costs and benefits

we make choices in life. Each choice has costs and benefits. we balance it out as best we can and move forward in the direction of our dreams. i have made some poor choices. i have bullheadedly made some poor choices certain that I am on the right path for me, or for our family. Life went on in it’s progression in the only way that it could given those choices.

Some days choices come into question. and we’ve got to be willing to look at it. in fact, when we’re not willing to look at it, then we *really* need to look at it.

For example, we unschool. That’s pretty extreme. Most homeschoolers provide *something* for their kids. Our kids get a whole lot of R&R. Now, part of me is very, very happy about this as I see kids sick and stressed pretty much everywhere. My kids do not have that problem. They are lonely. Yes, and I so wish we had something like the youth group that shaped Tucker’s teen years. We’ve tried several things and they’re always such epic fails that I have been convinced it is more productive to NOT do it anymore and trust that things are ok. But they’re lonely. And so are Tucker and I. Friends are fun. We don’t have many, and the ones we do are really scheduled so it’s tough to find times. This is a real cost. We feel slightly less isolated knowing this is an epidemic and connection is a huge opportunity for society to address. We address it by paying attention to it. And I feel connected through my evolutionary online relationships and courses, but our IRL sense of community is anemic.

For the most part, our home life is extremely pleasant. this is mostly because tucker is funny, or at least light-hearted and in so being diffuses my always-on-a-trigger-to-defend-myself from my less friendly, busier, louder upbringing. Two kids is a lot easier than five, and while there’s something to be said for the vivaciousness and diversity in a large family, there’s something to be said for the peace of a small one.

I feel like a very bad parent right now, and it’s possible i’m even worse than I think (and what i’m thinking is pretty cringeworthy). while i am thinking those thoughts, I feel my body tightening, contracting, almost tingling in anxiety. I can almost taste the hormonal cocktail fueling my spiral into wrongness.

Yet, if I take a breath and see where that thought shows up in my body, my body relaxes in inquiry… hmmm.. where does that show up? oh, a bunch of places. there’s a set-ness in my jaw, and a bit of a cringe in my jaw and eyes and some tingly tension between the jaws, then all this shoulder raising and maybe high-tension wires across my chest. and a cringing in my heart – disappointment realized, my worst fears come true.

And because that’s the strongest, that’s the one I’m going to tend to first. Hello, disappointment realized, my worst fears come true as expressed in a high pitched tingly feeling in my heart (that I know realize magnitizes the tension in my jaw)…. I am here. I feel you. You are here. Let us breathe. I do not resist you. I am present [the heart is already feeling almost normal, but the jaw is even more tightly wound] I am comfortable being here with you, you don’t need to change. I mean, you can relax if you can relax, but if not, I get it – stay tense for as long as you need, but know i’m not resisting you.

feels like quite a lot of thinking for a physical practice. Where does that thought show up in my body?

I’m feeling calmer now. and the possibility that I really am a reprehensibly bad parent may be true, and almost certainly is true from a certain perspective (maybe even from a broad range of perspectives). But my children also have some deep privileges I facilitate. So the opposite is also true.

These thoughts show up as denseness in my skull.

Hello, denseness in my skull. I do not resist you. you’re here, and i am happy to be noticing you even if you are uncomfortable. I know that being present to my body changes the trajectory of my thoughts and habits, especially that bad habit of ignoring my body, ignoring the bountiful signs life is giving, and focus on these pictures in my mind and of the world in order to generate a picture of how i can achieve what I think would make me happier. Heck, I’m exhausted just thinking that one.

I have to go now. I have to re-engage with a conversation and vision of the future from a kid who is living a very non-traditional life and really values so much of it but is really grieving the costs. I will probably put my foot in my mouth (again), i’ll make it more dramatic than it has to be all in the name of making sure he knows we’ll facilitate whatever he wants – even when having to decide what he wants feels like too much of a responsibility for a twelve year old, but is the most essential life skill. It’s hard to really know what we want – i mean it is very easy to have a lot of vague notions about what might be good, but to know what we want? Hell, I’m 50 I literally realized this week that i’ve been operating in this vagueness instead of getting really clear. and i have a glimpse of really clear just in this last month, although with slowing down in this last year, but so much moreso even just this week.

Anyway, I have to go live the life i’m in, doing the best I can, and trust that that’s going to be ok. and i’m so grateful to have spent a minute diffusing it by spending really less than 5 minutes repeatedly turning my attention to my feeling state, in a 40 minute or so ‘thinking about bodyfulness”/writing/chronicling the process.