Posts tagged ‘feelings’

I feel… disheartened/rapturous/hormonal

I am struck by the rich nest of life. There is just so much. And by “much” I mean everything. All the feelings. The smells. The images. The conversations. And not just mine either.

I am realizing more and more that everybody has a full plate of life in their hands. No one is skating along without something that is drawing their attention or causing swells of emotions.

Someone is going through a breakup and not wanting that to be true.

Someone is juggling a newborn and a toddler. Figuring out the mysterious ailments of a non-speaking tiny being while also trying to care for the equally confounding psyche of a three-year old.

Someone is fighting off a bankruptcy. Struggling to stay true to his honorable ethics, to keep promises to his supporters, while keeping a business and home alive.

Someone is entering new territory, newly sober. Having to reconfigure her routine, and relationships, her entire life.

Someone is holding long overdue and refreshingly frank conversations with a person he loves dearly. Lifting the weight of three decades of unspoken words off his chest.

This is all happening, all the time, to someone.

Mix this up with the sound of fresh crunching snow, the smell of clean laundry, the dazzle of a pistachio-green scarf, a lavender sweatshirt, and a moss-green coat. Mix in the sound of a two-year old apologizing, and the feeling of someone brushing your hair. Stir it around and you’ve got, a stunning, dizzying, rich, view of life.

This has been my view lately. At times I want a different perspective. Noticing all of this happening everywhere to everyone is too much. Other times I want to freeze it and savour it and nudge the person next to me in shared wonder. I feel, alternately, disheartened and rapturous.

But the truth is that I’m probably pre-menstrual. It’s possible that in a week I won’t be as doe-eyed about it all. I won’t write abstract posts about the wonders of Life. The thought that something as mundane as a menstrual cycle might be the cause is both a buzzkill and a comfort. It means that I might not notice the shadow the bike rack makes against the grey sidewalk, but it also means I won’t sigh about the struggles of people I don’t know, or cry at the end of the movie.

Then again, there really isn’t anything mundane about a menstrual cycle either, it and the rest of the reproductive cycle is one of the most impressive, perfect, and magical systems found anywhere… But here I go again, lost in the wonder of it all.


February 5, 2010 at 10:37 pm 5 comments

a curtsy to you

Thank you to you, beautiful men and women that make their way to this space. Thank you for your interest in feelings, for your bravery in exploring your own, for your patience in helping your children discover their own, and for your trust in me while I push all of our feeling-vulnerabilities out into the world. I am so grateful.

November 26, 2009 at 5:00 am 1 comment

i feel so irritated by your feelings

PEAS Farm, missoula

I find it the most difficult to provide genuine empathy when:

  • I am having a difficult time myself (upset about something else, feeling defensive about the feelings the other person is having, etc.)
  • I am hungry, cold, or need to pee.
  • I don’t understand WHY the person is having these particular feelings.

The last one is the kicker. I almost always have to pee, to some degree, and I almost always have something on my mind that provides a bit of distraction, but if I am able to understand why my child, partner, or friend is experiencing their feelings I can cope.

We went to a fantastic celebration at a local farm today to carve pumpkins, drink fresh warm cider, and ride ponies. And Missoula turns out for these things like you would not believe, so many good natured children and parents. The sun was shining. Our coats were off. There was the smell of hay in the air. Basically heaven, in my opinion.

And then, inexplicably, Xi starts to act funny, well scared actually. We sidled up to a picnic table with our farm grown pumpkins to settle in to some good old fashioned carving and Xi was scared. Scared? She didn’t like the goopy pumpkin guts, that part I anticipated and was ready to do all scooping necessary. But she kept saying (and crying) she was scared and couldn’t articulate why. She eventually said she wanted a small round table by ourselves, which of course was not available. I finally put her between Bella and Echo and she calmed a bit, but I was so irritated.

Her feelings felt so inconvenient.

And then the ponies. Ponies! Nope, too scared. Even with essential oils for bravery on her wrists, too scared.

Xi scared

Poor Xi.

It sure can be tricky. You try to summon the empathy even though there are major mental and emotional hurdles to get over. Then you get there and guess what? The kid may still have the feelings. (They may still behave the same way no matter how much empathy you muster.)

So why do it?

Because in her heart, the day she was scared and couldn’t say why, will be recorded. And she was not put on the pony to “sink or swim”, she was not ridiculed or ignored. Her heart will make an imprint of the hugs, the love, and the patience. She may even remember the day as a pleasant one.


October 26, 2009 at 5:00 am 2 comments

filly, feeleez, (we didn’t realize they were basically the same name)

photo courtesy of aunt barbara

photo courtesy of aunt barbara

If you had to guess which of the kids above went on to become a fashion designer you’d pick the one in the pink shower cap right? Well that folks, is my sister, and you’re right, she is a fashion designer. But the reason I bring her up is because this blog is about feelings, and her clothing line, Filly, really celebrates feelings.

These clothes are made to feel good. And I know every designer says that, but I’m not kidding. There is not a snap, zipper, or button in a single piece of her clothing. Every item slides up or down over your body, and every bit of fabric is stretchy.

So that’s how the clothes feel. But how you feel while wearing them is another thing all together. Basically in one word: hot. This is the kind of hot that means you can still ride a bike, pick up your child, or nurse. You can live your life, feel good, and look good.

So that’s how you feel. But how Emily (my sister) feels while making these beautiful clothes is yet another layer. If she’s falling in love (see Fall 2009), if she’s suffering from heartbreak (see Fall 2008), or if she’s excited about moving (see Fall 2007), then her clothes will tell that story.

Emily has lived her entire life swayed by the intensity of her emotions. Now she runs her own business, and instead of shutting down her feelings to become the stoic career woman, she has found a way to let her heart continue to live it’s rich life. I find that commendable.

p.s The Echo look-alike in the front is me! (Of course.)

p.p.s If you want to follow the ebb and flow of Emily’s actually life her blog is a fun read.

p.p.s The scuba diver is my cousin Lesa, a fellow stay at home mom with an MBA in Hispanic Literature.

October 22, 2009 at 6:00 am 2 comments

bottom line

Can you think of any parenting decision that felt horrible, but you knew (without a shadow of a doubt) it was the right one?


Probably not. Let’s let feelings be the bottom line. If your behavior in response to your child, or your child’s behavior, does not feel good, choose something else. Despite research. Despite what your in laws say. Despite everything.

If pinning your boy down to make sure that his teeth get brushed does not feel good, choose something different.

If sleeping next to your children feels good, do that.

If finding a method to stop your girl from nursing does not feel good, choose something else.

If leaving your children in daycare does not feel good, choose something different.

If leaving your children in daycare does feel good, do that.

If you want approval, you can find all the research you want to support any parenting choice you choose. Might as well start by doing, saying, and being what feels good, and then find the research that backs you.

October 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm 5 comments

my mind is not always a friend to my feelings


On Friday, on the Natural Parenting Center blog, Kris offered the the “assignment” of spending 15 minutes of the day being simply present with one’s children. I spend every day, all day, with at least Echo. When Nathan is home maybe I will take Henry on a dog walk but most often Echo even comes along for that. So I thought I was already spending at least 15 minutes fully present with the girls each day. But when I tried it on as a new notion I noticed that I am often multi-tasking, or at the very least multi-thinking, and not doing that was a challenge.

Then there was a crux point in the evening when Xi was having a really hard time, and then Echo really needed me to stop paying so much attention to Xi, and then Bella was really asking a lot of questions without noticing the state of current affairs, and I realized…I was present. My mind was not elsewhere. I was there. I was on the bunk bed holding one girl, rubbing the back of the other, answering the questions of the other other without any idea of what to do next and it didn’t matter. We were just there together and there was no where we needed to go. My mind was at a loss and so therefore was QUIET. And then I did have a thought, “I’m doing it!”, and then it quieted again.

Simply playing in the living room with the girls while thinking about email, and the state of my body, and how many groceries we needed, and and and and…. was difficult. But juggling three unhappy girls at once was easy because my mind was present.

Thanks Kris.

October 12, 2009 at 6:01 am Leave a comment

snowy dialog revisited


Jen read the snowy dialog from a few months ago and wondered…

Okay I’ve been thinking about this one overnight. (Devil’s advocate here, I really love your stuff and I’m excited to be learning about it and using it!) I feel like this exchange took advantage of the older child. Let’s say Xi was a younger child, not so passive, and snatched the bear back from Echo. What then?

So here is the hypothetical dialog if Xi were to grab it out of Echo’s hands. This is what I would strive for in any case.

Echo: (screeching, crying)

Me: Hey Xi you just grabbed that out of Echo’s hands!

Xi: Yeah, ‘cuz Nallie I wasn’t done with Snowy. She was watching me do Webkinz!

Me: (probably holding Echo) You’re really sad Echo. Are you mad too?

Echo:Yeah! I want that girl.

Me: You do want Snowy. You want her really badly. Xi, you must have been really frustrated. You really wanted Snowy too. You wanted her so badly that you pulled her out of Echo’s hands.

Xi: Yeah. Well I was affraid she wouldn’t give her back. And I really want her to stay clean. And Snowy is really special to me.

Me: I know she is. Snowy is really special to you. From Echo’s point of view Snowy was just sitting there and even though Snowy is special to you, all the toys at this house are for everyone to play with.

Echo: I really want her! Xi!

Me: I know you do. I am helping you. Xi, I really don’t like it that you grabbed Snowy from Echo because she learns from you and in this case she is learning that if she wants something then it is o.k., or even a good idea, to take it away from the other kid. I’d prefer that you talk to her, or get help from me, and I will talk to her. I want to help both of you. It is important to me that both of you get what you want.

Xi: And Bella too? You want Bella to get what she wants too?

Me: Yes. I want all of us to get what we want and I am always willing to help. I can help you with my words.

I’m not sure where we would go from there. Negotiations would continue, or Echo might become disinterested before the conversation was complete. I do know that I would NOT grab Snowy. I do know that I would continue to give as much empathy to the grabber as to the “victim”. I do know that it might take a lot of time.

Xi is older and therefore can handle more talk, she has more patience. Here is how the dialog might go if Echo and Xi were the same age(2), like in a playgroup scenario.

Snowy  is sitting near Xi. Echo picks her up. Xi grabs Snowy “back”.

Echo: screeching, crying


Me: Oh Xi, Echo was trying to check out Snowy and have a turn. Echo you’re really upset that Xi took Snowy from you!

Echo: Yeah! I want her!

Xi: No! (maybe crying too)

Me: You really want her too, Xi. You don’t want Echo to play with Snowy. Are you willing to let her check her out for a little bit and I could be sure that you get Snowy back as soon as she’s done?

Xi: No.

Echo: Yes!

Me: Looks like Xi doesn’t want to share right now. You seem sad about that.

Echo: yes

Me: Echo is really sad about not getting to hold Snowy. She really wants to have a turn.

Xi: No

probably holding both girls at this point

Then we would probably offer both girls alternative toys to play with. They might want them, they might not. Echo might not get another turn with Snowy until Xi completely lost interest. Or maybe Xi would surprise us and hand Snowy over. This is hypothetical so it’s impossible to know for sure but we have seen all of these outcomes. In any case there would be no grabbing by the parents. No barking out “SHARE, Xi!”. Empathy for both girls. Lot’s of love and affection for both and maybe no obvious resolution (in the way that a parent might “set things right” or make it fair), but the girls do move on and they feel connected, loved, and understood.

October 11, 2009 at 6:20 am Leave a comment

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