You Look So Pretty!

My daughter loves the colors purple and pink. She loves dressing up and carrying purses but she detests someone brushing her hair. I’ve decided to not make it “a thing” and honor her decision. Both her grandmothers and father on the other hand do not agree. They like a combed and presentable child and I have to admit she looks rather cute with her hair done up in pigtails.

With their encouragement, she has started to want her hair combed and put up. The shocking part about this isn’t her sudden interest in personal hygiene but her new perspective on the word, “pretty.” She has thrown tantrums before bed because her hair wasn’t “pretty” and combed. She’s refused to wear a hat in the harsh Alaskan weather because it didn’t look, “pretty.” The worse part is that she thinks the word pretty can only be used when she has her hair done and is dressed in a cut outfit.

This freaked me out. I am not that into my looks. I enjoy dressing up but can feel confident and okay without make-up and doing my hair. I wasn’t sure what to think of my daughter’s new interest with the P-word.

I did what I normally do, I Googled, “Should I tell my daughter she is pretty?” What I learned is that other parents are wondering the same thing and there is not a distinct answer. One article noted that you should tell your daughter that she is beautiful or she will find acceptance of her looks in harmful ways. Another article explained that we should praise our daughters for their actions and not their looks at all.

The internet wasn’t much help so I decided to ask a few close friends. There answers were similar to the Internet. They agreed that we shouldn’t focus too much on calling our daughters beautiful but not ignore it completely. One of my friend’s suggestions however, caught me off guard. Her perspective was actually in line with what I’ve been working on as an adult woman. Her thoughts focused around what beauty means in the realm of the divine feminine. She explained that as a woman our bodies are beautiful and they should be celebrated and wearing makeup and dressing up is one of the ways to do this. My interest was piqued.

I’ve been on a quest to learn more about the divine feminine and my relationship to the word Goddess so back to a Google search I went! In my research, a new understanding started to emerge.

I decided that I want to raise a daughter that is okay with her natural beauty but also accept her interest in fixing her hair or wearing makeup. I want her to understand that she can enhance her features and use the brush and makeup as tools for self-expression.

How do I teach her this radical new approach to beauty? How do I deflect society’s message that you must do these things to gain the approval of others. I have to first look into my own motives and lead by example. Is this enough and how do I react to my families comments about my daughter’s beauty? Do I let them slide or try to gently educate them?

I’d love to hear from others on how they have addressed beauty and their young daughters? What types of conversations have you had with them? How do you model using beauty as art? Because in my mind, she the most beautiful thing I have ever seen…especially with her unconventional hair.

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Zen to 100

I have made it a large focusing in my life to be mindful. Especially when it comes to parenting. My daughter is at the age that this comes in handy. She can cry for fifteen minutes just because I didn’t let her shut her own car door. I have mastered deep breathing and the art of soft but firm speaking.

There are moments though that I am the opposite of the calm and peaceful mother. They happen very rarely these days but they are intense. It’s like my mind is taken over by crazy aliens and I resort to acting like my tantruming toddler. My kids look at me and wonder where their mother has gone.

My son has been my biggest teacher in being a mindful parent.  Before him, I had a lot of anger and frustration. It is because of him that I have made such peaceful changes. I saw the fear and hurt in his eyes from my behavior and knew that I needed to change my parenting style. It didn’t come easy and I had many mess ups but for the most part I have learned to stay calm.

The thing is, we are all human and slip up. How do you explain this to your innocent son. How can he understand that I learned this behavior from my father who most likely learned this from one of his parents. How does he know I’m breaking a cycle of negative parenting.

He doesn’t understand but I hope that he can learn from my example.  We all make mistakes but the important thing is how we deal with them when we know better. I love that boy and am so glad that he was placed in my life to teach me such wonderful lessons. I am a better parent because of him.

Held

The other day I was talking to a caring friend about my family. She was asking questions about my family. It felt good to have someone care enough to ask me questions about myself but I was rather uncomfortable. I’m not embarrassed about my family but more uncomfortable about having others focus their attention only on me. The idea popped into my head that this has been a common theme in my life.

One day my future husband and I were walking by a jewelry store when he suddenly went in and started looking around. The sales lady at once started to ask me questions and my boyfriend was asking me about the type of jewelry I preferred. I panicked and wanted out of the store and for everyone to stop asking me what I wanted. This could be said about many other romantic notions. I once told my husband that my favorite restaurant was Sonic. He being a young guy and not knowing the complexities of women took me to Sonic throughout collage and only once to a “nice” restaurant, Chilis. I trying to prevent him from spending money on me burned my chance of experience exciting restaurants. This could be said for flowers and presents as well.

After collage, this cycle of self-worth continued. I was the one that would make your birthday special or would listen endlessly to you if your boyfriend broke up with you. I never spent much money on myself and was uncomfortable speaking to others about myself if the conversation lasted longer than two minutes. Once I had children the feeling of self-worth revolved around the acceptance of my children in society. I needed others to see how worthy I was by the way my children acted. At least we had started going to better restaurants.

This self worth issue started to change when my first child was born, I had dived into the world of health. I read books and bought supplements. I became very aware of what I put into and on my body. My first act of self love. I no longer ate healthy to be skinny but started to eat healthy to heal and nurture my body.

My second act of self love was quitting my teaching job. I no longer felt the desire to fight the education system and instead decided to place my energy on myself and family. My energy shift allowed me to take the time to think of what I wanted in life. What did I want to create and pour my energy into. At first, it felt like I was giving myself away to a dream that could not exist but slowly God placed people into my life that would help me fulfill my vision and teach me wonderful lessons.

I wasn’t ready to let go off my self-worth issue so took it upon myself to create and make decisions about everything in my new endeavor. I was there to serve and make something magical. I slowly learned that my dream of creating a community could not happen if I didn’t let the community help me.

This last several weeks, I have reflected on the word, “held.” Could it be that my issues with self worth have prevented me from allowing others to “hold” me. I have many in my life that are trying to hold me and for so long I haven’t allowed them too.  My friend the other day texted me that she missed me and wanted to spend time with me. This morning a friend called and asked if I could help her with a special project and that she felt comfortable asking me for such a favor. My husband holds me and when he doesn’t, I can rest with in the word and know he truly loves me and is trying his best.

The new moon is today. It is the month of the Aries. I was told that the month of Aries involves self love and so here I stand. The first step has been taken and that was to realize past habits. Now I am free to change and accept that I am loved and don’t need to prove my love to anyone. I can freely accept what is given to me

Maybe I should plan a shopping spree!

The Seed

Garden of Your Mind

What are you growing
in the garden of your mind –
what do you water
nourish, feed?
Do you plant seeds of forgiveness,
of love,
or do you fertilize weeds of anger
resentment, fear?
What are you growing
in the garden of your heart?
Do you allow sunshine to reach dark pain
in the corners of your heart –
Do you allow tears to wash it clean
and nourish it –
Or do you put up fences
to keep out the feelings?
Get on your knees
grow your own food
decide what it is you want in your soil.
Know what you are cultivating
what you are growing –
a lot can grow in the garden of your body
if you let it seed
nourish it
allow it
watch it grow.

-Kerry Fantelli

It’s all about the Base

I could kiss my mother. Somehow she parented me through my teenage years without criticizing my body. She also never voiced disdain or hatred for her own body. I have a lot of friends that weren’t so lucky. Their mothers criticized them for their looks and they grew up with eating issues and tried to loose weight using fad diets.

Even though I had a encouraging mother, I was surrounded by images of big boobs and tight stomachs in magazines and television and I grew up wanting that type of body. Oh, and being blond.

It’s been a long time sense I picked up a magazine and recently I’ve started to surround myself with new images of the female body. I am currently reading a book that  focuses ancient women and their wisdom. It holds images of rounded rock bellies and enlarged thighs. I am also members of several goddess like Facebook pages. Often women will share beautiful pictures of Goddesses next to inspiring quotes. It almost feels like these images are rewiring my brain and updating my outlook on what beauty is to me.

The other day I looked into the mirror and saw for the first time something very feminine. I saw newly round hips and larger thighs and I felt sexy. I felt like a true women instead of a little girl. I can’t decide if it’s because of the new images placed in my mind or all my research into the feminine.  I feel beautiful and I hope it’s here to stay.

The Pantsuit

Did you know that there is such a things as feminine and masculine characteristics in each one of us? We need both the feminine and masculine to live a balanced life. Our society for hundreds of years has places a high importance on the masculine. This became apparent in my first job out of collage.

I entered the workforce as a sales-women for an prestigious insurance company. I was hired, with the intent that I would be stationed in Denver even though I had noted that I needed to live in Colorado Springs. When I notified the hiring agent of this and my interest in transferring to the Colorado Springs agency, they were concerned. I was told me that a women had never been successful in the Colorado Springs agency and that they usually didn’t hire women. They were worried that I wouldn’t succeeded. If I’d only listened! Instead, I heard a challenge and took it straight on. I should note that out of college, I looked like I still belonged in high school.

The week before I started, I went on a shopping spree to buy a weeks worth of cheap pantsuits and a professional looking trapper-keeper. I was ready to take on this man’s world. I tried to avoid acting like a women, especially a young women. I was a cute bubbly women-child stuck in a pantsuit straight jacket. The idea that I could still be a beautiful, young success female agent with her own special personality never crossed my mind.

The workforce and society is changing. We are starting to enter a time when women are realizing the female character traits are a added bonus and are worth revealing in the workforce and in life. We don’t have to pretend to be someone who we aren’t. I was asked to focused on the process and linear side of business. I was taught that there was a clear-cut formula to success. I needed to cold call enough people to get five meetings per week and out of the five meetings, I needed to have one person buy insurance. Without succeeding at this formula, I was doomed. Looking back at my young self now, I can see how my creative, intuitive and nurturing side could have been beneficial to my role as a sales agent and set me apart. I could have used this to my benefit! Instead, I followed the formula crested by men instead of putting my spin on how to sell.

As a young twenty-one year old, I wanted to badly to beat the odds. I thought with enough force and determination I could prove my worth but I forgot something important, my true self. It has taken me a while to forgive myself for not taking a job that complimented my strengths, interests and female nature. Enough time has gone by that I can look back with admiration at the little girl with big determination. I did prove that I don’t scare easily and that I have a side of me that crazy courageous. I now know I do not need to shy away from the feminine side of my being but to use its fierce and gentle nature to create my dreams.

Honey, are you in a Cult?

I grew up as a Paster’s Kid. I write paster’s kid in caps because it feels like a proper noun sometimes. Being a PK, as we are sometimes referred to has its joys but also some hardships. It’s great to have everyone in your church know you and take you under their wing and you get to do fun jobs like filling the communion juice cups. Playing hide and seek after the church service and knowing all the cool hiding spots is another added bonus. The downside is you are always expected to act and behave in a certain “holy” way. I will never forget, not being invited to a birthday party in 6th grade because the birthday girl felt I wouldn’t approve of her party. What?

For many years, I avoided going to church. I never stopped believe in God but couldn’t wrap my head around Jesus as my Savior or why many Christians felt that their religion trumped all the other religions in the world. I found it painful to sit in church listening to preachers preach about the Bible but at the same time, felt extreme fear in this reaction. Growing up in the church as a PK there was never a chance to question anything.

My dad passed away when I was 13 and so I gave up my title of PK and was able to mold into life without a title. After high school I stopped attending church and have hid from my spirituality for many years.  Recently this has changed and I have  dived into learning about myself and my relationship to something greater. I am learning from different methods but still hold the Bible and Christ with honor and love for its wisdom. I also enjoy learning from other methods.

My mother is very fearful of my new quest for answers. She would rather have my spirituality passed down from church. I hope peace will come to her mind because for once in my life I feel like the true me is popping out and I love the discovery of who I am in this magnificent world.

Manifestation

Yesterday, a friend of mine shared with me a conversation we had a year ago. In our conversation, I was explaining to her how I had recently started to learn about manifesting but pointed out to her with clear gusto that I was ‘”Still a Christian.” For reasons I do not understand now, I was uncomfortable with her judgment of me and my new expanding mind. I was on the verge of cutting away from my safe and secure beliefs and was on a journey of self discovery and wasn’t sure if I was ready to share this with anyone.

I do not remember the conversation we had but do recall that the idea of manifesting was what started me on my spiritual path. A year later, I’ve only just started on this journey but have started to trust my thoughts to others.

I now have two people in my life that I feel completely safe sharing my deepest thoughts with, the friend above being one of them. I know that God has placed them in my life to help me discover and share my new understandings. I also believe, I return the favor.

I have great friendships but for some reason these two are different. I’ve never wanted to risk sounding strange or not being understood and even to the extreme being wrong but I’ve jumped this hurdle with these two. I think it has to do with mutual sharing and acceptance. I feel safe from rejection. We share freely our love for each other and are willing to be honest and listen.

The strange thing is that I started manifesting this type of relationship just about the time I learned what manifesting was. I’ve always felt a need to connect on a richer and deeper level with friends. I am bored with simple conversations and hope to find the courage to open up to others in this way.

Potty Mouth

Have you ever heard someone when they first learn to curse? They often say cuss words out of context or just at random. It’s hard not to laugh. I feel like a silly cursing pre-teen when I try to talk to others about women circles. For example, yesterday I was talking to two friends at my son’s school about Nature Song and how I had started a women’s circle. From the look on their faces, I could tell they’d never heard of them before. So I thought, here’s my moment to share with someone the wonders of meeting together with women in this way. Unfortunately for me, it was like I was spitting out random sentences of curse words. I started with, “we learn about goddesses.” This made them to giggle and made me want to explain how we really don’t learn about goddesses but more like we “learn about our feminine and masculine sides.” This caused more giggles. By the end, I was saying random things like connecting and intentional and couldn’t stop. It was one big mess. I didn’t take it personal and I never felt like they were laughing at me but more along the lines of look at this cute and silly girl trying to explain something.

I think with anything that is new, it takes time to really wrap your head around what and why you are doing something. There is a learning curve. I feel that way with all the changes that have currently taken place in my life and it doesn’t just end with women circles. I have become more spiritual and see things differently than I did, even a year ago. Wrapping my head around what I believe and don’t believe is big. For so long, I have been told what to believe in and how I should act. Without this security blanket I feel like I’m often the cussing preteen on a quest of becoming my own. One day I hope to break free of trying so hard and just speak. Maybe someday I speak slightly like the potty-mouth I’ve tried so hard to clean up.