Dear U.S., Separating Kids from their Parents has got to stop!

This week I drove across my state while news continued to break about the refugee crisis at the southern border of the U.S. As I navigated the turns and traffic using GPS, without any loss of cell phone coverage, WAZE alerted me to various hazards including cops and roadkill while my kids slept comfortably in our Air-Conditioned late-model vehicle. Meanwhile, South & Central American parents are taking extreme measures to get themselves and their children to safety: crossing rivers of unknown depth, crossing deserts with countless hazards, and entrusting their lives with complete strangers. While some parents are sending their kids out on this dangerous journey alone, and other parents are being separated from their children at the US border.  As a North American, I am privileged to travel easily and effortlessly, in A.C. and out of my own will, instead of out of fear.

When we stopped to get groceries, still within our state where everyone around was speaking our same language, my pre-teen daughter stayed close by, preferring to stay in eyesight instead of going over even one aisle to fetch this or that; she wanted us to stay together as a unit. Here, where my daughter wants to remain close, South and Central American children are being separated from their parents, their vehicles of survival. And to boot, these children have little to no adult supervision, nor are their basic human needs being met. Meanwhile my kids have the privilege of fighting over which dessert treat to get!

At border camps, non-North American children that are my kids’ ages are caring for other, younger children. Because their parents, their primary protectors, have been taken away from them. Seriously, what is wrong with this picture? Children are being treated worse than convicted criminals!

Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to be born in The United States of America and not Central nor South America where drug cartels are more powerful and deadly than their governments. And I write this from the comfort of an air conditioned room while on holiday/vacation, where I am able to hear, see and reach out to my children when they need, for I am a privileged North American.

It is my privilege to be unable to fathom the circumstances behind wanting to flee one’s Homeland; crossing deserts, racing rivers and trusting coyotes to get my children to a place of safety. My biggest concern today is when we’re going to leave to get breakfast, when one wants to leave now and the other wants to finish her drawing…

So I’ve used my privilege to donate money to legal efforts to stop this nonsense of separating vulnerable and defenseless children from their parents. Together Rising puts 100% of donations to their causes, as their admin costs are covered by the authors Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Cheryl Strayed.

I’ve also used my privilege to pray my ass off for the geo-political climate to positively change and stop this humanitarian crisis, and others like it, from continuing to happen. I also pray that my children nor I ever know this pain of being forcefully separated. Finally, I pray that each of you will donate and pray for the same, or better.

In November, I’m also going to be using my American-assed privilege to vote.

Please join in helping make this world a better place for our children, for they are our future. May every child, regardless of where they are born, have the privilege to remain safe in their own homes, countries and remain with their families, at least until they are adults and get to choose.

Namaste

The Fear of Being Loved

For as long as I can remember, I have sought for love. Perhaps it is the hopeful and “hopeless romantic” within (see Enneagram 4). There has always been this underlying feeling of being incomplete; an irredeemable deficiency as described by Ian Morgan Cron, a fellow “4”.

In diving into this incessant need to be loved and even validated through relationship, I found that underneath the push, that I have deeply fear being loved. Initially, this was quite a shock for me to see. Yet, in looking back, I see this has been clearly reflected to me, repeatedly ad nauseam, in the men I have been in relationships with. Heck, I can even see it play out in my friendships.

Every man I’ve dated and many of my friends have been in some way unavailable, most in multiple ways: emotionally unavailable, lacking time, have lived far away, had too many other commitments, or were still stuck on their exes (the latter is in regards to dating, obv). These are not pock shots at anyone, I share this as it is a direct reflection of where I was unavailable; even if my being unavailable showed up differently….

I seem to be like a moth with the flame. While I want to be in close friendships and even in a lovingly relationship, I am now acutely aware of where I have not wanted to get too close. I push forward, then I pull away. This is indicative of having a fearful attachment; where I both seek love and yet when I find it that very love is also scary AF.

Taking things a step further, I see where it also plays out with my children. While I have improved some, there are times when I feel there is something “I must do right now” on my phone or a chore in the home, when in reality, the majority of the time it really could wait until later; meanwhile my kids wait for me to finish my task. I put them/love on hold instead of putting the task on hold…

This had been unintentional/unconscious on my part. Now, I see where the push and pull has negatively affected me and my ability to relate with others. With this new awareness in mind, I have been doing body scans, observing the places where I feel contracted. It seems to be helping, because I’m noticing I’ve becoming less afraid to live unfiltered; more authentically.

May we each see and acknowledge our fears, to release ourselves from their grip. May we each recognize and accept the places in our lives where we have blocked out love; allowing us to love more freely. 

Namaste

A very helpful meditation to help with sitting with anger

 

The Right to Exist

Do you feel the need to prove yourself (worthy)? Do you go out of your way to make things easier for others, while making things harder for yourself? Do you frequently apologize to others, even when something is not your fault or something is beyond your control (as if apologizing for breathing)? Do you feel bad for meeting your needs? OR do you feel bad when someone gives you something, expecting nothing in return (and it’s not your birthday)? Do you feel bad for having a full grocery cart and the person behind you in line has just a few items? Does it bother you when you do not feel you are helping others in some way? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, chances are that you struggle with the right to exist.

Personally, the right to exist has been an ongoing issue with which I struggle. When things are going well and I’m contributing to a situation, then I feel comfortable being where I am. If, however, I feel that I’m only taking and not giving, I can struggle with my right to be here on earth. Recently, I have begun to see this pattern in others in my daily life where for so long I thought I had been alone in this.

This “right to exist” issue came to the forefront for me this past week when I felt the need to justify my right to park my car in a public parking lot!!! Another driver had an issue with traffic being stopped while I backed into a spot. Had her daughter not have been with her, she probably would have come at me with fists instead of angry and insulting words. I spent less time parking that she spent cussing at me (while she herself was blocking traffic) when I stood up to her to tell her I had the right to park (and exist). While I felt the right to (temporarily) take up space, later I saw where this incident still triggered my issues with my basic right to exist.

May we each see that we are on this earth for a reason, that we each have the right to exist and take up space. May we each be at peace with being. 

Namaste

Coming Soon: The Right to Receive

Learning to Receive

We have been taught to be fiercely independent, to do as much as we can to prove ourselves worthy. I see this often with new moms who are literally juggling a baby, baby equipment and busy schedules; wanting to do everything with minimal to no help. Yet, in reality, none of us can be truly independent. We rely on others for medicine, food, roads, cars, phones, utilities and public service. How does this desire to be fiercely independent serve us? Better yet, does it?

Honestly, I believe this need to prove ourselves is borne out of fear. We do not feel ourselves worthy to receive from others, and we do not want to rely on others to be there when we need them. In fact, I believe this fierce independence is a reaction to being afraid to receive love. For to rely on others and to receive their love leaves us feeling vulnerable. Yet, how can we expect to open our hands and our hearts if we cannot tolerate vulnerability?

Yes, you can also argue that you don’t want to be indebted to anyone. I get it. I’ve lived it. Yet, sometimes others receive joy when they give to others. When we block the sharing from someone else, we prevent them from receiving their own joy through sharing. So in this case is it really more selfish to block the receiving of blessings, or is it more selfish to receive?

Having been a mother with her hands filled with babies and baby related things, I remember how exhausting it was to feel like I had to do it all. One day, someone held open the door for me and I allowed it. Since that day, I have been more open to receiving help from others. No one is ever truly alone. So why keep pushing away the help that others want to give? Why fear receiving love, receiving help, or feeling vulnerable?

May we each become a little more vulnerable today, allowing more love into our hearts, receiving what is meant to be. 

Namaste

Seeing Love as if for the Very First Time

Love and compassion are the soft whispers of a heart that is given the permission to fully express its truth. Many of us have learned that love is conditional, and out of fear we believe we have to manipulate others to gain their love. These beliefs are the furthest from the truth.

Much like the air we breathe, Love is ubiquitous and an invisible presence that can easily be taken for granted. Yet Love is vital for our survival, without it we cannot thrive.

Love accepts life and others “as is” and whether others Love us or not. Just as we have compassion for others when they are suffering a loss, we accept them for their range of emotions and sad or angry faces, Love is accepting others for who they are right now, in the present. While we can see the potential of others, our Love for them is not based on who they “could be,” it is based on who they are right now. Today. In sickness and in health.

If we force the process of Love, rushing into it at break neck speeds, then this reveals our fear that we cannot be loved. It is as if we believe we must have someone “fall for us” before they can see “our flaws.” Charming is not Love. Charming is manipulation.

When we believe that we must make ourselves into something or someone different for someone else to Love us, then this reveals where we do not Love ourselves.  When we accept and allow ourselves to be ourselves, then we show ourselves our own Love. It is then that we can begin to accept the Love of another, as we are then strong enough in ourselves to be who we are, to shine our own lights and allow those whose lights match ours to become closer to us.

Simply put. Love is.

Namaste

Rebuilding Connections with Ourselves and Others

Pushing and pulling, we move through life. Resisting and stopping, we stagnate and can die inside. We are human beings, yet all of this action means we are constantly doing and disconnecting. What if we’re always busy doing so much that we’re missing the point?

I remember as a child that I always wanted to be older, bigger and wiser. Then, in my mid-life, I wished to go back to where I could be more playful again. So I’m learning to seize the moment and enjoy life more in the now, being with what is.

All of our doing and multi-tasking prevents us from knowing ourselves and from being ourselves. This prevents authenticity within and between ourselves and others. How can we shift this? By being more authentic ourselves.

Slowing down, unfolding and releasing the need to go-go-go as well as decreasing the need to multi-task with everything helps us to reconnect with our own being as well as with others. In being more and doing less, we allow our true selves to shine through.

May we each connect more fully with ourselves, becoming increasingly authentic so that we may foster greater connections with others. The more we can accept ourselves, the more we begin to accept our faults that we see in others. (See what I did there?)

Namaste

Breaking Relationships

Tapestries frayed with time
don’t hold the same face
held in place
by pure will and strength
afraid to let go
the fear of the unknown:
who? who would replace?

non-severed ties
tug on strings
pulling back together
bumping into things
that smother
where flowers decay
and green shoots wither

it seems like
i’m stuck in “Groundhog’s Day”
where each cycle
leads to the same resolution
just a new revolution
of the clock
circling the same drain

how to break this
circling of caravans,
impending decay,
strings pulling on things,
unwoven tapestries?

Patching broken pieces
back together lovingly
with stitches thrown
from one’s own heart
relinquishing misplaced others,
Knowing another, someone better
indeed does exist.

Main image: google

img_3064

 

This is Tiffany’s Anger

“Tiffany, this is your anger. Own it.”

I had spent 30 minutes on this particular morning in meditation working through some emotions that mainly involved sadness. Later I headed downstairs to make breakfast and pack lunches. I had cleared the issues at hand in meditation, or so I had thought. 

After asking my son to come into the kitchen, because his pancakes were almost ready, he yelled that he wanted eggs. When I had asked the kids earlier what they wanted he hadn’t replied so I put pancakes in the toaster oven; he’d eaten them for breakfast every morning for the past month, maybe more. In fact, the next morning he asked for pancakes again. 

His yelling at me was all I needed to allow the ignition of the slumbering temper tantrum within me that then ensued. I barked back in argument with him; futile efforts with a five-year-old. While I was still seething my daughter needed something. My irritation grew; I allowed it to. The quiet, still voice within gently reminded me this was not worth my anger. Luckily, I had enough awareness to avoid allowing all hell to break lose. I began to breathe and was still somewhat easily angered by their needs.

On the way to the bus stop, in one moment, I recognized something quite profound and life-altering, “Tiffany, this is your anger. Own it,” the quiet voice in my heart said. In that moment, when I chose to see that this anger truly was “all about me,” its burden upon me was lifted. Yes, it truly was that fast. 

Had I woken up “on the right side of bed” that morning, I’d have been just fine with my son’s responses and meeting my children’s needs without feeling angered, perturbed nor rubbed the wrong way. By denying my anger and attempting to project it onto my kids and their needs, I wasn’t owning it. 

I’m human and some days are easier than others to live more fully in love. My question for myself now is: Where was I not meeting my own needs? 

Background 

For most of my life, I suppressed my anger. I would act out passive-aggressively or hold it all in until it erupted like a nuclear holocaust, raining down toxicity in waves. The fallout was often felt by those closest to me. 

“Good girls don’t get angry,” or so I thought. I also believed growing up that if I controlled my emotions, I would then be able to avoid upsetting others; by definition this was manipulative. This is a habit I continue to change through mindfulness. 

For years, I kept my anger tucked away, at least for as long as it could be. Then one day while I was in a counseling session while in grad school, the counselor said to me, “Tiffany, that would make me very angry.” Meanwhile, I felt nothing. The blankness I felt inside was reflected in the blank stare I gave to her in response. I wish I could remember what the story was! What I learned in the overall counseling process during those stress-inducing years was that I could no longer suppress my feelings; not even my anger.

Anger in Spirituality

Anger is one of those taboo emotions that many in spiritual communities try to deny, ignore, suppress, and et cetera. These actions are like trying to cut off your foot because it isn’t visually appealing. Our anger is part of us. Just as our Egos are. To deny our egos or our anger is to allow them to grow unchecked. It is only when we acknowledge their existence and own them that we truly gain control over them.

Now, I do believe that holding onto any emotion can be dangerous. It is the suppression of the feeling that leads to a loss of control.  Much like I felt that morning over breakfast: “I shouldn’t be angry,” I thought. Red flag! As soon as those thoughts crop up, it’s a sign we’re suppressing. 

Suppressed emotions can also show up in the collective unconscious, according to Carl Jung. It is by acknowledging our feelings on an individual level that prevents this collective from accumulating more terrors. 

Suppressed feelings show their faces somewhere. So do we choose to own it or let it play out somewhere else where we have less control of it? 

Namaste 

Image: google

Love Them, Anyway

I keep feeling the call to love more and more; to dig deeper, to press into unknown territories, to pass through the anger and the fear, so as to love from a new part of my heart. Some people and situations make this easy. Others make it down right challenging.

“Love them, anyway,” the small quiet voice in my heart said when I started to call the guy who cut me off in traffic a jerk. “Love them, anyway,” my heart reminded me, even though they have said the same thing like five times, even though I had already repeated it back to them already. “Love them, anyway,” my heart whispers, even though their answers are short and curt when I am working to help them. “Love them, anyway,” my heart beckons, it’s easy to love the easy-ones-to-love. Now to learn to love the difficult ones..,

quote-the-real-love-is-to-love-them-that-hate-you-to-love-your-neighbor-even-though-you-distrust-mahatma-gandhi-87-17-95

 

This does not mean that I condone others’ behaviors. If someone is acting disrespectful, I can choose how I want to respond to protect my own integrity. It also means that I have the choice to not carry their names around in my head (or the labels I would like to give them), saying bad things and thinking bad thoughts about them. My thoughts about others also reflect the thoughts I have about myself…

So today, I’m learning to love others, anyway. Some people are easier to love at a distance. And yet, they need love just as much as anyone elseactually, I’d say the difficult ones need love even more. Hurt people hurt people. Love fills the wounds.


As I learn to love others, even with their faults and barbs, I am learning to love myself more and more, too.  So now, when I catch myself thinking what a jerk someone has been (and it had been happening more that I’d like to admit), I remove the word and do my best to see my interactions with them as a lesson…in compassion, for myself and for them. I also am sure to not call myself names, as well, lest the quote from Paul Valery (below) becomes reality.

quote-if-the-ego-is-hateful-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself-becomes-a-cruel-irony-paul-valery-87-23-69

Today, I set forth on a mission to learn to “love them, anyway.” It is my hope that you will join me. We will each grow in our abilities to love ourselves more in the end; each with a greater capacity for compassion. Let’s reverse the “hurt people, hurt people” fad by choosing to “love them, anyway.”

Yes, love them, anyway.

Namaste

Images: credits in images

 

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Love is the Answer

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