I sat on a cloud for a while, but I wanted more. So, I flew in the rings of Saturn, but that just gave me bigger ideas! Then I floated on the surface of a warm-and-bubbly water planet in the light of 3 moons as a flock of shimmering snake-birds slithered through the upper atmosphere. Sitting down to draw pictures with crayons is an opportunity to expand, imagine, go anywhere and do anything. It's a chance to broaden my mind, to play with my creativity and see what learning it brings in the form of a finished picture, alongside my child.
When I was first learning to play the violin, it all felt wrong. The chin rest dug into my neck too much. The bow never felt natural in my hand. Pushing down with my left hand fingers on the strings hard enough to make a clear tone hurt a little. Drawing a straight bow in the sweet spot between the bridge and fingerboard with my right arm was counterintuitive, especially coupled with the left hand's work. Still, with guidance and practice, frustration, tears leading to embarrassment, lesson after lesson after neuron wrap after neuron wrap, something amazing happened: I sounded good. Concert-violinist good. People called me "talented", "prodigy", and later, "genius". Hearing words like that felt wrong. Playing the violin well and the process to get there was just natural to me - I saw all the steps it took to get there. I worked hard, I had help, I learned - we can all do that when we want to. We can all ride through the learning curve and achieve wonderful things for ourselves! I didn't see myself as something special, but I did see the reactions to what I did as special, because people didn't celebrate me like that to me BEFORE I played the violin. This broadened my mind to see how people (including myself sometimes) limit themselves by saying "can't".
An email from a volunteer in Eidan's Son-Rise Program that might have been addressed from firstname.lastname@example.org left me stunned this week. Had I had an iPhone with a next-generation GPS app, I might have heard, "If you're looking for Trained Volunteer Road, you missed Observation AND Feedback." The content of the email was a tirade attempting to undermine how we have chosen to parent our children, painting negatively the things we do with both boys consciously and with our reasons -- I was rattled. Zooming out with my perspective of the situation, equipped with the tools I've gained from The Option Institue and Son-Rise Program, I began to see that I was completely confident about Eidan's Son-Rise Program and our parenting in general, that the judgments in the email did not find a match within my own beliefs, so they left like ants who find no food. I broadened my mind into the sphere of global acceptance, looked at my feelings and found that I was thrown because I fear conflict. And I fear conflict, because I haven't had a lot of great modeling in that area. I looked at the email again and looked for the purpose and intention behind it, which, despite the angry tone and pointed stabs, was authentic and well-intentioned. I decided to do love in my response, to find a way of approaching this as a conversation. Without engaging it as a conflict, but rather an exchange of ideas, I felt comfortable.
The biggest party we'd ever thrown before this week, was our wedding, for about 30 people. Now we presented ourselves with a fund-raising event for 200 people, orchestrating everything from grocery shopping to food display, from clearing the event site of brush and thorns to stacking wood for a bonfire. With musicians (including Jennifer with her drum choir), horseshoes, a moon bounce, portable toilets - it was a mini-festival. On the day of the festival, there was still so much to do that we hit a groove. This groove was more about doing and keeping moving, and less about planning and thinking. I broadened my mind to transcend a feeling of panic. I continued putting my love into it, and started letting go at the same time. If the party rocked, it rocked - if it didn't, I wouldn't beat myself up about it! I would be happy to have done my best, to have aimed high. No worries!
The Option Process has broadened my mind toward an attitude of global acceptance. Whatever happens and whatever they say, I can choose to be happy. Whatever I want to do, I can believe I can do it. Whatever I dream, I can hope that it will manifest. There is nothing we can't choose to accept, until we call it unacceptable. And we can use global acceptance to steer us through our individual challenges (which seem to come regularly and without fail) to opportunities and learnings that are useful to us.