finding your joy

Do You Ever Have Trouble Figuring Out What You Want?

It’s funny, isn’t it? How hard it can be for some of us to figure out what we want?  I find this to be an especially common problem for dedicated moms and educators.  Why?  Because we’ve been taught that being UN-selfish is what makes us so amazing. 


Wanting something JUST FOR OURSELVES (or God Forbid actually seeking to get it!) can seem selfish.  So we get out of practice with even knowing what we want. 


Another contributing factor in our culture is that we’re taught to spend most of our time in our head.  Emotions are viewed as suspect.  Intuition is not to be trusted and the body is viewed primarily as a necessary container for living.  None of above are seen as dependable sources of wisdom.  (And I might add that this perspective leans a bit towards favoring masculine ways of knowing as opposed to feminine, but I digress.)


There's science to back up the importance of these alternative ways of knowing.  I'm learning more about it all, but what I can say for sure already is that my life is WAY better now that I listen to all the parts of me, not just my (very overactive) rational mind. 


Rational minds are good, but they can’t make good decisions without accurate information.  And they miss a lot.


Because our bodies and the right side of the brain take in way more information per second than the logical, linguistic left side of our brain, the “logical thought only” perspective leaves us missing out on a whole lot of information that can help us figure out what we want, which is one of the first steps in moving towards a life we’ll really love—a life with meaningful purpose and a whole lot of delight on the side.  Learning how to listen to my body’s wisdom is one of the best skills I’ve learned in the past few years. 

What Do You See? What Do You See?

As you know if you read my post last week, I’ve been observing my younger son closely—taking a break from giving him instructions about how he should live his life. (Yes, I still tell him to put his dishes in the dishwasher!)  I must say it’s been a really fun experiment! 

I don’t know how all the energy stuff works in the world, and though I think there’s some truth in it, I also think there are some serious gaps/errors in the whole Law of Attraction/The Secret idea—you know, the “what you think about is what you get” concept. 

But at the same time, I’ve certainly found that my own experiments with changing my focus and my stories about life, focusing on what’s good, using my imagination in positive ways to envision what I hope for, often have a hugely positive impact in my actual, physical life.

This is one of those times. 

During the past week, it’s as if I opened a door to growth for my son, just by backing off and observing him with a spirit of compassion and curiosity.

It may be coincidence (the only way to know will be to keep trying new experiments to see if a pattern appears), but without my prodding in the past week he’s moved out towards: 1) doing something he loves in the arts AND, 2) conquering the ever-illusive concepts of geometry in his own way.  These were goals his dad and I had for him, but our rules and plans about how he should reach them had thus far had little effect.

In addition, I’ve noticed that he’s responding to his dad and me in more mature ways in relation to the responsibilities and expectations we have for him, expressing his own desires and preferences in ways that leave room for us to work out a plan that feels good to all of us. 

For example, on Sunday I wanted him to go put his clothes in the dryer at a time when he didn’t want to do it.  I said I didn’t want to go to bed without feeling sure that it was going to happen.  Rather than getting defensive or yelling something to the effect of “I’m fifteen.  Why can’t you just trust me!  I’ll get it done!”  He said, “If I don’t do it, no screens for me tomorrow.”  I said, “Okay, that works.”  And when I woke up in the morning the clothes were done.  Win. Win.

I also learned that he doesn’t just like music, or rap, he likes “lyrical rap” specifically.  This is a new term for me.  And it’s given me a hint about how I might be able to help him move in a direction he’s interested in. 

It struck me that I’ve been practicing this kind of curious and compassionate observation, not only with him, but with myself—and with similar positive results.  (Maybe next I’ll try it with my husband!)