It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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The Touch That Heals Trauma

hugging The Touch That Heals Trauma
We all have more power than we know to help each other heal.

Loving mothers know instinctively that when their children are hurting physically or emotionally, what they need is to be gently held with loving arms and soothed with loving words. Those of us who have raised young children know the magic of “kissing it and making it better.”

Discovering the Healing Power of Loving Holding

Years ago, Erika and I discovered the healing power of mothering, and we wrote about it in “Healing Your Aloneness.” What we discovered has now been verified over and over. In his excellent book, “In An Unspoken Voice,” author Peter Levine tells a heartwarming story. When National Guard soldiers were ordered to remove Elian Gonzales – the young boy who became a pawn in a political battle in Florida – from the hands of his Cuban exile cousins living in Miami, they trained a female federal agent to caringly take the boy from the cousins and angry onlookers. Knowing he would be extremely frightened, and not wanting to further traumatize him…

“The agent held him firmly enough to not be ripped away by the angry mob, yet gently enough for her embrace to match the words she calmly recited in Spanish,”Elian, this may seem scary right now, but it soon will be better. We’re taking you to your papa…You will not be taken back to Cuba [which was true for the time being]…You will not be put on a boat again [he had been brought to Miami on a treacherous boat ride]…You are with people who care for you and are going to take care of you.’” p.265

As she rocked him gently and spoke soothingly to him, he relaxed.

Levine goes on to describe another dramatic mothering scene that occurred during the East Timor conflict. As dazed and disoriented refugees wandered into a refugee camp, a group of Portuguese nuns greeted and gently held and rocked the children and the most shocked adults, whispering soothing words to them, thawing them out of shock with their love.

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The real beauty of allowing kids to blossom as they are

kids The real beauty of allowing kids to blossom as they are

When I saw this picture on Instagram, my heart just sang with joy. The caption read, “This is the morning Amma popped down the stairs and said: ‘Look! I’m Abby on the top and mommy on the bottom!’” Amma is the youngest child of Glennon Doyle, author of New York Times bestseller Love Warrior and married to two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion Abby Wambach. She was given the freedom to be herself by allowing her to wear whatever she wants. While that might seem too simplistic or even trivial for many, this is a type of empowerment that helps a child grow up to be confident, self-assured and secure.

My soul was celebrating upon seeing this little girl who is allowed to be herself, respected for what she wants and honored for all that she is. Speaking from my own childhood experience, not many children are blessed with this kind of upbringing. Having been raised in a strict Asian culture, the message that was drilled into my head was, “You’re the child, I’m the parent. You don’t have any say on anything. You just obey and do as you’re told.” This includes something as “simple” as dressing up.

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What Happens When You Protect Your Values

group-of-girls-with-down-syndrome-on-cheerleading-squad-picture-id639844526 What Happens When You Protect Your Values

“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.”  — Thurgood Marshall

After my daughter watched the documentary Finding Neverland the other night, she wrote me a note that landed deep in my soul.

She said, “Thank you for such a wonderful childhood. Thank you for loving me. And, perhaps most importantly, thank you for always protecting me.”

I sat and stared at those last two words.

Protecting my children has always been a huge deal to me. I know it is for most parents. It’s our job to keep our children safe. It’s our job to be on guard against people or situations that might seem appealing, but are actually dangerous. It’s our job to build resilient children who can pave their own way and stand on their own two feet.

Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about the role of “the protector.” I’ve thought about how, when I was young and naive, I thought it was a man’s job to protect. Now as a seasoned protector myself, I no longer hold onto that childish view.

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Mortality: If You Die, Will You Forget Me?

heather-lopez-mortality

There is nothing like being a mom, to make you come face-to-face with mortality.

 

In all I have survived in this life thus far, I am still alive and kicking -  figuratively and relatively. But, there is nothing. And I mean, NOTHING - That has made me look Mortality dead in the face – screaming – I AM NOT READY or NOT NOW -  like being a mother has.

 

Our night time routines are rather long with our children. Well, I should say, my bedtime routine. I have a series of loving steps that I like to take each night with both of my littles to remind them that they are cherished and loved. Appreciated and heard. Unique and special.

 

We start with our prayers and then go into – what I like to call positive affirmations. Continue by talking about our day and acknowledging that maybe we made some not-so-great decisions, but tomorrow is the start of a new day and the slate is wiped clean.

 

One particular evening recently, during my bedtime routine with my oldest, Mortality crept in there in the most unexpected way. Usually, I will wander off into the future of possibilities for my littles. Flash forward and I see them graduating college, finding their way, learning new skills, getting married, and possibly having children of their own. Naturally, in these thoughts of the future – a time that has not yet occurred; I face Mortality – heaving from its dark cavern.  I can feel the chill of its cold breath breathing on my skin. But then, I quickly jump back into my daydream or lock on ever so tightly to the present moment.

 

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I LOVED my kids… BUT being A Mom Wasn’t Enough

I LOVED my kids… BUT being A Mom Wasn’t Enough

When I first had children, they were my whole world … literally …

MY

WHOLE

WORLD

My life revolved around being a mother. I did the best I could with what I knew at the time, but man, as my son got older, it got tougher. I was worn out from the daily battles … but, I was a “good mom“.

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