Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

Tied up and twisted

It has felt that way. For a long, long time now. Like I was tied up and twisted, against my will. With a ball and a heavy chain. Like everytime I tried to move, I was pinned. Down. And down again. Harder and harder. Trapped. Scared to death. Tired. And it’s so heavy and he’s so strong. All I can do is hope that I don’t die like this. But I knew I would.

So one day I just gritted my teeth, and I clenched my fists, and I used every single muscle in my body to get out of that mess. Out of the knots and the loops and the tangles. All that heavy chain just snapping in the moment of my adrenaline finally kicking in. My will to live finally doing it’s job.

People always wonder what kind of weak idiots end up like that. But it wasn’t like that. I’m not weak, nor am I an idiot. It just started to tangle and before I knew it, there I was. When it gets like that, it isn’t something you can just sit and undo. Like Christmas lights two years late. At some point you just have to give up the fight and buy a new set. And just so you know, that’s just one more reason why I hate Christmas. Because there’s always a fight about the lights. No matter what you do when you pack them away. The next year, there they are, all in an unbreakable knot. Tied up and twisted. Frustrating. Stuck. You pull and you push. Everyone in the room thinks they can do it better. But it’s so hard to see where one string begins and the other ends. It makes you want to scream. But you realize even that won’t help.  So each year you vow never to let that happen again, but each year, there they are again.  In a ball, tangled.  Tied up and twisted.

That is what it was like for me. Like I was tied up and twisted. And now it’s all starting to unravel. Slowly. But there it goes. Another piece of me, coming undone. And instead of feeling scary and stupid, it feels so freakin’ good. Like a hot bubble bath or a song that you can’t help but sing. It just feels right. And it makes me want to keep going. To keep bathing and keep singing. To get it all out. To stay right there, where I can see each part of myself, safe. Laid out bare and straight. And I can see it all so clearly. All those pieces of me that I couldn’t find before. But there they are. And I’ve said so much.

And if I’ve gone overboard, then I beg you to forgive me. But in my haste, I have held you so close. It is like ten years ago you crashed into me. And I just finally felt it. And it feels really good.

Thank you for reminding me of who I am.


August 30, 2008 Posted by | Soap Box | 1 Comment

I Like Fish

So….hmmm….I really want to write. I have so much to say. More about irony, definitely. And also something about preconceived notions and stereotypes. Boxes and categories that make me, all of us, so much more comfortable. We do that with our kids a lot. Like that little girl who figgets too much. Let’s call it ADHD and give her some pills. But what if there were no pills? Like there were not for that last thousands and thousands of human history. What then? Well, then you can’t “fix” it. You just have to be with it, as uncomfortable as it is, and accept it someday as reality.

Because I have this friend…..who, for Nelly’s sake, shall remain nameless…..and my relationship with him falls into so many categories, so many perfect little boxes. And I do this intentionally, so as not to “rock the boat”. But you know what, my whole life has just come crashing down and I suddenly realize that all those lovely boxes were lies. Facades. A superficial excuse for what was really going on. Like sex with a stranger and thorazine and pre-recorded chants and a big pink metal bottle of hairspray.

And quite frankly, I’m done. I’m done with it all. I’m done with wondering what people will think. I’m done “over-analyzing” everything. Because I just finally want to be here, present. I want to feel all of my feelings that I have been told to shove down for three decades. I want to be free to express my awe to people that awe me, and to express my disgust to people who turn my stomach up in knots. I want to feel free to cry when someone rings the doorbell, for no other reason than “that’s just what we’re doing here today”. And free to wear my hair like a princess, just because Sister Mary does it, and she always looks so pretty, and just because I. suddenly. realize. I. can. too.

And that includes my over grown lawn and the music I listen to. That includes the laundry I’ve decided to throw away instead of wash. And the bricks that are crumbling by the fish tank.

Which reminds me, my fish never complain.

I like fish.

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Soap Box | 2 Comments

Isn’t it ironic?

It’s like rain on your wedding day….It’s like a free ride when you’re already there…..It’s like the good advice you just didn’t take….don’t ya think?…..Life has such a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s ok. ….a traffic jam when you’re already late….It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife….like meeting the man of my dreams, then his beautiful wife…. Yeah….

Isn’t that so true? This seems to be my theme song this week. My life and all of it’s uncertainties. Like adopting a child because I wanted so badly to show him love, then being told he is unable to feel it. Then finding a way to make that happen. Now I’m professionally teaching it to other parents, dispelling the myths that have existed for decades about kids like mine. That’s just so ironic. That the one thing I thought for sure would eventually kill me in this life is now my means of living. Now that’s just funny.

Another ironic point to mention is how badly I have searched for love in my personal life, in my marriage. And I swear, it is only after my husband has left me destitude that I realize I am worthy to actually be loved. It’s only after I have been hurt, that I feel safe. It is only during the pain, that I can somehow connect to my inner peace. It is only through having my family ripped apart that I feel whole.

It’s just so ironic. And so cliche I really can’t write any more about it.

I just wanted you to know that.

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Soap Box | Leave a comment

BCI Teleparenting Classes

A new round of teleparenting classes is starting next week from our friends at the Consciously Parenting Project! These classes are a great alternative/addition to attending a Live Event by BCI because it brings a Beyond Consequences Certified Instructor right to your door. But how?

Using a conference line, participants join the call at the designated time using the phone number given. During the call the students gather in a virtual classroom where the instructor leads a power point presentation while helping each student apply the principles to their own families. There is plenty of time for personal help, as well as time for questions and answers when they come up. After each class, students also have access to a private forum area where your instructor will continue to lead a more in depth discussion throughout the week about the principles taught in class. Homework is assigned, but is not graded, and overall, the classes make learning to parent differently a whole lot of fun because you get to interact with other parents who totally “get it”. They know where you are and they can support where you are trying to go.

Who can take a teleparenting class? Anybody! Whether you are an adoptive, foster, or biological family you are welcome at any of the Amazing Parents/Consciously Parenting classes and/or events.

Here’s what other parents have said about their experiences taking these teleparenting classes from the Consciously Parenting Project.

“The Beyond Consequences class has changed my view on parenting. I had read the book in the past but I wasn’t able to digest it in the same way as with the addition of the class/forum discussions. It took everything to a new level. I especially enjoyed the support of talking to and hearing from other parents who are on the same journey.”
-Mother of 4 biological children

“This training has been very beneficial in this trauma journey that we walk. Each time I learn a little more that I’m able to implement into my relationships with my daughter. Keep it up!”
-Mother of 2 adopted children

“This is the class I have been needing for 13 years! Thank you so much for opening my eyes to a new and better way to raise my children. Not only are my kids worth it but so am I!”

-Mother of 3 biological children

“In studying the Beyond Consequences book for the class, I learned it in a much more personal depth.”
-Grandmother raising 2 adopted children

If you would like more information about these teleparenting classes, including prices and schedules, click here.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | RAD Education | Leave a comment

Every Possible Mistake

A few days ago I wrote about rising above the fog line in my life, to a place where there is clarity and peace and joy. And not the mediocre kind, but the real kind. The pinnacle kind. But as I attempt to move myself forward along that road, I find myself slipping back down the mountain. And it’s frustrating and I hate it.

I cried a lot yesterday. I am still sad. I keep hitting “emotional landmines”, as Valerie’s husband recently described them to me. To which he added…..”and usually when we least expect it”. I had to think about that for a while before I understood what he meant that day — emotional landmines. What are those?

After much contemplation I realize that what he meant was that it isn’t as easy as just saying “I’m going to move forward now” and everything suddenly turns peachy and life is perfect. Yes, the journey begins there. Just that simply. By recognizing the goal and committing to make a change. But when you get down and dirty with it, the words alone are just not enough. It also takes action.

For instance, I can tell myself that I will no longer let folded laundry sit in baskets all over the house. From now on I will put it in the drawer immediately. I realize this is what I need to do. I tell myself I will do it. But two days after opening up the drawer, the laundry still sits in the basket at my feet.

And this is so not about the laundry.

What I realized is that as strongly as I want to make it change, I also, just as quickly and as strongly, get stuck. I go along the new path and from out of nowhere I hit an emotional landmine and get blown to bits all over again. When that happens it can be really paralyzing, very scary, very messy. Sometimes you even have to start all over again, right in the fog, putting all your limbs back on your body.

My friend Yael says that “trust and love is not always easy to make”. I wish she had sat me down ten years ago and told me that. But then again, would I have understood what she meant? That it isn’t that easy to just say I’m going to marry this man and stay with him forever? Or I’m going to adopt this baby and show him what real love is?

Of course not. Because love is complicated. Relationships are even more so. Connection takes two people. We don’t have control over every little thing. What we have to do is do our very best and hope that it all works out in the end. And through that we will inevitably make mistakes. We’ll say things we didn’t mean or do things that we can’t take back. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because it is only through those mistakes that we understand where we should go next. It’s only by looking where our foot stumbled that we can even recognize where we landed as we fell. It is only by coming face to face with trials that we have the chance to build endurance and integrity and hope. Otherwise there is no need. And who of us would want to exist in a world without integrity and hope?

I guess what I’m saying is that I am more aware now of my personality, my dreams, my fears, my insecurities, my secrets….than I have ever been before. I have made every possible mistake in almost every single relationship I have ever had. I realize that now. I look back on some of the things I could have done differently in my life and I am almost totally consumed with regret and yes, even shame. First of all, marrying a man that was not a good match for me is something that I will never understand. How that all worked. How I allowed myself to justify it. I just don’t know. How bad did I need to make it seem right? How insecure/scared/blindly optimistic could I possibly be? Looking back I feel nothing but confusion. I simply cannot wrap my brain around the entire ordeal.

And it seems like every single conversation I have now brings it all right up into my face. Happy people excited to see me curiously ask, So how are you? And I don’t know what to say. Do they want me to say fine? Because that is not really true. Do they want the truth, the way it really is? Because if so, my response would be, “confused” or maybe “overwhelmed”. Sometimes I just want to scream, “Insecure!” with a big, fake smile on my freaked-out face. Or “self-defeating”, “dangerous to myself and others”, “blindly optimistic”, or just plain old “ugly”. But I don’t think they really want the truth.

Because the truth is, not everything is always peachy keen. Life isn’t always “fine”. Life is about making mistakes. And if you are really aware of them, you are able to learn something about yourself through those moments. And that is amazing. That is when you can really move forward.

So the next time you make a mistake….even when you make every possible mistake, like I have done in this life….choose to view those mistakes as opportunities, even gifts, as Rebecca calls them. Choose to become a new soul and begin your life again. Ask yourself what does love look like today? And then allow the day to lead you where you need to go.

August 9, 2008 Posted by | A New Paradigm | 5 Comments

Portland Area Parenting Workshop

I am so excited to announce an upcoming event in the Portland area for all families! Amazing Parents is holding a Saturday workshop dedicated to introducing the principles found in the book Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control.

As you probably already know, I am a Beyond Consequences Certified Instructor, which means I have been through extensive training and have many resources at my disposal in order to help bring a paradigm of hope and love and peace into your home. I have been coaching parents for years on what it really means to meet your child at their emotional level, which is really what BCLC is all about.

The question I always get is, “Yes, I understand what the book says, but HOW do I do it in real life?!” So that is what this workshop will help you do. It will help you begin applying what you already know.

Information will cover the 4 main principles of BCLC: The Stress Model, primary emotions love and fear, repetitious conditioning, and neuro-physiological feedback loops. There will also be opportunity for role playing and small group work.

Our class size will be very small in order to give each student plenty of time for personal support, as well as time for specific questions and answers to situations in their own families.

DATE: Saturday, August 16th, 2008

TIME: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

For more information or to register click here.

Hope to see you there!

August 8, 2008 Posted by | RAD Education, Support Groups | Leave a comment

Challenging Mediocracy

A year ago I was in a fairly manageable time in my life. I was finally getting the hang of this darned parenting thing and my youngest baby was now 3. I was still nursing, but now only one. I loved my husband and I thought he loved me. I thought we were moving forward together in our lives. We had a nice, middle-class home, in an average, middle-class neighborhood.

Our income fell nicely in the middle of the graph compared to other citizens of my land. I could buy cheese — not the really good kind I once had — but the local kind that I still thought was good. I drank wine at dinner and vacationed out of the country at least three times a decade. I could get my nails done at the salon if I wanted…although I rarely wanted. And I slept in sheets with high thread counts that matched the drapes. The large-screen TV left on all night glared against the coordinating, satin walls.

We had a brand new toy hauler, title in hand. Same with the truck and the rest of the stuff. After market, custom motorcycles. The family minivan. And three dogs to match. My dishes weren’t always done, but when they were, the new porcelain sink looked really nice. It was all just average. Adequate. It was not really great, but definitely not bad. It was mediocre across the board.

Then one day I woke up and my husband was gone. Along with him went his middle-class paycheck and all the toys. Worst of all, I lost the life I had come to know. The life I had built for my children. That feeling of being just right there, safely in the middle. Poof. Just like that. It was all gone.

I starred at my kids and we all cried. They wanted to know why and I stumbled at the answer. At that time, I still didn’t really know why. All I know is that we cried. Me and my kids. We cried again and again. In the middle of the night I would grab the phone and call Nelly sobbing. From a fetal ball I would clutch my stomach and cry out to her, “Why can’t I stop crying?” She would say, “Because it’s just so sad. You’re just really sad. And it’s ok. I won’t leave you.” And I would just sob. From the hurt inside me, but also because somewhere inside of me I could recognize the amount of love she had for me in those moments. And I couldn’t even express to her how much I needed to know she was with me. I just cried. And she just knew.

At some point I crawled into bed and didn’t get out. I don’t know how long exactly. But it was weeks. Maybe even months. I don’t really know. For months I was just so dysregulated, so shut down, that I couldn’t even enjoy The Price Is Right. (Yes, it’s true.) And it isn’t about that stupid show. It’s about what that show meant. That stupid show was just the routine I knew. It would play in the background as I did chores and fed the dogs and painted my daughter’s toenails and answered emails. It was just noise that had never bothered me before. But now it did. The noise hurt. It hurt every inch of my empty body. And I just wanted it all to go away, to be quiet, to leave me alone. I didn’t even see the showcase showdown for like 4 months. I just laid in bed. Sometimes crying. Sometimes just completely still. I could not think straight or read or eat or sleep or speak. All I could do was hurt. All the way from my toes, up through my veins. All the way up to my forehead I could feel it hurt.

Because when I lost that mediocre life, with it’s mediocre house and it’s mediocre toys….it’s mediocre dogs and it’s mediocre sink….the mediocre minivan and the mediocre sheets….I also lost my mediocre love. That kind of love that falls just in the middle of the graph. It wasn’t really good, and it wasn’t really bad. It just was. And I could have gone on like that forever. Because although it didn’t feel too terribly good, it also didn’t feel too terribly bad. He never beat me, but he also never held me. He didn’t yell at me, but he also never laughed with me. It was just there, taking up my mediocre time, existing in it’s mediocre space. Defining me as mediocre in every way.

How often do we do that kind of thing? How often do we settle for what’s just below whats great? And why? Are we scared or are we stuck? Or do we just not know anything else to do or any other way to feel? Sometimes it’s just like that and we never know why. But I know why. I had lost myself. Somewhere. I was just vague, like fog on a cold morning. You know it will dissipate eventually, but for now you just drive slowly with your lights on.

Well, it’s time to climb the mountain, far above the fog line. From the top of the hill you can see below, to the place where you have just been. And it seems like a long way down, but it’s not. You can be down there in an instant. And it’s not safe. And it’s doesn’t feel good to have to drive slowly, always with your lights on to see farther and farther ahead.

I want to just enjoy this moment. Because what I realize now is that this isn’t the saddest thing in my whole life. Sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes it hurts like it is. And in those moments I will take gentle care of myself and allow others to support me in their way. Because it’s ok to feel that hurt. It’s ok to be that sad. And it’s ok to cry.

But it’s not ok to get stuck there.

What I realize now is that this experience has challenged me and everything I thought I knew about marriage and love. Neither of which were ever intended to be mediocre in any way. They are sacred and impenetrable. They are infinite and undefined. Love is special, unique, highly valuable, far more than any toy. It should never be taken for granted, nor treated with indifference or disrespect. When you have love, you are obligated to make it shine. And if you are lacking it, you are beholden to find it.

And suddenly I think I can do this. I think I can rise above the fog, above my mediocre existence. No, I know I can. Because when your mediocre life comes to an end, it’s not time to shrink back. It’s time to become more than that. It’s time to challenge mediocracy and prove all the negativity wrong. Break the loop. Bring in new energy and thoughts and a positive presence. It’s time to become something extraordinary. Something superb. Something pinnacle.

And that’s what I know I really am.

So here’s to fromageries and mountain tops and love that shines. Here’s to me and my superb-ness. Let’s just say that in many ways this is the first day of my life.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | A New Paradigm | 2 Comments