Really? Enough? WoW!

This is a post of pure, particular, powerful, present WoW-Gratitude.
In celebration of moments that I long to linger, to hold cradled in my heart for eternity,
this goes out to those who have INpowered me
to understand that what I am,
truly am,
and share is
ENOUGH.

Is there a greater gift we could offer to another?

Simply no.IMG_0891

We enter into this world just as we are,
looking to BE,
to discover our groove,
to find our way and,
in that way,
shift the world a little for good.

Ohh but as we grow, can we be swayed, knocked off course, made to doubt and dally. Sadly, we can wake one day and wonder where we went, how that true essence that whispers through the din of this crazy world got drowned out for a time.

Or we can remain true to the whisperings, intentionally flowing from knowing to action, not willing to sell out for what sells, keepin’ it real, remaining true to balance of all the values we hold dear, recognizing this creates less of the BANG effect so often needed for notice.

Those that choose the latter route do it not for recognition or for rousing the masses, but simply because they understand that life’s essence is in the details, and are committed to what beckons from within, knowing to not do it would mean the slow destruction of self.

This, doing for the sake of passion, for love of the work itself,
paid or unpaid, riveting the masses or even just one,
this, I believe, is where true success is born. 
But it may take the world time to take note, if in fact it ever does at all. 
And yet, it matters not to the pilgrim of inner purpose,
for their game is already won. 

There have been high moments in my life when I have ridden the world-train, climbed the ladder, appeased my ego and found the treasures glitzy and empty that follow.

But then I woke, relinquished contribution to GNP (gross national power) to make way for offering heart and soul for a greater good, to families with children with disabilities, those needing hospice, to community projects aimed to weave a greater bond between citizens.

Our Heroic Team :)

Our Heroic Team
🙂

I met my soul friend and man, bore my children, and answered yet another call to love better and more and clearer. I chose to homeschool, to follow my children in their creative joys, to support my husband in the pursuit of his visions of heart, and to write, no matter who read, just to write.

Writing has been my solace, my friend, my crutch, my venue for unleashing dream to page and empowering systematic approach for achievement. I have written for love, to enable client’s to increase bottom line and prestige, but this, this blog … It’s raw, it’s real, no PR spin, just me, my life and the lives of my family members laid bare.

Considering this, scared the hell out of me quite frankly. Putting us ‘out there’ for 365 days freaked me a little. I mean, no one can stabilize a facade that long. 😉 And so, I get real, I share the skinny and that which scares me. In a former life, I would have seen this as weakness, as a death certificate for success.

But the world is changing. The world is in our bedrooms, our hearts, our evening antics are tweeted and the powerful pursuits of soul and dirty secrets revealed.
Playing field, officially leveled.

And so I change with it and am awed by the freedom I now know and the depth of relationships I now have.

In yesterday’s post I shared my soul. I debated whether I would, whether people would care to even hear really… I mean people come to me for their joy-fix not the pity party.

This poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox echoes in me, always has really, deep and clear…
“Laugh and the world laughs with you.
Cry, and you cry alone…”

I believed this B.S. really. For so very long. And for the fair weather folks this is real, and a gift in disguise for any who might confuse them for true.

The world I now know and love is right there in it with me,
loving me in it all and I them,
and we are more for baring soul,
coming to terms with our humanity and never
relinquishing our passionate pursuit of evolving to more.

My beautiful soul friends rallied to spontaneously honor my contribution and truth in the world yesterday, my husband’s cousin sat and asked me all about my journey of serendipitous-unfolding to date, the love of friends poured forth like a well I struck without ever knowing I was seeking… But feel rich beyond imaginings for finding.

This life is good. But goodness is a choice and it is, most assuredly,
based on our ability to know ourselves, love ourselves
and listen and act on the spirit that lives within that always,
always,
whispers us on our way to greater joy, health, peace, truth and love.

Thank you, my friends, this community we’ve conjured, for allowing me to see once again, that me being just me, is really, truly, simply ENOUGH.

Bless you… I could not love or appreciate you more for simply being you, always ENOUGH;)

For all Mothers…to children, furry ones, nurturers of the planet and its people, and the men who love them well, freeing them up to love better and more…Happy Day of celebrating the powerful difference you make in the world with your attention, compassion and pure, devoted love!You Are Enough

Xo jenni

Stop the World! Just Let Me…

Anyone can imagine, some are right there with me, Marathon training holds a plethora of life metaphors. There are varying degrees of injury that grip you throughout and there is this balance that must be struck…

Rest and Heal
or
Suck It Up n’ Push on Through

The decision is often less physical than it is mental and when you learn to keenly assess and take mini or massive leaps of faith in the direction of Push on Through you are simply Stunned by the reserve of power you hold. And equally, you become attuned to when one more mile will turn mind-blowing ache to major injury.

As in life, the call is completely ours and to conquer the race for the long haul, we must learn to master this balance with intent and determination.

This week for us was filled with all kindsa crazy.
Ever notice how life can spin this way sometimes?
(Ah yes, rhetorical question).

We all face this from time to time, and I believe we all secretly long to whisper or shout the cliche, “Stop the ride. I wanna get off.”

In our push to evolve to greater health, we took a detour. Knowing that this month we were embracing a journey of the Vegan-kind as a family, with a small mindful community in T-Bay and linking to the grand vision of my friend and founder of Modern Vegan Family, Laura Simonson, in preparation… We indulged. You know, ate all those decadent things we thought we might miss.

Well, as you can guess, acidity at home in our systems, we opened the door for ill. We all got sick. But our Nathaniel got the worst of it, with a cold sore developing just under his eye, his eye swelling near shut and a very real concern for his sight potentially being damaged. We had 4 doctor visits in 5 days, while trying to juggle my client meetings, the kid’s programs that I’m involved in organizing, taking my dad to his neurologist appointment for his Parkinson’s 1st assessment since being diagnosed (playing out in a emerg drop-off, a neurology appointment and a return to emerg).

All the while watching my baby with his eye near swollen shut, feeling his pain, being concerned about the risk versus benefit of putting his little body thru anti-virals and anti-biotics and doing my best to smile, maintain peace and joyful anticipation of a positive outcome…

Yep this week I Pushed Through and no one but Todd knew of the daily migraines that dizzied me.

So do I get your sympathy vote? Ha ha

I shouldn’t, really. This is just life, as it comes sometimes and there are some who juggle far far more, for the long road.

Our hurdles have been leapt and Nathaniel is healing and as fired-up as ever.

I share this with you because, first of all, so many read me as this perpetually positive entity that often lives with ease while juggling much. “How do you do it?” folks say.

(Dangerous things those pedestals. They are never real and guaranteed to wobble n’ crash.)

I love busy, ideas, creation, flow, and Push Through. Sometimes I ride it all well and sometimes I don’t. These are the times when I Go In and Rest, as we all should. I push through for my kids, for our family, for those in need and, yes, I would have been caught (if you were in my head this week), screaming “Enough already, stop the ride.”

At one tough point, when crankiness in our home was running rampant and voices running high, I shed a tear.
Liam saw the shift in me immediately and asked,
“Mommy, why are you sad?”
I told him how I long to maintain peace with all of us, even when we’re all out of sorts and I apologized to him for my not being able to encourage this better in moments.
He jumped from his seat and came to me and wrapped his arms around me,
“Mommy it isn’t what comes from your head that matters, it’s what comes from here (he lay his hand on my chest), from your heart.”
He sat back down and continued with his breakfast, as I stared and let his words sink in.
As he chews he says, in 6-year-old matter-of-fact tone.
“We know Mommy. We know you always come from your heart.”
He looks up and sees the look of love and gratitude in my eyes, spilling now.
“Be happy Mommy, we love you.”

When life spins wild, as it will,
When injury, overwhelm-ment comes, as it does,
When you wonder how you will go on,
juggle it all, push through,
KNOW, there is more to you than meets the eye, even more power than even you can know…yet.
And when the world lets up a little,
When you know enough is enough,
Have the good sense to rest.
And by all means, let out your sorrow,
even if just a little,
So the love of those around you can inspire you, heal you and spur you on,
In this glorious marathon that is our life.

Give ‘er!
Meet ya at the finish line, again and again, for celebrations (gotta know we’re running more than one over the years to come).
Happy pacing,
jenni

My magic man… Men, who fuel me and fill me and make it all so worthwhile…

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Mind Offically Blown #2

The MindFULL Mentor Series ~
An exploration for those committed
to FILLING head and heart
consciously, to lead self and little ones with integrity.
Post #10

The world around us, is little compared to the world within us,
and the magic that envelopes and uplifts us,

is as vast as our ability to believe.

This is in follow up to yesterday’s teaser-post Mind Officially Blown. We hope it was worth the drum roll :)… This is a little of us, we share with you…

The Morn Of WoW

The Morn Of WoW

In a lazy haze my 6-year old and I sleepily chatted away our first morning on our first retreat, just us two.

I saw him with new and wide eyes. He had aged somehow, overnight. The wheels of his mind turned, while his heart and sense of understanding for the deep and vast expanses of the soul, widened and wowed me full.

I shared with him a story from my past, speaking of a young girl who dreamed of having a kindred soul as a child one day. Of a specific moment she lived over and over again in her mind, of a Mommy taking her son by the hand, walking to the end of a dock at the break of day, snuggling into a broad, welcoming Muskoka chair together. She told him of the angel he was in her life, how she’d waited for as long as she could remember for him to come and now, as they sat, she was awed by him and his ways, beyond words.

“Liam, this is the story of you and me. I’ve known you for as long as I can remember. It seems I have always been waiting for you my love. And when you told me you wanted to go on this retreat with me, and waking here with you this morning, it reminds me of my dream. It is real now. And I am so very glad you chose me for your Mommy.”

As I speak he watches me, intent, searching, not missing one word, not one emotion. He knows this is us, here, just he and I and it feels good. And then he says, after a second…

“But Mommy, I didn’t pick you?’

I realize this is just a thought of mine, obviously not knowing if it is truly true, but still I know Liam never says anything without a depth of reasoning behind it.

“Oh? What do you mean Liam?”

“It was Nathaniel Mommy. It was Nathaniel who picked you for both of us. You know, before we came here, when we We Are Never Alongwere with God. Nathaniel knew we needed to be with you, so he picked you. And then he told me I had to come first, and he would come later. I thought he would come right away, but it took him a long time to come to us.
That was hard.
You know, Nathaniel and I have always been together Mommy?
This time, this time here, is the first time we’ve been apart in a really, really long time.
I think that’s why I cried so hard when I left him yesterday. It just reminded me of when I had to leave him to come here, to be with you, and I had to leave him behind. I think that’s why he gets so sad when I want to be on my own sometimes to play too. I think when I’m not with him, even for a second, it reminds him too.”

Well… as you can imagine, I just sat,
listening,
listening,
listening.
I could hear the words, but could hardly comprehend their depth, their raw truth, his mind, his heart and how it was flowing, as if plain fact just be plain fact. And I felt a little closer to God in that moment, and closer to all I hope may be true of what is beyond this brilliant veil.

And there he was, my Liam.
And there I was, his Mommy.
And I just held him, held the moment, in silence.
Until it finally broke, when the tears spilled just a little and I said,
“My Liam, you amaze me. I am so glad Nathaniel picked me, and that you came.”

Mind Officially Blown; Heart Officially Full With Peace.

It is in the silence, the quiet connectedness,
when we can share the stories of spirit.
We must make way for the calm, the clear, the peace,
so that when the answers come, we may hear.

I wish you a second of clarity in reading this, a second of pure and actionable clarity
that you pick up a pen and write the date and place where you will connect with one you love,
in retreat, in home-coming, in truth.
I could not wish you more.

To your life filled with Mind Blowing Moments.

jenni

Mind Officially Blown

The MindFULL Mentor Series ~
An exploration for those committed
to FILLING head and heart
consciously, to lead self and little ones with integrity.
Post #9

The moment at which we feel, perhaps, we know the child before us,
their ways, their ideas, how their little brain and heart ticks…
they go and blow our minds, again.

We miss 'em already :)

We miss ’em already 🙂

It began with a “Good-bye”.  Liam got to the door of the car, as we went to leave for our two-day, first-time, retreat just Mommy and he, and he began to sob.  A sob that can only come from the depths of an aching soul.

I was taken aback, “Honey what’s wrong?  Don’t you want to go?”

“Oh I do Mommy.  It’s just that I miss Daddy and Nathaniel, so much already.”  He turned and ran back to the house, scooped up his brother just a year and a half younger, at 5 and gripped him full.

“Nathaniel, I love you so much, so, soooo much.  Talk to me in your cutie voice, okay?”

There is this special voice of love that Nathaniel uses for Liam to cheer him, and this is what he wanted in that moment.  Nathaniel, usually the one being tag-along-buddy, was taken aback with Liam’s sadness.  A smile, half of wonder, half of pure joy, spread and Nathaniel delivered cutie voice with, “Liam, my Liam, we will always be brothers and I will always love you.”

You can imagine the glances and tears Todd and I shared as we watched the scene unfold.  You think you know your children, your family and then, this.  You suddenly realize, all you try to instill, all the times you helped them find their way through arguments to deeper understanding, all the harping on being respectful, being kind, listening to your heart, all of it … Mattered, Matters, Truly.  WoW.  Imagine.

We felt so full, so amazed.  Liam felt ready to take on a new adventure, knowing he was loved and that we would be connected in heart, no matter how far we stray for a time.

And so, we got in the car.  We were offffff.

1st Retreat Road Trip

1st Retreat Road Trip

Just a couple of blocks from home, Liam let out a giggle.  “Mom, I just can’t believe we’re doing this!!”

“Doing exactly what my love?”

“Just you and me Mom, on an adventure.  I’m just so excited.  It’s amazing.”

“Me too baby, me too.”

“And mom, can you believe how I freaked out and cried back there when we left Nathaniel and Daddy?  I had no idea I would do that.  Crazy hey?”

Ohhh how I laughed.  How awed I was by his ability to see it all and to assess the situation, wheels turning, trying to understand it all and willing to observe and even laugh at himself.  How grown up, my 6 1/2 year old bundle of babe is.

The Bliss that Calls

The Bliss that Calls

This was incredible enough, but … when we woke the next morning and we began to cuddle and talk, was when I would find myself awe-struck in new and profound ways beyond measure…

But this is for tomorrow’s post 🙂  … In the spirit of keeping these share’s short, so folks will read ’em, I will end here.  I do hope you follow up with the post of tomorrow entitled, Mind Officially Blown #2.

Until then, I wish you a million tiny and expansive moments when you find your mind Officially Blown!

jenni

Retreat in Life, 4 Life

We Are Never Along

What a surreal and expanding experience this last weekend.

If I could encourage parents and mentors
to do one thing with their children,
no matter their age, no matter yours…
Retreat
.

To create sacred space with my kindred soul child of 6, few expectations,
letting it all flow as it comes,
was one of the most eye and heart opening experiences
I have known in this life.

Liam amazed me.  He delighted me.  He encouraged me.
He, most assuredly, was the teacher and I the student.
And he and I will never be quite the same, ever again.

The entire weekend was filled with surreal connections, conversations, cuddles and creations.

As we are not Buddhists ‘officially’ we discussed what we can learn from these intentional practices of Mindfulness, we embraced the culture and the rituals honoured by the monk and his steward who reside here.  Liam ate it all up.

He loved being a part of community, of the flow of revered quiet and respect for the simple, the calm and the learning of how to more peacefully and contentedly walk in the world.  He loved cutting wood and building fires, lighting candles and breathing in space.  He saw a quieter side of Mommy, of the world and before my eyes he transformed from 6 into a soul of 60 and eternal grace.

There will be many stories that will spin forth from our time spent at Arrow River and the lessons Mommy learned in the presence of her son and kindred friend Liam, but for today, I walk you through our weekend in pictures to give you a feel for the magic that rested there.

Fire Reflection

We arrived and built a fire to see our way through the dark to light, around us and within us.  I watch as Liam settles into a new way of BEing, as I settle into mine.  We are alone and together and in a space to truly SEE one another, in simple and profound ways, anew…

Liam in med mode

We take our meditation bliss out for a spin.  Isn’t he just a vision of peace? 🙂  Ahhh grateful Momma.

Morn In Play

We wake and play with the mediation balls, rolling, tingling, calling us in… in… in…

M & L in Med

And connect together in space and place.

A Walk

Then we walk.

A Fave Spot to Rest

Liam discovers his favorite place to watch the waters flow and wait for Mommy to catch up, on our way to the pavilion.

L Explores Pavillion

We explore the place we share meals, community and meditation.  The pavilion of Peace 🙂 … Outside

Liam of MommyAnd in… (Liam’s awesome creative shot:)

A Place for Reverence

And in…

This is where we began… our first day, as it were, exploring the world about us and the world within us.

In the days to come, I will share snip-its of insights and moments we shared that I hope will ignite connection in your own inspired ways.

This… a beginning.

Wishing you a day of quiet reverence and the precious act of truly SEEing the loved ones that surround you, for the gifts they are.  And may you book time, moments, in places and spaces that fuel connection that lives in them, in you and between you two.

jenni

In-Breath Necessity

Nate LaughThe MindFULL Mentor Series ~
An exploration for those committed
to FILLING head and heart
consciously, to lead self and little ones with integrity.

Breath is the stuff of life. In, to fill the soul within, Out, to infuse the world with it. But should we forget to engage in one or the other, soon we will discover we have little for anyone or anything and the vision of our lives be lost.

It is soooooo easy to fill others isn’t it?  So easy to give ourselves away again and again and again.  For a time it feels fabulous, exhilarating, liberating, until… it doesn’t.
One day we wake to discover that we are so weak from the exhale into the world, that our inhale can hardly come.

But this magical thingy happens doesn’t it?

First, we feel the need to breathe in.
If we don’t do it, we feel a stronger and stronger pull to shut the door and go in.
If we still don’t listen and act, our bodies simply shut it for us.

Colds, flues, illness, disease never happens by accident, they happen with purpose.
Sometimes enlightening and life-altering by nature of its wake-up call; sometimes down right devastating and we are only left to reel and wonder and try to breathe again.  Sometimes the lesson is for us; sometimes the opportunity is for the local or global family to open eyes, hearts and minds in compassion and take action for the greater good.

But it always, always, happens minor – then it happens major.

Do you listen when the mini sparks attempt to warn you or do you wait for the fireworks?Liam on Guitar

Are you prevention or cure focused?  Do you want a solution or mull the problem over and over, more comfortable in survival than thrival mode?

These are tough and sometimes daunting questions for many.

The reason for this, a stray from my happy-happy-joy-joy posts?
Because sometimes life is messy… and for good reasons.

Perhaps to teach us,
to empower us to choose again,
to practice whatever it is we know we need most to master in this life.

A great scene in the movie Evan Almighty…
God (the fabulous Morgan Freeman) is talking to Evan’s wife as she struggles with how she and her husband had all these great plans to be closer as a family, to spend more time together, to change the world together… and now he’s gone off the deep end.  He thinks he’s some kinda Noah and he’s busy building an arch, because he simply must follow his original intent and his heart.

She wonders how to deal with all this and God says…

“Let me ask you something.
If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience?
Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?
If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage,
or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?
If someone prayed for the family to be closer,
do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings,
or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

When you say, “I want more balance in my life. I want to be more MindFULL.  I want to fuel my life with enough in-breath, that when I breathe out, I feel I only have more and more to give without ever depleting my own supply.”
Do you think you will receive these things at your door?  Or will you be presented with opportunities to prove to yourself and the world about you, that you are willing to do whatever it takes to create these things for yourself?

When we are on the right track, we KNOW it.

When we are off track, we KNOW it.

IF WE LISTEN.

This week little Nathaniel and Liam got colds.  Mommy and Daddy got colds.  No biggy, for now.  But when these little thingys arise, we take heed.  And so yesterday we rested and cuddled and fed ourselves in body and heart well.  Tomorrow Liam and I head away on our retreat and Daddy and Nathaniel have time together.

And in this, we take a deep Breath IN.

Write a list of the little and big thingys you will do this weekend to
Breathe IN,
for self,
as a family,
or as a kindred community.
And do that!

Tea

Here’s to the Ins, and Outs and Ups and Downs, that empower us to BE exactly what we pray for.
jenni

Strong Like Bull, Cool Like Cat, Free Like Bird

MindFULL Mentor, post #6

To empower a child’s full and brilliant light to illuminate the world,
we must ignite each element of their being and fuel them
with clear intention, conscious choice and limitless love.

You MindFULL Mentors are keenly aware of what this means and what this takes!

It takes vigilance and vigor.

With the aware and ever-questioning, ever-thinking, ever-analytical children of today,
we must have answers that can stand the test of scrutiny.
No more do we long for children to be seen and not heard.
We want to hear them.
We want to honor them.
But ohh in moments when asked “Why do I haf-ta?”
to answer with “Just because” would be soo much easier wouldn’t it?
And yet, knowing the evolved-and-knowledge-n’-truth-seeking youth of today, You KNOW your getting that one right back at cha when you ask your budding teenager why he/she made that rather-risky choice.
Wait for it… “Just because!”

In the name of setting precedent for open dialogue and mutual respect, we answer with clear, conscious answers that meet them at their level and then we stand our ground in the name of what is right, when needed and adapt when they bring new logic to light.

At least this is what we aspire to do isn’t it?!

And so with this comes the need to consciously choose how we fuel our little ones on every level.

We know sooo much more now (or at least we think we do) about making healthy choices for bod, brain and being for ourselves and for the planet. The bar has been raised and even when parents have turned a blind eye, kids are bringing their parents back to point and forcing discussion or are making choices for themselves.

Children choose to be Vegetarian for humanitarian reasons.
Children run around shutting off lights and faucets, reminding parents to reduce, reuse, recycle.
Little gaffers are engaging in yoga, requesting to be included on retreats and sit in mediation happily and with ease.

We, mentors, must get with the program if we are to evolve at the pace of the next generation of leaders.
🙂

Okay so, with obesity on the rise and fast-food-face-filling an epidemic, clearly not all folks are making informed choices. But MindFULL Mentors most certainly are, whether they have always been aware or are just waking.

Kudos to all who ante up!

Making healthy, wise, conscious choices are not always easy, faster or rewarded with ‘Yahoo!’s and ‘Yum’s.
In fact, this mindful road we tread is time consuming, takes planning and can, in moments, be implemented much to chagrin of our loved ones.

I say, “Tough petootie!”

In fact, in our home when the kids begin complaining about the green shake or the latest quinoa dish, I simply say,
(And yes, I put a good Russian accent spin on it.) “Boys, boys, it is my job as your mother to feed you good and make you Strong Like Bull.”

This always brings a laugh, sparks conversation about the fact that sometimes we eat it because we love it, sometimes we eat it because we know it makes us Strong Like Bull.
And always it makes the food go down a little easier because, go down it must.

When we sit in meditation, we discuss clouds and making clear skies of our minds. We breathe and chant ‘Om’s to help focus, and always round out our time with 2 to 5 mins of silence and then our harmonizing ‘Om Chanti’s.
Squirming is inevitable, but learn to still, overtime, we must.

When we embrace our LifeSchool at various times throughout our days and weeks, we pick projects of their interest, we explore, we dive in, we discuss, we set mini goals for accomplishment, but follow through on small achievable tasks we must. And by all means learn to power of having fun doing it.

We are raising a generation that:

~ truly has a chance to change the way we view ourselves and life about us,

~ cares about our global plight and sees hope within it all,

~ is able to communicate worldwide, and

~ understands that one is neither too young nor too old to live their dream and make a huge difference in an ever-expanding world.

If we can laugh at ourselves, converse with intention and truth, engage in conversations that stretch us, work to provide wise, thoughtful guidance and admit when we fall short and demonstrate what it means to take responsibility and rise again and again, better…

Then we will most certainly offer the likes of a life that empowers one to be…
Strong Like Bull, Cool Like Cat, Free Like Bird;)

Live free and prosper MindFULL Mentors!

jenni

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Intention Tracking

The MindFULL Mentor Series ~ Post #5

So many of us spend more engaged, enraptured, time
planning a two-week vacation, then we do our lives …
And even less, setting the stage for the kind of parent we will be.

When I became pregnant I decided I wanted to parent the way I had lived my life for 35 years, with intention. I had never been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal, (spontaneous and outrageously risky, but always mapped out before throwing caution to the wind for the wilder ride)! 😉

Why should I attend to parenting with any less vigor. In fact, because there were a few rough patches in my upbringing, I wanted to face what was and intend what I could, and then ride the rest guilt-free with grace (I hoped and still do).

Isn’t it true that we all come into parenting with some sort of baggage or another? Some have carry on, others lug waaaay over the allowable limit. Many, so many, come from, well, dysfunctional families. My spice-of-life aunt likes to call it, ‘not dysfunctional, but rather multifunctional‘. I love this.

We can carry forth as much baggage as we like, but the moment we rise to parenthood or stand before a group of wondering eyes and lead the next generation, we need to set down the past, check our issues at the door, take full grip of the now and our power in it and do our level best to show up conscious, clear and accountable.

And so, my Mommy Journal was born. Here I write what I long to bring to my boys, the fears I will face, the challenges I will endure and the hope I hold to.
I write intentions and record falterings, and flailings and triumphant victories in the embracing of love and achievements big and small.
I lay me on the page and am keenly aware of where I’m at and all that I envision yet to be.

I wish my Mom had kept one of these. She was courageous and loving and complicated, well-intentioned but afraid on deep and untouchable levels. Perhaps if she had poured it all out she would have shed her wondering and embraced her wonder, and I surely would have known her journey better.

The life I lead with our boys, I intend with full and present heart.

I want them to know this… That despite my human failings, I loved them with all that I am and was committed to always, always, discovering new ways to honor them and myself, to focus on joy and celebrate the gift of the life we share.

Maybe one day, when they are grown and I am gone, they will sit and read, and laugh and elbow each other in sweet knowing and understand the depths of my journey a little more. 🙂

Perhaps this speaks to you… If it does, please know it is not the elaborate writings that count, but the consistency with which you keep it.

I invite you to join in the Intended Fun MindFULL Mentor;)

How to:

Buy a journal that speaks to you of your relationship with that child, children, class or team
Write your Mentor Intention. “As a Mentor/Parent I intend to….” This can be an overall intention or a specific intention with regard to a particular situation
– At regular intervals, Check In… Once a week or Once a day (before you head to bed perhaps). Do what works for you so you’ll do it.
Write out Successes (All those amazing moments that are flowing well)
Write out Challenges and how you can improve yourself or relationship with others or let go when need be
Write 10 Things you are grateful for with regard to your children. Nothing gives a Crazy Day Perspective like consciously reminding yourself of all the things you love about them. And don’t forget Gratitude for Self. What is delightful with regard to YOU?

What we think about grows…
What we think about all day long becomes precisely the life we live.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna fly by the seat of my pants and wake up one day thinking of all the places I could of gone, in body, mind and spirit with my kids, if only I had planned.

To a life EXTRAORDINARILY Lived! To you The MindFULL Mentor.

Here’s my journal. I’d love to hear about yours: if you keep one, if you will now and where you hope it all leads.

We are always more for sharing the journey;)
jenni

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Living Lemonade Grace

We are often defined, not by our ability to embrace the perfect unfolding of life,
but by our ability to ebb and flow with the unpredictable, the unpleasant and the unwanted.

When we look at this ‘job’ of parenting / mentoring, what is to be learned rarely comes from what we plan or schedule or create. The riveting lessons that linger long-term, are those of the simple yet profound, the heart-learning over the head-learning, the real schtuff of life, and how we give ‘er in the thick of it.

When the world gives us lemons, some wonder “Why?”, others say, “Ahhh yes, what magic can I create now?”

This weekend we made lemonade.
Funny thing about lemonade, it tastes best with a heaping dose of grace for good measure.

For those of you following LifeSchool Inc. and our series, The MindFULL Mentor ~ an exploration of those committed to FILLING head and heart consciously to lead little ones with integrity ~ perhaps saw the post Lil Man Hankering 4 Retreat. Liam, my 6-year-old, and I were to head away on our first meditation~connection retreat this past Friday. He began packing Monday, and we were both bursting with anticipation … until we woke Friday morning. Ahhh blowing snow, record flakes falling for the season and visibility at a min, in the city, let alone way out in booney-ville where we were headed.
And so, we had to postpone.

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As Liam and I stared out at a sea of white, I could feel our heavy hearts beating. “What next?”

“Mommy, I know we can’t go now, but we can go later right? And, um, you know, if we can’t go on our retreat… then can we go bowling?”

Ahhhh lemonade made right before my eyes.

We talked about our disappointment and made a Pact-2-Adapt and make this the best MindFULL weekend as a family, ever.

We sat in singing-bowl meditation time.

We played alphabet games, and drew magical pics.

We snuggled and watched Bolt the Wonder Dog and discussed how we are all special within and more courageous when we love and are loved in return.

Liam ShovellingLiam shoveled the neighbors walk with vigor and joy.

We made healthy cookies and decadent Jello (for the first time ever).

And we bowled. Oh YES! we bowled. And all the MindFULL-days-long, we took Mommy’s new toy out for a spin…our Canon Rebel T4i captured it all. Yippee.

Nate Yahoo Bowl

Liam, and most children, are our greatest leaders in living Lemonade Grace, taking what might heavy the heart and spin it and weave it, and out of it, create light.

Dad n' Liam Contemplt Bowl

Boys Psyched to Bowl

Little ones do this innately, and courageous ones, particularly in the throes of true threat and put to the test of survival, rise with grace and power and an inspiring ability to somehow emerge more for having overcome. We saw this of the people of Boston, of the people of the world, these past number of days. Despite the devastation, those who stood in the midst of chaos, those who longed for love ones’ safety and those watching in awe across the world, perfect strangers, mourned, cried out, tried to make sense, will heal…together.

We are not the sum total of what has struck us by surprise, but the pheonix we become by rising from the ashes time and time and time and time again.

Bleeding HeartI wish you grace, I wish you lemonade even when you feel you can hardly deal with life at your door. May you find the souls who comfort you, who fuel you, who, yes, laugh with you and make the world a more MindFULL place to be. I do believe this is the only way we will not only survive, but thrive in a world that time and again makes little sense and yet all the sense in the world when we love more and better.

In honor of the loved ones who mourn, who sit at bed sides, who squeeze those close, closer, and the world filled with human beings and spirits who simply will not be daunted by fear, who will somehow find a way through for justice and truth in love. To the people of Boston and those who found themselves there that fateful day.

jenni

All pictures and the painting Weeping Heart are Copyright of Jennifer Maki,
Project YES! Life, and Center of YES!, Inc.
Please be in touch if you would like to use 🙂

The MindFULL Mentor – INPower Lil Ones

The world would have us give all our energy away. Seemingly there is never enough time to do all those magnificent things we dream to do and more people that need us than can ever be physically uplifted. Our Out-Breath into the families we love and the communities we serve is beautiful and board line crazy at times.

And all the while the young ones in our midst watch wide-eyed, learning how it all works in this life.

What is it we want them to emulate and are we demonstrating that?

We must teach our children the necessity of In-Breath, we must teach them the Centered, conscious action that comes when we are INPowered, not just empowering those around us.

And then there’s the catch, we all know it… In order to teach, we must be the diligent student who first learns, discerns and educates through action and integrity. This is the only way we can ever hope to shift the crazy of our world, to calm.

Once we fully understand and choose this for ourselves, then we are ready to provide inspiration and opportunity for the children of this world…

For as we said before, they will never do what we say, but if what we do intrigues and inspires them, they may emulate a little (or a lot) of what we do.

Sometimes we master MindFULLness and then teach others. Sometimes we take a leap right alongside and commit, as we embark on the journey together.
Either way… You are, rest assured, making miracles with each step.

And so today’s post is how we, in the Maki house, explore, discuss and cultivate within Mom and Dad and with Liam and Nathaniel, a desire to be INPowered and MindFULL, so we have more for the self, each other and ultimately for the world.

Some of these you may engage in already, some may spark ideas, and some you may want to make your own tomorrow. Whatever you take from this, I hope it ignites joy within you and leaves you reminded of your amazing role as parent, mentor and treasured, trusted friend.

Cultivating MindFULL Living:
~ Be In It Together … Really!
Since the boys were small we have not talked Time Out, but Centering Space. We discuss the fact that we all need breath, perspective, energy-recharge, a peace n’ joy injection that sometimes cannot come from another and can only be discovered from the deep and calm river within. We talk of God, but this is not required. You may talk of Buddha, of Allah, of Muhammad or simply self… Regardless, the space is there, with a power to soothe.
We encourage the boys to go to their Centering space and come back to connection when they feel ready.
We certainly have a standard for how we all, as family members, conduct ourselves … Contained within our Maki Mantra. Centering time is required when we loose sight of these values and stray away. We Center to return home and are welcomed back with love.
We have seen incredible things come of this… Greater compassion for the ideas and feelings of others, a self monitoring of how one is feeling, an ability to choose Centering when felt needed and gentle reminders from the boys that maybe Mom or Dad need a little Centering time;) And we take it, gratefully. And grateful that we journey together, in our joy, in our sorrow, in our perfect flow, and inevitable faltering. We know as they know, we are in this together for keeps, and we share a common goal for greater peace.

~ Decide what MindFULL means to your family, hold a team meeting and decide together how to cultivate this better. Brainstorm ideas, make Space together, set times for connection and then make ‘er happen and hold each other to it. Even little wee ones will hop on board easily with this.
We get Centered before LifeSchool program time, often when we wake, before bed and when the day gets crazed. Sometimes we do it together, sometimes I do it myself and they see. But all along the way we are learning to GO Here, to choose breath and calm over wild ranting and raving upsets. Do we mess up? Ohhh yea! But when we finally see, we see it together, talk about what happened, what we were feeling and why and how to do it better next time.
Think about it… If we do this now, sharing the tough stuff of the early years, do you think the chances are better that we’ll share the really tough stuff of our latter years? Oh I hope so. In fact I’m bettin’ on it. 🙂

~ Set the Stage, Walk the Talk and Take Them Along for the Ride.
I go on retreat alone, Todd goes on retreat alone and the parent with the children plans special time. When we return we share the magic that came of it, we implement the changes that we’re inspired to make as a result. Our children see that this time in contemplation, mediation, sometimes reflection and planning, has real and relevant power. They see our glow and the celebration we make of that person’s time away and, then the moment comes when… They want in on it! “Yahoo!” I say.
A week ago when Liam asked me if we could go on retreat together, I thought my heart would burst with joy. And now we are two sleeps away and both filled with an indescribable joy and sense of peace.

We set the stage through it all Moms, Dads, teachers, mentors, aunts, uncles, friends. I do believe that this is it, how we will truly, one person, one parent, one child at a time shift the planet for love and peace.

We see it when we commit to it, we see it fade when the world pulls our attention outward, when we begin empowering and forget to INPower.

It takes a community to raise a child, it takes a group of kindred committed souls to remind one another time and again what it’s really all about and why we as human beings are really here…

To Master MindFULL living and in this love better and more.

In gratitude for the kindred souls reading this, I honor and delight in our magnificent adventure together!

jenni

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