Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day 222- Cesar

I hear a fumbling at my door, and in bursts a little naked firecracker named Cesar, speaking at the top of his lungs, “HEY KIM! WHAT YOU DOING?”, and before I can answer, “What you doing Kim!? You must plaaaay with me! I WANT that!”. And Cesar will come and lean on my desk, or climb into my lap and put his nose right up to mine, look into my eyes, “what you doooing?”
What a unique childhood Cesar is growing up in, growing into, and co-creating along with all of us here at the Desteni farm, now including myself as well. Sometimes I sit in my room at night and work on the computer, and I can hear snippets of conversations going on outside my door. Leila and Gian discussing challenges they are facing with Cesar, Leila and LJ contemplating parenthood, or Maite and Leila sharing experiences from the day with their children. And I listen in fascination as I am not used to such deep and profound topics, or innocent and vulnerable sharings being discussed so openly by the people I am living with. Nothing is secret here. There are no backroom conversations or guarded whispers nor groups within groups. So, when I hear these pieces of conversation, I am not being privy to some exclusive exchange, I rather feel honoured to have captured a moment of the lives of those I am living with. One such moment included Gian and Leila discussing a challenge they were facing with Cesar. I heard Gian say that their son is a creator, not a destroyer, and so he would treat him as such. I know that Cesar does destroy many things, as most children do, as he is learning the difference between ‘toys’, ‘tools’ and also electronic devices, and how to handle them differently. But when he does this Leila and Gian give him his own devices (like an old laptop), or something similar that he can take apart and learn about how it works. He has even come up with his own inventions, like a mouse that you can use from one side of the room, attached to a computer on the other side of the room. This is how they took what most would label as ‘destructive’, and turned it into nurturing Cesars creative ability. And so I am learning from them, and from Cesar, what it means to raise your child within a certain set of principles, using understanding and re-direction instead of lists of rules and regulations. Which brings me to something I heard Leila say when talking about parenting with LJ. She said “maybe I am as much Cesar’s child as he is mine.” This took the ground right out from under my feet, as I have always seen myself in the role of ‘adult’, ‘teacher’ and ‘the one that knows’. But as soon as I heard her say this, I realized everything Cesar has taught me in the short amount of time I have been here. Cesar is teaching me what it means to be patient with myself. He challenges the fuzzy logic I have lived by for so many years with one simple question: “why?”. I have been learning from Gian and Leila about explaining things in a way that makes sense. Because in reality, everything is quite simple, especially in nature, there is a sound reason for everything. It only gets complicated when you get into the mind-made systems of humanity. Like, try explaining rationally why eye-lash curlers exist, or why do certain pens have decorative bits on them. Cesar is also teaching me about persistence and getting things done. He will not let go of a point until he understands it, and can repeat it back in his own words and understanding. He usually has to hear ‘no’ several times, accompanied by an explanation until he is satisfied and will let the point go, or at least wait till he’s bigger. He can wait and be patient when he understands WHY he must wait – especially since Leila and Gian make a point to live their words, and see through the promises they have made him. There is a trust that when Leila says she will do it later – she will – every time. If not, there is always a valid reason, and then Cesar can decide to throw a tantrum, or understand – either way he will be supported back to stability through the adults around him remaining stable no matter what he throws at us. And that is another thing I am being faced with. Pure, unadulterated self-expression in every moment. One time I was responding to emails, and the internet was not working. My emails wouldn’t send and I couldn’t open my inbox after having restarted my computer. My frustration was growing and becoming unbearable. Cesar walked into my room and just screamed at the top of his lungs. Now, there were no dogs around, no one was sleeping, and the baby was in her room with the door closed. Cesar understands there are times when he needs to be quiet around sensitive ears, or consider others while they sleep. So, when I saw it was a moment where it was ok to be loud, I realized that yes, this was exactly how I was feeling. My frustration was triggered in that moment and it was made clear how much of an effect it was having on my body. So, we screamed together, and I just let it out. And that was it. Cesar just walked away, and I closed my laptop realizing there was nothing more I could do in that moment. I decided instead to do something physical to get out of my head and back into my body – avoiding a whole play out that would have normally led to a migraine and pain in my body. Cesar supported me because when he is feeling something, he brings it here naturally and deals with it as best he can and as he knows how. He does require the support and understanding of adults, where we can give him words to explain what he is going through and find ways with him to direct it. But, the thing that he can do so naturally that I struggle with, is to confront what is going on inside him in the moment. I have learned over the years, how to suppress and push down emotional experiences that I did not know how to direct. In supporting Cesar, or watching Leila, Maite, LJ and Gian support their children, I am learning to support the part of me that still has the need for understanding and direction. There is a part in all of us that is still like a child – one that requires words to express, understanding to navigate, gentleness to learn, support to direct ourselves, listening, hearing, and lots of growing pains. Since I’ve been here at the Desteni farm, I have been spending time with Cesar, and at the same time, getting to know the child within me. This way, we learn together. I get to see the world through his eyes, and he through mine. I am inspired by his maturity, independence, and fearlessness at his young age, and he gets to climb up my legs, tackle me on the bed, and just be Cesar. Happy birthday little C. I'm honoured to be a part of your life!!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 221 - Why Are We Afraid to Cry?

I recently had a good cry. I was opening up to Sunette Spies about my appreciation for her and the process she has walked in her life, and I suddenly became teary. I realized why and I will explain that point later, but what struck me in that moment was how it affected me that someone else was seeing me cry. In that moment, I felt like I wanted to hide it, suppress it, and just try to stop and put on a brave face.

When I saw I could not stop it and it had to come out, I wanted to go back to my room and cry in private. But no such luck here at the Desteni farm – this is communal living, and my room is in a house with 7 other people – people that truly care and will go out of their way to ask me what’s wrong, and then open up the point with me until I am satisfied that I see and understand it – unless of course I ask for my space, which I did not.

I did not ask for space precisely because I wanted to challenge this point of being embarrassed about crying in front of others. Leila came in to my room to give me my phone, saw I was crying and asked what was going on. I told her what happened and what I had opened up in the moment with Sunette. I also told her I felt embarrassed about crying, and within myself, I could see that I was feeling a bit out of control due to the emotions welling up and overcoming me, and I felt exceptionally vulnerable.

I have been living in this house where Leila’s son Cesar also lives. He is three, and he immediately expresses everything that comes up in himself without judgment. I used Cesar as an example for me of how to ‘let it all out’ unconditionally, without judgment.

Soon LJ came in and I talked with him as well. I felt no judgment whatsoever from the two of them, which made it plain to see that the only judgment I was feeling was my own. LJ gave me THE most unconditional hug, which was exactly what I needed right then, but which made me want to cry even louder and harder. It brought up this one specific memory from way back, when I was about three. I was in my dad’s arms and I was crying. I was crying in that way that children cry, when the sound that comes out is like a deep, guttural sound coming from the very core of the child. The memory stayed with me because, although I was upset about something, I remember it feeling good to let it out., like it was natural, it was not supposed to be kept in.

I can see how, over the years, I developed judgments about showing my emotions, and slowly over time, began to stop myself in moments where I would have otherwise had a good cry or even a quick cry. It eventually became ‘natural’ for me to suppress crying – within this, suppressing the reasons for which I wanted to cry, leaving them unchecked and left to fester deep down inside of me. Soon, I became comfortable with being uncomfortable, often feeling like I was carrying around an emotional burden that would just sit there with me and become triggered in moments, where I would have to push it back down again.

The last time I can remember ‘letting it all out’ was alone in my room. I had just come back from my visit to the Desteni farm in 2015, where I had gotten in touch with myself in ways that I forgot were even possible. When I got home, what hit me was how much of myself I suppress while living my ‘normal life’ in the system, at work, and with friends and family. Now, keep in mind that I liked my ‘normal life’. I thoroughly enjoy my family and friends, this has nothing to do with them. I simply had been dealing with some patterned behaviour that I couldn’t see until I took a step out of it within my visit to the Desteni farm back in 2015.

I also decided back then to ‘let it all out’ when the realizations came up. I cried alone in my room, a deep, wailing cry into my pillow. It felt good, but I did not fully understand or get to the bottom of it. I left it at ‘I have seen the way things could be’, let it all out, and moved on.

As adults, there is a certain discernment and stability that we need to maintain, using common sense and practicality when it comes to ‘expressing everything that comes up’, or ‘letting it all out’. In this moment recently, however, I knew I had some deeply suppressed emotions that I could not just talk about and write out – I had to also physically release it this time, and so I did. But what I noticed was that I could not completely let go and get to that place where I just let out completely. There was still some resistance to do so due to being an adult, in a room with two other adults.

But that is okay – I will also not judge myself for not being able to ‘go there’ completely. That will also be a process for me to walk as it comes. It will take time, understanding and patience as I develop the self-trust and resolve as I prove to myself that it is okay to be vulnerable, it is ok to let go sometimes.  I am learning that letting go, not being perfect and always in control, and having others see me like this, does not determine who I am at my core. If anything, I am living my process of self-change openly, for others to see where my weaknesses are, what my suppressions are, what I am actively working on.  

The fact that I was doing this with and in front of others also gave me the opportunity to talk about it as it was happening, sharing real time what exactly was going on within me. 

So, what was the point that I had opened up? It was in sharing and showing appreciation for someone else, in this case Sunette, on a deep level, I realized that I had never really taken a moment to show any appreciation towards myself.

On the contrary, I have been living my life highlighting my faults and challenging my weaknesses, creating quite a difficult path for myself while, for the longest time, not having a proper balance of self-creation, which I eventually started to focus on to do which began with this recording: Creating Balance while Changing Yourself,  which inspired me to begin the process here in this blog:

Letting Goof OCD While Birthing A New Me

I also felt a deep and profound sadness coming up from within me, which showed me that it wasn’t only a lack of appreciation, it was something much deeper. The point was made clear to me in this recording:You'll Never Become What You Don't Recognize Within You and I reveal it in detail in this blog:

Two interviews mentioned: 

“While you are in the process of changing an addiction or habitual pattern, how do you avoid the two common pitfalls of ending up suppressing the point or becoming obsessed and possessed within it?
How can you establish a balance so that you let go of the old, while creating the new?
This interview shares practical and creative ways to give yourself structure as well as freedom when taking on the more challenging and addictive patterns you want to change.”

"Do the terms self-worth, self-intimacy, and self-value seem like far away ideas that you are still searching for in your life and yearning to one day express for yourself?
What if the very things you have been waiting for, yearning for, and searching for are already within you and all you have to do is to stop the things that are getting in the way of your real expression?"

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