Mere Intention

be vulnerable

Month: December, 2012

Burning

My daughter had a full blown break down this evening while getting ready for bed. There are many factors that played into and lead up to the uncontrollable chaos – ice cream cake and a movie that lasted past normal bedtime – and man, was it a good case of freak-out.

Since she was born I’ve struggled with how to relate to her and give her the support and affirmation that she needs. She is a different kind of being and operates on a different level than me. Her almost five years of life has had moments of extreme stress induction on multiple occasions, sending me (many, many times) into crazy lady (Monster Mom) state of borderline psychotic behavior I’ve never experienced prior to this beautiful girl.

Tonight I was able to stay calm, to not raise my voice, to keep my hands in my lap. I know how to make myself physically big, hands in the air, crazy raised voice, to shock her into calming down – but this is not acceptable behavior for me. Tonight I kept my shit together. Tonight I talked to her in a firm voice about her behavior choices, about how her actions have consequences. When the screaming in my face was not lessening, I left the room, told her I would talk to her when she calmed down, and closed the door behind me. I sat on the floor in the hall while she screamed in frustration, called me Bobble Head (the worst insult she can think of), kicked the floor, screamed for me to come in…I sat quietly in the hall and calmly told her that I would come back in when she could speak to me without yelling, that she didn’t have to stop crying, but HAD to stop screaming in my face.

Finally, she was ready.

I walked back into the bathroom and against the wall, right next to the toilet, was my baby girl, back to the wall, knees to her chest, head buried in her lap, hands over her ears. Her light green gingham twirly long dress draped over her, only toes peeking out, hair covering her face. My heart shattered.

I sat down on the toilet and asked her if she wanted me to hold her. NO! I moved immediately to the floor, across from her, and placed my hand on her foot. KICK! I scooted across the floor and leaned up against the tub, my feet extended across the room and just sat for a minute. She eventually looked up at me, burst into tears and jumped in my lap. I held on. Both arms wrapped around her, both my hands on her body, hoping that she can feel the unbridled love jolting from my body to hers. Osmosis. We were one for a moment.

I asked her if her body feels weird when she gets upset. Does it feel hot or cold or itchy or tickle-y? In her head or in her body?

In a pleading, teary voice, “It burns. Mom, it burns all over and comes out the tips of my toes. It burns out my fingers and my eyes get funny and I can’t see things properly. It feels like I can’t be around people anymore.”

I could hardly stand it. Why is my baby hurting and feeling things this intense? How do I help her discover ways to manage these things before they ‘burn’ her?

We decided that we will practice talking about how her body is feeling as she’s starting to get upset and see if we can give her some personal time to take a breath, sing a song, scream, or read a book – alone. Before the burning starts.

I don’t want to walk in on anyone I love curled up on the floor next to the toilet at the end of their emotional rope. Crap, I don’t want to experience that with people I don’t love. It’s such a desperate place – and I’ve been there. Many times. But a child. My child. Such raw, real, uncontrolled emotion.

I love this girl. More then I ever thought possible. I will do everything I can to provide her with the support and encouragement she needs to learn how to function in this crazy, hurtful world withOUT feeling like she’s burning. I want to help her create an expression of herself where she pours light and love from the tips of her toes and her fingertips, still with raw, real, uncontrolled emotion.

Poo!

So, since I live at 5,000 feet above sea level, levain (sourdough starter) develops quickly. I think it died.

I couldn’t keep up with the feedings – because I needed to, like, sleep. And it’s flour and water, not a human, therefore I’m not getting up to tend to it when normal folk are snoozing.

I’m trying to revive the goo, we’ll see how it goes.

The hardest part is the patience. I can hardly wait to bake some amazing, crusty, holey bread. I just need the damn levain!

Levain

I’ve spent the better part of the last year pursuing the art of baking bread. I don’t think I’ve made the same bread twice…I like to play with ingredients too much. Honey instead of sugar, bread flour and wheat flour one time, all all-purpose flour next, olive oil instead of butter, adding garlic and thyme and rosemary and basil, cheese. Yeah, so much for perfecting anything. But!

I’ve turned a corner in the bread baking world. I started a levain this week!

I’m not calling my levain a sourdough because, according to my reading, sourdough is very specific to San Francisco style sourdough bread. I’m not making SF style sourdough – as far as I know.  I’m just making a sour starter (levain) that will be used to make bread. And hopefully I won’t kill it. Dudes. It’s awesome.

I mixed water and flour and life emerged!

12.5.12

2pm

Supplies

Supplies

My grandma milled this wheat for me from her stash of hard red winter wheat. It will be the main food for the levain for a while, then I’ll switch to King Arthur bread flour…cause it’s more accessible than Grandma’s wheat. She and her wheat are in Oklahoma.

Equal parts flour and water

Equal parts flour and water

1130pm

Two bubbles!

Two bubbles!

12.6.12

815am

Special liquid

Special liquid (hooch)

More bubbles

More bubbles

2pm

Hooch and beginning of seperation

Hooch and beginning of separation

430pm

Look at that fermentation!!!

Look at that fermentation!!!

More magic hooch

More magic hooch

12.7.12

10am

Lots of bubbles

Lots of bubbles

11pm

I'm in love

I’m in love

Magic

Magic

So, next week I plan to make my first loaf with this levain.

I was inspired to jump into this by the book 52 Loaves by William Alexander. His (mis)adventures in pursuit of the perfect loaf of bread, baking a loaf a week for a year…great reading.

I will name the levain soon. I’m open to your ideas and suggestions!

Stopping

“Stopping is not passive, stopping allows us to look at the world as if we have seen it for the first time. Stopping stops us from keeping things alive beyond their appointed time. Stopping makes us realize everything is going to disappear, including ourselves, and enables us to stop trying to act as if we were immortal. We begin to realize that disappearance can be as miraculous as appearance.” ~from The Three Marriages by David Whyte

Stopping is next to impossible. Even if we can get our bodies to stop moving for a bit, our minds don’t know how to turn off.

Phones beeping to say that someone is contacting us or talking about us. Kids calling out for their butt to be wiped or after having a bad dream. The dvr needing to have some shows watched to make room for more to be recorded. Swishing of the dishwasher, thumping of the dryer, buzz of another load of clothes washed. Dogs needing to shit. Said shit needing to be picked up.

What happens if we intentionally put ourselves in an environment that helps facilitate stopping. Where do you need to go? How long do you think it would take you to get to the point of being able to breathe a single cleansing breath, to feel any sort of release, to just sit with yourself?

It takes me at least 48 hours for me to start to unwind. 48 consecutive hours of silence and alone-ness…to start the process of stopping. This seems impossible, yet I need it.

How do we pursue these needs and support one another in the process?

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  It can be found here.

Solitude – A Personal Reminder

A friend recently blogged about her experience of a silent retreat she attended: Solitude Retreat.

Reading her post reminded me of a trip I took back in April. It was the last day of my job and when I’d finished everything up at the office, I came home, packed up the car and left town while the rest of my family was at school and work.

I took a beautiful two hour drive and set up camp in a one room cabin for the weekend. I read, I wrote in my journal, had a snack, listened to music, laid in bed and started at three foxes in the pine ceiling of the cabin…just basically did nothing. It was great.

On Saturday I drove west and discovered beautiful ranches and open land that led me right up into a national forest. I got out of the car and hiked up into the pines at one point. Found a tree and squatted and leaned my back against it. The sound of the forest is amazing. The scent is overwhelming. I could hear the breeze high up in the tree tops, twenty feet above my head. Then, slowly, the tree began to sway. Rocking me. My chest ached and I cried.

I eventually went back to the cabin and did more laying around. Sunday was the same. I spoke only to order food. I did yoga on boulders on the drive home. Tree pose on gigantic rocks is now a practice for me.

Abi’s post reminded me of mt experience in the forest and my need to seek silence and solitude. Thanks, Abi!

Reach

While I was waiting for the 6am flight out of  Tulsa on Thanksgiving morning, I was pleasantly surprised at my fellow travelers demeanor’s – calm, mostly quiet, kind. And this was not because it was 440am. I continued to observe this throughout the day as I made my way home through three airports.

While quietly standing against the wall at the terminal waiting to board for the first leg of my travel, I was struck by the sight of a woman and her two year old daughter walking toward the gate. I have traveled that early with a two year old – not fun. As they walked past me I saw that the monkey backpack the little girl was wearing had a “tail” that mom was holding on to. You know what I mean by “tail”, right? (I’m not judging the use of a leash with a two year old, especially in an airport…)

As I stood there and watched the little girl look around at everyone, turn and talk to her mom, walk as many steps from mom as she could and then scream out to the audience, I noticed that her little arms were just hanging at her side. I almost burst into tears.

I felt my heart breaking that (in this particular moment) this child had no one actively creating a space of comfort and reassurance. No one touching her. She was depending on no one – she was waiting for the tug of a piece of fabric.

When we’re babies learning to walk, our parent stands behind us, bent over at the waist with their arms reaching down to us, holding out their index fingers for us to reach above our heads and clutch onto them as we learn to balance and become steady on our feet, eventually learning to walk on our own.

As toddlers we hold hands with adults to be lead to places and experiences. The potty, bedtime, crossing the street, walking into the grocery store. We hold an arm above our head and grasp a hand and we just know that that hand is taking us where we need to go.

As young children we still reach up for the hand to guide us and only let go of it when we’re completely sure everything is under control.

We raise our arms and reach for guidance all through our lives.

To be lead, to be helped, to be comforted. To offer praise, express exasperation and frustration, to show anger, to ask questions. We hold hands to show love, offer discipline, to show trust.

What happens if we aren’t raising our hands? Or aren’t offering our hands?

When I looked at the little girl in the airport, I prayed that this “independence” was an isolated (or at least rare) event for her.

No one should have their regular interaction with the world with their arms hanging down by their sides. We should all be reaching down and over and up all of the time. This is how we learn expectations and boundaries and practice trust. This is how we get and give life.

Reach.