Filling my children’s tool box

I remember a day years ago when my oldest daughter had a friend over to play. It was hot outside and they wanted to go on the Slip-n-Slide and they were very excited.

I gave them an instruction as I finished up the dishes. “If you go out back and clean up Curly’s (our dog) poops I will set it up.”

My daughter moved towards the door to grab the small shovel and bucket for the job in an intentional way.

Her friend Sarah however had something on her mind.

“That’s your job.” she said to me.

I got closer to her and simply said “Actually it is my job is to teach my kids how to do everything they will need to do in their life, so that they will be able to take care of themselves one day.”

“Oh,” and she ran off to help with poop patrol. They were slipping and sliding in no time.

I had never quite put those words out there before. That was my goal. I didn’t want them to have to suffer with not knowing how to do things. Not knowing how to do their laundry when they went off to college. Not know how to cook. The lessons changed as they got older. From washing their hands and brushing their little tiny teeth to knowing how to figure out a budget when moving out. It’s all about filling up their individual toolboxes so they can fix whatever comes up.

Years ago when I was doing whatever I was doing, I would gather my daughters and say, “I am going to impart wisdom.” I never had to define the word impart nor was it a regular part of my vocabulary except at these moments. Sometimes it would be at a time of great importance but mostly it was when I was doing something mundane that I had figured out a trick to. Opening a new sugar bag over the sink helps contain the messy granules, etc. To this day as they are 22 and almost 19, they still gather around if I say “I am going to impart wisdom.” It makes me happy to see how independent and self sufficient they are. I feel comfort as I know they are walking out in the world making good choices.

From my tricks when they were little to get them to keep their coats on- ask them if they want to be silly, then put it on backwards and zip it up. They can’t get out, and they love being silly, to encouraging them to get dressed by putting their socks on my hands and saying “Is this right?” To which they would say no and then put the sock on their foot where it belongs. Silly Mommy. To the big stuff, how to get home when your friends are drunk and they were your ride. I am glad I made this my job.

Working parents carry so much guilt, they are away from their kids, they have to be in daycare, you name it, and sometimes they end up doing everything for their kids to make amends in their own heart. Yes, I totally understand. Guilt is a mighty large rock that hangs around your neck. However, the real noose is putting kids out there who don’t know how to do anything. That is hard on them.

So that is my thought today. It’s about filling your kids toolbox, with as many tools as you can. So they can make their way. And about the guilt, skip it and go teach your kid how to do something. And then they will also teach you.

I didn’t know there was a better way to peel an orange until my oldest taught me recently.

Good stuff.

❤ Hazel

 

 

Advertisements

Hurt people, hurt people.

I have heard this numerous times before. It makes a lot of sense. When someone is hurting; for whatever reason they have at the moment; it is common to lash out at others. It doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t help things.

I have a friend that conveyed a story once about herself and a mutual friend of ours. Both of them had similar backgrounds, grew up in a city in the Mid West. Strict parents. More than strict,  I would call it physical and emotional abuse.

One became very “successful” in life. Excelling in school, college, graduate school and becoming a judge and professor at a college. She married and had three sons. Big house, nice cars, you name it.

The other friend had a hard time finding his place in the world. He bounced from one relationship to another, always looking to the other person to take the lead so he could follow. Doubting himself and his abilities. His God given talent of trumpet playing fell to the wayside. He had a poor relationship with his daughters and was left wandering his entire adult life. A failure. By his own words.

One day, the two of them had a conversation about life.

Failure asked-“Your parents were abusive too and they told you millions of times that you weren’t good enough, that you were a terrible person who didn’t deserve anything good.  All those years ago. I don’t understand why you are so much more successful than I am. What is the difference between us?”

Success said- ” Because I chose not to believe them.”

We have choices everyday to listen to other’s or to fight for ourselves. We get tired when we are beat down. When we go for something and it doesn’t pan out. It’s because we are bad. We aren’t good enough. Some live there. Where they struggle.  They can’t seem to climb out of the sadness.

They sit and watch everyone else have things, moments, epiphanies, success; fall into their laps. Or so it seems.

Other people are so busy being successful they don’t have time to think about failing. When they fail, they just keep moving through it. There is a bump, but they get over it. They move on. They have the capacity to understand that the life that they have is worthwhile. They have meaning. There is no question.

For those that were abused, it is with them everyday. Why was I placed in that family? What was it about me that made them treat me that way? What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me?

I remember working on my own stuff. I was molested when I was nine. That moment  has walked with me throughout my life. What was it about me that drew him to do that to me? Did I do something to invite it? Did I deserve what happened to me?

Years and years later, there were two epiphanies for me.

One, I told my father what happened, He was shocked. I had never said anything about it. I told him I had kept weight on my body as a coping mechanism to keep bad people away from me. I thought it would make me safer. He said ” If you live your life because of what happened to you, you are giving that person your life. Do they deserve your life?”

“No, that dirty old man at the amusement park does not deserve to spend any more time in my head or heart or how I see myself in this world. Fuck him.”

My next epiphany came when I was in counseling. Neuro-Linguistic programming. Working on the same stuff to try and rid myself of those memories.

I sat with the psychiatrist and he led me into a hypnotized state. My eyes were closed, I was peaceful and warm.

“I want you to see yourself on a linear plane in space. There is your past, it is behind you, there is the now, and there is the future, that is ahead of you. I felt safe as we talked about things.

Then he took me back to the moment in time when the molestation happened to me and how scared I was. He said, “I want you to know that you are safe. You are in two spaces now, you are back in time as the scared nine year old and you are there as your thirty five year old self as well. What would the thirty five year old say to the nine year old. Was it her fault that this happened? Did she do something wrong? Did she deserve it?”

I hugged myself and said “No, this little girl did not deserve any of these things. She was a victim of these circumstances and the man was bad. He did a bad thing. He was the one with the problem and it wasn’t fair or ok for me to carry it around with me anymore.

He further explained that I didn’t have the ability to protect myself back then, as I was nine I didn’t have the words or the power to get him away from me. But I did have the ability now and I would protect my inner child from being hurt by it anymore. I deserved a rich full life and it was that man’s problem and not mine to carry around anymore. Fuck him.

The baggage we carry around with us, is real. It hurts. It is hard work to get rid of it. To move past the idea of not being good enough into a spaces where we love ourselves is one of the most important journeys we can take.

I like the quote. “You, yourself more than anyone else in the entire Universe, deserves your love and attention.”

Time to Love yourself.

Hazel out.

 

 

What would happen?

“What would happen?

If I gave myself the same advice that I would give a dear friend in the same position. If I knew everything about who they are and what they wanted out of life, and I helped them get there? What would happen if  I truly loved myself as I love them. That I could see when they were being their most authentic selves and how to help them stay in that place.  If I valued my own opinion as much as others. If I fought for myself as I would fight for them? What would happen if I chose to be my own best friend, fan and cheerleader?  Well, I imagine it would be a good thing.” Hazel

Working on this today

Thoughts of today.

Yesterday was lousy. The building was cold, I was freezing. Daughter # 2  couldn’t meet me at the correct time and asked me to pick up her friend over a half hour away. Traffic sucked. I sat through seven straight green lights. Stuck.

And my mind started to spin, this sucks, you don’t belong here, you got a call for another job. A full time one. Perhaps closer to home, less traffic, less customers, less new stuff to learn. Less.

But more hours, more money. Less freedom, less flexibility. Pretty much have to give up on my writing, for after a day working my creativity level will suck. I think.

Moments ago, I watched a video on Youtube. A young man named Harrison Craig overcame a stutter in his speech to sing his heart out on TV. He dreams of being a recording artist and has fought his way, beyond his difficulty to pursue it. Overcome it.

I’ve never had to overcome anything. I have always just quit at the first sign of difficulty. This isn’t for me, I can’t do it. This will be hard. And away I go…

Missing opportunities, treasures, learning along the way. People I should have met, things I needed to know. Successes to be had.

He is overcoming that, his fear of stuttering on stage, because the passion is so strong! The urge to do something he loves, he is fighting for it, going against the fear, surpassing his limitations.

Pushing through. Today he is my inspiration. What if I fought as hard for my passion? Made room for it, was willing to walk through fire and brimstone, whatever it took to get me to where I ultimately wanted to go?

Getting my books done, writing as a profession. Can I fake it with the other job until I make it with my dream?

Not can I; will I? People can do the most extraordinary things. Why not me?

Seems like the only thing I need to overcome is myself. Owning my right to pursue my dreams. Being uncomfortable for the sake of getting to the end result. Getting over myself that I shouldn’t have to deal with traffic, work for it, put up with a boss.  Am I uncomfortable with no heat and air conditioning? Yes. Will I die? No. I will need to dress warmly and dress down when it is hot. Again, Will I die from this.  Most likely not. Traffic. Am I used to it as I have been working from home for almost three years. No. Will I die? Potentially, but hopefully not. Traffic usually means slow, less chance of catastrophe.

What would happen if I stayed the course and gave it everything I had? Wrote everyday until all the words came out and the whole thing made sense. It’s about finishing. Finishing anything.  Being a good role model to my girls. They are mostly my inspiration in this life. I want them to reach for their goals as they go on in their lives; what if my life has been about teaching them to quit? How would that be? I told my oldest, who is a lot like me that she is Not me. She holds within her way more self-assurance and ability than I ever had. My life lessons have taught me to play small, be less than who I was so that others would be ok, feel ok about themselves. Its bullshit really.

Everything is bullshit except the goal. The hangups that we have, the excuses that we make to allow space to come between us and our dreams. Our God given purpose. Geez. I’m so amped right now. The words are flowing, I am really thinking.

And I need to give myself grace and not beat myself up for lessons it took this long to learn. Why does it have to take so long, why does stuff have to suck before we get it?

I’m thinking, and it’s flowing. It is a good day.

Your dreams or mine

I am an observer. I watch people. I listen to what they say. I hear them.broken wish

I have a terrible tendency to take on their dreams as my own. To set aside my own dreams and passions. I listen to others when they tell me what I should do, what I should feel. How to move forward successfully.

I  listen to the noises of the Chinese woman whom takes all of our recyclables. She comes once a week. There is a stipend for each bottle at the store and it is worth it to her, to take them and change them in for money. I imagine that she comes from the old country, where she worked very hard to make ends meet for her family. She doesn’t understand our wasteful society. She is bored here, since the work is less than what she remembers as a younger self. The houses are bigger, maybe only small families inside. Multiple generation households are non-existent. She keeps herself busy and calls the rest of us stupid for throwing away money. She either fought hard to come over here or was brought over by a younger family member who broke free. I shouldn’t say she is Chinese. Perhaps another culture, but in the Asian arena.

Back to what I was saying. In the last week I have had two people tell me they want someone who can “help build my business”. This is interesting to me, not that I want to now do that, but because, they seem overwhelmed right now with the business that they currently have. Why do you want more business, when you are stressed, have no time off and seem rushed all the time?

Two schools of thought here,

  • If you are not growing your business, you are shrinking.
  • They want more financial gains.

Let’s tackle #1

If you are not growing your business, you are shrinking.

When you have a business, you are constantly being asked to forecast, forecasting for the bank, or partners, or trying to plan for the next potential lull. It’s as if you aren’t growing you are waiting to die. But how much business do you really need? Are you making enough? Do you have work/life balance? What are your ultimate goals? What is the point?

When growing a business, I think it is important to know these things and to be ok in a plateau while putting together the infrastructure needed to go bigger. The constant push for the sake of pushing; what is that? As someone who has never put a huge emphasis on money, I am perplexed with the logic to work harder and harder just for the sake of working harder. I would like to learn to work smarter. How can I get this work done with delegation, or in a team? Is it everyone’s goal to just be huge? Becoming a corporate bigwig in your own right? Is it ever enough?

#2 They want more financial gains.

Wanting more money is understandable and a very big deal to many people. But how much is enough? Is it worth working all the hours if you don’t make it to retirement because you have overworked yourself?

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:

“Man.
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

 

This makes me so sad. Is it worth it? What makes it worth it? Money?

When an afternoon pushing a child on a swing costs nothing?

Smelling a rose on the path while taking a walk costs nothing?

Smiling at a stranger? And them smiling back?

Yes, I understand the need for money, that there must be stability in life to take care of the basic needs. But once those needs are met, what is the goal? Or what should it be?

To be Richard Branson? Ever notice how happy he looks in all of his pictures? It’s because the man has balance, he knows how to work smarter and he puts people in place to help him reach his goals. He does what he wants.

In the last few weeks I have imagined getting myself a little job. Something part time to bring in some money to help with the bills and allow myself the time needed to finish my novel, and perhaps work on another one after that.

I go in to what I thought was an interview for a job. Something that was part time, that I could leave at the office and go home afterwards. Pursue my dream and passion.

Suddenly it turns into,

“THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS”

“YOU CAN WRITE YOUR OWN TICKET”

“I WANT YOU TO HELP ME BUILD MY BUSINESS

“I WILL NEED YOU HERE BEFORE HOURS; AND AFTER HOURS”

“A REAL COMMITMENT”

Pressure

Helping someone else with their dreams

And leaving mine behind

Again

And I tell my support system and they say “Great! You should appreciate this opportunity and that they think that much of you!”

And I shrink,

away from myself

and what I have to offer

and I fall away and

see it all disappear again.

Or do I?

Big love, Hazel

Be impeccable with your word

Be impeccable with your word.

Recently I had someone promise me to deliver something  to me that I needed. In exchange for something I was doing, they would provide X. I was disappointed. Truth is this has been a chronic problem with this person. It has gone on for years. This time, even though I hesitated, I had told my husband that we were expecting X.

He said “Right, a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots”.

I was put on the defensive, having to excuse the behavior of someone else when I truly had no fault in it. Total bummer.

A long time ago, after my divorce, I was thinking about starting a business. I had the money to start one and Lord did I have ideas. I was going to open a cupcake bakery, I was going to open a t-shirt business, I was going to do this. Each idea would be inspiring, I would get excited, put together ideas, name the business, work on recipes, etc. I put in the necessary time to start one. Then it would die off, and another idea would come or I would make an excuse as to why that one wasn’t a good idea anymore.

I thought at the time that I was just floating, that I could bounce around, thinking and dreaming and it   really didn’t affect anyone but me. After I started to waffle with the third idea, a little voice came from the most unexpected place.

The wisest souls come in the most interesting packages.

It was my eleven year old daughter Megan. She said the words that shook me to my core and finally inspired me to change.

“Mom, stop. We don’t believe you anymore.” We ; was her and her younger sister Alli.

Unbeknownst to me, at the time; I had dragged them into my ideas. Filled them with wonder at having a cupcake shop that they could work in,  we would bake together, wear matching t-shirts, eat yummy cupcakes! I had involved them in the t-shirt business showing them my designs and asking their opinions on the softness and color of the fabric options.

Her words stopped me cold. I looked into her big brown eyes and was lost. There was no answer, no excuse now. No way to convince her that this new idea would work out. She didn’t believe me. She didn’t believe in me, anymore.

Quite the brave act I think, confronting her Mom. At her age, telling this to one of the most impactful, most in charge of you people in your life. She sat looking at me, and I sat like a little kid in trouble at school. Nailed.

I could not have that. A kid, who didn’t believe in her own mother. What kind of mother am I to let her kid down.  Over and over. I just hadn’t put that together. But now I had to. Always.

I had to prove to my daughters again that I was trustworthy. That I would do what I said. That I could calm the whirling dervish inside of me and get down to business. That is exactly what I did.

They were included in the process of building the shop. From a distance though, to make sure I had everything in order. Our grand opening, they were proud and showing the friends they had invited all the stuff.

Mom had followed through. She did what she said.

I started looking at all the other ways I was breaking promises. To them, to myself.

“We will go to the park today, let’s have pizza for dinner. Do you want to have a friend spend the night this weekend?” All potential hero moments or letdowns.

The unbroken promises pile up on you until you don’t even believe in yourself anymore. The inner voice says; it doesn’t matter, it’s okay.”

An unending maze of words, making promises to fill the gap of the last unbroken promise.

It is a dangerous game, especially in business to say you are going to do something and then not do it. People in general, are understanding of what life throws at you; they understand relationships, family, illness and overall busyness that comes from walking the planet. However, when there is always something, always one thing after another that comes up and knocks a promise out, it becomes too much. It’s a little like trying to hug the Tasmanian Devil, sooner or later you have to just get out of the way.

In business, it is very important, as your word becomes your contract. I will deliver X to you by this date. You will have the materials for your project on time, delivered. It can be a costly game. You forget where you are with each person. Were we working on this? What did they need? You are always behind. Each day, you beat yourself up more and more.

I wish all people would have an amazing kid who would tell it like it is, even when it hurts. But, because they don’t I will. What I found was as I stacked one fulfilled promise on another I felt stronger. More in tune, better about myself and my abilities.

There is no excuse other than dying to un-deliver or under-deliver on a promise.

  1. Don’t make promises you can’t or don’t want to keep.
  2. Think about what you are willing to do, what you can accomplish in a time period.
  3. Don’t convey that you can do something if you can’t.
  4. Delegate if you don’t have time, find a way to get the person what they need.
  5. Be present in conversations as you don’t know what you could miss.

Everyone has drama. Some of it is bigger than others. Truth is people, in general are nice. We are all just trying to make our way. We understand if you need more time, or are unable to take on new work at this moment. Accepting our limitations is a big part of being human. Working to better ourselves is another.

Nobody is perfect. We are human after all. It is the pain that causes us to learn.

The learning that makes us better.

Make promises and keep them, be impeccable with your word. People are watching you.

Especially you.

Smiles,

H

Do not dim your light to get approval from others-

DSC01479It is easy to do. When looking for approval or love from a potential mate, family member or work mate; we tend to just want to fit in. We want to be accepted into the fold. People walk the thin tightrope of wondering if we are good enough and always trying to be our best self.

I remember having a (guy) friend who was from a very learned family. He had been put under tremendous pressure to go to college and off to a Masters program. His father was successful in his circles and was thought of as an expert in his field. His mother, although a stay at home Mom, had been educated and could play the perfect role of being a good cook, entertainer as well as keep up with a conversation of world politics at the table.

He fascinated me. He was very smart, book smart. I on the other hand had been raising other people’s children as a profession for a number of years. I wasn’t dumb in any sense but my thoughts were centered on more on peanut butter sandwiches and Sesame Street  than who won the Pulitzer this year and what the P/E ratio is for the top ten stocks of the year. I was about nurturing children, exposing them to nature, life lessons and developing their strengths.  We started dating and it started. He bought me a subscription to the newspaper because he wanted to discuss current events with me. When he handed me four boxes of college vocabulary words to learn, I knew there was trouble. He imagined himself to be Professor Harry Higgins to my Eliza Doolittle character, except in real life. I tried for awhile then tired of the constant badgering to do this and do that, so I would be a proper girlfriend candidate.

We took a trip together, as friends, across the U.S. It was really eye opening to me. We saw 14 states and I saw things I had only seen in magazines. Stupidly, we toyed with getting married in Vegas just for the hell of it. We didn’t- Thank God!

When we arrived at his parents home in Ohio, his mother took me clothes shopping (which was completely awkward, as I didn’t want her to spend money on me, my friend however, convinced me to let her as she didn’t have any daughters and it would bring her joy, ok…).  He was staying there  and I would be heading back to the Northwest, I got to my room and started to pack to leave the next day. It was then that I overheard something that taught me to never try to be someone I am not, for someone else. 

” She isn’t what I had in mind.” He was talking to his father, saying I wasn’t smart enough to be his girlfriend. Not good enough to be his wife someday.

I couldn’t wait to get on the train for home.  I forgot to mention, if only as a side point, the entire trip I had been developing the biggest zit on my face, a borderline boil. I see it now as the festering of something that was not good for me, manifested in physical form.

I have the ability when I am so done with someone to completely disengage and not give a crap. I have seen this as a positive and a negative in my life. When I am done, I am done.

We said goodbye, and I boarded to train. I didn’t look back. I have never seen him since.

He contacted me weeks later and asked how I had managed to leave so cleanly. He had noticed me not look back. I told him what I heard. He was mortified.

Even years later, he carries that with him. The absurdity that one would expect another human being to change completely for another, enrich yes, but to ask them to be someone else. That it was ok at all.

I think people spend too much time worrying about what other people think. They think that everyone is sitting there judging them and wondering why they do this and do that. Truth is, no one really cares what you are doing, they are mostly worried about what other people are thinking about them. And so goes the vortex of unworthiness and lack of self.

I see people so wrapped up in worrying about what other people think they don’t do anything. They sit and watch. They don’t allow the silliness to overcome them, or to giggle at something funny. You won’t see them start singing in a flash mob, you won’t see them running to the plane, they just sit and look around to see who is watching them. I like to call these people “the people who have too many rules for themselves”.

At 12, my friend Erin and I rode the bus to town. We wanted to go to Taco Bell to see how many crunchy  tacos we could each eat. We started the silliness on the bus.

She said “Let’s pretend we are from a different country and speak a different language. It will be fun.”

To which I replied “People will think we are weird.”

And then at age 11, she hit one out of the park- “Who cares, we will never see any of these people ever again.” 

That was the most brilliant thing I had ever heard! It’s true! We didn’t ride this bus all the time, I would never see any of these people again ever in my life!

This is a lesson I have passed down to my kids too, they enjoy being silly, playing spies at the grocery store, talking on imaginary walkie talkies. They crack me up. Most of all, they have a lot of fun. They shine. Their energy and love for life is contagious. Don’t change girls!

I don’t worry either, I just be me.

Reminds me of a quote Dr. Phil once said- “You wouldn’t care so much about what people think about you if you knew how little they did.”

BAM!

With Love,

H