Last night, when I went to kiss my 12-year-old daughter goodnight, she burst into tears.
“Why can’t I see them more often?” she wailed. She was talking about her friends, the triplets, who had been at our house for a sleepover.
My daughter met the three sisters several years ago at a family summer camp, and the four of them have remained friends despite the 70 miles between them. They had a wonderful visit, crammed with movies, make-overs, homemade cake pops, and late-night giggles—the stuff of memories. But none of that stopped her from sobbing in grief.
Last night I was attempting to explain to my 10-year-old daughter that anxiety can come from believing something that’s not true.
“Our brains don’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s not real,” I said. I was about to launch into a sure-to-be-cumbersome definition of perception and reality, when she said:
“Right, because the mind and the brain are two separate things. The brain is physical and the mind is spiritual. If your mind thinks that something is real, then your brain and your body will act according to what you think.”
Whoa. I just got schooled.
The shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling made headlines last week, pushing their way even into my headline. I don’t like to jump into hot political topics, but I read a riveting blog called “The Conversation We Must Have With Our White Children” by Courtney E. Martin. She said to make the reality of white privilege “a part of your daily consciousness, even when it seems tiring and burdensome.”
It’s 5:23 a.m. on a Sunday and I am awake. I reach for my phone. There is no text from my 13-year-old son, who is in China, and my brain jumps straight to the conclusion that he must have gotten lost in a crowded Beijing market. In the pale light of dawn, this thought seems as plausible as any other.
In the space of 24 hours, my three children have been on three separate airplanes. My predominant summer anxiety has always been around how to keep them all busy. This summer they are suddenly off to see the world—my 15-year-old son to a camp in California, my 10-year-old daughter to visit family in New York, and my middle child with his father on the other side of the world. Having them in the air has me feeling ungrounded. To counteract my restlessness, I get up and go into practical mode. I text my ex-husband to make sure Boone has the hotel address in his pocket. I transfer a little money to Lincoln’s debit card for airport food. I text Genevieve a reminder to take her digestive supplements.
I know I’ve entered the wilderness when my son says, “Dad laughs. You don’t.”
It’s true. So we are embarking on our first post-divorce vacation. I’ll have the kids for a solid week, on my own, and I’m scared. I’ve chosen a YMCA family camp in Wisconsin as our destination because at least there […]
I’m sharing a video of my daughter singing “The Girl I Mean to Be” from The Secret Garden for several reasons. First, of course, is being proud as can be of her. She sang this for an audition in Ohio last week and knocked ’em dead.
More than that, though, is that this song speaks so powerfully to the little girl I once was.
Several years ago I lived next to a woman who was rather eccentric. She lived alone, and had an elaborate web of chains and padlocks rigged from her porch posts to her front door. One day, as I was getting into my car with my daughter, the woman approached us and, unprompted, launched into a story.
“Someone broke into my house,” she said.
My daughter leaned forward, listening intently, and I cringed. She was only 3 years old at the time and I didn’t want her to have nightmares.
If you had told me 15 years ago, before I had kids, that feeding them a balanced diet would be my biggest challenge, I would not have believed it. Sibling rivalry? Too much TV? Bad grades? I was prepared for all of that. But seeing a lone stalk of broccoli or stray leaf of spinach with the power to send kids screaming, nearly igniting World War 3, has had me waving the white flag. I finally realized that the focus had to be on empowering my kids; it was time for the command to change hands.
In my house we talk often about the power of our hands. As an energy medicine practitioner, I encourage my kids to tune into the energy of their food, their thoughts, and their bodies. I want them to experience the subtle shifts that can be detected by the palms as a result of simply “activating” them through intention.
Recently I went to hear Don Jose Ruiz, the author of The Fifth Agreement, speak to a group of teens. He told stories about his own troubled adolescence and what it was like growing up as the son of best-selling spiritual author, Don Miguel Ruiz. He talked about his father making him stay home one night when his friends when out, and what it felt like to hear that their car had crashed and his best friend was killed. He talked about trying to take his own life with a knife.
My friend Rex got this sweet little puppy for his 10th birthday. His reaction? He put one hand on his heart, one hand on his solar plexus, and exclaimed in delight. This speaks so powerfully to the source of our joy, and I love that children instinctively honor this in their bodies and their energy. In December I will be focusing on children — what we can teach them about intuition, self-esteem, self-care, and loving kindness, and, maybe more importantly, what they can teach us!