Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dreams and The Dream Box

Dreams, the word "dream," the idea of dreams, the truth about dreams ... all of it has been prominent in my life for the past two weeks (or so).

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought." - Buddha

As part of my spiritual journey, I'm opening my heart to new and different things, ideas, and people. For the first time in a long time, I am attempting to identify very specific things I want for myself and for my family. I'm setting dreams in motion.

I have a very dear friend named Tee - we've known each other since 7th grade - who is years ahead of me on her spiritual path and is a great grounding source for me. Though we do not have identical beliefs, they are similar enough that she can help give me perspective and direction when I need it the most. One of Tee's fundamental truths is that "beliefs create reality." It goes along with the Laws of Attraction and The Secret: what you put out into the universe is what you get back. I've seen it work in her life. As an example, right about when she turned 40, she adjusted - not abandoned - her existing and lifelong dream of marriage and family. She decided that living where she lived would not lead her to the father of her children, so she moved. She focused not on finding someone to "marry" (necessarily) but on someone who wanted the same kind of "family" she was now picturing. She drew a picture of her dream "family" and taped it above her computer. She believed that such a man, and such a family, existed and that she would find them. About a year later, she did and they now have a new family of their own.

For the past year or so, with Tee's help, I have been working on my attitude. I have tried to quiet that voice in my head that is full of doubt and skepticism. I have tried to see the positive in every "bad" thing that has happened in my life. I have tried to stop looking back at things I cannot change and have started moving forward toward change I want. It is not easy; I slip back into my old ways when I'm not paying attention. It's exhausting because it is contrary to habits I have developed for 40 years of my life, but I can see subtle little changes occurring all around me.

After I had a mini-breakdown/pity party for myself a couple of weeks ago, Tee gave me this wonderful card. In addition to the things your dear friends always tell you - I love you, you're fabulous, etc. - she reminded me that things that are worth having are often difficult to get, but they are worth the effort and heartache at the end. She told me that the "bad" things in life are merely the universe's way of shifting our focus off of that which is not important to that which is important. She suggested I create a vision board, and include pictures/ideas/symbols of my dreams, and post it in a prominent place in my home so that I see it every day. A couple of days later, she presented me with The Dream Box.

The Legend of the Dream Box (often attributed to Lemuria) suggests writing down your fondest dream, greatest desire, strongest wish on a small piece of paper, putting that paper in a Dreambox and placing it beside your bed. Every evening as you retire and every morning as you rise, hold your Dreambox and think on your dream, believing with all your heart that is is so. Legend has it, if done faithfully, your dream will come true.

I wrote down my most prominent dream right now and put it in the box. I have also started my vision board, which right now represents 3 very specific dreams that I have for myself.

In January the minister of my church has been going over "the basics" of the Unity/New Thought movement. One of the things I learned is that some of my favorite 19th century authors and poets were part of what is now known as the New Thought movement more than 100 years ago. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the son of a Unitarian minister, held "meetings" with his literary friends - including Henry David Thoreau - to discuss spirituality, including the idea that if you truly set your mind - and your heart - on something, it will come true.

"Be careful what you set your heart on, for it will surely be yours." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

So two Sundays ago I showed up at church for the third lesson on "the basics" and guess what it's about? Dreams! The third basic premise of New Thought is (to paraphrase) the idea that if you take that which is in your consciuos mind, and tell it to your subconscious mind with deliberation and conviction in its truth, your subconscious mind will make it true. Hey, look at the quotes above ... that's what Buddha said, that's what Emerson said!!

The next day was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. "I have a dream" was all over the place.

The day after that was President Obama's Inauguration. Talk about dreams! The dream theme was everywhere: dreams of Lincoln, dreams of MLK, dreams of our forefathers, dreams of a nation, dreams of a people, dreams of a little boy, dreams, dreams, dreams.

So I leave you with this:

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler." - Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Long live the tooth fairy

We hit a milestone in our household last weekend. Sweetie lost his first tooth.

About two weeks ago, I was looking at him while he was speaking to me and I noticed a new "space" in his bottom teeth. I asked "did you lose a tooth?" No. "Do you have a loose tooth?" No. After examination, I discovered the culprit: an adult tooth had broken through and was shoving the baby tooth out of the way.

A few days later, I made corn on the cob for dinner. He took one bite and flipped. "Mom, Mom, I have a loose tooth. You have to only give me soft food!" Then the panic started: is it going to hurt? is it going to bleed? are you going to have to pull it? Drama, drama, drama.

As the week wore on, I would catch him playing with it with his tongue as kids do, but he never said anything about it again.

We were driving home from a little nature hike - on a deserted country road - and all of a sudden he yelled from the backseat, "Mom, my tooth just fell out and it landed in my lap." That was it.

We called Daddy and Mama G to share the exciting news. When we arrived at Mama G's, she handed him a dollar bill "in case the tooth fairy forgets you." Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mom.

We then went to the store to find the perfect container in which he would put his tooth for presentation to the tooth fairy. Whatever happened to the envelope - tooth in, tooth out money in, money out - of my childhood? No, my son wants a treasure chest or something. We couldn't find anything small enough, so he settled for an organza bag used for party favors at baby showers.

The tooth fairy left $5. I think I got a quarter when I was a kid. I hear the tooth fairy gives a lot more for the first tooth these days, and the gift is smaller for subsequent teeth. My son didn't even notice; he was delighted to find that the tooth fairy had in fact come. He checked under his pillow, took the money and stuffed it into his piggy bank, and then came to tell me the tooth fairy did not forget him and she left him a dollar.

It was surprisingly emotional for me. My baby clearly is not a baby anymore. Before I know it I will be dealing with body odor and pubic hair. Eek!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Whatever happened to common courtesy?

Is it just me? It seems that people have stopped using the basic common courtesies we all learned as children. I'm talking the basics, like saying thank you to someone who does something for you that they didn't have to do. I'm talking about saying excuse me if you step in front of someone. I'm talking about speaking to people - no matter their age - in a respectful manner. What happened? Where did it all go?

In the past month or so, I have written letters of recommendation for two of my son's former teachers as they search for new teaching positions, and neither one even said thank you. I don't expect a parade, but is it too much to expect a simple "thanks"? One of the teachers in particular irked me because I have not seen nor heard from her for more than 6 months, my son doesn't even go to her school anymore, and she tracked me down to ask me for a glowing recommendation, and she didn't even have the courtesy to acknowledge receiving it, much less thank me for writing it. Am I being ridiculous?

I was walking through an automatic doorway yesterday and this woman decided to try to go through at the same time as me. She practically body slammed me on her way past me, and when I turned to say "excuse me" she didn't even pause or look back and instead kept barreling through to the store. Isn't it common courtesy to say excuse me when you bump into someone? I say even when I don't think it's my fault, because maybe it is my fault and I don't want to be rude.

And don't even get me started on customer service!! The phrase "customer service" has morphed into an oxymoron.

Kids today - mine included when they think I'm not paying attention - no longer "ask" for things. They issue orders. "I want more milk." "Buy that for me." When mine do it, I stare at them, and they just keep barking orders at me, and I carry on with my business. Sweetie will bark and bark and bark until he finally gets the hint and asks me nicely, but it takes him a long time to figure it out. And the tones of voice that kids use!! Sometimes Sweetie speaks to me in a tone that I never would have dreamed of using with my mother, even when I was a pukey teenager. It astounds me how often I have to say to him, "If I were you, I would think about the voice I am using with my mother and maybe start over." Just tonight, after I told Stinker to "put your shoes on, please, it's time to go" my THREE YEAR OLD said "whatever" and walked away from me. Are you kidding me??

And kids are so bossy and disrespectful with each other. I'm not talking about siblings necessarily, because I recognize that you sometimes reveal your ugliest self with the people who are closest to you. I'm talking about kids who are supposed to be "friends" yet they speak to each other in a voice that suggests they can't stand each other. When did it become "cool" to be a jackass in elementary school?? I always believed the jackass factor didn't kick in until middle school, after kids have at least had a chance to navigate through school for a couple of years. As an example, a boy in Sweetie's FIRST GRADE class told Sweetie very matter of factly that he is a baby. Why? Because he was cold, so he put his arms around me and said "hug me to help me get warm." We're talking 6 years old, not 14!! WTF?? And when I said to the boy, "you know, it's not very nice to call people names" he said - swear to God - "so?"

I don't profess to be the best mother in the world, but by God my kids will learn their manners and they will learn to be respectful, especially of adults. It's a work in progress for sure, and we have a long way to go with our table manners, but at least they usually say please and thank you - especially to people other than me - and disrespect is simply not tolerated in my house.

It's sad enough that kids aren't learning common courtesies, but it's really sad when they don't learn them because their parents don't even utilize them. What has happened to the world?