Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

For Parents: Clean Sweep

October 18, 2008

Fall Fruit, pastel by Annie Fox

Fall Fruit, pastel by Annie Fox

I wasn’t home much this past week due to a cross- country trip, plus several speaking gigs at local schools. And the two weeks before that? Hmmm… let me think. Why does it seem like such a blur? Oh, yeah! It’s because between us, David and I have been crunching on three major deadlines and two minor ones. There’s actually a sixth — the redesign of my website, but since that hasn’t even made it yet to a middle burner, it doesn’t count.

So, with virtually all my deadlines completed, I felt like I’d been sprung. And for the first time in a long while, I had the freedom to do some things that I love.

As I chopped a red pepper for an omelet and savored its insanely vibrant color with half my brain, I made after-breakfast plans with the other half. What a day off I was going to have! Bread baking, gardening, yoga, meditation, a bike ride, a movie, and some artwork. I’m sure I would have gotten to at least two maybe three of those activities, if a bit of pepper hadn’t attempted suicide over the edge of my kitchen counter and I hadn’t bent down to rescue it and subsequently seen… the FLOOR!

Any neutral observer would have instantly awarded it a solid 8 on the Disgustitude Scale. So either we’d been too busy to notice and/or attend to the increasing muck at our feet OR we’d have to admit that we’re just not very tidy folks. And that’s just isn’t the case. (Ask our friends!)

Because I have a strong bias against dirty floors (when I notice them) I tossed out my fun plans and grabbed a broom.

Sweeping has a calming effect on me. It has a psychic/spiritual component to it. Think about it. There is dirt on the floor that you haven’t noticed… or that you have noticed, but, for whatever reason, you’ve chosen to ignore it, endure it, or deny its significance. There are several ways you can wake up to reality. Often, for me, it happens when I pick up something that’s dropped and I can no longer recognize the fallen item because of all the floor bits now clinging to it. Or maybe you trip over something. Or you’re doing downward dog and you’re at eyeball level with some dust buffaloes.

Whatever has brought you to this new level of consciousness, be grateful. You have awakened and suddenly you SEE what’s really there. Now it’s decision time. And when the decision is to do something about the crumbs, the dog hair, the garlic skins, the dried leaves that blew in when you opened the front door, well, I don’t know about you, but that’s the time when I start feeling empowered. Which is why, for me, sweeping begets more sweeping.

And while I swept the kitchen, then out on the deck, then down the stairs to the front gate… then out into the driveway and down the sidewalk, I thought about the upcoming election. (You’ve heard about it, right?) I thought how I, along with 89% of Americans currently feel like our country needs a scrub down. So if you’re feeling some of the frustration, sadness, anger, revulsion, betrayal, embarrassment, shame, despair, outrage, confusion, and bewilderment from the past 8 years that I’ve felt, then what are you doing about it?

November 4th is 17 days away. Got your broom ready?

Filed under: Meditation,Parenting,Politics,Yoga — Annie @ 2:58 pm
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For Parents: A Note to My Future Self

August 20, 2008

It was the end of yoga class and we had just finished svasana, my all-time favorite pose! For those who don’t speak Sanskrit, the translation is roughly: “stretched out on a folded blanket preferably with cushions under your head, knees and feet, chillin’ after spending the previous 90 minutes twisting, stretching and standing on your head while breathing consciously and trying to keep at bay all intrusive thoughts of life outside the yoga studio.” It’s called the corpse pose and it only looks easy.

When our teacher Laurel invited the bell, we 8 students brought our consciousness back into the room then slowly brought our bodies up to a seated position. In front of each of us was a yellow index card, a blank envelope and a pen.

Laurel said: “On your card, write today’s date. Then complete the following sentences:  I am letting go of _____________________ .

I am giving birth to ________________________________.”

For me the big draw of yoga and meditation has always been the promise of a ticket out of my Monkey Mind. That’s why I was surprised that Laurel seemed to want us to think and write.  But I totally trust her, so I completed the sentences. Then I sealed my card in a self-addressed envelope, handed it back to her and moved on to my next bit of mental madness.

5 months later the card showed up in my mail box. Because I wanted to play a joke on my future self,  I wrote “From a Friend”  in the return address. That, and the fact that the postmark was from Boston left me momentarily confused. What “friend” do I have in Boston??

Then I recognized my own handwriting and opened the envelope.

“March 24, 2008 – I am letting go of judgement of  myself, of situations, of other’s actions and reactions.  I am letting go of dualism. I am giving birth to the next level of my work.”

I’ve always been into setting goals, so I liked reading about giving birth to the next level of my work. Then the very next day (I swear this is true) I was notified that I had been selected to give a workshop at the annual Middle School Association Conference in Denver in November. This will be the first national venue I’ll be speaking at. The next level of my work? Could be. So maybe there’s something to be said about putting your aspirations out there while sitting on a sticky mat.

As for the letting go part, I’ve gotta be honest.  (Actually, I don’t have to be, ’cause you’d never know, but why the hell not?) Being judgmental and opinionated has always been my M.O.  It’s what I do. So it’s impossible to say that I’ve “let go” of even a micron of this tendency. But it can’t hurt to aspire to change, right? And the yellow index card sits right here on my desk here as a constant reminder to quit judging myself for still being so judgmental.

Well, here we are… almost September. If you took a minute to think about yourself and the way you are in the world… or the kind of relationship you want with your kids for this new school year, how might you complete these sentences?

I am letting go of __________________________.

I am giving birth to ______________________________.

Your thoughts?

Filed under: Announcements,Meditation,Parenting,Yoga — Tags: , — Annie @ 1:29 pm
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