teresa, who is so kind, so considerate and so compassionate.  She supported me and was just as excited to talk to me as I was to her on the phone, and she always makes me feel special and loved.

To my friend Cathy, whom I lost touch with.  She first connected me to the universe, to my own strength and my own soul.  She was the first person I trusted, to be able to call up out of the blue to make plans. I was so scared to be abandoned and rejected that I always had a hard time initiating the making of plans. She was my first new friend, outside of school, that I felt safe with and I realized at the time how huge that was for me.  And when I shared that with her, she embraced me instead of mocking me.

To my new friend Amanda, who is so open, so engaging with her daughter, who from my perspective, seems cool with putting herself out there and trying new things.  I have learned over the past few months, as I heal, that I can do this too, that I just needed to let go of some hurt, some feelings of lack of control, and to give myself permission to be me and to try some new things!

To my friend Diana, the entrepreneur, who never seems to let anything stop her.  If she has an idea, she figures out how to make it happen and then she does it.  She inspired me not to get caught up in energy dramas, and to just go for life.  She is a gentle soul too and I will always look up to her.

To my friend Joanne, who is so my opposite, who challenged me in every way when I first met her because of it, but who showed me another way of being, being calm, thinking before speaking (tee hee!! for those you know me!!), and that planning can be useful.

To my friend and cousin Patrycja, who is so deep and so wise, whose generosity knows no bounds.  She inspired me to be the parent I truly wanted to be, despite outside pressures, despite internal conflicts I experienced.

To my dear friend Natalie, who taught me about fun, and how to tap into my true self.  I fully let go while living with Natalie, she inspired me to eat Doritos when I wanted, to do what I wanted, to scream and laugh loudly and to be true to myself.  I’ll never forget the day we went walking together and we were talking about our boyfriends and I said, “they don’t know it yet, but they’re going to be dads at the same time.”  A few years later, I was right!  To Natalie, who is true spirit and depth at its core.

To my sister Susan, who needs to write the in-law part anyway?  From the moment I met Susan, she was open and full of love and she continues to be that way.  Her relationship with her children has been such an inspiration for me.  I had never seen a 12 year old snuggle up to their parent before and when I saw it for the first time, I knew I loved her and that I wanted to create a safe and loving environment just like that for my future child!

To my friend Mary!  I remember when we used to share a cubicle wall but we were both shy and we didn’t chat much.  I remember a few years later how we’d stand in the kitchen at work and chat and chat.  She is such a bright light and she has so much love in her heart.

To my friend Jean, who has helped me connect with my true self more than I ever thought was possible.  The gratitude and respect I have for you is immeasurable and thanks for teaching me about chai lattes!  If you hadn’t helped me with the food healing, I could never have had one without it having lactaid milk which just doesn’t froth the same:)

To my friend Anjali, who is a world traveler and an inspiration.  She goes for life, she doesn’t wait for it to come to her, which I always felt like I was doing.  Thank you for opening up to me and trusting me and sharing with me.

To my mom, Tilia, who was always my best friend growing up.  She taught me about so much, so much more than her mom ever taught her.  She was the coolest mom, the most fun mom, and she guided me to be the fun Bradlee I was while growing up, and now I’m guiding myself to find my true self, so I that the true happy Bradlee is always there, that I am always living from my heart.

May you all realize your true greatness.

Of course there are more friends, old and new.  I love you all, even if I haven’t included you here.  You have all contributed so much to my life.  Today, I celebrate you all and send you love and light.

Kids and make-up and other “grown up” things

Our daughter is almost 3 and she loves make-up.  I only wear make-up occasionally and if I do, it’s either pink, light blue, dark blue or green eyeliner and I just put a thin line on my eyelid.  Zara loves it!  She loves watching me do it and trying it out.  I fully support it.  I also fully support her trying on pads when I have my period, I fully support her trying on nail polish and I fully support her putting the blade in the food processor and I fully support her learning to use a sharp knife.

Cooking in the kitchen!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a few thoughts:

  • kids learn by doing and by imitating
  • kids don’t feel like kids, they feel like people and want to be treated as such, just because they are little doesn’t mean that they can’t do things or shouldn’t try things (with or without our attention and support of course!)
  • if we tell our kids to be careful all the time, they will learn that they are not trustworthy and that they can’t manage things on their own
  • if we can teach our kids about things, like how to put the blade in the food processor, we give them autonomy and responsibility and they will develop their own sense of how exceptionally capable and trustworthy they are
  • baby gates, locks on doors and cupboards are demeaning for children.  why not teach them not to touch the household cleaners, why not teach them how to open a door and then explain that they can really only go out with a parent (age-dependent of course)
  • kids can sense when they are being controlled and if we can let go, our relationship will them will flourish and open

Some of this I’ve learned from being a mom, some of it I’ve learned from some fantastic parenting books such as:

  • The Continuum Concept
  • Adventures in Gentle Discipline
  • Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
  • Unconditional Parenting
  • The Natural Child and anything on the Natural Child Project website
  • How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

I think that I will write a post about each of these books and the most amazing important lessons I’ve learned from them as a way to share.  I am so grateful to those authors!

So yes, sometimes Zara wears make-up, sometimes she wears blue, pink and green all at once, and sometimes she puts it vertically across her eyes, but it’s what she wants to do.  There is no right way to wear make up!  I’ve showed her how I do it and now she’s experimenting with it.  At some point, she’ll stop or maybe she won’t and it’s just an expression of her coming through.  I’ve told her make-up, jewellery and clothes are a way to decorate her body, that her body is perfect as it is, but if she wants to decorate it, there are a few ways to do that that can be quite fun.  I wouldn’t be comfortable with her wearing make-up if she felt like she had to in order to be beautiful but because I know it’s from a clear and open and fun place, then I’m cool with it.  Other people notice, some say things, some don’t and I’ve realized that I don’t need to protect her from their responses, whatever they are, because she can totally handle herself.  She’s learning that whatever other people say, it isn’t about her, it’s about them and that if they don’t think she should wear make-up, that it’s their opinion.  I’ll always be there to support her and guide her of course, but I’m also trying to give her credit because she really can handle herself.   For example, one time she was at the hairdresser’s and the lady said “oh, can you count to 10?”  And Zara looked at her and just didn’t say anything.  So then the lady said, “okay, so 1 is first, then what,” and she kept, in my mind, badgering Zara to count, and Zara just looked and looked at her and didn’t say a thing.  I only let it go on a for a few seconds before I said, “Zara, you don’t need to count if you don’t want to,” and then I smiled at the hair dresser.  It was only later that I realized that Zara had already told her in her own way that she didn’t want to count, that she is not a circus performer.  Then I said to myself, okay, so I just need to support Zara, teach her about things from a neutral place and then she’ll take care of the rest.  So ya, if we go to the hairdresser’s again while Zara is wearing make-up, I’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Let’s let our kids try things, let’s let them learn about the world by doing, let’s let them figure it out, they already know we know how to do things, let’s let them go for it and teach us at the same time.