Adventures of a Social Mom

A West Coast woman, living in the South… Living loving and laughing everyday


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The Path

I remember sitting on my grandma’s green, shag rug as a child, about 9 years old. I found a television channel with a man who had a long beard and wore flowers around his neck. He spoke very softly and slowly about things I didn’t quite understand- I was intrigued. Later, I discovered that he was the Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi, which meant nothing to me by name, but I knew I had found something special.

I was raised by a strong mother who took us to church each Sunday, while my father stayed home to watch tennis. We asked why HE didn’t have to go, and my mother replied, “I am not responsible for his salvation, only yours!” I thought that sounded like a lot of pressure, but then I asked, “How do we know we’re going to the RIGHT church?” Even with my limited awareness of the amount of different religions and denominations, I knew there were a lot of churches! She assured me that once we got to Heaven, we would not be punished for something out of our scope of knowledge. Mom was raised with NO religion and started going with friends as a teenager. Throughout her relationship and marriage to my dad, it gave her something to depend on outside of herself. My dad was raised in a strict Methodist family by a father who ruled with a harsh word and iron fist, and a mother who converted from Catholicism to a life where she could have a “personal relationship with her Lord and Savior.” Both of which gave my dad an excellent reason to rebel against this upbringing and did not choose either path. To this day, he refers to himself as a “Born Again Evolutionist.”

My brother and sister and I were always encouraged to be tolerant and open to other people’s ways of worship. At age 15, I chose to be baptized in the Baptist Church. I knew that I was guilty of “sin” and wanted to be cleansed. Pure and simple. I looked at God as a parent who ultimately loved me, but decided what was right and wrong for my life. In high school I struggled with the guilt of having feelings for other women, and I began reading books on the existence of God, the energy or spirit in all of nature, and the concept of reason and ethics. Yeah, I missed out on a lot of Pep Rallies!

Eventually I started wearing stones around my neck and in my pockets, attending the Native American Indian Gatherings, and eating only foods that did not encourage a violent lifestyle. I stopped coloring my hair (a huge sacrifice) and began studying nutrition. Unfortunately, for me, this was not enough… I still felt that there was something else out there for me. By the age of 22, I began visiting different churches regularly. I read the Book of Science and Health, the story of Bahaullah, the Life of Gandhi, the Life of Buddha, and the Bhagvagita. My sister and I were roommates at the time and she attended the singles ward of the Mormon Church. I started going with her because I valued her choices and opinions- even if I didn’t always like her advice. I read The Book of Mormon and fell in love with the security and values it provided. I married and vowed to be a “good Mormon wife” because THAT would make me complete. At 25, I felt that I was no longer flailing about in this life of uncertainty. I had found answers.

Four years later, I had become unhappy with the answers I had been given. I felt oppressed, belittled, and subjugated. I could not logically go back to the “born again” life I grew up in… I felt tired. Not lost, not alone… just tired. I chose NOT to search. Not to move along the path any longer. At the prompting of a friend, I read Siddhartha, and was struck by the similarities of the seemed “struggle” along the path. I had also questioned and committed, but I lacked community. I came across McLennan’s book, Finding Your Religion, and it gave me perspective.

I have come to realize the necessity for community. Not only to commit to being ON a path, but to accept that it will not always be lined with flowers and trees. It may, at times, get rocky or be overgrown with thorns or weeds… but we must still move upward toward the top of the mountain. I don’t need to have the answers given to me regarding every aspect of my spirituality. I find God in little things… I want my son to know that we are more than our bodies, more than our ability to think and reason; we are also a soul that needs to be fed. This can only happen along the path.


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“that the powerful play goes on, and YOU must contribute a verse…” what will your verse be?

When I have made impulsive decisions in my life, held back feelings and conversations because of guilt and shame, I have always said to myself, “oh, just another chapter in this book of life.” I literally see life that way! The Childhood chapter, the Rebellious Teenager chapter, the Mormon wife chapter, the Lesbian mom chapter, the escape to North Carolina chapter… if we don’t take chances in life, if we never know defeat, we can never truly know success, glory, happiness:) Some people like the merry-go-round, but it just goes around… no surprises. I like the roller coaster, up and down, scary and sometimes you stop breathing, white knuckles and sweaty palms! But screaming for joy makes me feel alive…


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Nazi Tucson… it’s a DRY hate…

 

When my son was little, I would drive my son to school in the morning, then I’d switch the radio station from Radio Disney (I know, painful) to KPFK 90.7 to get my fill of what indecency is happening in the world today… Today I was not disappointed because there was a plethora of injustice just waiting to be heard.

 Living and growing up in Southern California, we are accustomed to sharing our neighborhoods with undocumented people… families… who have come here seeking a better way of life. My great grandfather came to this country from Italy for the same reason. He worked any job he could get, sent money back home, and eventually sent for his family to join him. He was a “wop” (without papers) and he deserved the same freedom to thrive that others born on this soil received.

 I believe that making it “illegal” to be undocumented has some serious flaws. Immigration laws don’t need to be enforced, they need to be changed! People need to be able to become registered! The crimes committed at the boarders in Arizona, and others, are not taking place because they are Mexican, but because they are poor. I get so pissed off about “white privilege” in this country and the blindness that white people have about it! It is the same as “heterosexual privilege” and “male privilege” and they are the ones making the laws! Wake up people!

 I am afraid for residents in Arizona… that they will not only be asked to commit racial profiling, but that it will be REQUIRED and they will be prosecuted if they don’t cooperate! I am also afraid for us… if we don’t speak up for others? Who will speak up for us?

 Maybe we should just turn the radio off… and go back to suburbia… and listen to Radio Disney? I choose to fight.

 


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Taking Time to be Present, in a Hot Pocket World

Did you know that Minute Rice and Instant Oatmeal have absolutely no nutritional value? Not to mention the time value! Are we saying that it’s more important to move on to the next thing on our list? That our family is not worth more than 30 seconds in the microwave? How fast do we need to eat? A Hot Pocket has the potential to turn into molten lava in under a minute!

It just makes me laugh to think about how much innovation we have dedicated to technology over time, and the idea that it would make our lives easier… but easier is not necessarily better.

This country has a SERIOUS obesity, and food related diseases, problem. Look around people!

We have kids that spend absolutely NO time having dinner AT THE TABLE with other members of their family! It is SAD. Coincidentally, the acronym for the Standard American Diet. Ironic?

The dinner table is not a place to just consume food, especially nutrient void food. It is a place to come together. It is a ritual meant to unite one’s family. It is a place where we can share and reflect on our day. What did we offer to the world today? What did we learn from it? You don’t have to pray outloud, but you do need to teach your children to be grateful. To take a moment to be silent with each other…

As a child, I remember my dad saying, “Clean your plate… a lot of starving children in Africa wish they had what you have.” I remember thinking that they could HAVE these slimy green beans! But the memory I have of those moments now, is the familiarity of it. The ritual of setting the table all by myself. The feeling I had knowing that I had a place at that table. That I belonged…

So when you are rushing through your day, and just trying to get dinner on the table so you can get to the next thing… Remember that you are creating memories for your child, whether you are aware of it or not. Don’t you want to be present for them? Just take a moment to sit with them… and listen… even if it’s just to the sound of the moment.

 

 


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I had some free time…

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They say if you want something done, give it to the busy person. I happen to be that person. Although I am blogging for fun, I do have a few things I should probably be focusing more attention on… like feeding my son dinner, trying to find lost inventory dollars in my cycle counts, calling back clients to book future appointments, updating my social networking sites, cleaning kitty litter, updating OTHER peoples social networking sites (you get the picture)…

I am using this as an escape and I encourage all of you to post comments and give me feedback and share YOUR stories as well! I enjoy the human connection, but in these times of H1N1, this way has fewer germs. Embrace your keypad!