Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Room to be Wild Part I

Homework Assignment from Deep Storytelling and Archetypal Activism: Sketch out the issue to be addressed, describe how it has spoken to you imaginally, outline the response this calls for, and mention how such a project could transform you and the issue.

Derby Playhouse production of  A Midsummer Nights Dream.   ©Keith Pattison 5 Swinburne Place Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6EA tel/fax 0191 2610884 mobile 07703 560871 vat no 605 6235 59 e mail:

Derby Playhouse production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. ©Keith Pattison


Our culture has lost its wildness. On the whole, we have lost the ability to feel the unfettered freedom and sense of belonging of a well-loved child. We have made nature dirty and a fearful place to be. And in doing so, we have squashed the most free-spirited aspects of our innate feral nature and in the same fell swoop cast ourselves outside of this veritable Garden of Eden. Without our wildness, it is difficult to access emotional honesty because such rawness must be contained as a rule of a dignified society. We cannot allow for the impulsive, unpredictable puckish

behavior inside, nor without. We condemn those who would take to wanderlust or spend days just being in naturally wild places. We have desecrated wild lands by covering them with asphalt and shopping malls and squeezed out the coyotes and rattlesnakes to make room for another subdivision. This sterile, linear civilization has become the mirror to our own taming and created a fear-based, trivial existence.

Comfort Creates Apathy

Millais_-_OpheliaWhen we strive for personal comfort and convenience in favor of connection and community we develop an apathetic indifference to the downstream effect of our actions. We pretend that we can cut the cords to our collective soul both from our ancestors and descendants. Even though this separation is imagined and not real, it is powerful enough to make it so that we cannot hear the voice in the wind or see the wisdom of the changing seasons as metaphors for spiritual awakening. We forget that the world is in constant communication with us and seek only to control and contain the mystery. We no longer know the phases of the moon or signs of impending rain or grow our own food. We no longer remember the power of one person or one act of positive thinking or connect to the value of tribe. The loss of our inner knowing that we belong to a loving, connected web of conscious souls in various forms whose lone purpose is to adamantly live the light of an individual spirit has plunged our society into a collective madness.


A Long Walk Home

20150723_100417I’m climbing to the top of that mountain,” my daughter Ali said, her bright blue eyes staring fixedly at the peak. Inwardly I groaned, knowing that I would be hiking alongside her if that hike is what she wanted.

This specific peak would give us a breathtaking view of the Sierra Crest and a panorama of total wilderness without human habitation anywhere in sight.


But I had been part way up that mountain and I knew it was daunting. Plus, I am in the process of deciding whether or not I like climbing mountains. I tend to find the thrill of talking about it afterwards with a beer at camp, more exciting than ascending or appreciating the view. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but in my defense…. we did have a bitchen camp spot.

Since we had driven fourteen miles into the back country and not backpacked, we had luxuries such as a hammock, an EZ Up, coolers with ice, a solar powered shower.. it felt like frills of a high end hotel that we had all to ourselves surrounded by trees and wild open spaces.Ali and I flowers

But as I don’t see my girl often enough and must cram all my loving into a very short time, I led the way to Funnel Lake along a flat dirt road, easy and peaceful. 20150722_181129Beginning at 10,300 feet elevation, the uphill trek starts with a steep incline just passed the lake through a forest of piñon pines. So although your lungs begin to burn within five minutes, at least there is shade. Then comes the fully exposed slog through the talus field, where rocks that you thought were stable give way and you slip, like a cartoon character running in place and have to catch yourself, sometimes grabbing a black sagebrush or tiny juniper for stability.

“We can do this!” Ali said with the determination of a marathoner. About this time I started calculating how much older I was than her and making excuses for lagging behind.

I was carrying the backpack when Ali’s water bottle dropped. I watched it tumble down the 20 feet I had just climbed, “No!” I cried pitifully. I scooted down the rocks to retrieve the bottle and ripped open the pocket of my pants. As we scaled the bigger rocks, I gained on Ali and the poor girl had a view of my tush for the remainder of the climb. Not the day to gIMG_0038o commando.IMG_0034

Finally, after a 1,400 ft climb in about three-quarters of mile, we bagged Crystal Peak. We then admitted how often we had thought about giving up but didn’t want to let the other one down and laughed. Both of us were determined the sign the little piece of paper Skyler had signed last month. With big smiles we headed downhill for our beers.Ali

Twenty-four years ago, I opted to move to Chicago with Ali’s dad after college graduation rather than travel solo to Europe. Ali had been born three days prior to our first date. I always attributed this decision to a strong desire to heal the karma circle of an absentee father – I wanted to make sure her daddy stuck around, unlike my own. But since my assessment was off, I always felt deep regret for not crossing the Atlantic in the summer of 1991.

As Ali and I toasted each other back at camp, I realized with the awareness of a thunderclap that I skipped out on Europe for a totally different reason. I was meant to have this daughter, this beautiful young woman in my life forever. We were fated for each other. It was her all along. Now we’re planning a trip to Spain.. not sure how many peaks we’ll bag, but we will find the perfect tapas bar. Maybe we’ll even get some writing in.

Ali & I MaskedAli and I sitting


I’ve been on the job hunt for six months, applied to more than 60, maybe 70 jobs. I lost count two months ago at 47 positions when I added the applications in response to my boys’ claim that I was purposely out of work and leeching off their poor, hardworking father. Obviously I vehemently and loudly called BS. And then I took a hard look at how I relate to the word “leech,” my abhorrence to receive help, the pride and shame which prevented me from filing the unemployment paperwork and the unhealthy/yo-yo way in which I attach my sense of self and worth to the work that I do.

As I shedmoon these thoughts, a star has risen with the idea of returning to school, to gain a Masters in Depth Psychology and engage deeply in storytelling via teaching mythology, writing and leading rituals. Here is where my tribe is awaiting me (two psychics, three friends and a partridge in a pear tree told me so).

I try to relax into the idea that I just must get a job toNCWHS pay the bills. I pep talk myself into the idea that I don’t have to be completely synonymous with my 9 to 5 work life while aiming for a larger goal of getting that degree. Maybe the degree will make me even better at what I’m doing. Maybe I will leave this world of public relations and marketing indefinitely. Maybe I will be a sought-after storyteller in all fields, from education to community to nature to business.

storytellerAs for today, I can’t see the path ahead of me and that scares me and makes me really nervous about what new challenges will arise. I’m not sure whether to trust as I fall into debt, preserve energy for an even greater fall or just throw in the towel… but that’ s impossible. I’m a mom who wants more than anything to be here and now with my boys… just not sure how to do that with $76 in the bank to last for the next two weeks. I suppose people have far less and I am resourceful.

Drew CinderSo I have decided to look at the 60 plus jobs as simply not the right fit for me. It’s not that I’ve done anything wrong, am undesirable or unqualified. I am not alone seeking the perfect fit; the perfect fit is also seeking me. I am Cinderella.

glass slippersAnd the glass slipper is scouring the land in search of me and my unique foot. Ansonora feetd what an uncommon, tremendously special foot it is – sweet, cute, strong, tender, powerful, little rough around the edges, grippy, a funky toenail, a tiny bunion, a bright green vine tattoo, an adorable mole on the big toe.. takes an extremely special shoe to bring out the best of my podiatry masterpiece.. to make walking feeling like flying. Sigh.

Honestly, though I struggle with this idea of accepting any old shoe (aka job) as simply as a means to an end. Yet, I can tell you, after half a year of seeking the perfect fit, mediocrity has its merits. And still, even a poor shod eludes me. I am confused and exhausted.

So I rest my thoughts and heart on the idea of being Cinderella, knowing there is a shoe (aka job) seeking me, even as I’m looking for it.. perhaps, this job knows better than I, it is a good fit for “right now.” In fact, it is the perfect fit for my next steps. Our destiny together may be long or a short lived journey, a walk across the bridge from where I am now, safely over the abyss to the next adventure, which in itself is the perfection.


Time for Truth

20150409_184553The progression of morning light illuminating my bedroom is my first indication of time. I wait for inspiration from either the grey, pink or golden light and rise accordingly. The ticks between seconds, minutes and hours have become irrelevant since I was laid off.

When at peace with this rhythmic movement of time, I admire the flowers on my patio, the lush green of the nature preserve below, the swish of the palm tree or the flight of hawks and hummingbirds. Then without warning I am overcome with constriction in my throat and chest and the pressure to take some action that will earn money. I jump up to check emails, texts, Facebook, LinkedIn. Sometimes, true inspiration strikes and I send off my resume or portfolio, connect with someone who may make a difference, or research book and magazine promotions. But, more often than not there is little that needs my attention. A little skittish, I start to think of all the food I can eat in my fridge or start playing solitaire on the computer. But this week, inspired by my boys’ carefree, lightheartedness during Spring Break, I am trying something new. I breathe through the anxiety caused by nothingneReading to boysss.

After several deep breaths, the pressure lessens and a little voice inside my head whispers that it’s okay to be still and enjoy the exuberance and unfettered vibe of spring fever. Breathe. I drop into the “now moment.” Breathe. Gradually the fears of the future drop away.  There is a time and a season for everything. Now is the time to awaken my True Self, honor my True Feelings and be freed from that what keeps me off from my True Purpose. Priceless. Timeless.

Boys on stoopSo instead of cleaning the counter for the third time this morning, I join in with Skyler, belting out a Led Zeppelin tune, dancing like mad around the kitchen. Then listened intently, undistracted as he relayed how he was going “gypsy” today with friends and leaving their cars behind, taking the bus to LaJeff Hawaii & 8th grade promotion 082guna Beach to explore some caves in El Moro Canyon. I reminded him to take some chocolate chip cookies that Kobe and I made earlier in the week. An hour later, Kobe demonstrates a   science experience of water, vapor and atmospheric pressure imploding a can. He shares some of the funnier moments of his week-long overnight excursions with friends. Then he takes off in my car for another adventure.20150405_155624

And I’m left to the quiet nothingness. I check the emails and there are no messages. Breathe, breathe, just breathe, I tell myself. Maybe I could write. And so I do. Because although the sun is high in the sky now, this too shall pass and before I know it, I’ll be watching the twilight recede in the nature preserve below.