Thursday, March 27, 2008

Loons across the Universe

The wonderful thing about connections between people is they do not have a mileage limit, and you don't have to pay for the gasoline either! I am sure a lot of military families are feeling this "connection" right now. If there is someone far away that you are missing - know that this connection IS there, you may just need to be silent for a moment and listen for it, or look for the little signs. This is a funny story that illustrates those connections...

Four weeks ago I picked up my daughter from the Science Center where her friend had a birthday party. As usual, she wanted to visit the science store and see what her closely guarded $5.00 could buy. I didn't mind. The Science store often had fun items to look at. So we browsed around. There were many items for under $5.00 so I started to get bored way before Sofi did and started looking at everything I had not looked at during my first run through. Then I felt a pull towards this rack of Audubon Society bird-call birds. It could have just been the sale sign that "pulled" me, you never know :) But what happened after that was very interesting.

I started looking at the birds and thinking how I should purchase some of them for our family. I love toys and items that involve bird calls - I enjoy walking through the nature trails and being able to identify the birds by their calls. We have a large book at home that has 123 bird calls in it but I was thinking to have such a wonderful visual would be nice as well. So I started to sift through the birds but I was not inspired until I came upon a baby loon.

All of a sudden it was like my mind completely shifted and was "taken over" by a new idea. I don't know where the idea came from. I thought "Emily and Josh would like these baby loons. I will buy them and send them to Emily and Josh. They probably miss their loons at the lake."

Emily and Josh are kids who used to be students in my Waldorf Enrichment School when we lived overseas. We are friends with their family and we visit their cabin every year in Michigan and enjoy their company and the loons on the lake. My daughter, who is overseas living with her dad right now, goes to school again with Emily again this year.

So the loons were purchased with me still shaking my head thinking why am I doing this? I don't have extra money to spend on every little gift I want to buy for everyone. They are dear to my heart but I don't usually send gifts overseas and why didn't I buy the birds I wanted? And Emily and Josh probably have so many loon things already! Why would they even want loons? I am so silly!

The loons were shipped off in a box a few days later to my daughter.

Three weeks later I heard the following story:

One morning Emily and Mosi were talking in school. The big news for Emily that day was that "her" loons at the lake had had babies! She was very excited and spoke as if she wished she were there and could see them.

Two hours later Mosi went home for lunch, found the package I had sent and brought the gift for Emily and Josh to her. When she opened up imagine the surprise! Wasn't she just wishing she could see "her" baby loons?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Expectations and Energies

One of the most useful things I learned as a mother was when a Waldorf teacher said to me, "a lot of our anger or frustration towards our children comes from false expectations of what they are capable of" Over the years this knowledge helped me to become a better mother. But it has also helped me realize how, in life itself, expectations can often be our "downfall".

We are often well-equipped to deal with expected traumas and trials but when we are hit by something "unexpected" we lash out and ask the world "why?" - Why am I being treated this way? Why did this person do this to me? Why is this person acting like this???

Last week I had to laugh at myself when I was caught in a situation where I exposed my weakness to this principle. A month ago I contacted someone with the best intentions, as the moderator of an e-mail list, suggesting that they modify their post. I was trying to prevent someone else from being hurt by their words and I felt my e-mail to them was very diplomatic.

However, their response was very negative. They questioned many things about me and my e-mail and it upset me very much that they responded to me in that way. I spoke to my friends about it and my reaction was filled with phrases like, "Why didn't she take my e-mail in a more positive way?" , "How could she attack me like that?" and "I am so hurt".

What made me laugh was that a few days ago I posted a video to the Internet that I was almost sure would contain something to offend some people. I did not intend to offend anyone but I did realize that the topic I had "tackled" was a bit of a touchy subject for some people so I was open to my e-mail box being filled the next day with angry mail. I would not have minded if fifty people wrote to me and said I was awful. As it was, nobody wrote any mean letters to me.

I sat staring at my e-mail box the next day shaking my head and wondering, "Why are people not over-reacting? Why don't I have any angry e-mails? Will they be coming tomorrow?"

Then I started laughing! This was the same desk and same position I had been in three weeks ago when I asked a different question, "Why is this person over-reacting? Why did she send an angry e-mail?"

Why is it that sometimes, then, we are open for feedback and sometimes we are not? Why are we happy to listen to some feedback and others we are upset by? Why do we feel attacked at times and other times we are happy to "be attacked"? Expectations. It is an awareness that can heal many areas of our life.