Monday, August 21, 2006

Conscious Parenting

I consider myself to be a good, loving, nurturing parent. Yet as my two-year-old son insisted on being outside in the lovely 70-degree sun, I bemoaned the fact that his unwillingness to play inside was depriving me of valuable work time.

I consider myself to be an independent, unconventional woman who shows by example that following your own passions and dreams, however unpopular, is a liberated life. Yet I was shocked when I learned that my seven-year-old daughter is embarrassed to be friends with someone because other girls don't think she dresses nice.

I consider myself to be a spiritual, reflective person. I was excited, yet harried, to leave town for a weekend without my kids at a woman's retreat associated with my Unitarian Universalist church. I hung back when I got there, withdrawn, worried that my lack of interest in earth-based rituals, chanting, and group hugs left me adrift from the other 80 women. Yet as the weekend unfolded, and I engaged in conversations, I found that we had a great deal in common. We all tended to be women passionate about being part of the world, yet like so many we tend to "fill the hole in our soul," as the keynote speaker put it, with busywork, clutter, listmaking, plans and other distractions, rather than focusing on that which "fills the whole in our soul."

Did I sign up for the retreat so I could be by myself? Or so that I could stretch and explore new things that I might need in my life to balance out the logistics of having two young children, a large house, and growing work success?

I need the space to write. I also need the willingness to learn from other lives.

I consider myself to be self-aware and honest. Yet there is so much I don't yet know.

This is my space for figuring some of it out.