Archive for September, 2014

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chocolate pudding moments

September 23, 2014

sunsetThere is a harmonica playing.

Somewhere, nearby, a neighbor is playing out on their porch. Just as I am sitting watching the sunset on mine.

And it reminds me of chocolate pudding.

The story of The Chocolate Pudding has taken on mythical proportions at our house. It stars my Mom, who has more patience with children than anyone I know. She who has a song or game or distraction or story up her sleeve for every parenting situation.

I was a toddler. My Dad was in med school. The four servings of dessert from the night before had one dish remaining. And my Mom, who defines selflessness, ate it. By herself. But not before she, first, locked herself in the bathroom and, second, lied to get it.  “What you doing?” asked the curious toddler {because, really, why on Earth would the door to the bathroom be closed?}  “Nowthang” replied the voice around the spoon. My mother reasoned that allowing me to roam freely in the apartment unsupervised while she enjoyed the last pudding without sharing a bite was a great idea.

To that I say—brava. Good for knowing you.

We all have it. Pudding. Or playing. Or watching. Things that feel our soul. Things that are important not because we deserve it, or have earned it, or are owed it. Just because. Just because we love it. Savor it. Just because it’s you.

These are the things on our to-be list.

Which is very different than our to-do list.
The exercisesleepeatwellflossyourteeth list.

How can you tell the difference between the to-do and the to-be lists? When something is on the to-do list and we to-don’t, it feels like we just got busted. By a favorite teacher. We feel heavy with guilt. But if we skip the to-be list we don’t feel weighted down. We feel hollow. Not grounded. Drifting aimlessly. Not sure of who we are.

Feel familiar?

One of the hard things {and there are plenty} about parenthood is that we spend so much time starring in the role of Parent, that we kinda forget. What do I like? High heels? Pick-up games at the park? Dancing? Late movies? When we surprisingly find a moment or two, {or, gasp! a whole hour!} to ourselves, we look a bit dazed, we don’t know what to do. We have forgotten how to-be.

So this week, on your to-do list, add time to reflect on your to-be’s. What’s your chocolate pudding? Do you get enough? Has it been too long between servings? Grab a spoon. Maybe two. Come sit on my porch. We’ll laugh. Listen. And watch for the stars. Check your calendars for open dates, and keep me posted.

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P.S. Does the idea of a to-be list feel great, but a little lost on how to start it? Feel like it would be wonderful to have a map, a guide book, directions to get back to you? Come join us. The online class Return to Me has doors wide open, and class beings mid-October. For all the details and to sign-up, click here. xoxo.

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ping. pong. score!

September 4, 2014

pingpong“How was school?”
Fine

“What happened at school today?”
Nothing.”

“What did you learn in class?”
I dunno.

And so it begins. The WhatHappenedTodayAtSchool? ping-pong match.
We try. Oh, how we try. But the thing is, we are asking them about what they did. And that isn’t what our brain thinks is the important stuff. What gets to the heart of the matter? What they felt. It’s true. Researchers from the University of Toronto published study results that showed that how deeply you feel about an event “actually influences…how vividly you can recall it later.”

I’ve had this idea swirling in my mind for a few weeks, and I thought I’d better try it out on my guinea pigs own kids before suggesting it. Tonight at dinner was our first trial.

“Did you see anyone today who was embarrassed?”
“Ooooh, yes! There is a new student…”
“You’ll never believe what happened to my friend…”
“I had a colleague who…” {my husband joined right in}
“I was embarrassed when…”
“As we were running in cross country, I…

And even though I had asked if they had seen someone else who had felt embarrassed, both kiddos went on, unprompted, to tell a story about when they were embarrassed today, too.

Through the retelling of the emotions, we heard all about the events of the day.
Parenting score #1.
We also made it through an entire meal without any bickering.
Parenting score #2.

Want to join me and give it a try? {worried you’ll run out of feelings? Here’s a list of over 250}. At the end of the week, tally your score. And keep me posted.

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