This week we are to read Power of Now and watch a video from Eckhart Tolle in order to answer an essay question. I enjoy the weekly lessons with new books and videos because it puts me in a good mindset and very often I'm reminded to step out of my own habits and get "cleaner" in ways of thinking (i.e. getting out of my own way.) I think if I could have one wish, it would be to have more time to fully digest and process each new thing we read and watch for school. But it takes the time that it takes. I certainly will soak in whatever is needed and necessary for now and then can revisit later. Eckhart Tolle's video yesterday was good to listen to/watch. It's funny to me to see how the progression of people that we are studying are seeming to get more complex as we go here. We started with Kornfield who was very simple in how he explained the process of following the body and letting thoughts release. Kabat-Zinn and Tara Brach were next then Pema Chodron and now Eckhart Tolle. The descriptions that Tolle uses to explain the same process of following the breath and noticing the inner body while letting thoughts and emotions dissolve are WAY more complex but essentially he's saying the same thing as Kornfield. I thought it was probably good to have so many people saying the same thing in different ways so as to appeal to as many folks as possible... This morning's meditation was short again. My dogs were barking downstairs and were ready to go for their morning walk so I didn't want them to bark long, wake up the house and/or have the barks continue/escalate. I got a little meditation in and then after the walk, I sat downstairs while the house was quiet and continued on with mindfulness and feeling what is happening inside and around me. I don't often get these moments so I savor them when they come... It's been nice to have these mornings after walking the dogs that are quiet and peaceful... WOW.... Just as I wrote that sentence above about being grateful for the peaceful mornings, both kids woke up, came into the room and got mad at me because they were expecting to have this week off. They didn't tell me anything of these plans and I had no way of reading their minds and/or knowing that they had this expectation. It was confusing and frustrating. Then after hearing that they are disappointed to not have this week off, they began asking if they could have next week of instead because that will work better since their public school friends have next week off. WOW again. I reiterated that I have no way of knowing what their hopes and expectations are unless they tell me. They said that their physics teacher said that they could take the whole week off. I suggested that she probably meant that there's no physics homework this week because otherwise, she has no authority to dictate or even suggest what homeschooling schedules are for anyone outside her own family. I reiterated that due to my insanely busy life with work, school, 2 houses, being a landlord, being a manager of business and people plus providing for kids and dogs (as well as trying to fit in taking care of myself along the way) that I require notice to plan for things. Days and weeks fill up quickly and if they want to have time off, I need to hear about what they plan to do with the time and what they need from me to accomplish it. I can do anything, I just need to know about it so I can figure it into the day... I was able to talk more easily with my son than my daughter. She's very much a firecracker like I am and we can butt heads some times. If I can describe the scenario, I was sitting writing this, I had 2 dogs on my lap and I was pretty focused on getting my thoughts down for the blog. This is also homework for me so I'm doubly interested in getting this written. There was an almost immediate accusatory bicker fest right in front of me and I wasn't expecting it. I raised my voice, put up my hands and said that I was not interested in fighting. The bickering continued and I found myself bickering back. I noticed what I was doing and I put my hands over my face and I stopped. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe and continue. The bickering still went on with my daughter even though she had gone to her room. She and I were still bickering and I kept trying to stop myself and breathe. My eyes filled with tears because in the space of nanoseconds, the peaceful moments in my mind turned to story telling and frustration and confusion in my thinking. After a few breaths, my son and I continued the conversation in a much easier way and came up with a plan for next week for them... Since she was very small, Emily has, on occasion, stormed off into her room to calm herself down after she's had a tiff with anyone at school or at home and then will come out later to talk and carry on with things. That is what she is doing now. I have let her do this because it was something that I needed as a kid but was not allowed to do. (Lord help me if I walked away from my mother! She would have knocked that door down and then me...) I'm forging a different path with my kids and it's not always easy and very often I question what is the right thing to do. I'm following my heart and trying to stay present as best as I can. This morning's quick change from peace to chaos showed me what all these books write about: that it is the relationships in our lives that give us the best practice to see all the ways that we can practice mindfulness and peacefulness (or how we don't!) I let myself get hooked into their drama because I was so shocked that it was even happening. (Where did it come from? I got blindsided!) It played into a lot of my old stories. Wow. Obviously time has passed and I am again focusing on my mind musings here on this blog. There is peace again in the house for the time being. I "shook" off what was and continue on again. And so it goes. This is life - the roller coaster. Ebbs and flows. I can't change anything that happens externally - I can just change the weather inside my own mind.