Thursday, March 20, 2014

I’m writing this post as a prayer and a vision for what is possible in regards to relationship dynamics. We live in a time where many couples are choosing to un-couple -- either divorce, separation or an unofficial parting are commonplace. Although this is new for me, I am already experiencing the difficulty of sustaining connectivity in the midst of leading separate lives. My former partner and I have all the ingredients for this possibility – good communication, lots of love and a shared interest in creating a loving and healthy environment for our children. Even still, I see how hard it is to get past our own “stuff” to see the bigger picture. And I am witnessing many other couples’ journeys…two people who came together for one of the most important missions on the planet—parenting, bringing life into this world. Whether they consciously chose to get pregnant or not, every child is “on purpose,” soul entering flesh to carry out incredible lives filled with endless cycles of falling, learning, getting up again, falling learning, getting up…How can parents who choose to go their separate ways continue to fulfill the mission of creating positive dynamics between each other and their children? This is the question I am currently living. We don’t really know what we are doing as human beings in this new phenomenon called divorce. We’ve only had a few generations of practice, and we’ve all heard countless stories or experienced in our own lives just how destructive the process can be – children caught in the crossfire of their parent’s mishaps, custody battles and emotional violence of all kinds. So far, the positive examples are few. Now is the time to create something different, and I believe that if there’s any community of parents to try, it’s here in Ojai. What I observe is that the work doesn’t stop between two people just because they make a choice to not be together. When there are children involved, we are inextricably linked to the other person..which might sound like a death sentence to some! But in reality, this is our continued gift of evolving. If there were any unconscious agendas to get out of growing by getting out of the relationship, we are out of luck! The universal task of actualizing our soul’s greatest potential will follow us through every single interaction we have with our former partners. I also observe that doing this gracefully becomes very difficult for two people who are no longer motivated by togetherness to maintain some degree of decency between each other. What then becomes the motivation? Ultimately, we are beckoned by the internal nudging of our soul’s work to have right relations between all human beings. But we are very crafty at putting a muzzle on this voice. So if not because we are inwardly called to create peace, how about doing it for the kids? Humans stayed together for countless generations “for the kids” – how about we create something new, something revolutionary, kind and loving between former partners “for the kids”? I think we are all aware that our children absorb every energetic pulse we emit, for better and worse. And every single one of us knows what it’s like to be a child and feel unspoken tension or witness arguments, or worse…And none of us are perfect parents because none of us are perfect human beings. But I’m not going to let us off that easy. Rise up, dear mamas (and papas) and create something unheard of, something few have maybe experienced. What does this look like? To me, this looks like maintaining goodness, love and friendship between former partners – for our children, for the sake of raising the vibration of humanity, and most importantly for ourselves, to honor the eternal process of evolving as human beings. Love is eternal. How that is expressed in the outer world may change, may live in different houses, may start new relationships. But the love that was once between two people never goes away. If we think it has, then what we are calling love isn’t love. I know there are some of you who are already pioneering this process, thank you… “For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation." --Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, March 8, 2012

the tender youth

one day my daughter will not pull a child-sized chair up to the window to blow kisses to me when i drop her off at school. one day i won't be able to cuddle her whole body in my embrace. one day charlie might not say to me, "i just need some love..." and then cozy up to me one the couch for animal-style affection, rubbing foreheads and cheeks together, making cooing sounds and me repeating "so much love..." i see that parenting small children is such a brief moment in the scope of a lifetime and that in the midst of daily mini-crises, children fighting and crying and demanding, it's so easy to forget to appreciate the miracle of their innocence, their openness and unfiltered joy. sometimes i'm so caught up in my own internal drama to notice hazel spying on butterflies and charlie making leaps and bounds in learning. he can already spell 'sleeping!' and he writes his whole name on paper and rides his bike without training wheels! with tears of gratitude for my children...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

our daily bread

it should be no surprise that C's first culinary accomplishment is making toast. he is the grandson of a Pioneer bread man, who daily delivered fresh bread to his children, which was usually prepared as toast. now this was no ordinary affair. firstly, the toast was considered raw until at least 1/3 was blackened, and the toast-maker could be found staring intently into the toaster's orange glowing holiness. Indeed there were two holy figures in the Lennon family -- the Virgin Mary and the toaster.
When i married into the Lennon family, their clan obsession with bread amused me. now i confess that i have become one of their proselytes. when children say they're hungry, i offer toast without a second thought. i stand before the toaster in patient reverence or listen for the expectant spring of toast popping, then hurriedly, in a state of complete focus, i smear thin slabs of butter on my piece of perfection--a black/brown crust fading into golden oblivion. no edge forgotten, no surface overlooked as my butter knife works confidently beneath the subtle sizzle of butter on hot toast.
needless to say, eating the toast is a matter of sacredness. if the bread can make it from toast to mouth in under 4 minutes (depending on toaster of course), the toast-maker has earned a medal of excellence and the silent approval of the Lennon's who have been buttering toast since they were toddlers -- about C's age, to be exact. So, Mr. Cbear, welcome to the rank of third generation proselyte of The Lennon Toast Affair. you're on your way to excellence.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


i weaned hazel on tuesday, february 23rd. it came like a mysterious wind that signals the arrival of change, so i was gifted the confidence to make this significant transition. i didn't know i would feel all the ways i've been feeling in the last four days since i stopped nursing. i had been waiting for that very wind to blow and relieve me from the obligation nursing had become to me. ultimately i continued nursing because i believe in the lasting benefits of such a strong mother bond, but at some point it felt like i was giving that nourishment grudgingly, and this is no way to give to anybody.
on the first day, with my breasts engorged like they hadn't been since after labor, i felt such a tremendous sense of gratitude for the earth, our mother, for giving to us so tirelessly, without question or condition. i crossed my arms over my chest and, like a ceremony marking the closing of a womb, i thanked my body for giving to our children for the last 4 1/2 years of uninterrupted pregnancy and nursing. but i wept in secret as my daughter became aware that our relationship was changing. she asked to nurse again and again, as if hoping to awaken from a sad dream. maybe i'm just interpreting her experience, or maybe some cellular part of me understands. so i quickly direct her to the sky and the birds and ask 'where did nursing go?' -- a limitless question with any number of answers. i remembered when i weaned C and the process of reinforcing our connectedness by quiet times of reading; or swooping him up in my arms and dancing with him, whispering that 'mama still holds you soooo close...' and so it goes again with miss louise, my little gumdrop girl.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

my daughter

H stays with me in the bathroom when i shower and mimics my beauty routine. brush my teeth -- and she clumsily brushes hers; apply lotion to body and face -- she holds out her tiny hand, and i give her a tiny squirt of lotion, which she then spreads on her legs and arms; put on my makeup -- if i don't give her something from my makeup bag, she erupts into a true female fit, face pinched, reflecting the pathetic truth of how i feel without my blessed beauty secrets; apply chapstick -- she puckers her cutest-baby-mouth and i give her a dab of burt's bees.

it's all these things that make me feel so blessed to have a daughter. it's just plain fun!! she naturally wants to smell flowers without my beckoning. she somehow already knows how to play games, and i don't mean childish ones (or maybe mine are!) -- if she's not given what she wants, she knows how to withdraw her love and affection. then she lavishes me with her tiny kisses when i don't ask for them. she's already a "Rule's Girl" at 1 1/2!

i can already see us as friends as she becomes an adult. i look to my relationship with my mom and think how amazing it is to have generations of women, with a friendship so unspeakably close.

Monday, November 9, 2009

siblings are overrated

siblings are overrated. this coming from an only child, mind you. i wasn't one of those only children that felt some deep longing for a brother or sister. i never knew the difference; i was comfortable with adults. my dad likes to tell the story of when i was a child, maybe 4 years old. apparently i would look people square in the face and ask them how they were doing. "it would freak people out!" my dad would say with a chuckle. "you used to talk to people like you were an adult, really scared people."

it has been fascinating to watch my two children as siblings. i'm in awe of their natural connectedness, having grown in the same womb and nursed from the same breast. when they get into a groove and start playing together, i have such gratitude that they have each other and will be friends for life.

but it's the fighting that makes me say (with a just a touch of sarcasm) that siblings are overrated. the screaming from my little girl over every minor infraction, every bump from her older brother. the possessive nature of my little boy with each and every toy at any and all times. sometimes i don't interfere just to see if they resolve it on their own. they usually don't and from the next room i hear the most cacophonous screams -- i half expect to see a bloody murder scene when rush in to play referee. 'what is it with you guys?!' i hear myself saying daily. they seem innately bent on torturing each other most of the time, so what's so great about having siblings? as an only child, you get all the toys to yourself all the time; you get your parents' undivided attention; and have the added perk of being their only benefactor (jk -- totally morose, i know :).

then again, as an adult you have to adjust to being only a star amonst stars, instead of the ruling sun in your parents' world. this is something i'm still getting used to. sometimes i think some of my most severe woes stem from only child syndrome.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved to chase the chickens. he would sneak up on them at their midday shade and gallivant around with a stick, prodding with little feathers flying about. the chickens didn't like it, needless to say.
so one day, they got together to talk about it.
"i don't like it, i don't like it one bit," said blacky.
"nope, not me neither," said another and they went around like that saying how they didn't like the little boy to chase them.
they made a plan to get the little boy back for scaring them all those times and this is what they did:

the next morning when the little boy went out to the coup to let the chickens out, they all huddled together and when the latch was opened, they flew out one by one, landing on the little boy's head, until all five chickens were perched on the little boy while he scrambled and clucked. "yeelp! yeow!!"

then on the chickens whispered "one, two THREE!" and with that they all pooped on the boy's head! now was he mad or what? the chickens hid in their boxes and rejoiced.

the little boy went inside and told his mom what happened and she said,
"i guess you won't be chasing the chickens anymore--you scared the poop out of them!"