First sit deeply, alone.

I feel too much. Everything around me echoes through my heart on its way out into the world. Sometimes I hide it well. I think. Sometimes it takes me down. I don’t even know what its purpose is. 

Sure, I love people. But it’s not that simple. I feel everything. I feel the changes in energy in the room like vibrations along the floor board. If I notice it, if I breathe and take a moment, I’m more likely to separate it from myself and ride it out. But life moves so fast. Emotions swirl endlessly. And sometimes it’s hard to see them before I’ve become a part of them. Like melting into the background, except that the background becomes the foreground, and I’m swallowed up unknowingly by the sadness or exhaustion or hyperactivity that surrounds me. 

At some point, when I was around 9 or 10 years old, I became acutely aware of this. And I decided then and there that I would surround myself with the energy of others, and work to soothe us all.

When asked at a conference a few years back, what is your purpose, I decided that my purpose is to create a space for others to be their most genuine selves. 

But really. I’m not so sure. 

I think what I meant was to create a space where others could be themselves so that I could be my most genuine self. Sounds manipulative; it’s not. It’s self-preservation.

Out there the world moves so fast. Every day. Every second of every hour, and it keeps speeding up. And all I can do is breathe. And search for the intersection between myself and everyone else, so that I can sit deeply; alone. Securely. With confidence. Without reservation. Sit deeply, alone. Once I do so, the line between myself and others becomes clear. And I can let go of what does not belong to me. 

A bleeding heart is a gift. But it carries a sandbag around it. 

Sit deeply, alone. So that I can find a way to sit deeply with the loved ones who need company right now. It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve not been who I expected to be. But my heart is right here. Just, afraid.

  

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On Planning to Dream

I’ve spent life looking up. Forward. Ahead. I’ve always had a plan for my next stop, most of the time without realizing it. The next degree, the next job, the next paint color. The next move, the next blog, the next dream.

And yet, at the same time, I roll with it. I kind of like rolling with it. It’s always been a viable option for me. And if I’m being honest, it’s my favorite of the options. I’ve learned to trust it; somewhat. It’s hard to trust it while you’re hammering away, before the gem in the middle pops out. But once you uncover enough hidden gems, you start trusting that the gems are there. And when you close your eyes and the gems get even brighter, that’s when you really know you’re onto something.

Those of you who know me know that my life, much like all of your lives, has been a series of ups and downs. And through it all, I dabble in a little planning and a little rolling and eventually, gems roll out.

This afternoon I was dead on my feet tired. Disclaimer: everyone has their own definition for “dead on my feet tired,” okay? There’s no need to debate it. Suffice it to say that by about 4:30pm I was so ridiculously spent at work that I was what I can only refer to as- completely loopy. And the thing is, I was in a classroom of two year olds. Loopy Lisa, in a room filled with two year olds, one of which who would not stop talking about Santa. At first, I freaked. This is only my second day working here. I can’t show them my crazy yet, you have to save that. 

But it had been a long day of playing and dancing and singing and reading and labeling and scaffolding and picking things up and changing diapers and wiping noses and wiping tables and feeding people and cleaning people and putting coats on people and putting shoes on people and patting people on the back so they would fall asleep.

And in the midst of my loopiness, I looked over at my new teammates and noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. Every teacher in the classroom, the loopy, the spiffy, the smiley, the tired, the crafty, the sleepy, the wiley, the wired, was standing close together with loopiness looming, we stood side by side and we teachers started laughing. And we laughed and we joked about runny noses running and about kids’ hair collapsing and diapers, well, smelling. And the more that I thought about this teacher connection, the more that I thought it was just perfection. Maybe teaching, I thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe teaching, perhaps is a little bit more. 

So tomorrow we will teach and we’ll read and we’ll listen, we’ll laugh and we’ll sigh and wipe faces that glisten. And all of this is something I never expected to do, all this is something entirely new. For I’ve planned and I’ve leapt my entire life through and so now I shall ride and see where this leads, there are things I must learn and sows I must seed. 

Restoration 

When you feel depleted, give.

When you feel afraid, open your arms.

It’s a direct link to the gratitude part of your brain. It (science) releases hormones that reboots you right back to that good place. 

I’ve studied all other coping strategies and this one is an untapped gold mine. 

Don’t only share when you have it; share when you don’t. 

Don’t tear yourself apart in doing so, but reinfuse yourself with a sense of well-being.

And not two days a year of goodwill, or a single month-long season; but everyday. 

Anyday. 

  

Fathers be good to your Daughters

Alright, following the Mom post, I now want to acknowledge my DAD. His birthday is tomorrow. He is turning 176.

My dad is one of those people who has held my hand since I was born, and never let go. He still holds my hand, just now it’s more via text message or by way of filling a plate with strawberries for my daughter when we come over.

My dad has not always agreed with everything I’ve done. I haven’t always appreciated his badgering. He didn’t give me all that much space to breathe growing up, and he basically baits me to bring myself and my daughter over at least four times a week. 

He lives for me. That sounds stupid coming from a grown adult, except that, it’s the truth. He knows it and I know it. And then I had my baby girl and he got another small person to smother love all over. 

I could sit here and list all the things he’s taught me, but the one he taught me the most is the one he’s the most unaware of. 

My dad is a sensitive person. Inside. But he covers it with humor and anger. Because in our society a sensitive male is paddled and railed on. We want to see strength! We want to see a show of force! But no. Not all boys, or men, have that. So it’s my belief that they grow up hiding it. And it looks like a whole slew of other things before others realize; it’s love. It’s kindness and giving and warmth and joy. But they were told their whole lives that that was unacceptable for a boy, so they must show anger. And pride. And all this stupid phony shit. 

But those of us who know them, or specifically, him, we see the lamb behind the lion. We laugh at the lion because we know he is a front. 

So happy birthday to my dad, the lamb behind the lion. That said, thanks for treating me more like a son and not a daughter; sending me the message that I could be ANYTHING. Read anything. Learn about anything. Do anything, make anything. Overcome anything and beat the crap out of anything that stood in my way. 

  
 

In My Mother’s Eyes

It occurred to me recently that I’ve deliberately taken pictures of my daughter that remind me of photos I’ve seen of myself in my baby albums. I decided to put this hypothesis to the test, and came up with an array of sweet parallels.

What is that all about? Is parenting always about a reach back into our early psyches? Or are we simply effortlessly recreating our own early experiences (or trying intentionally not to)? When you parent any child, personal histories start edging to the surface. I wonder what themes you may find if you glance through your baby albums tonight. Here are some of mine. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    

 
    
   
    
   
   
Motherhood. Somehow or other, we learn how to do it. Thanks, Mom. 😊💞

Why We Do It

Why We Do It

Aren’t we sometimes super cute
In our hoodie bath towel with ears?
Smelling sweet like soap and fresh clean skin
Before soaking your shirt with tears.

You know those times
We seem just fine at the table with our cup
Then you hand us a broken cracker
And we toss the whole tray up?

Or when the teacher calls from school
To say we’ve had a day
And when you get there to pick us up
Their arms are folded in dismay.

We The Kids are little people
Everything matters to us.
We don’t know how to tell you but
Some things make us nuts.

It’s not that we don’t want to sit
And follow your directions,
It’s sometimes we have busy minds
And that’s not at our discretion.

The things we do might make no sense
And they maybe make you mad,
But know we’re trying to say something
Because inside we feel bad.

Sometimes sounds are just too loud
And clothes are just too scratchy
But mom, I’m two, I don’t know how
To say “This makes me batty.”

Sometimes things that seem fine to you
Might make us really scared
Like new classrooms or potties or aero planes
Or when our toys get “shared.”

We see the world in different ways
You used to too, you don’t remember
A long open hallway is a place to run
And every present is ours in December.

All we ask is you take a breath
And stop and try and think
“What might be going on with my sweetie pie here
That made her climb the sink?”

We need help understanding
All the ins, outs, ups, and downs
Of this great earth that we live upon
And our smiles and frowns.

So the next time you aren’t sure
Why there are ponies in the sink
Stop and consider for a moment
That they maybe need a drink.

We’re the Kids and We’ve Got You

We are The Kids and We’ve Got You

Some of us are still in tummies,
Some of us are still on boppies,
Some of us are super crawling,
Lots of us are super falling.

Some of us are trying new foods,
Some of us are being rude.
Some of us are laughing with Grandpa,
Some of us are baking with Grandma.

Some of us are going to school,
Some of us are seeing that boys drool.
Some of us are learning our letters.
Some of us think your socks should smell better.

All of us are leaping stronger.
All of us are getting taller.
All of us are learning things.
All of us are growing wings.

We know you worry
We know you care.
We know you think
We’re not all there.

You know life’s good,
You know life’s hard.
We know you’re strong,
We know you’re smart.

So all we ask,
And all we need
Is a place to land
And crops to seed.
A heart that’s true
And arms so thick
To wrap us warm
When we get sick.
So trust our words,
And hear our wishes.
We are a lot more steady
Than a sea of fishes.

You can do this,
You can know
That all you do
Will help us grow.

So call a friend
When you need a few.
Cause we’re The Kids
And we’ve got you.