Intention Scripts Experience

"We script intention into our designs, and in turn, our intention scripts our subjective experience." - Jason Silva

I look around my home at what I've designed for my family and I see three children who enjoy one another. Who want for nothing. (Except for maybe a Baby Alive doll.) Who spent the morning at the community center and are sitting on the floor in the living room, playing pretend. Who will go to the library in the afternoon and to bed with nourished bodies and clean teeth. Children who travel and know their extended family and love to watch YouTube videos.

In a city with hair and nail salons on every block, in a culture where women generally wait much longer to have kids than I did, in a neighborhood where you don't see school-aged children at the playground (unless they are with a summer camp), I am the women with unshaved legs and a toddling baby and a boy who looks bigger than his 9 years and a girl in the middle. People love to ask me, "are they all yours?" A question I cannot answer gracefully without doubting myself.

I end up feeling self-conscious. Not because of the question nor the hair on my legs (which is less of a statement and more of a symptom of busy-ness), but because I see no others mothers trying to entertain three children with an 8 year age range. Who do I think I am? I am most certainly not good at this. I most certainly lose my composure on a near-daily basis.

So I return to my intention. My intention was to be their teacher this summer. To take them on adventures around this fair city. To build memories together. But there was a learning curve. It took time to get into the groove of leaving the house every chance we got. It took time to figure out the right activities and schedules and techniques for conflict resolution. It took time to figure out how much food I would need to carry with me at all times. It took time to realize what I am attempting with my daughters and my stepson--summer camp plus home school plus school break plus sibling bonding.

Upon articulating motivations, we can better understand the process and the outcomes. Rather unconsciously, I decided to let my bohemian hippie self run the show this summer, keeping my children out of conventional structured activities and close to my side. This was the experience we needed Now. Nothing happens on accident. Including the resulting isolation and unease that pushed me back into this online world, head first. Where I have no one to answer to but myself. Where I can speak to adults. Where I can do something beyond washing and feeding and disciplining.

I see positive changes in my children, too. I see them listening better. I see them excited to get out of the house. I see them exercising their imaginations. I see them reading books, enamored by the local library. I see them making things. I see them learning at the California Academy of Sciences and engaging with nature at the Botanical Gardens and building forts in the Presidio. I see them sticking up for one another.

We engineer our experiences. Next summer, I may release control of my older children. I may maintain smooth legs. I may paint my toes. I may do more work. I may be different. But now that I understand the intentions that shaped this time, my head has cleared. I understand how I got here. I understand why it is right and important and so, so good.

This is day 12 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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Release this Burden Now

The universe has a way of teaching things to make them appear certain. Beliefs, ideologies, rules. But I've found that as I live, life turns around most things I thought I knew for sure, until I can see the other side of the proverbial coin. Either I was wrong before, or there is no right answer for everyone at every time in their lives. I am completely at the mercy of Now. Where nothing appears like it did last month or even yesterday.

I have control over myself only, though God knows I will try to exert control over others. I try to influence them because I love them, and I will be open to their influence because they love me. We run into problems, however, when we think our influence is absolute. When we think we know what is good for them, when we think we know it better than they do.

I see people all over the internet condemning one another for their parenting methods, their use or nonuse of vaccines, their personal decisions on marriage and family, their political stance, their label as pro-choice or pro-life, their diets and exercise regimens, their bodies and their religions and so on.

But we are limited to the wisdom inherent in Now, the knowledge contained by our individual brains. Human understanding has proven finite in an infinite universe. We know nothing for sure. So why do we keep claiming that we know? When will we throw up our hands and give up control and relax into the not knowing? Won't this be a great burden to release?

This is day 10 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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I Am Not My Body

Women are trained to see their bodies with a critical eye. They see their friends and their mothers and their friends' mothers and even their grandmothers do it. They see it in the magazine headlines that promise "quick fixes" and a "better bootie" and "flatter abs" and "toned thighs." They see it in the reality television shows that push people to exercise until they vomit or the beauty pageants that parade women around in a bikini for a prize. In these instances, the body ceases to be a vehicle for living and experiencing and loving, but rather something that requires a full-time job to maintain. I have succumbed to the pressures. I have weighed and dieted and binged and ran and pinched and obsessed and hated my body. I have shed tears over stubborn flesh. Finally, I have come to realize that these nonsensical beauty standards do not serve me. The less I focus on my body's appearance, the more I love it.

In my twenties, I slowly learned how to take good care of my body. I was not always kind to it, but for the most part, I exercised in healthy amounts and I ate fresh vegetables and fruits and I allowed my body time to repair. I rooted into the earth in a profound way as I experienced the miracle of feeling a child grow inside of me. I released residual guilt for consuming animal products. Instead, I gave gratitude to the animals for their lives and their sacrifice so that I may be nourished with adequate levels of protein and iron, both of which I was deficient in while avoiding animal products.

And of course, I finally eschewed my old friend, the scale.

Now, at age 30, I have reached a new frontier with my body. Recently I saw a photo of myself, and my ego self, who would have once criticized the beautiful curve of my hip, fell into the shadow of my true self who saw a happy healthy woman, well-fed and strong, using her body to hike with her family and carry her children and commune with the California redwoods.

When I saw the picture and I heard the angel and the devil juxtaposed on my shoulders, I received a third distinct message: you are not your body. It was not a passing experimental thought, but a truth I knew in the center of my belly. Peace overcame me. For a brief moment, my own image became unfamiliar. If I am not my body, then what am I?

I am a being of light. I am vibrating matter. I am an expression of source. I am that which beats my heart and opens my eyes, but I am not my heart nor my eyes. I am not my body. I am the spirit that encompasses my body.

I will not attach my worth to its shape. I will not feel entitled to disparage it. I will not deprive it from what it wants. I will not stuff it nor poison it nor neglect it.

I am not my body, but my body is me. My body is here for me to live in and because I love to live, I love my body. So I will treat my body like I treat anything I love. With care, devotion and gratitude.

This is day 8 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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There's A Lesson In This

There's a lesson in this. This mantra is how I'm learning to approach struggle everyday, the inevitable hiccups that wrench my insides, literally and metaphysically and metaphorically. This is how I open to the purpose of struggle, bringing clarity, and eventually, freedom.

It's what I think when I lose patience with my little children and I say or do something I regret.

It's what I think when I spend money on something that makes my body contract instead of expand.

It's what I think when words slip easily from my mouth and I find myself wishing I could repossess entire conversations.

It's what I think when I drink liquor and I wake up in the middle of the night to vomit the food I could not digest.

It's what I think when I share something on social media only to delete it later.

It's what I think when I stay up late and I have to survive the next day.

It's what I think when I hear myself spewing venom to someone I love dearly, whether it's my husband or my child or my sister or my mom.

It's what I think when my two older children fight and I don't know how to make them stop.

It's what I think when I stay home for too many hours or days and I forget to enjoy the landscape of this tiny yet massive planet.

It's what I think when I compulsively check social media or get caught up in the world wide web in all of its sticky splendor.

It's what I think when I stop writing every day.

It's what I think when I feel in the pit of my stomach that something isn't right.

Sometimes, the lesson is simply a reminder: this is not for you.

I can drink wine in moderation because my body processes it, but I must stay away from the liquor.

I can buy anything I really need, but I should never go shopping for entertainment or therapy.

I can stay up late, but for the love of God, I must put down the book by midnight.

Sometimes the lesson is to think (and breathe!) before I speak, to make a schedule and stick with it, to not speak at all, to keep calm and carry on, to get out of the house, to fill my cup before I run dry.

Sometimes the lesson is that something needs to change. That I have beliefs to release and edges to find.

The same challenges show up in our lives until we learn from them.

So, the next time the struggle has you in it's clutches, why not ask yourself: what is the lesson in this? You might be surprised at what comes up.

This is day 4 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

To read more of my thoughts on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow the blog or subscribe via feedburner.

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