Filtering by Category: Life

The Sacred Covenant of Parenthood

My adult life has provided me several hard lessons. As a parent now myself, I've been especially moved in my view of what parenthood means and, maybe, what it ought to mean. My vocabulary doesn't usually include words like "should" or "shouldn't," because I believe in the power of those words. I believe there is no "right" way to do life, only what works best for each of us and what doesn't. But I think sometimes it's important to have the strength to expect more from ourselves and from those in our inner circles. When we witness the crumbling of our loved ones' spirit it becomes our responsibility to step in and prevent their total destruction. There's little else more tragic in this world than the light being snuffed out of those glowing the brightest. 

When we choose to become parents, that commitment is for life. Make no mistake, no matter how we enter parenthood, it is absolutely a decision. That means when our children reach adulthood, we are still their parents. When our children stumble and make mistakes that we interpret as a personal reflection, we are still their parents. When they try on independence and hurt us, we are still their parents. When they spend time apart from us, we are still their parents. When they leave us forever, we are still their parents. 

Here's what parenting doesn't mean:

It doesn't mean holding grudges against our kids. 
When we show these little (even grown) people that we keep score against them, it creates an environment where mistakes and growing pains are not acceptable. It tells them that we reject the behavior that may be challenging to us, even though that behavior is perfectly healthy self development. It makes our kids second guess themselves where they should be learning. It makes them assign words like "bad," and "wrong," and "not good enough," and worse. Those sentiments stay with a person especially when they are adopted so early on. This is extremely damaging to a developing sense of self. 

It doesn't mean punishing our kids with passive aggressiveness. 
Intentionally taking stabs at our kids for any reason is immature and irresponsible. This can appear subtle, but I will tell you that our kids feel it. This could look like "forgetting" to include them in major familial events, or making snide remarks in public venues, or perhaps asking them to take photos of the family without inviting them to appear in those photos. All of these I have seen firsthand. All of these I have watched slowly erode the recipient into a dark pit of self doubt that had nowhere to go but down. 

It doesn't mean manipulating our kids to get what we want.
People, this is abusive. We are in a position of trust and, to some extent, power. It is imperative we take this position as seriously as is demanded. Our children use us as the safe space to make mistakes and try on everything they may eventually leave behind. That means they will do things that we don't approve of, or will see coming, or even challenge how we see them as humans. But this is their job. Our job is to hold that space for them. That's what we've agreed to, you see. That's our solemn oath as parents. And yet, I see many of us using our wisdom to wield dangerous tactics that absolutely damage our children's sense of self, self worth, and inner dialogue. Please don't think that just because you have years and experience behind you that your kids don't understand, at least to some degree. Kids are incredibly intuitive. If they don't understand on an immediate level, they still absorb the sentiments deep into their cells.

Manipulation is a very dark path to walk, friends. You may feel that you are teaching or imparting hard lessons, but there is nothing to be gained. What you're doing is withholding closeness (love), creating boundaries that manifest into mistrust, close communication lines, and eventually make yourself unattainable to your kids. We must be intentional with our language. Saying, "I don't care," when we mean, "I understand if you can't attend," speaks volumes to our children. Guilt trips are manipulation's slightly less impressive sisters. Please stop doing this. Instead, say what you mean. Mean what you say. Staying aligned is the best way to foster beautiful, raw, real relationships with the incredible little people we are raising. 

It doesn't mean we stop parenting when our kids become parents themselves.
Many times, this is when our children need us the most. Don't stop being involved even when they're busy or begin to stray. Don't stop showing up even when our kids forget how to be close to us. Don't stop asking even when we get that wonderful eye roll and hough. Don't stop holding that sacred space for them to grow, because growth never ceases. Just don't stop. Be there. Be available, unrelenting, supportive, loving, understanding. Be a resource, a shoulder, an afternoon escape. Be a part. 

With hope and love. L.

 

Mother's Day 2017

I just celebrated my first Mother's Day. I found myself getting anxious in the days leading up, much like I do when my birthday comes a-knockin'. For whatever reason, having a celebration centered around me, even partially, drudges up old feelings of unsettlement. I'm nervous no one will show up and say, "we're glad you were born" or, I guess, "we're glad your baby was born." No matter how much work we do on self development, we're still just fragile creatures searching for validation and love. I guess the best thing to do is accept that aspect and continue to foster our growth as peoplekind. 

So...how was it?

Actually, it was wonderful. There have been hiccups in the past, as I mentioned, that have made me gun shy about accepting recognition. It's somewhat unnatural to me. But having the people in my life tell me they see me, they see my love for my son, my sacrifice, my effort and care, and casually ignore the poop smeared on my shirt, well, that's a pretty amazing thing. 

I woke up stretching and gathering my sheets around me, much like a beautiful princess in a Disney movie. Birds were chirping, the sun was barely peeking in, and I was alone. Let me just repeat that for those of you in the back. I woke up...after sleeping. The concept of waking up naturally was thought extinct around the holidays last year, so I was already considering the day a win. But then a series of incredible little miracles occurred that damn near sent me into a bout of hysteria. (Shout out to the nineteenth century!)

When I opened my bedroom door I was greeted by a happily fed, changed, and engaged child. Nothing was broken or adorned in small, indistinguishable bits of food. Breakfast was just being set on the table (shrimp and grits) and coffee was poured. All I had to do was sit and feed my face. I was then presented with the sweetest collection of gifts. Seedlings for my garden, new smudge sticks, crystals, and other goodies for my nighttime routine. But you guys, there was a handmade card from my boys that totally annihilated my heart meat. Words cannot describe my surprised giddiness. 

We spent the day in the yard and got more materials for the crazy greenhouse project my sweet husband is still pretending will work out. We had dinner with friends, stayed up way too late discussing the science and The Universe and the weirdness of its vastness. It was perfect. 

I wasn't anxious. I was completely fulfilled watching the miniature human I made with my body explore and laugh and eat dandelions. I watched the man I still call my boyfriend father our son (you guys, my ovaries), I got to share in the joy my friends find in hanging out with my baby, I got to plant things and drink alcohol before noon. I realized that I have achieved my biggest dream and I'm living it right now. Whoa. 

Thank you to all the moms. I share an incredible admiration for your relentless sacrifices, fierceness in love, your watchful nurturing, and hustle for your families. However you entered motherhood, whatever your circumstances and affinities, despite the immense pains and challenges, you did it. If you're walking alone, I applaud you. It's the hardest job in the world and I can't imagine having to do it by myself. If you're remembering a child lost, I feel you and hold you in my heart, Mama. There's nothing in the world that can prepare you for that experience and it's something I wish no one had to go through. But you are here, you are strong and beautiful, and you are a mother. If you're facing discrimination, I stand beside you. Motherhood looks different for everyone and it looks damn good on you. If you're struggling, I am too. It sounds simple, but it's the truest truth in life. We're all doing our best and guess what...it's good enough. You are enough. I am honored to be in your company and I am blown away by the power that is The Mother. 

 

Love,
L.

 

 

Harnessing Sexual and Creative Energy

Sex sells.

Our culture is obsessed with sex. It's in our advertising, movies, fashion...hell, we refer to our cars, boats and other big toys as "she." Our sexual energy is constantly stimulated throughout the day. On the other hand, our sexuality is a secret and often censored thing. As much as it's stoked in our daily interactions, we are forbidden to embrace it publicly, if at all. It isn't surprising many people feel frustrated, not just sexually, but on an even more basic level. We may not know exactly what it is, but there is a nagging itch we can't seem to locate. It makes our skin crawl, our minds swim; we're in a static state of anticipation. 

Think back to school, think back to project deadlines and assignments that made you procrastinate in ways that made your inner 50's housewife weep sweet tears of joy. Remember suddenly feeling commanded to scrub the tile grout because, hey, cleanliness is next to Godliness and that history paper can wait. But let's get real for minute. How many times did procrastination lead to a little self (or partnered, lucky you) love, a nap, and then an utter inability to follow through with your original task? Try to travel back to a time you felt really pressed to accomplish a goal only to squeeze that clock a little more by retiring for a few more minutes of bliss. Or perhaps you scored a promotion or made a pan for a new workout routine or set goals for a new project. Did you feel aroused? The tension can become unbearable and we find ourselves at a crossroads.

When you feel that familiar pressure rising in your groin and belly, bring awareness to the options set before you. 

1. Have sex.
You can use this encounter to reenergize, revitalize, strengthen your connection to yourself or your partner, and get a delicious does of dopamine. You may consider practicing recirculating that energy back into yourself and expanding it into your entire body. This can nourish your physical and emotional outlook for hours, days, even weeks after your experience. Kim Anami, a noted sex and relationship coach, speaks more on this here. Excerpt below.

"Most sexual encounters follow a similar trajectory: there is an ascension, we reach a peak of pleasure at orgasm and this is followed by intense pelvic contractions and a burst of ecstasy. Then we see an energetic descent.

What if there didn’t have to be a decline?

There doesn’t.

You can tap into that cycle and draw that energy back in for yourself.

[...]

You do this through breathing.

That four-count inhale, four-count exhale (or longer) Vinyasa flow breath will serve you well here.

As we see in yoga, breath carries energy. We could even say that one of the main points of yoga is the movement of energy; releasing and clearing stagnant energy and bringing awareness to unconscious areas in our physical and emotional bodies. The poses are simply vehicles for this process.

The same applies in sex. By ensuring we breathe steadily throughout the sexual encounter, we redistribute our sexual energy throughout our bodies. This energy is even stronger and denser than regular chi or prana. In fact, the Taoists had a separate name for it: 'ji.'"

2. Create something.
This isn't just for you artsy types. Creation can mean a lot of things. It could mean committing to a new project, taking a new position, setting a goal, baking a delicious treat that you'll then share with me...Think expansive energy. Think growth. You may want to take a couple breaths and visualize light rising from your pelvis, up and out into your intended project. This can be enough of a disruption to refocus all that energy.

You may wish to combine these efforts. Go crazy on yourself or a partner, then get to work! But I would suggest that if you're feeling revved up for a stretch of time, try meditating on what your mind, body, spirit (all three) might be telling you to pursue. There just may be a genius idea stuck in there somewhere, trying to get out. 

Happy creating!


Mentioned in this post:
The 4-Hour Orgasm By Kim Anami

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