Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mother-Daughter book: BREASTS

How can we absorb and accept the primary spiritual premise that everything happens at the right time? First we need to trust it in ourselves, in our own lives, then we can help our daughters to trust—otherwise they will grow up living outside of the moment.

One of the biggest and most exposed areas of trust and timing centers around our daughter’s breasts. Although she may pretend it’s not an issue, breast development takes up lots of space in the preadolescent girl’s consciousness. How can we guide girls’ breast-consciousness in a positive direction? Plus, for those of us with a family history of breast cancer, how can we transform the fear—based on statistics--that at any moment, we may be next?

Honoring our breasts now—mothers and daughters alike--is best way we have of maintaining healthy breast tissue and feeling the sense of empowerment that actually leads to good health. It is the one form of “cancer prevention” that we as a community of women, we as a medical community, have not yet tried. Although churches have a system of honoring God that lasts through generations, these institutions don't teach us to honor our God-given bodies—least of all women’s breasts! If they did, we would have been doing this for generations and breast health might perhaps today be thriving. But in our current society, that which gives life—the physical form of woman--is not being honored. Churches aren’t honoring breasts as a spiritual symbol, as a connector of generations—but we (owners of breasts) can.  We must.

It’s up to us.

We need a place where breasts can be healed. There is no western medical entity that I know of that is actually healing breasts. There are those who have uninspiring statistics for cutting into them, cutting them off, and addressing them with chemicals and radiation. Those us of us with a really strong will, or incredible grace, live through it, but do we ever really feel healed? Do we ever really know that our strong will or our incredible grace pulled us through? Or do we credit the medical industry? Can we strengthen our will to live, and nurture it in our daughters, without having to go through breast cancer to develop it?

(“Develop.” Get it?)

If we honored our breasts from the moment they developed—the minute girls become self-conscious about them--instead of when they are about to be medically altered, aren’t we instilling them into our daughters’ minds as sacred? Aren’t we teaching them that this body is a sacred place? Won’t the act of honoring be inherently healing? When a girl is worried that her breasts are not developing soon enough, or when she is self-conscious about them developing sooner than she wants, she is inherently not trusting Divine timing. And she is sending that sense of being out of sync directly to her breasts.

In my religious upbringing, not only were bodies not honored, but a sense of shame surrounded issues of bodies and sexuality. Breasts were certainly not honored—what does that even mean? Can you rise above, or burst out, of any early programming and imagine creating a sacred space for bodies, for breasts? Is there lingering shame or judgement in you that you don’t want to pass on to your daughter? Do you truly love your breasts? Can you see them as perfect, even if they are too big or too small or two different sizes? How can we create sacred space for breasts? What does that even look like?

That sacred place is within ourselves – that place where breasts can be healed. It is within us. Do I promise to love and honor and obey my sacred breasts? As long as they both shall live?

Breasts deliver life. They link the generations physically, intimately, like no other part of our bodies. We have lost awareness of that sacred link as a culture and our breasts are sending us the message—through lumps--that something needs to change. We have a choice: we can hear this message or not. We can heed this message or not. We can try something different—something pioneering—or not. I believe some day we WILL live in a world without breast cancer, or fear of breast cancer, and if we hear the message to open up the spiritual channel NOW, I envision us altering this reality in our lifetime.

We don’t need to have everyone in the world united in this new vision. We only need to tip the balance of beliefs, to change cultural reality. Only 51% of us need to unite in a desire to significantly reduce breast illness for it to happen. If we are holding the highest good of all concerned in mind, and honoring our breasts, we can change the world.

We get to choose. Only embrace this invitation if you wish to embrace it. This is an invitation to be specifically conscious of your breasts – not just conscious of, but honoring of them, reverent toward them…yours and everyone’s, as a sacred life-giving link between generations.

How many breasts are touched by surgeries in one year, both elective and illness-related, literally how many breasts are touched by a surgeon’s scalpel every year? The number is in the hundreds of thousands. How many have breasts been touched with loving, reverent, nonsexual hands? What if that number were in the hundreds of thousands? With conscious touch, we can change the world.

So much time and money have gone into a search to cure or prevent cancer. Because medicine has not found a cure or the prevention, I have been tempted to look outside the confines of medicine for solutions, and I have narrowed down that search, for the purposes of my mother-daughter groups, to breast cancer. What CAN we do?

Breasts are what link the generations. Breasts are what link the generations to their mothers. Repairing the tears in the fabric of mother-daughter relationships will have an effect on breast cancer. Daughters not pushing mothers away, mothers truly seeing their daughters as they are, and not as they wish them to be, will have a positive effect on breast cancer. Consciously honoring our breasts as the life-sustaining link that they are – more than just objects of arousal – will help to heal the epidemic that is breast cancer. Western medicine has searched, and has not made the level of impact one would expect from millions of dollars and the best medical minds. As conscious mothers we must empower ourselves, take back our own power to heal, and teach our daughters from minute one that their breast development is graced with Divine timing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mother-Daughter Book Bite

LETTING GO OF OUR WILLS …to get our way
This works—if we let go of our scripts.  Here’s a translation of a common script:
Daughter:  I have to fight with all my might, right now, and resist my mother’s control! 
Mother:  And I have to teach this girl a life lesson, right now

Sometimes in that script we don’t even see each other; we just see our own agenda—that feeling of now can grip us, rather than a feeling of holding the moment in calm hands.  Our girls, of course, can’t let us win!  That would be a blow to their burgeoning will.  So they dig in. And it’s not pretty. And due to the sheer ugliness of it, I have to teach that girl that lesson, right now!—right?  Well, no. Finally I’ve learned to see that I actually don’t even want to win, in the traditional sense, with my daughter.  I don’t want to try to teach her a lesson right when our dynamics are most heated.

Finally, I’ve become willing to take that old script and whip it into the wind--which sucks, sometimes, because holding the old script can be comforting. But we are both now willing to write a new one, to write a new one that feels mutually empowering and fun. Because Lily doesn’t want to do it, if it’s not going to be fun.)

I have gradually given up the power that had taken ten years to accrue.  I practiced letting go of needing to be right, needing to have the last word.  I invented ways of smoothly releasing my power in a way that felt comfortable to both of us. I let go of thinking I needed to teach her a critical life lesson during the hectic five minutes before leaving for school.  I was motivated by my observation that…it’s working! Somehow, magically, after our mutual willingness to let go in that moment, magically, we would have a moment later that evening during which she or I could say, can we talk about it?  How can we do it differently next time? 

It’s kind of a miracle.

I have an emotional, talkative, and occasionally offensive teenager. We are allowed to be mad at each other, but we’re not allowed to blame each other or intend to hurt each other. We do heat up at times. Recently I was so inflamed that I seized her hand, accidentally scraping it—and I had fresh flesh under my fingernails as evidence! It was a horrifying moment in which the Universe was truly putting me under arrest--oh, shit, what if I’m a child abuser?--and after we had inspected the depth of the clawprint and I had expressed my apology, I said, “The only thing that’ll make me feel better about this is if I  kiss that knuckle every time you ask me, for the rest of your life.”

She loved this. And I knew she’d treat my vow with reverence and respect.

A bizarre new script, but we were both thrilled with it and now it’s even funny, when I voluntarily kiss that still slightly scarred knuckle, before she can even request—or protest. Blame is all my family has ever known, so disowning that old script has been liberating.

But letting go meant disengaging my will—right when Lily was starting to grow hers. It was almost counterintuitive. But that’s because the old script says when the other team gets stronger, you fight even harder. (Look where where that’s led the world.)

We have practiced—and practiced—during times of conflict, letting go.  It turns out that it is much more difficult for me than for her, because I have been practicing, for 40-something years, the art of holding on! Of digging in!  Look—there are fingernail marks to prove it! Deep ones! I like to get my way!  I have a habit of holding on to an argument—especially because I’m RIGHT!  Lily has inherited her share of RIGHT-ness as well, but she is more willing, in the heat and drama and attachment and escalation and resistance, to be the one to say, “Mom, let’s not do this.”  And she never feels like she’s giving up power, or giving in. She does it because it’s fun for her to do it a different way.

We know that the only way anyone actually wins is if we both let go, if we both let go of that ancient and undesirable feeling of digging in, of getting my way. 

Power over her, or the urge to shape her behavior, is less and less enticing to me. It used to feel great, and now it barely rates. In Lily’s striving for independence and autonomy, we both experience the thrill of surrender, of surrendering to the desire for Peace and connection, which is a more fulfilling reward than winning a battle of wills.

Now we are in a new stage:  recognizing that moment of potential conflict escalation, because we know—from experience--it is summoning us to surrender to the beauty of the moment, to the joy.  We don’t dig our heels in, we are not gearing up to win—we know we are both going to win.  Before it even begins. In an ironic twist, that moment of potential conflict brings a quick surrender to delight—the delight of surrender.  And it can happen with a glance in a crowded supermarket, or with a high five in our own kitchen.

On a larger scale, if there can’t be that kind of surrender to Peace in a mother-daughter relationship, how can there be Peace on Earth?  What would the world be like, in the future, if today’s kids learned to enjoy the peaceful art of surrender--if they learned that true power lies in mutual empowerment?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

DC Texting

Lily is on vacation with my mother and her husband.  They create a very different world around them than what Lily is used to.  She is used to "Life is Good," and she is immersed in...the opposite.  In between nights full of snoring.  Periodically she touches base with me via text.

Although texting is currently my preferred mode of communication, I held back all day, to give her some space; on day two, Lily sent me only three reports about my mom, including "Your mom doesn't like you."  And: "She's very racist." (Personally I think she's only a little bit racist, but she's probably the most racist person Lily knows.)

Finally, "She won't let me get earplugs, because she's afraid they might get stuck in my ears."

To the first two texts, I replied: "I realize."

After the third, evidence that my mom was actively searching for something to fear, knowing also that she won't let Lily out of her sight due to potential kidnappers, feeling like it was time to step in and offer some advice, my thumbs reacted:

"So you just have to take charge.  Just say, 'Bobbie, I've lived in the city all my life.  I can find my way from the C Terminal to baggage claim before my mom can even figure out how to meet me at the gate. My friends are having SEX! So please back off because I'm all grown up.  And if you want to live in a world where bad things happen, you can.  But in my world everything is great, because I believe everything is great.  And that's why I'm so happy.'"

My mom has always said I'm too blunt. Maybe Lily thinks so too.

She texted back:

"Haha no, it's ok."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Miss Minny Talks Trash

Last night, watching an animated video that Lily had made online, I laughed till I cried.  The website provides the characters—she created the dialogue, which was peppered with vulgarity and twice described sex acts.  Shouldn’t a kid should be grounded for such an obscene accomplishment? 

Not only is she not grounded, she gets homeschooling credit—from me. Because she made this video during homeschooling hours.

And the beauty of her nasty animation creation is, for me, that she transformed one of her innocent childhood characters—her alter ego, who would emerge from the shower in the evenings instead of Lily, the star of an imaginary kids' tv show that took place in our bathroom every night until Lily was about 12.  

In the video, Miss Minny has grown up to look suspiciously like Lady Gaga, and is being interviewed on David Letterman.  In this interview, our fearless hero of expression veers so far over the edge of propriety that if it were real, they’d have cut to a commercial and yanked her off.  And that might be funny or not funny for you.  For me, knowing that this profanity-spouting character is the grown up version of my innocent 8-year-old daughter is hysterical. I rarely laugh till I cry, but I did, all three times I watched Miss Minny surprise David Letterman with way too much information.

So why shouldn’t I be grounding her?  She just made an R-rated animation. Aren’t I worried? Isn’t she on her way to much worse? Shouldn't I be shaping her behavior? Isn’t she moving hazardously toward breaking a law or two?

Actually, I think she’s on her way away from it, on her way away from needing to be protected by laws that don’t actually protect us, but create a repressed society because no one learns an internal level of discernment of their own—and I trust Lily’s level of discernment.  Our level of communication needs to be really high, in order for me to trust that. And it is pretty high—or she wouldn’t have been able to show me the video. If I make rules that impose an external control over her, rather than letting her find her own internal discernment for right or wrong, there will always be a repressed desire to push the rules--I know her.  (Though worse, for me, would be if she never even felt a desire to push the rules, if she succumbed to a feeling of "what’s the use, why even try?")

These days, external control in general is being re-set.  We as a species are evolving from externally programmed and externally punished beings, to internally, heart-driven beings.  Not everyone sees this yet.  I see evidence all around me.  We no longer need the old paradigm of power coming from outside us.  Human HEART is bursting through.  But it is not an easy shift!  Certainly not on the governmental level, but even less so on the parenting level.  It would be so much easier just to power through it like my parents, just really shut her down as much as possible so that she won’t embarrass, offend, or insult me…all of which are possibilities on a moment to moment basis.  She is constantly checking to see where we stand with each other, pushing my edges.  Sometimes--disarmed, or tired or hungry or otherwise not fully present--I will cave.  I will forget all about being conscious and just bring out the big guns. I can be offensive and insulting too; I have loads of experience.  So, it’s happened, the verbal threats.

The sad thing is, it doesn’t even work on this kid.  I tried it today—well, it’s not that I tried it, it’s what instantly came out of my mouth after she had made an insulting gesture.  And I bet she's worried that everyone reading this thinks she gave her mother the finger--and how fortuitous, because isn’t social pressure ever so helpful in shaping behavior? Sometimes. 

(“Lily, do you want to be known as the only seventh grader who’s never had a sleepover?” I asked her in seventh grade.  
“That’s your issue, mom, not mine,” she said, with zero charge or judgment.) 

Today, after the insulting gesture, she ran upstairs, pursued by my voice telling her not to bother coming back down because I wasn’t going to talk to her, nor was I going to take her to her friend’s house later, where she was deeply invested in going. 

As I paused to take a breath and consider whether I was could keep my hasty, angry promise, she came back downstairs.  

She had barely made it up the stairs! What a huge sign of disrespect! I was ready to hold firm to the punishment, just because she had come back downstairs so soon--before I even had time to get my act together!

“Mom? I talked to my angels, and they told me to come back down here.” 

At this point she broke into hysterics and I didn’t know if she was lying, mocking me, or just couldn’t believe her own ears, but the giggles rattled me and I fought back by walking away; if I had stayed, I might have giggled too, and ruined the whole thing, lost every ounce of power I still had.  

But she emerged from her fit and said, "No really, even though I’m laughing, I did go up there and ask my angels what to do and they said to come back downstairs, but they didn't say what to do after that."

And then I caved, totally, disarmed by her lack of artifice, and just went with the flow. 

“Is there any part of this that you would like us to talk about?”  And there was.  And we did.  I was satisfied that she understood what can happen inside her and how it contributes to disharmony between us.  And she, too, felt heard. 

I honor my daughter for coming back down the stairs.  I honor her for stopping and asking for internal guidance before she even got to the top of the stairs.  I honor her for not prolonging the fight, for not holding a grudge, for being willing to let go and pursue a more peaceful path—which she does regularly, with far more ease and grace than I've ever had.  

So how can I not honor her for her creation of a parody, a cartoonishly enhanced, hilariously edgy video of how obnoxious--and staggeringly inappropriate--my darling daughter can be?