Posts I Think You Oughtta Read, While I Prepare Something Awesome Just For You!

Hey there,

It’s been awhile right? I think I didn’t post anything at all last month…it’s been crazy, I’ve been getting clear, I’ll tell you all about it later.  In the meantime I’d like you to do a couple things for me.

1. Read these articles:  About the Nez Perce, About An Intentional Co-housing Community, Indigenous People, About Mourning, On Blogging,  Poetry and Art/Creativity, Spirituality Tips and Dreaming, Creating your life, Raw Vegan Nutrition, Natural Birth & Parenting, Alternative Economy/Minimalism/Lifestyle, Alternative Health/medicine

2. Let me know what you like about them…which you’d like to hear more about(or about the topics they represent)

3. Let me know what brought you to this blog…are you a long-time subscriber?  If so which blog(s) or topic(s) attracted you to this blog?  What do you want me to write more about?  Since I’m writing all over the place, my firs-born blog here hasn’t gotten as much attention, but there is still a place in my heart for the readers and community over here, as well as the topics and the posts I’ve done over the last couple years on this blog and I want to have this space to write about the special things that I don’t write about anywhere else, except in my journal and sometimes I revise them and get them published.

Anyway, I wanna make sure I write about the things that people came here to read…this blog is all about community to me.   So if you could let me know how interested you are in the topics I write about and read about, that’d be great!

 

~~Still Dreaming

 

On Manicured Nature: We Roam In Small Spaces

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<p><strong>Welcome to the July Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindfulness and Nature</strong></p>
<p><em>This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by <a href="http://www.becomingcrunchy.com" target="_blank">Becoming Crunchy</a> and <a href="http://touchstonez.com"
target="_blank">TouchstoneZ</a>. This month our participants have shared their experiences of mindfulness and the natural world. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.</em></p>
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I try to make the most of my natural surrounding, wherever I am.  I try to get the most out of each day and even get out in the night ever so often.

My natural surroundings have been edited compared to what I’m used to.  Most of the last few years I have traveled and lived in environments that inspired minimalism and therefore inspired outdoor activities.  I’ve lived in an RV, in national parks and wilderness areas, I’ve camped on private properties(with permission) and I lived in a little casita.  The last 4 years have been very nature-filled times.  I have comfort there.

I love parenting in nature as well.  I’m happiest when my kids have the freedom and space to roam wild and safely.  I don’t exactly have that luxury right now.  I live in a big apartment with huge rooms and a huge parking lot outside of it.  I’m kinda used to parking lots, living on an RV park for awhile, but there was only a few others there and there was more privacy and we had more personal outside space.  Here we have a pretty small balcony.

However, there is always a way to experience nature if you really want to.  In the winter I’d go on walks at the warmest part of the day.  At first my daughters and I would just walk to the tennis courts and peek at the swimming pool behind the gates.  Then we started to notice the nice trees and small green spaces throughout.  Yes, we were the only ones sitting outside for hours everyday…the only ones having picnics in the winter.  Then we found a trail behind another apartment building.

It was something my mom would be afraid to walk into, so I don’t tell her about it.  It’s full of large trees, vines and a little stream.  It is raised in the middle of two miniature canyons.  A homeless person, or person who likes to sleep outside(me) could hide there, living comfortably, easily.   My almost 5 year old loves the secret pathway.  She is constantly talking about the giant “beanstalk” that marks the halfway point on the trail.

She is constantly asking to sleep outside.  She sees nature and feels truly at home.  There is no one to give millions of rules about not jumping on things and ruining things.  It has been difficult to explain to her that we can’t do things here that we could in other natural spaces, like being naked.  But she has grown to love this place.

We found a couple of trees that she can climb on and swing on and the lessons on bugs has been a progression of inquiry and compassion.  When we go to the pool she asks me to save the moths and ants from the water.  We’ve found nests, we’ve grown a container garden, we’ve seen lots of different types of lizards, birds, squirrels, frogs and it has been the place in which we have had the most interactions with other people.  Not indoors in living rooms or restaurants, but in the grass, beneath the trees, or at the pool.  Nature provides the best science lessons and I’m happy to say I feel quite confident in unschooling in any environment, with the help of the natural world.

Not only has it inspired many lessons for my children, it has given me emotional release.  When I feel really frustrated with life, I force myself to go outside and I almost instantly feel better.  Now that it is blazing hot, nature is helping me to improve my sleeping schedule.   Just like when I lived  in the desert casita, I will start going outside first thing in the morning and stay outside until I am too hungry to stay out any longer(or the kids are).  I will come inside and focus on what we’ve learned and take naps, then go back outside around sunset.

Nature gives me regularity.  Whenever I am deeply in tune with nature I feel much more capable as a person and as a mother.  I find that my kids are so much more pleasant, coordinated and learn everything faster.  It seems to create a thirst and hunger for life, to go out into the world of living things and really see the subtle and experience the wild rain, cool breezes, soft flowers, colorful critters and the hot sun, even if I can’t see the stars I night, I feel that I am still in nature’s playground.

I feel like my daughters and I own this neighborhood, because we care for it.  Picking up trash, playing in the dirt, speaking with the animals, admiring the plant life.  We are preparing to leave now for a greater expanse of nature and I am taking pictures like crazy.  Our next adventure will be to give back to the land that gave us serenity.  We’ll be planting our garden into the secret pathway before we leave.  I’m surprised to say I can’t wait to come back and see what it is like when we return.

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<p><a href="http://touchstonez.com/currentprojects/mindful-mama-carnival-home-page/" target="_blank" title="Mindful Mama Carnival"><img align="right" alt="Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ" border="0" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6088/6104475337_2081e669dd_m.jpg" /></a> Visit <a href="http://touchstonez.com/currentprojects/mindful-mama-carnival-home-page/" target="_blank">The Mindful Mama Homepageto find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
<p>On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy <strong>#MindMaCar</strong> hashtag. You can also subscribe to the <a href= "https://twitter.com/#%21/TouchstoneZ/mindmacar">Mindful Mama Twitter List</a> and <a href="http://www.google.ca/reader/view/?hl=en&tab=wy#stream/user%2F08929773466428579444%2Flabel%2FMindfulMamaCarnival">Mindful Mama Participant Feed</a>. <br>Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:</p>

<ul>
<li><strong><a href="http://monkeybuttjunction.com/?p=2098" target="_blank">Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens</a></strong> Jenn at  <strong>Monkey Butt Junction</strong> has found a connection to nature in her very own backyard, thanks to her chickens.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://www.hybridrastamama.com/2012/06/healing-gemstones-and-crystals-for" target="_blank">Healing Gemstones and Crystals for Children Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses which genstones and crystals are best used by children to support physical, emotional, and/or spiritual healing.
<li><strong><a href="http://talesofgoodness.com/2012/07/05/a-gardeners-meditation/" target="_blank">A Gardener’s Meditation</a></strong> Andrea at <strong>Tales of Goodness</strong> shares how she finds peace and renewal through gardening.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://letstakethemetro.blogspot.com/weeding-my-thoughts.html" target="_blank">Weeding My Thoughts</a></strong> Amanda at <strong>Let’s Take the Metro</strong> discusses how nature keeps her in the moment and stops her endless stream of thoughts.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://omshesaid.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/grounded-in-nature/" target="_blank">Grounded in Nature</a></strong> Rani at <strong>OmSheSaid</strong> shares her walk in nature, and through expressive words, shares this journey to coming home.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://www.dreamingaloud.net/2012/07/embracing-magic-of-moonlit-nights.html" target="_blank">Embracing the Magic of Moonlit Nights</a></strong> Lucy at <strong>Dreaming Aloud</strong> shares ways to embrace the magic of moonlit nights with your children and as a woman.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://babyweb.co/2012/07/05/meditation-for-mindful-mama/" target="_blank">Meditation for a Mindful Mama Alinka at Baby Web guides you through her research on the science of meditation, its numerous benefits, and presents to you a life changing meditation exercise.
<li><strong><a href = "http://naturemummy.blogspot.ca/2012/07/wild-within.html" target="_blank">The Wild Within Naturemummy at Motherhood: My Latest Adventure reflects on the soothing qualities of wild places.
<li><strong><a href="http://muminsearch.com/2012/07/natures-lessons-mindfulness/" target="_blank">Nature’s Lessons in Mindfulness Tat at Mum in Search wants to bring the same mindfulness that comes so easily in nature to her relationships.
<li><strong><a href="https://featheraniweda.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/manicured-nature-small-spaces" target="_blank">On Manicured Nature: We Roam in Small Spaces Featherstory at The Aniweda Dream shares her gratitude for her limited natural settings and her plans to expand her children's experience with the natural world.
<li><strong><a href="http://www.anktangle.com/2012/07/garden-time-out-meditation.html" target="_blank">Garden (Time Out) Meditation</a></strong> Do you ever need a time out for yourself? Amy at <strong>Anktangle</strong> finds that during a difficult parenting moment, taking pause to spend a few minutes outside is just the thing she needs to be able to experience renewed patience, focus, and energy.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://onelovelivity.com/childofnatureblog/nature-makes-me-a-better-mother" target="_blank">Nature Makes Me a Better Mother</a></strong> Terri at <strong>Child of the Nature Isle</strong> could not imagine parenting without Mother Nature.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://playfulplanet.com/blog/" target="_blank">Natural Renewal Karen at Playful Planet shares her experiences of reneweal in the natural world.
<li><strong><a href="http://milliontinythings.blogspot.com/2012/07/natural-history.html" target="_blank">Natural History</a></strong> Kenna at <strong>A Million Tiny Things</strong> gets out into nature, 200 years ago, and isn't sure she likes it there.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://themahoganyway.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Nurtured by Nature Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares with us how being in nature helps her feel centered and connected.
<li><strong><a href="http://touchstonez.com" target="_blank">Mindfulness and Nature Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores the connection between mindfulness and the natural world.
<li><strong><a href="http://wp.me/p1qmQy-Sx" target="_blank">A Sense of Awe and Wonder</a></strong> Kelly at <strong>Becoming Crunchy</strong> shares the feeling she never fails to get from the natural world and how it guides her to the mindfulness she craves.</li>

</ul>
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Changing Our Everyday

Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they’ve set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I am challenging myself this month to become more mindful of my environment and the way I live day to day. I know my kids and I have made a big adjustment moving to the other side of the country recently and I want to be sure there is a feeling of comfort and that we are living efficiently enough to achieve our goals. Mainly things are out of place in our lives right now. There is no continuity in anything. I’m probably exaggerating there, but I really want there to be more of a routine, more for my kids(and myself) to depend on.

Right now, we don’t really know any other kids. There are some kids in the neighborhood, but when we go outside they’re going inside or they’re just too old for my kids to play with. It would be nice to have playdates or attend some kind of play-oriented class or program at the library.
We’re also struggling with space in my mom’s house. Our closet is filled up with my mom’s things. I tried to store our thing in containers, but there’s nowhere to put them that the kids can’t reach, and when they reach them they make a mess of everything. I’m constantly changing where our things go and it is because I haven’t come up with a sustainable system.

On that same topic, we don’t really have any clothes for warm weather. My mom has a ton of clothes she is holding onto that she can’t wear and I think it would be great to try to recycle her clothing rather than buy new clothes for myself and my daughters. I have a great little sewing machine that I left here years ago, and maybe it would do me some good to express to my mom my ideas about minimalism and non-consumerist values, which are coming into play between her and my oldest daughter.

Which brings me to my next goal; entertainment for my kids really needs to change. My mom and aunt recently bought my 4 year old Barbie dolls. They come with these little sheets of paper that have pictures of several other dolls in that series and my daughter whines non-stop about the other dolls she wants.

I know that despite my goals of showing her what is really important in life and that she doesn’t need these things, her environment will have a big effect on how she really feels about it. I need to engage her in new, creative and adventurous things. I don’t want her to fasten onto the idea of buying stuff, I want her to learn to create and appreciate what she has.

I think that keeping a schedule of activities to do regularly, field trips and surprise activities, and free play will help a lot. I also think I need to organize their toys better and put them into sections. I need to limit her to playing with a few things at a time, and take toys away when they become a problem, bringing them out later after the novelty has died down.

Lastly I really want to make the most of my time. This is a temporary situation, living with my mom again. I want to get memorable and transformational moments out of this. I don’t want to be passive aggressive and upset that things aren’t going my way and my parenting philosophies aren’t being accepted. I need to set an example.

Instead of being upset that the TV is on all the time, I need to set up a fun activity, engage my mom with the things we have in common, like scrapbooking, and get us all in a space to create, support and get to know each other better. I need to allow my kids to feel comfort in their surroundings and I need to feel like this is my home too, however temporary it may be, I need to allow myself to enjoy it, I need to grow while I am here and not feel stunted due to the change in household.

I have already started on this challenge by talking to my mom and my daughter about having a more active, creative lifestyle and I’m currently setting several alarms a day to make sure we stay on track, meet our goals and have planned activities. I think I’m on a path to really transforming as a parent, not just in this situation, but for the long-term. The perceived limitations I face here are making me stronger, more appreciative and more organized.

 

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Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!

On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Go Boldly (Back Home)…

The bustling US economy, the culture of nuclear family, the tradition of emotionally stable men in this country have all culminated in a sudden bombardment with my past(and my sarcasm)…in reliving it, with the addition of my two offspring in tow.

I am back “home”.  Living with my mom in the town I was born in and I am forced to address the same old issues I left in the dust of my college rebellion.

Truly, I don’t know how to address these issues, but I know what they led to when I didn’t address them in the past.  I’ve now started my own family, established my own culture and traditions and dreamed my own dreams of what I want and expect from life.  My family doesn’t seem to know that, however.

It is my fault of course.  I felt stifled by my family and left home without telling anyone…I guess you could say I ran away, but I was 21 years old.  I changed a lot about myself, things that I wanted to change before but felt powerless to actually achieve.  I learned tons of things I’d never thought about(most of which this blog focuses on) and I disconnected myself or distanced myself from my past.  I’d always felt very pressured to be a certain way in my family and I felt like it was easier to just deny my personal desires than to face the fire of resistance to my goals and plans.

I started changing some things about myself in college.  Internally I’d been very protective of “me” and keeping my uniqueness intact, but externally I hid behind normalcy.  Then I started dressing the way I’d always wanted to, stopped straightening my hair(with more resistance than I expected) and changing my diet to vegetarian, then vegan fare.  I also started hanging out with people more compatible to me and stopped hanging out with those I was “supposed to” hang out with.  When I eventually left, it really allowed me to spread my wings and stop feeling the pressure to please my family, but I should have known that changing myself would not change my relationships.

It has been 7 or 8  years since I’ve been my “normal self” but a few weeks ago my mom suggested I go back to college(I tried not to be shocked or offended by this).  My education and experience means nothing to her and I doubt that she even knows what I’ve studied.  She also obviously knows nothing about my learning style and how I feel about unschooling.  She insulted my natural hair and in fact all natural hair in women of African heritage, she’s constantly attacking the quantity of food I and my daughters eat and I have been immobilized in my shock at these reactions.  Too confused to think of an appropriate response.  This is our tradition going back to my teenage years, if not earlier.

I know that my family has taken the traditional path, while I have gone off on some strange, unforeseeable tangents they don’t understand.  I’m not surprised there is concern about what I’m doing, why I’m here and what my plans are.  I am surprised, however at the negativity and fear-conditioning.

Without a college education you can’t get by in the world.  This is what is taught in most schools in this country and what is perpetuated by the mainstream media.  I’m actually very excited and pleased with my personal education and most of it came after I quit college.  I’ve done many different types of formal training courses, as well as researching a lot myself and I’ve volunteered and worked in many different capacities.  I have a wealth of experience and a true confidence, love and clarity about what I want to do and how to succeed at it.  Unfortunately, I still have this people pleasing gene and I crave approval.  I want someone to say to me that they believe in me, and I don’t want just lip-service.

Anyway, being home is tough.  I became fiercely independent after leaving and very opinionated and exact about certain preferences that I feel are important to my mental health and sense of fulfillment in life.  I know that I need to be here right now and I’m trying to find every fraction of hope, opportunity and healing I can touch, mold and polish the cracks in my past with.  When I leave here I want to have made a difference in my own life.  I want to have finally learned my lesson on how to communicate with my family and remain boldly, positively me…I want to have closer relationships based on respect and genuine interest and connectedness to each others journeys.  I want to understand and manifest an idea of home that lasts, that nourishes me and that enables me to always be responsible, prepared and complete in myself, no matter where I am.

Sometimes I want to bolt.  I want to run away again.  I want to cry and say I can’t do this…I want to find somewhere to be where I don’t have to depend on anyone, or ask for help or check in with anyone.  But if I do that eventually, I’ll have to come back to this same place of adolescent pain.  There are many reasons for an adult to go back to their parents home.  It will likely be difficult to adjust to the change, but I think that if your journey leads you there you should gratefully accept your mission and go boldly where you haven’t gone before.  It may be a small corner or a basement or an attic of unresolved issues, it may be a mantle or altar or garden of opportunity, it may be both… go boldly back home and make it work for you…the future of your family deserves the transformation that comes when old wounds are redressed and foundations are rebuilt.

Have you gone back home or do you have children or other family returning home?  How are you adjusting and what would you like to address during the time of transition?  Do you have any advice for others returning to or welcoming home adult children?