Go outside.

Did you know many kids average only 4 to 7 minutes outside per day!? Those same kids average over 6 hours per day on screens…video games, social media not to mention online school…just reading that gives me anxiety.

I have opted for a polar childhood for my daughter. She is outside for the majority of the day everyday. We do watch TV together but we mostly adventure and play. The benefits are blatant and beautiful and undeniable for both of us.

The author Tom Corley compiled a test telling about how to raise our children to be successful and happy in life and it puts kids in one of six categories giving the likelihood of success later in life…not even one question related to success in school or test scores! The questions related to strong relationships, gratitude, self care (exercise, sleep, limiting junk food and screen time, etc.) Being responsible with money, being a life long learner.

It seems we as parents focus so much on school success and extracurricular activities in order to create a well rounded child that we forget that perhaps these aren’t the things that truly matter. These aren’t the areas that facilitate true happiness or success later in life. What about the value in areas that can’t necessarily be measured?

I decided early that I wanted my daughter to see the magical parts of the life. To see outside as the ultimate playground. I knew that for me finding dragonflies and baby frogs was far superior to artificial light and staring at a screen. I also see the direct relationship between the amount of time I spend outside and my mood so I knew it would also be healing, educational and bonding for us as a family.

We start our day with a walk in our jammies. Just a little walk to see the stars (we get up early) and to pick flowers for potions and to decide on the direction our day will take. It is one of my favorite traditions and always sets the tone for the day.

Sunlight regulates human physiology and behavior. Sunlight effects hundreds of bodily functions because our bodies have daily rhythms that require exposure to the sun’s day and night schedule to function at its highest level. When you consider that humans spend over 90% of their waking hours indoors our decision to spend the majority of our day outside feels like such an act of rebellion.

I desire to raise a whole, brilliant, kind and interesting human who talks to you while looking into your eyes. I am so changed by living this way and encourage anyone to try it for a week and watch the immediate benefits.

Happiness

I’m so happy. I mean I have a near constant state of gratitude and peace that I never ever EVER thought possible. I feel mostly joy and I don’t feel terribly weighed down by the problems of others.

For as long as I can remember I have had anxiety. Sinking into the center of the earth anxiety. Praying God would take me anxiety…literally trying every drug, herb, food and distraction anxiety. And then I gave up…

Giving up for me meant stopping every single thing that altered my brain. I wanted to know me if I was going to let go of me. I knew intuitively that if I needed a drug to deal with my feelings then something was wrong with my environment or my perception of my situation or the people I was surrounding myself with..nothing was ever wrong with me specifically. I retrospectively can say that the only times I’ve been truly alive is as a young child and in the past 7 years and that’s not to say there hasn’t been tough times…but in the past 2 years there have been few.

I absolutely had to go through hell to get back to that childhood state of wonder and grace. I had to lay on the bathroom floor dealing with insomnia and not knowing if I would live through the pain. I had to revisit every shitty moment and abuse and insecurity and I had to turn my life entirely over to God who I wasn’t even sure was listening. Try praying for a sign at these times!! Absolutely nothing happened. Apparently you can’t manipulate God.

I also had to be ok with the fact that every relationship I had was not going to stay the same. Some would end, some would alter and some would grow in ways I couldn’t imagine. I had to be ok with losing everything to get me back and I was and in some ways I did lose everything and I wish deeply I had done it sooner.

Those relationships that require you to not be 100% authentically yourself are not real and they have little service to you outside of being a comfortable hell that you are too scared to leave. I miss nothing of my life before. Not one single second.

I gave myself entirely to God and it gave me a peace and gratitude that I knew at 7. I had to find a relationship with God that served me and my path and because I was raised in church and I felt confused by the hate and judgment that was preached near constantly. That isn’t God. God created us perfect. Gay, single, divorced, flawed, sinners, screw ups, broken, transgender…it doesn’t matter. We are perfect to God. We are enough. I am enough.

I don’t question my path because I have been on it long enough to know it is perfect for me. I have absolutely no need to alter myself to deal with my day. I sometimes struggle with people and then realized that generally those aren’t my people…I am happy and no it wasn’t easy and yes it took so long to see the benefits but all the things I was searching for externally were already there. The relationships I craved came when I was clear and open to recieving them and many of my deepest dreams started coming true and they looked nothing like I thought they would.

I am whole. I always was but this world and the people we surround ourselves with can tell us otherwise and it’s a lie and once you understand that you start to see you can have everything and you deserve that.. no matter who you are. I am not perfect and I never will be in the world’s eyes but I am to God and that is enough. I’m a better person and I can love you entirely because I love me.

New Word

I’ve been holding my breath.

When things got strange and talk of a virus began I blew it off. No big deal!! Who cares! You have a young child at home and half your year is fighting off one weird sickness after another so…what’s one more cough. Ugh. It was more. Life was about to change.

I used to pray life would slow down. Once school starts for kids the days become fast forward and rigid… hurry hurry hurry!!! Running from home to school to home to errands to food then back to school then hurry hurry hurry or we will be late to gymnastics then dinner then 7 minutes of quality time before trying not to shriek GO TO SLEEP because you have to be up at 5 if you want a minute alone to drink your coffee in peace then saying sorry 87 times to the sleeping child because you feel so guilty about rushing and you miss them already.

Now we find ourselves doing ALL the quality things. Literally all of them. All day…that is almost all we do. I’m going crazy. My child is going crazy because I am going crazy. Life has altered and I wasn’t prepared.

I woke up this morning realizing that life is forever different. I had been holding my breath waiting to be set free. Waiting to rush to the park and laugh with the moms and watch the kids euphoric to see each other. To grocery shop listening to cheesy music while older people smiled at my wild child dancing through the aisles eating a opened snack. To be annoyed at the long walk to the beach because the parking lot was so full. I had been waiting! DAMN!

That’s not going to happen is it. That magical day is not coming in two weeks or two months. This is life now and we have to settle in just like we settled into every new phase of our lives…but I wasn’t prepared for this change and I guess I am going to need to mourn the loss of the old. I am going to have to feel the anxiety and let my child feel hers as well and then life will go on…whatever that means now.

I feel scared. Not of the virus. I feel scared of the loss of freedom…how interesting. My perception of the world has permanently altered and I feel a loss of control and it feels scary. I wonder how I will reflect on this in a year? How will I feel proud of myself? What will I wish I had accomplished? When will I take my pajamas off..

Generational curses

I used to think generational curses were actual curses put on a family like the “curses” you see cast by the evil witch in a movie…feels the same minus the beautiful gown and prince who saves the day.

I have been committed to ending the generational curses in my own family. I may never be able to help those that came before me but I damn well can help my child and those that come after.

You watch patterns and if you step back and become non reactive you see the curses layed out so clearly…lack, fear, shame, anxiety, hate, pride. Well, no. I say no. No I will not be apart of this, no I will not pass this down, no you can’t have my soul I’m taking it back.

I’m brave. I am. I will always defend you, I will never stand by and watch someone being bullied or abused. I will take the hit and because of that I know I can overcome any curse no matter how strong.

I will watch as the children in my life grow up totally unencumbered by the very things that threatened to suffocate me and I will see them thrive and know that the hell ended with me. Someone has to say no more.

I will say it. I will stand in it. You may have destroyed every generation before us but you cannot have us because we see you.

Maybe just the knowing is the beginning of the end.

Inside out

I searched and searched for signs and messages at my lowest points…show me God, show me that you’re real…just a little sign PLEASE!!!

This doesn’t work! At all. In fact when you hysterically cry out to the Universe the world actually seems to go silent. In desperation you see nothing. Zero. It is in surrender that the signs appear.