Creative Parenting- Everyday Lies Parents Tell Their Children

I’d originally posted this to my facebook page, but it is so deliciously horrible I had to share it here too!

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The article published by DailyMail.com features a set of images which show the lengths parents go to trick their children into behaving properly. The list includes such fibs as parents telling their children that “Cola is black water- you’re not going to like it”. One parent said, “Chuck-E-Chesse is for birthday parties. You have to be invited to go there” (I can’t blame her- I wish I’d thought of that myself!). Another awesome one was “If you don’t behave in the McDonald’s drive through you will get a Sad Meal” Children are smart. No one wants a Sad Meal!

My grandmother was the BEST at this kind of thing- there were so many lies she told me to keep my little butt in line that I believed until I was an adult! Among my favorites were:

– “If you put your human hair products in the dolls’ hair, the dolls’ hair will fall out.”

– “If you swallow watermelon seeds, a watermelon will grow in your stomach.” (points to a pregnant lady)- “See? It happens!”

-“If you swallow chewing gum, your butt hole will plug up and the doctor will have to cut you a new one.”

-“Wining too much will cause your belly button to unscrew and your body will fall apart.” (There was a Rikki Jai video that demonstrated her point.)

-“Corned beef is made of old race horses AND children who left their parent’s house without permission after dark to go play in the streets…” (while she’s serving me corned beef and rice for dinner)

-“When it’s raining, you should lie down and get under the covers and be quiet like I do, otherwise the lightning strikes will find you and you will get struck by lightning. Glass conducts electricity- those lightning bolts will come right through the windows and zap you. You better get under those blankets fast!” (even more terrifying was the fact that I wore those Forrest Gump type braces on my legs that were made of metal. I was lightning’s #1 target!)

-“Thunder is God rearranging his furniture, and rain is him washing down heaven so it will be clean for when company comes over.” ( I think this one was so I would stop being so terrified by the storm…which was trying to take me out!)

I mean this list can go on forever. I don’t consider these “lies” as much as I think it’s Creative Parenting At Its Finest. I miss you, Mammy Leonie 

Embrace Your Storm

I suppose it’s not uncommon to experience a storm while writing about one. 21275-stormy-ocean-1920x1200-artistic-wallpaper Lately I’ve been feeling as if the universe is trying to squash the life out of me. Really, and in all fairness, it’s just asking me to grow up; to make the shift required from my old self and ways of thinking and being into a new, higher purpose. I would assume that as many times as I have done this it would get easier, but I will be honest in admitting that while it doesn’t necessarily get any easier, thankfully, it becomes simpler. I’ve been resisting the idea of writing this article for several reasons, first of which I felt like a liar. Here I am telling people to be brave, to weather the storm, they have what it takes…and then I wake up every morning feeling less and less like myself until I reach the mornings I don’t want to wake up at all. I felt I had nothing left in me to give, that I was tired and unworthy of an audience. So I haven’t written anything in over a week.

The best part about not taking psych meds for depression is that I can feel whatever it is I’m feeling, and hopefully learn from it. Younger versions of me would have been quick to numb the pain of feeling isolated and pressured to make moves by disappearing in a bottle of vodka, pacifying my anxiety with sex, and avoiding my insomnia with a blunt before bedtime. This time, with no job to report to, no lovers to fall into or deadlines to crush, I allowed myself to feel every miserable moment of it. I also joined a support group of women- self-titled, awesome goddesses- who are all going through changes of their own and upon whom I can rely for a friendly ear and emotional support.

Feeling it meant allowing myself to stay in bed when I didn’t feel like getting up, crying for hours, wanting to die, going to sleep and then waking up angry because I didn’t die. It also meant recognizing the mornings when I felt better and being grateful that those mornings actually happened; looking at the house in its deplorable state of uncleanliness, having enough energy to finally clean up, and recognizing happily that I’d made it to the other end of the tunnel without my usual vices. It meant recognizing too that while I felt better, I was still not my absolute best, and that being gentle and loving with myself is the most helpful thing I could do to help myself get better.

It was in this space that I was able to see how many of the thoughts and feelings I’d been carrying all these years about myself and the world around me were so off that it was no wonder I’d been prone to anxiety and depression all this time. I could see my fears as if they were identifying themselves on the theatre screen of my mind- no longer permitted to hide in the shadows of errant thought-messaging. The universe was trying to squash me, but in a good way. The part of me that needed to die was, indeed, dying, and I was grateful. I could face my demons head on now and overcome them, just as I’d done so many times over in the past. Of course I would rise like a phoenix- that is who I am; it’s what we phoenixes do!

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And I realized this too- this wouldn’t be the last time I experience this type of shift, just like it wasn’t the first. I pray to god it’s not my last. As I step into the new me, I can see I have so much more growing to do, and for that I’m excited. I’d never want to remain the same-old-me. Living things grow, after all; that is the nature of living. Sometimes growth is painful. Not all pain is harmful. Sometimes pain is a precursor to growth.

This time around, instead of resisting, I learned to embrace my storm.

Instead of running from my anxiety and cursing myself for my feelings of loneliness, I took hold of it and made it mine. In retrospect, I can see how many beautiful things happen in the storm. In the moment, though, we usually lack the vision to see it. Ask anyone who has become suddenly homeless, widowed, childless or parent-less. Ask anyone who has been through a personal storm about the love and beauty by which they were surrounded- the human compassion and prodigal blessings upon which they were bestowed as a result- the outpouring of love and compassion from the community, from family, from complete strangers who live thousands of miles away. In the midst of disaster there is always help, there is always grace, there are always angels. In the midst of darkness, there is always light, there is always love, even if it is just a tiny spark.

And don’t be fooled by people who say things like, “Your life wouldn’t be that way if you would only ______________. That’s bull. Last time I checked, no one is exempt- everyone goes through it at some point, even the most cheery of the bunch. We all have our dark days, we all have our storms. Storms are normal and necessary parts of the human experience.

Storms put us in the unique position of experiencing the grace and unbridled compassion of the universe, we simply have to be willing to see it. It is always there.

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I embraced my storm and found a part of me I always hoped was there- the girl who believes in her ability to be successful despite what life throws her way. I found my tribe- the group of upstate goddesses, former strangers and one high school friend- who are beautiful and resilient, who mirror for me the things I need to see in myself and who love me even when I’m in a funk so I can get through it. I found that I have what it takes to weather the storm, and that in itself is the most loving affirmation I could ever receive from the universe.

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I’ve decided to call this series Lessons From The Lighthouse, in homage to the imagery found in the film, Life Of Pi. These lessons have served as an inspiration to me in my personal growth and development in the past year and half, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I hope that they are instrumental in helping you find your inner ability to create miracles in your own life.

Light & Love!

To find the entire series, click here.

Choose Your Thoughts Carefully.

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Last week I had an unfortunate run in with a friend over social media. This friend, while I love her dearly, has a tendency to be a “Negative Nancy”, and I (as wonderful as I can be!) am the opposite, if only by intention. I will admit, I have a tendency to be a bit scathing in my delivery sometimes, and I am working on that- after all, we are all works in progress if nothing else.​ So her “FML!” moment (because she has cancer) was met with my soliloquy on a soapbox about ​being positive and not giving in to the want of feeding her disease with negative energy.

This turned into a trolling frenzy.

I’m not saying I was right to try to tell her who to be, or what to feel, or how to vent. ​Admittedly, in trying to point this out I only made myself look like an ass-hat, because who tells a cancer patient who thinks she is dying that she shouldn’t rail against the heavens? I mean- what kind of friend am I? Well, I honestly thought I was being the good kind…but I digress.

​I’m a firm believer that t​he universe does not discriminate between positive and negative energy. I​t only gives us what we give it.

​Over my life, I’ve played with this idea several times and seen myself manifest numerous things simply through the power of intention- my first apartment being yellow, living in Rosedale (a.k.a my best friend’s backyard), the fact that I am a single mother​ and both my children are on the autism spectrum…all these things are things I contemplated heavily before they came to pass in real life. It is as if I specifically asked the universe to hand me these things…and it did. Were all of them things I wanted? Of course not. But I focused on them so much that they manifested themselves regardless of whether I wanted or didn’t want them.

I​t’s not that I didn’t want my friend to vent- like I said, defaulting to “fml” is her thing; it’s a knee jerk reaction if for no other reason than she’s practiced it for so long she doesn’t realize there are other ways to deal with loss or pain or frustration. And it’s hard for me to know she is in pain and setting herself up for more. On the other hand, I’ve worked in facilities where I’ve seen the elderly and formerly destitute, those who are amputees, cancer patients and survivors, and others with multiple medical diagnoses who live day in and day out with nothing less than a smile, whose response to “How are you today?” is always anywhere from “Hanging in there!” to “Couldn’t be better!” or my personal favorite, “I’m alive-can’t complain!”

It occurred to me after a couple years of coaching others to be responsible for their own lives that I ought to do the same for me, otherwise I am nothing but a hypocrite. “You Are A Creator- Your Words Create Your World”, I’d said, time and time again. For the sake of the outcome of my own life, I’ve had to learn to be responsible with my thoughts. ​I owe it to myself to be such.

Even in the midst of our suffering, if we shake our fists and shout to the heavens “F*CK MY LIFE!”, the universe hears us and says, “Okay- no problem!”- and brings us exactly what we do not want…because we asked for it! Pushing through the desire to be negative and transmuting that energy into something positive is the type of inner alchemy of which miracles are made.

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​There’s a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking. If we head into every day affirming that the universe is, indeed, collaborating with us to make our dreams come true, we will see this truth manifest in our lives. It is possible, if we train our minds to do this by everyday practice. For some of us, this practice is not just necessary everyday but on a moment by moment basis, depending on what we have trained our personalities to agree is acceptable. Statistically, and especially among cancer patients, those with positive attitudes and expectations are more likely to have positive outcomes. One can practice mindfulness through a number of ways- stillness, prayer and meditation are excellent, ancient practices for training the mind and spirit. There are many different types of yoga one can try. Some people go for de-cluttering walks, others prefer to exercise, with or without music.

Personally, I enjoy reading personal development books and articles. I read anything I can get my hands on and I annotate while I read. And I pay attention to what’s coming out of my mouth. I set daily intentions for myself and keep a gratitude list so I can be mindful and present about the direction of my day, what I would like to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it.

Words carry power. They enchant, entice, incite, excite. Words are magic. My thoughts control the words that are coming out of my mouth. If I can control my thoughts- if I can catch them and hold them there and take a good look at them before they have the chance to escape my mouth and create havoc, I may yet have a chance.

I’ve come a long way. I didn’t mean to be mean to my friend but I can see how I came off as arrogant and lacking empathy.

If I could take it back, I’d explain to her that I watched my mom die of cancer but that after she was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer, she taught her kindergarten class and traveled and planned picnics and events for the neighborhood and decided she wasn’t going to let her diagnosis slow her down, and she lived seven years longer than the doctors said she would.

I’d tell her that one of my other really good friends is also presently in a nursing home, living as vibrantly as possible with the same diagnosis she has- stage IV colo-rectal cancer; her tumors are decomposing. The doctors don’t know what’s keeping her alive and in such great shape, but every time I see her, she’s smiling and at 6′ 3″, she is as loud as she is tall!

If I could start over, I’d begin by reminding her that she is not alone, that she is loved and surrounded by love, and even though I know she is in pain, she can draw from that loving energy around her and surround herself with peace and calm, happiness, love and light. And I’d encourage her to think and speak and live as though she were preparing to live, not as though she were preparing to die.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t know everything, but what I do know is, regardless the circumstances, we always have the power to choose.

“Whenever you suffer, next time don’t complain, don’t create an anguish out of it. Rather, watch it, feel it, see it, look at it from all possible angles. Make it a meditation and see what happens: the energy that was moving into the disease, the energy that was creating suffering, is transformed, the quality changes. The same energy becomes your awareness, because there are not two energies in you, the energy is one. You can make it sex, you can transform it and make it into love; you can transform it still higher and make it into prayer, and you can transform it still higher and make it into awareness—the energy is the same.”~ Osho

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Blessings & Affirmations

Find the practice that works for you and allow yourself to enter your quiet space. 

Acknowledge that the universe is a vast, infinite source of energy.

Tap into that energy and let that energy flow through you.

Release your negativity- pain, fear, worry, misunderstandings, feelings of lack and insecurity- and allow the goodness of the universe to flow through you.

Choose your thoughts carefully and embrace what is yours.

I have permission to create my future. 

The Universe wants me to succeed.

Money is flowing to me easily and effortlessly and I trust the Universe to take care of all my financial needs.

I am going to let myself participate in life and enjoy it. 

I can choose love. I am love.

I can choose peace. I am peace.

I can choose calm. I am calm. 

I can choose surrender. I have surrendered.

I choose blessings. I am a blessing.

I can choose abundance. I am abundant.

I can choose prosperity. I am prosperous.

Namasté .

For The Free Spirited Females With Fiercely Sensitive Hearts.

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This is for the gentle goddesses with watery, empathic hearts, who ooze with oodles of compassion, eager to soothe another’s suffering.

This is for the luscious ladies with restless spirits who can’t stay in one place for long, because our souls are winged, always longing for adventure.

Yes, this is just for us:

The free-spirited females with fiercely sensitive hearts.

We are a balmy breeze, casually caressing arms lovingly, suddenly here, suddenly there, then suddenly gone.

We are a thousand grains of precious pink sand, slowly slipping through soft fingertips, one by one.

We can never be contained because we aren’t meant to be.

We are born to ride the wild winds of passion, surf the turbulent oceans of despair, and relentlessly explore the great vastness of this crazy world—until our bodies collapse in ecstatic exhaustion.

We understand deeply that life is a heartbreakingly beautiful series of goodbyes, hellos, triumphs and disappointments and we feel most alive in the midst of transformation, courageously shedding our old skin to be birthed again, raw and new.

We are are well-versed in letting go, able to boldly exhale and swiftly set fire to the past, painstakingly gathering the ashen wisdom to build a more abundant future.

We are phoenixes, falcons, eagles and butterflies.

We are light and airy, yet never lacking depth.

We are carefree and sparkly, but our effervescence actually emanates from caring so deeply, from feeling the world’s pain, happiness, love, sadness and struggle wildly pulsate within our chests, day in and day out.

We are spongy emotional barometers, picking up on another’s mood immediately, sensing anxiety, anger, grief, frustration and jealousy. Feeling it so damn intensely that we sometimes suffocate.

We crave alone time, solo adventures, secret places and quiet spaces because the world can seem so scary and overwhelming that we wonder if it could, in fact, swallow us entirely in one single gulp.

We love wholly, compassionately and completely—but never possessively.

We have to fly away sometimes, darting out in the velvety black of night because we know that by setting ourselves free, we can set others free too.

We deeply respect our femininity, listening closely to the whispering wisdom of our intuition, the mystical murmurs of our ancestors and the primal pulse of nature.

We feel most alive outside, wings fully spanned, feeling the firm ground beneath our feet, welcoming the fiercest winds to whirl through our wispy hair.

We are fierce warriors, forces to be reckoned with—precisely because we are so sensitive.

My gentle and free-spirited sisters, I hear your feathery roar.

Let us spread our wings and soar.

Let us fly long and fast and hard.

Let us fly unapologetically.

Into the incredible lives we are meant to live.

Let us vow now.

To never turn our backs on the wise contents.

Of our fabulously free-spirited.

And fantastically sensitive souls.

Written by : Sarah Harvey is an enthusiastic truth-seeker who loves chocolate and tea. She believes that life is art, communication is all we have, and that sharing all the craziness and chaos inside us is incredibly empowering. She believes in creativity, passion, and self-expression above all else. She believes that life is the craziest thing there is—and she’s learning (a.k.a. struggling) to go with the flow.

This piece appears in its entirety on elephant journal at http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/01/for-the-free-spirited-females-with-fiercely-sensitive-hearts/

Thoughts Of A Goddess: “Make The Shift”

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Last week’s lesson, Be Strong gave way to several breakthroughs and much needed karmic cleansing. Words that needed to be said were finally said. There were tears and kisses. There were confessions and forgiveness. There was the realization that everything in life happens for our highest good.

There is no such thing as failure. 

Nothing is ever going wrong. These moments are clarifying moments.

Learn from it what you must, then let it go and move on.

Know that when you have a dream, when you are charged with giving birth to a vision, you will experience resistance. Know too that the force of this resistance is in direct proportion to the measure of the dream that you will birth.

Great dreams encounter great resistance. Do not give in; do not give up. Push through and see your dream into reality; the universe wants you to succeed.

It is time for us to Get Ready, to Clean House.

 Make The Shift.

Fighting back when your food tries to kill you

I don’t have celiac disease but gluten-sensitivity is real. 

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For the past few months I’ve been dealing with hypothroidism and gluten sensitivity which has literally forced me to pay attention to the food I’ve been eating and switch to a high protein, gluten-free diet.

For anyone who is rolling their eyes, I’m telling you this gluten sensitivity thing is real. No one naturally gains five or more pounds overnight. The bloating, joint pain, swollen face and legs, muscle aches, and aggravated respiratory distress is not imaginary. I’d like to be able to breathe when I eat! While I don’t carry the genetic marker for celiac disease, the stress on my body when I eat certain foods is very real. What causes it is a mystery to many- I grew up eating a carb-heavy diet- rice, bread, pasta, flour tortillas are among my favorite foods- but I’ve never experienced anything like I have in the past seven months.

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Since eliminating wheat products from my diet, I’ve seen a turnaround. I am breathing easier and rely on steroids less frequently on a daily basis; my body feels lighter even without having lost the extra weight. Drinking green smoothies and including anti-inflammatory aids such as pineapple, ginger, turmeric and carrots has reduced my daily need for NSAID pain relievers. I feel stronger. My mind is clearer. Most recently, I added Shakeology (a Beachbody product) to my diet as well, and haven’t had to consume the seven-plus vitamin and mineral supplements I had been taking (each of which cost over $15.00 per bottle) to maintain my health for the day.

All things considered, I feel great! Now to lose these pounds and snap my body back into shape!

If you want to join me on this journey, you can check out my progress on the beachbody website- http://beachbodycoach.com/thundercat79.

Workout buddies of all fitness levels are most welcome- we’re all champions here!

Interested in Shakeology (what is it made of? what does it taste like? where can I get some?)? Leave me a note in the comment section-let’s chat! ❤

(Photos used do not belong to the author)

Love Conquers All

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They spent all night in each other’s arms, talking, laughing, pontificating, snoring, cuddling.

By the time the sun came up, she realized what a fool she’d been. She’d spent all this time broken and angry- so broken and angry that she couldn’t see the good in what was being given to her. She’d instead projected all her pain upon him, labelled and judged him and blamed him for things that were not his fault. And through it all, he still chose to love her the best he could, the best she would let him, even though he knew she couldn’t see it.

The morning sun’s rays cracked through the dark as she lay her head on his chest and broke into sobs, tears running across his skin and onto his sheets. He already knew she was “crazy”, and he didn’t mind. This may have sealed the deal. This time she wasn’t crying because of him. She was crying because of herself.