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Archive for the ‘life lessons’ Category

A morning offering ~ John O’Donohue

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Another inspiring poem brought to me by Panhala. I am posting it for you and for me. This blog has become a kind of road map. When I am feeling like I’ve lost my way or tempted by the easy road, I come here and find my true path. This poem was delivered to my mailbox on the same day that I finally posted my dreams. I felt Someone was saying “These are not lofty ideas, they are your dreams and you are worthy of them!”
A Morning Offering
I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.
All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.
I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
~ John O’Donohue ~

Written by realmom

July 20, 2010 at 6:00 am

Where have I been? Listening to the trees…

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When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

~ Mary Oliver ~

Written by realmom

June 16, 2010 at 7:06 am

Posted in life lessons

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Time to dream again!

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I want to say it’s time to get back to business but really it’s time for so much more:  it’s time to dream again! This blog represents the me I dream of being: a writer; a photographer; a creative person with the courage to think and act outside the box and make a difference in the world.  It’s also a place where I reflect on the ways I am already living my dream; being a mom. And my vision is that out of this place will come the answers to how I can bring all my dreams together and make a life where I can work passionately in a way that supports being fully present to my family. So even though posting regularly takes a huge amount of commitment and just about all the time I have to myself, I have to get back to it!

I got derailed by the uncertainty of life. My friends death not only brought the unexpected loss of her friendship but it punched me in the gut with all in this life that we can’t control. Why dream when death can come along unexpectedly and paint your world black? I actually had several nightmares in the last few weeks where the worst happened to my daughter (I don’t want to write it out loud) while I stood by watching unable to prevent it. For a time my dreams just felt impossible but slowly that seems to be changing.

Recent events seem to be shaking me by the shoulders and saying “Snap out of it! Shake off the fear and dust off your dreams!” I’m trying to listen to that voice telling me life is to short not to live it to the fullest! And this blog is a big part of doing just that!

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” ~Karen Ravn

Written by realmom

April 26, 2010 at 9:19 am


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Why is it we don’t seem to realize the true presence of someone in our life until they are gone? That’s been the case for me these last two weeks after my friend and mentor died suddenly at only 53 years old. At her memorial I found myself crying not only because I never told her how much she meant to me but almost more so because I didn’t fully realize how important she was to me until she was gone. I was too busy asking for her help or her ear to listen, to stop and let her know how amazing she was.

Up to this point in my life I have only lost those who’d had a long  life so there was always the comfort of knowing they had lived their life to the fullest, that  it was time to move on even though they would be dearly missed. To lose someone with so much life left to live and who played such a vital role in everyone’s lives has been so, well, just so sad and confusing. I’ve been unable to write and my photos, as you can see, seem to be about the light either going down or pushing through darkness. Even now as I try to organize my thoughts, they feel stuck in a thick fog.

The hardest part is that her loss has turned my work life upside down. She was a compass for so many at work and now it feels we’re all wandering around trying to find our way. Some big life decisions have presented this past week and I need her now more than ever to listen. To help me find my way. I keep trying to hear her voice.  She was the one person at work I could always count on to let me know I was making a difference. And since I can’t imagine anyone filling her shoes I find myself compelled to think about how I can be that voice for those around me. In the helping professions sometimes the only help you can offer is staying present when others can’t or won’t. You don’t really feel that helpful when you can’t take the pain away. In fact, you feel pretty useless. It makes a world of difference for someone to remind you that just being there really is helpful. Whichever path I choose,  I only hope that I can take what she gave me and pass it on to others.

Take a minute and think about that person who lets you know you are enough, maybe in just small ways, and make sure you make a point of thanking them this week.

Written by realmom

April 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm

“There are words I really must say to myself” Katherine Center

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Not long after I posted about the letter I sent to myself I discovered a new project by Tracey Clark (I love all her projects!), “I am enough” a self kindness collaborative.  And today there is a wonderful post by Katherine Center, whose photo essay for Mom 2.0 made me cry(I sent it to all the moms I know). She came up with the amazing idea of writing words on someone and talks about the importance of saying kind things to ourselves. Me saying kind things to myself. You saying kind things to yourself. I might have thought this was a little strange or breezed over the idea if I hadn’t recently had the profound experience of receiving a letter full of kind words from myself.

As women most of the messages we get from the world around us are negative. We’re not thin enough, stylish enough, funny enough, smart enough: I could go on and on. As a counselor, I have worked with one to many young girls whose primary struggle was lack of self-esteem. I have spent many quiet moments soothing my daughter to sleep wondering how do I give her self-esteem. A sense of self-esteem seems far more important than cute clothes, trips to the zoo and even a million dollar education.

I think our children gain self-esteem not only from the messages we give them but maybe more so from the messages they hear us give ourselves. How can my daughter believe in herself if I don’t show her I believe in myself? If I want her to be a strong woman, who isn’t desperate for the approval of others, then I can’t just tell her she is wonderful and strong(which she is!) I have to show her that I know from with in me that I am enough.

Thank you Tracey Clark and Katherine Center for using your online “fame” not to sell refrigerators (which by the way I would probably do if someone asked me) but to remind us to be kind to ourselves!

Written by realmom

March 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Let go of all that is not yours to hold on to!

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Back when mothering was brand new!

Back in November I went to a wonderful workshop with Erin Goodman of Exhale, Return to Center. It was a mini retreat for moms. And we needed it! A little yoga, a little tea, a little sharing, a little eating, and a little chocolate! Well towards the end of the retreat Erin asked us to write a letter to ourselves, which she kept and posted to us in January. It was quite strange to get a letter addressed to me in my own handwriting.  Well, it was even stranger to read the words, none of which I remember writing.

There is so much to distract you from the riches before you. You are a vessel of God and capable of great love, patience, and compassion. You are good enough for the universe so stop trying so hard. Keep your focus, fight for it and share it with Real Girl so she might grow to be free from all the world will demand.

Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time to stop and be all that you were made to be and take in all that you have.

Be grateful. Look for the beauty around you. Help those who have been placed in your path to see the light that shines all around us. You are strong enough.

And let go of all that is not yours to hold on to!

So to all my old mom friends and all my new mom friends from the blogosphere, these words are for you too! And thank you to Erin Goodman for creating a space for this mom to stop long enough and listen.

Written by realmom

March 12, 2010 at 6:36 am

A 3yo visits the art museum and….

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She made me proud! On the drive in to the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Museum I pointed out a very large pile of iron shaped like orange slices piled on top of each other. “Look”, I said very enthusiastically, “that’s called a S C U L P T U R E!” She looked at it thoughtfully and said “Oh.”

We parked the car and made our way in and when we entered the glass doors, she ran over to a 6 foot tall piece of glass looking a little like a headless woman and said “Look, Mommy, a sculpture!!!” We proceeded to have a very interesting conversation about the large bottle/headless woman while I beamed and smiled proudly at all the patrons passing by.

Look, Mama, a dance floor!

Her amazement and enthusiasm only lasted for about 10 minutes but it was fascinating to see which pieces would catch her attention and which she would just pass by. I think she was mostly impressed with the size of the paintings and very disappointed when I almost tackled her informed her she couldn’t touch them! But those moments when she seemed to enjoy and even appreciate the pieces I just felt, well, joy! And I’m not even really a huge fan of art.

I have a few of the expected coffee table books. Monet. Vangough. I get to the museum about once every couple of years and, honestly, I think what I enjoy the most is roaming the vast rooms in silence. Once I went to a Monet show at the MFA in Boston and, while the paintings were amazing, the crowd left me feeling like a cow being led into the milking barn!

So why was I so moved by my kid liking the art? I think it just made me really realize that I am teaching her about life(and art) and I’m doing a pretty good job! Of course we ended in a throw down in the “exploration” room where those dumb** art people put permanent markers out for the kids to draw with!  **Just kidding about the dumb part for all you art people. We really had a wonderful time and truly thank you for working for way too little so we can have a little joy!!!

Written by realmom

February 28, 2010 at 7:54 pm