always i

Who is this person,
timid and fearful,
at your mercy,
self-correcting, no matter the cost.
Living in doubt
questioning, searching,
unsure and silent?
It is I!

Who is this person,,
strong willed and sharp witted
quick thinking,
two steps ahead,
solid and unforgiving,
black and white
and never grey?
It is I!

Who is this person,
soft and loving,
feeling deeply,
knowing,
sensing the depths of another,
speaking words of wisdom,
walking the circle,
seeking, searching,
hearing the spirits’ call,
walking,
tracing the path
that many took before her,
walking, feeling, seeing, hearing,
sensing the call?
It is I!

It is always I!
Dancing on soft ground,
playing,
laughing, crying,
warm and cold,
soft and harsh,
sweet and bitter,
loving and withholding.

It is I!
Always I!

Copyright ⓒ 2011 Yota Schneider – the art of pausing / Photo Arbre Réflexologie © Stef in BA – Fotolia.com

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the yellow raincoat

The girls were sitting on the bench, waiting for their turn to join their team on the field. It was a rainy, chilly afternoon. “There is my mom,” one of them said. “Where?” the other asked. “Do you see this woman in the yellow raincoat? My mom is right next to her!” the first one answered. The girl looked to that direction and put her face in her hands “Oh, no,” she whispered. “What’s up?” the first one asked. “That’s my mom in the yellow raincoat. I don’t know what’s gotten into her with this neon yellow raincoat.”

During breakfast, my daughter shared this conversation with me. The woman in the yellow raincoat was, as many of you may have guessed . . . me! My daughter doesn’t approve of my yellow raincoat. This is not the first time she’s made a comment about it either.

I turned to her, smiling, and said “I love this raincoat! Anyway, you can always see me when I’m there, watching you playing. You can’t miss me!” She made a vague gesture and dismissed me.  Got to go!

I was left wondering. How did I transition from the adored mother this kid couldn’t get enough of, to this crazy old woman in a yellow raincoat who should mind her place? When I ask her this question, she pretty much gives me this answer: “Mom, you know how much I love you but I’m fifteen, can’t you see? I can’t help it!”

I know she can’t, but I’m not giving my yellow raincoat up. You see, I can’t help it either. I think it’s important that we both give each other space to be who we are. At this point of my life, I know who I am and I understand that she’s still exploring who she wants to be.

Being fifteen is all about fitting in and conforming to some kind of social maze. On the other hand, being fifty is about taking the journey back to the origin of self. It’s about shedding the layers of identity piled on over the years, and setting our wild selves free.

Exchanges like this one, make me reflect back and contemplate how easy it is to loose ourselves in our effort to please others and feel accepted and endorsed by them. I want to be loved, respected and admired by my daughter but I don’t want to be someone other than who I am. It’s been a long journey to claiming self-hood. There’s no going back.

I learned early in life, that friendship and love, are often used by people to extract a heavy price. How many times, especially women, morph to fit who they are with, be it family, friend or lover? Is this what love and friendship are supposed to be? Certainly not.

I was born to parents who expected perfection, albeit their version of it, and demanded obedience. They were strict and unyielding. I worked hard to satisfy and please people who weren’t meant to be satisfied.

I became really good at reading people’s moods and adapting accordingly. I became self-reliant at an early age. What I couldn’t get at home, I looked for in books, nature, and the wise mentors that seemed to always be there for me. I was blessed in that way. Life kept ushering me forward and I learned, at times the hard way, the importance of self-awareness and self-acceptance.

It’s true, when people say that our children become our teachers. We, as parents, are here to love, protect, and guide and they’re here to help us take the journey back and untie the knots that keep us bound. And, that’s what love is, isn’t it?

What are your learning about yourself these days?

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with me always

Being here
looking back
the distance traveled.
You moved me forward
often dragging my feet through mud
up, up the mountain side
sun beating down
other times walking, running
moving along
cool grass under my feet
a pleasant breeze on my face
The weather didn’t matter
my mood, my resistance, my blindness
nothing mattered.
You moved me forward
installing clarity where there was none
transmitting inspiration on arid soil
polishing my understanding
enriching my experience.
Step by step
there is a lesson in all
we meet on the path.
Chance? You smile.
This is a gift, fear not.
Open it!
I know the way
I’m here, now and always
you can’t see me and you get tired
you cry and despair often
your thoughts and emotions
cloud your recognition.
Fear not! I know the way
I’m with you
always present
always moving you forward
through rain and fair weather
With you always!Copyright ⓒ 2011 Yota Schneider – the art of pausing / Photo credit Yota Schneider

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this day

I’m grateful for sitting practice. Breathing the sound of the bell, in and out, following it deeper and deeper. I found myself expanding, becoming one with the sound. For a moment, there were no boundaries, only the sound . . . expanding, vibrating through space, and I with it.

I’m grateful for the morning fog that gave way to sunny skies, for my daughter’s loving words, the smile on my client’s face, hot tea and toast, birthday celebrations, good friends, nourishing food and the beauty that surrounds me.

 

I’m grateful for the rose bush in my yard that’s gone on a blooming spree. “I’m still here, look at me, touch my blooms, enjoy the fragrance and remember . . . I’ll be back.” The viburnum is filled with red pods, eagerly providing for the birds before the darkness and cold of winter. The wisdom of nature; nothing ever goes to waste and for everything there’s a purpose.

As I walked toward my car, I looked down and saw that the garden had been busy trying new things. A sculpture of moss, twig, a fallen bloom and wayward leaves. Left undisturbed for days, they made this stone their canvas. Nature being playful and oh-so creative! I’m reminded of how, we too, when given space, we can create all kinds of beauty out of the raw material of our lives.

Earlier in the morning, these words found me . . . “Nothing is worth more than this day” by Goethe. No wonder . . .

In gratitude!

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