Thursday, July 28, 2011

42 Months (dos)

"I love all the songs in the world!"

This is what Quinn tells me as we drive, while listening to Elliott Smith. I totally believe her. If anyone was capable of loving every song in the world, it would be Quinn. She has such enthusiasm for life that if she really wanted to embrace something as big as the concept of music across all genres and regions and forms and styles and agendas, then she has the energy and imagination to pull it off.

What a humongous heart she has! She often looks at the world through the rosy-tinted frames of love and beauty. When something touches her heart, she unabashedly exclaims how beautiful it makes her feel. When something is colorful or creative or gentle, then they are beautiful. When a song reaches her ears and caresses her little soul then she loves to tell me how beautiful that song is to her.

I love this so much, of course, because I'm constantly digging music in every possible way so that I can gleen some nourishment from the dancing dreams that float on the winds with the songbirds. I search for beauty in music and I search for drama and pleasure. I search for angst and anguish and yearning. I search for all of these things in songs because they are a special part of who I am and music can help me understand that aspect of my nature.

I think that Quinn just gets that. I think that she has a natural awareness that is so unique and honest that I often am simply amazed by the power of her expression. It's beautiful for me, as a parent, to see such hope flowing out of the eyes of my child. She has a wonderful hopeful belief in the world as a place of beauty and she wants to embrace it. When Quinn taps into that aspect of her nature then I am so profoundly proud and hopeful, as well. She may truly grow into a person who has the ability to settle into the center of the earth, where she is intricately aware of her connection to all things.

It's not easy to discover this special place. We are all searching for it in a way, a true understanding of our place in this life, this precious existence that we've come to know. The root of all spiritual journey comes back to discovering this amazing perspective where we are able to find a true expression of happiness that is not influenced by all of the distractions that occur around us, that occur within us. A place where we are immune to the waves that crash over our head, submerged within the peaceful blessing of life.

Then again, Quinn is just like any other kid in so many ways. She wants people to listen to her as if she were just as important as anyone else attempting to express the way that they feel. She desires the tempting displays of our culture, so much so that sometimes she'll fight for them. She gets frustrated and cries and struggles and wants to give up. She sulks like a little kid when she doesn't get what she wants.

But then she is a little kid! She's not even four-years-old yet. Sometimes it's so easy to forget that when you simply want some peace of mind at the end of the day. So she's not a perfect little angel in any sense of the word but there's something that I try to remember when it comes to the struggles that we have with certain aspects of our children that tend to drive us crazy. Everything about them (and us) can be nourished and turned into a powerful positive experience in this life.

And during those times when they claim to love every song in the world? Well, that's when we are getting an intimate glimpse into the amazing human potential that our children (and us) possess. Quinn, with her shimmering eyes so full of hope and delight, lets us in on so many secrets that reveal all of the inherent beauty of this earth and I am truly grateful that she has become a part of my life.

These are her songs, for the most part. I added a couple that remind me of her.

01. Margot & the Nuclear So and So's - Paper Kitten Nightmare
02. Luna - Moon Palace
03. First Aid Kit - Hard Believer
04. Gang Gang Dance - Sacer
05. Bonobo - Animals
06. Elliott Smith - Waltz #2
07. Jens Lekman - Your Arms Around Me
08. Glasser - Apply
09. Micah P. Hinson - Diggin A Grave
10. Rogue Wave - Catform
11. Josh Rouse - Sweetie
12. Lia Ices - Grown Unknown
13. Caroline - Pink Gloom
14. Emiliana Torrini - Bleeder

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

81 Months

Kids are exhausting! Sometimes they knock me down, kick me in the ass, push me around, make me crazy, dumbfound me, shock me, cause curses to rain from my mouth, force the red veil of damnation to cloud my vision, make my blood boil, terrify me, pull down on my neck with the heavy burden of responsibility, test my patience, again and again and again. Sometimes they make me cry because I have nothing left to give. Sometimes they cause me to absolutely lose my temper, to the point of despair where my head tells me to wait but my body is going going going to the limit, raging and taking it out on them in some overt psychological display that will probably stain their reflections of me once they've grown out of their little frames. Sometimes I lose track of my heart when I'm around my children because they wipe me out!

And the worst part about all of this is that sometimes my kids know it. They are acutely aware that they can manipulate me by pushing on the frayed edge of my sanity with their relentless energy that I am growing unable to handle at times. They just go go go, push push push, shout shout shout and spin me rapidly out of the calm shadow that I wish to hide within. Just give me a moment, please. Some time to rest and catch my breath. Just let me have some space so that I can reconnect the delicate hooks that hold together the lost imaginings of togetherness that consumes the musings of capacity that help me believe in my unlimited capabilities. Let me hold onto that precious faith just for a moment. Please.

I'm not sure that they do it consciously or with determination. No, I don't think that it's that sinister. I just know that there is a part of them that smirks at the weakness in human nature, that swoops down with vultured wings to pick at the soft flesh huddling at the side of the road. It's not as malicious as it sounds, just that lower self that revels in the miserly contempt toward life. We all have it. We all understand it a little bit and we all have the choice about whether or not we wish to act on it.

Lucas acts on it sometimes and I must say that it sometimes causes me to act accordingly, which really means that I respond in much the same manner. The reaction that I then receive back from him is never something that fills my heart with pride, but there are times that I just don't care any more. Not to the extent that I continue the behavior without regard for his feelings but stern enough that his calls for comfort are left in the passenger seat. Those are the times he gets a long lecture from Daddy. You see, I'm pretty good at lecturing my children when my mind has sharpened for confrontation. It's a part of my nature that kicks into gear when a conflict arises that needs my attention but in the case of my son crossing a line that I'm not happy about...well, let's just say that I often bring out the whetting stone.

I must say that I never lose my mind enough that I knock him around or anything as terrible as that, acts that make my blood curdle, but I definitely have given him the voice. The one he hates. The one that reminds him how small he can become. It's always a moment that I grow to regret because I recognize this voice. It's one that I hated when I was Lucas's age and it also made me feel so small every time it pointed in my direction. I will never be happy when I make my boy feel that way. My heart aches at the memory of his tangled face conflicted with urgent thoughts and anxious attempts to squirm away from the spotlight that has descended upon him. Lucas is so much like me in that way, if only to escape the pressure of failure for a brief instance so that we may recover from the madness. Something we are totally capable of, recovering from the shock of cold water upon our brains, just give me a moment so that I can feel the warmth again.

This is my struggle as a father. How do I make sure that my actions are helping my children grow beyond their limitations? And that doesn't just mean the times when they want to run and hide, an obvious weakness that most of us have to deal with. It also means that I need to find a way to respond to them in profoundly positive ways when they are feeding the mean wolf, the evil demon within that wants to push at people to knock them astray. Demeaning Lucas so that he despises his own skin will never allow him to confront the bad behavior that caused me to demean him in the first place. It will only cause him to push down those impulses until they want to break free some day, possibly years from now when my guidance may not matter so much anymore. That would be a horrible mistake because he would spend too long sifting through the sad ashes of unhappiness until he somehow manages to clean away the muck enough to stand up for himself. A tragic road that so many of us travel, a journey I made myself, and there are even some who never manage raise themselves up.

No, I definitely do not want that for Lucas.

So even when we are exhausted and at the end of our rope, we must remember that there is so much that is precious in the children that we have. We must try to discover the delight and magic within them that fills us with so much joy. We must nourish the light that shines out of their beautiful hearts. It is the beacon that will bear gifts, of amazing people who will shape the future landscape into a wonderful place that brings happiness more often than despair. With this vision we are reminded that our efforts to be good parents will not go in vain, no matter how many times they make our tired bodies collapse into bed with a beggar's prayer upon our lips.

"Please, protect these precious gifts that have been bestowed upon us by the universe. May my guidance help fulfill the glorious aspirations that we wish for their lives, so that their dreams may contain the deep possibilities of hope."

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Monday, July 18, 2011

41 Months (part two)

So Quinn tells us a story regarding one of her past lives. She informs us that she used to be someone named Padresher and that she lived somewhere else, somewhere far away. In this other life she didn't live very long because she was burned in a fire and once she realized that her life was over, she came back to be with Mommy in this life. She didn't say these things with any sense of concern or fear or terror, though my initial reaction was something along those lines. In fact, when she spoke about being back with Mommy here in this life, she was expressing it as if she were very happy about it.

I have mixed feelings about these strange stories that come out of the children. For one, I am extremely intrigued and mesmerized by the incredible imagination that is flowing through their little brains. When they speak with the tongue of a storyteller, the worlds that they create are alive and beautifully detailed. It's an aspect of childhood that I recall vividly and that creative spirit has always been something that I loved to develop in my own life, as we can see on this very site. Plus, since I have a deep connection to these two little wonders of human existence, I also am quickly pulled into their narrative like a life-long fan. Even the seemingly ordinary happenings in their lives come across as interesting or amazing at times. They light up the world for me and that draws me into the story just as any good storyteller would.

But there are also aspects of these weird tales that make me wonder what is actually happening out there in the universe and in what way are we connected through time and space. I'm no physicist but I love to play one when I have the time to dream about the amazing wonders of the cosmos. Even though we know very little about our place as it relates to everything else in the universe and beyond, we are learning so much all of the time and many theories are constantly being examined that shed new light on many of our perceptions about what is actually going on in life. We don't know that reincarnation is true any more than we know of the existence of God. It's all speculative and strange and ethereal, so when people try to tell me that they absolutely know exactly how these theories play out, I always turn a skeptical head away and try to become enlightened in other meaningful ways or I attempt to engage them in rational dialog in order to come to a better understanding on the subject.

On the other hand, we have come to accept certain truths about the cosmos that have been verified by scientific observation throughout the ages. One of those truths is that energy never just disappears. Energy transfers from one form to another and the idea of nothingness is just latent energy that hasn't manifested in any physical way yet. When you turn off your light at night, the electricity doesn't just vanish along with the illumination. The energy circuit has been stopped via the light-switch on the wall but the power of that energy is still very much alive at that point of contact that has been broken by the switch. We perceive that the electricity has been shut off but the light has simply gone latent in anticipation of the switch being flipped back the other way.

What happens when the life-switch that is human energy is switched off? Where does that energy go? This is the eternal question humans have been wrestling with as long as the idea of death could be formed into a cohesive thought. The idea of reincarnation is that the energy from a human life has simply gone into a latent form waiting to manifest into a new existence, whatever that may mean? Is it actually possible that the energy entity that is Wade Pavlick could completely manifest into another human being that has some karmic connection to who I am in this life? Do I have some karmic connection to human beings that lived long ago, famous or not? Personally I don't think that energy manifests so concretely and obviously but I really don't know that much about it. I've read that our cells are actually transforming themselves through some micro-process of energy transfer manifestation in such a way that every ten years we are no longer physically the same people we were before. But we also are dragging along some form of karmic or habitual awareness with us so that, even if we are not physically the same, our brains are generally perceiving the world through similar eyes as the Wade from ten years ago. Or, as some may like to say, our souls have not changed. Our hearts and minds are still connected to that other entity.

Does that mean that I suddenly believe in reincarnation because my three-and-a-half year old daughter told me about a past-life existence? Of course not, but this isn't the first time that I've noticed strange occurrences that really have no plausible explanation. When our dog Mishu was about to give birth to puppies, Christina woke up in the middle of the night from a dream and immediately told me about it. One of the puppies was going to be black with beige spots on the face. Neither one of our dogs were black, Mishu being extremely blond and Schmokie carrying a light brown sandy coat. I didn't think much about it except for the fact that she was very descriptive regarding this future puppy that would soon be in our lives, which I was shocked to discover turned out to be true in exact form. I've had very strong instances of deja-vu that cannot be explained, as I'm sure anyone could also say. I've also often wondered why it is that we are attracted to certain people and repelled by others. Not just in a romantic way but just in every day interaction, such as having a conversation or watching how someone moves their body. I know that there may be some scientific explanation for all of this but sometimes it just feels more nuanced than that.

That doesn't mean that I'm going to go around spouting off about the absolute truth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster but my awareness of this life has been greatly altered by the two children who have entered into it in a very dramatic way. My life revolves around the three people in my life who have become my family. I have put a lot of energy into this family and that energy transfers through me with profound devotion. So when Quinn decides to explain to me, with complete earnestness, about a previous life as a human named Padresher, then I am going to listen with my whole being. Because there is very little in this life as precious as your own children expressing new ideas with their developing brains.

For all that we know, it may simply be an elaborate metaphor for the difficulties that she's facing and that her mother is the person who makes her feel the most safe right now. Or she may have been talking to Lucas about their life together and it may have awakened her to the unique dream of the ways humans interact with the universe.

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