Friday, July 17, 2009

JULY Yoga: Root Down to Rise Up

Tis' the season of growth; every garden is getting greener, every forest thicker, every child taller, and with this season's rainy days and most welcomed bright summer sun, there's inevitably a rash of spontaneous sprouting- stories filled with love and adventure, and rich memories that are the fruit of life.

With all the growth and ripening fruit we can sometimes forget that it is our roots that first connect us with our Source, and it is the integrity of our soil, a metaphor for our values, that helps create our dreams and the life we strive to fulfill.

How well we're nurtured, just as how well we nurture our own soil, is vitally important for the development of our integrity and garden of life. In "Rooting down" and then drawing up the earth's energy into our physical and energetic body, our heart and wisdom center receive the support of the earth and allow us to grow along with and into the flow of Universal intent. When we go against the Unviersal flow of energy toward happiness and bliss, we often are going against our own heart's wishes, but when we root down, and connect with our Source and our roots, we can rise up with integrity.

In our yoga practice, both on and off the mat, we must first consider our foundation; how we plant our feet or hands on the earth, and how we walk our talk. Our Dharmic path comes from a knowing that lies deep within and is nurtured by the soil of our upbringing. When we forget about our roots, or travel around in a mental and physical world that fails to plant roots, and set intentions, then there is a lack of directed creative force enriched by a foundation of values. When we have the confidence that our home is in our heart, and is endlessly supported by God's love, then we can fill it with purpose and values and within this nourishing environment plant seeds, then "root down and rise up" being the best we can be.

How will you know the
Difficulties of being human,
if you're always
Flying off to blue perfection?

Where will you plant your

We need Ground
To scrape and hoe,
not the sky of
unspecified desire.


Apex Asana: Vrksasana & Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Tree & Downward Facing Tree-handstand prep and practice)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Missing Shane - the bicoastal parenting predicament

First off if you want to see an adorably healthy little power yogi, check out my son going from downward dog to to a humingbird like fury of "star, pencil, star, pencil", aka jumping jacks. It's too cute. ---Oops, too big to upload here, visit my Facebook page: Rebecca J. Briggs. Second off, this is long. Sorry. I needed to journal this out.

Tonight is a Green Drinks South County pot luck - an event I get to go to minus my little guy. His green little being is in CA with his papa who lives off the grid in the redwood forested wine country of northern Sonoma along the Mendocino County border. Shane's dad is the real thing when it comes to living wild and sustainably-- Biodiesel old Mercedes, fruit trees in the yard, no refrigerator... a generator, the very hot "sun belt" sunshine, and a battery are the wood stove heated house's only power (tunes, tv & late night lights). I'm sure they've been chopping wood, bushwacking through the forest, and nailing down deck planks.

Papa's got a slew of projects any little boy would cherish being able to do with his father's loving eye and aide. Shane's even got his own bedroom to paint, and a keyboard to take piano lessons on. Shane started art classes this week at Gualala's Art Center and is loving it; it's so adorable hearing him share his culinary and arts n' craft projects with me. I call nightly, but I know Shane isn't big on talking if his heart hurts - sometimes he just doesn't want my distraction. He rather stay present, feeling the pangs of missing one of his parents when they are far away is not easy. I call him nightly and when he asks, "So What are you doing Mommy?" I just gasp with love and fondness, savoring the sound of his high pitched adorable little voice (sounds like my mom - voices are maternal you know).

I feel happy for both him and his father, for sharing time together is bliss and their God given right- Shane was with me through his entire kindergarten school year, 'cept for 10 days over the holidays. But what is a mother to do, when the father wants his son on the West Coast year round, while mom and son have been happily homesteading on the East Coast? Papa loves CA, lives almost rent free, and feels he has more work out there (as a Structural Integration Practitioner, aka Rolfer) and he does; although it's tough in this economy. He does not want to come East at all, and it was only last minute that he got himself east at Christmas time- the ole' money, time from work, bla bla bla, as if those are not issues for me as well. Our family and loved ones have shared our bicoastal travel expenses on more than one occassion, mind you.

The real issue here is, he doesn't like me or RI, and while I love Northern CA and have lived out west for more than 12 years of my adult life, and will take a risk with my personal time and money for a CA adventure whenever I can squeeze it out, he is more financially conservative to say the least. CA is outrageously gorgeous, and full of peace and nature loving friends new and old and yet to be made. And yes, I'm a sucker for not receiving any child support during the year from my son's father since we last moved from beneath the Pacific Sky back in Feb of 2007- it's sort of been an unsaid pack that he doesn't have to pay me atnything cuz he doesn't have any $ and it was my choice to move back to RI. (Note, with pleads I've gotten some financial reimbursement on some of Shane's after school care). Yes, Papa can be a difficult Pr-ck to communicate with, which of course he also says about me. We try to do our best with our dharmic & kharmic paths, and I most often give him the benefit of the doubt, because my intuition and heart know how much he cares for and loves his son... until I get another person's opinion, and until I think about how other moms in my position, facing what they may see and have to embrace, would respond or do in my situation. Most women would never get them selves in such predicaments.

It's a tough balancing act, but I do want to get along, for all of our sakes. Life is just too short to waste time fighting. I think, and I may be wrong, because I DO NOT have all the answers, nor do I want to have them, that Shane's father is angry at me for not being who'd he rather of had this amazingly wonderful child with, and i am indeed a symbol of responsiblity- a parent, an authority figure - I am not his parent, but I am one, his son's, and in so doing we are mirrors to each other and all parents. Moreover, our Mercury's are SQUARED - which is an energy of constantly conflicting communication.

Bottom line is I am a mother and I want my son to have a stable footing, and secure feelings regarding his families love and support for him. I want his roots with us to always be supported with nuturance and enriched with a fertile soil of experiences, education and role modeling that will supply him with the confidence to be who he is, a charming, creative, gentle but courageous spirit, loved and loving, silly and smart, sweet and special to us all. His happiness, safety and overall well being, along with love for himself and others are the underlying principles for Shane's upbringing and I do not want him to be a witness to verbal abuse. I must keep my balance around his father, which often means avoiding situations where he becomes an agressor or defender in a mindcreated war that there is no need for. I am learning more about Verbal Abuse and have a few of Patricia ?'s books ordered- I anxiously await there arrival. (Counselors so far have sucked.)

Moreover, I have lived in CA, and love the great beauty and openess, but feel the east coast is a more grounded environment to raise a child in, with outstanding schools and for me a large base of family and friends and a far lesser -in your face- drug culture, that I do not want to have an impressionable child having to deal with on a regular basis. I love both CA and RI and feel confident with my directed effort I can do what I love where ever I am - teach yoga and educate and advocate natural health and sustainability. Thankfully, Shane, God bless his soul, loves travel and adventure and both coasts. Shane does get very attached to people, places and things though, be it his LEO nature, and he has often stated that he wants to go to Matunuck School still, and I would like this as well, for as a former elementary school teacher in both the private and public sectors, out west and in RI, The Matunuck Elementary School, Principal Deb Zepp and the faculty, especially Matunuck's Speech specialist are far above outstanding!

I also have a loving relationship here in RI, though we've never lived together like a family would, we are finally ready to try it. I matter that in as part of my well being and that of my son's, for love and happiness and positive role modeling of loving, respectfully communicative adults is huge. I wish my dad was more respectful to my mom; he's getting better in old age... at least I think he is. I really think and feel I have a keeper relationship, with a responsible, loving man. I feel supported, balanced and loved, and I feel appreciated and respected, especially when I can work on issues of verbal abuse and mental health with this man. That's important, especially when my son has seen his fare share of dysfunctional adult relationships. Lord help us help ourselves.

So I pray daily for peace and freedom from struggles such as verbal abuse, and perhaps if I continue to direct my energy on the positive and envision the very best scenario for all of us all of our energies will flow towards a happy bicoastal situation where my work brings me to both coasts and all of our lives flourish with love and abundance within the two environments.

Friday, July 3, 2009

California Dreaming

well here I am in Sebastopol, CA. Shane is with his father for the summer. We had a nice few days together as a family, hiking around the Gulala River and around his Papa's Anapolis home, and if it wasn't for the male figure's inability to be a mature adult and calmly converse with me about common parenting responsibilities without feeling threatened I'd still be up in Mendonoma spending a nice fourth of July weekend with them. I tried to politely inquire about concerns that other parents would take up as priorities, apparently he felt I was hovering and being controlling. I just don't know what to do. My intuition tells me to just let him be a parent on his own, make his own mistakes, and hopefully he'll make sure that his son is not damaged or injured by his choices and behavior. Shane is "learning how a guy lives."

My main concern is that Shane continues to have a weak role model when it comes to an adult male communicating respectfully to women, especially to me, the mother of his child; the child he didn't want to have with me, but now loves incredibly. What am I to trust, when a father rolls his eyes when the mother explains the summer homework their child's speech teacher asks for follow through on, and then scuffs at an inquiry over whether he has a first aid kit handy (i mean after all, living off the grid in a mountain house thirty minutes from the nearest town where cutting wood, bushwacking through forest and cliff hiking are common practices, does make one wonder about where the aide is if something sudden and unexpectedly happens.) I wasn't judging him, I was inquiring about the well being of my son. But what really got me was how defensive said father got when I inquired about his plan for childcare when he was at work. You'd think I was asking about his habits! My heart still hurts.

I had to leave so that the father role and appropriate adult behavior could kick in, because unfortunately I apparently create an energy around him that makes him revert back to an antiauthority disrespectful, irrational adolesent. I'm sorry. I will need to keep clear of conversations that triger this distrust in me of him, and trust in his love for his son, that all will be well. I want to do my best to insure my son's well being, as all mother's do, and I do try my best to do so, without interferring with a father's parental duties???, but is the situation I see acceptable? I guess it needs to be. what am i saying?? help!! I'm trying to figure this out as I go along and it's hard.

My Santa Rosa based friend Darrah is in LA and I'm in Sonoma alone waiting to I guess, fly back East. I have three days to wait out, and have very little left financially to work with. I have a number of choices to make right now, and am waiting for some guidance. I'm heading to Healdsburg to camp and we'll see what happens next.