On that note.
Middle school SUCKED for me. I was very small and "under-developed"...we didn't have a lot of money. Popular designer clothes were out of our budget. By the time fashion prices were lowered so that I could afford cool jeans, the trend had passed and bell-bottoms were out of fashion. I was teased even more. Determined to spare my kids the same angst-ridden experience that I endured of Junior High, I have them enrolled in a K-8 charter school (which, of course, has it's own issues.) I make sure my kids have access to trending fashions, orthodontia, and personal stylists (ha. Just kidding...although, it's not entirely inconceivable...) It's a CLASSIC example of over-compensating...projecting. And. In direct opposition of the Yama "Aparigraha". Non-grasping...non-clinging...non-attachment. Desikachar states, "We should only take what we have earned; if we take more, we are exploiting someone else. In addition, unearned rewards can bring with them obligations that might later cause problems." (The Heart of Yoga, pp 99-100). Ack. If only I could dictate the multitude of voices in my head...unfortunately, they're often shouting at each other and at the same time. Constantly doubting what I provide as a parent...and what I withhold. Not enough. Too much. Respectively. What happens to balance in my life? In my family's life? It's not an uncommon dilemma. In fact, a surprising number of my very-well-educated friends face the same conflicted drama. We are here to assure each other, "All will be well. It's all good. You're the best and you're enough." *sigh. So. We go on providing our kids with over-priced basketball shoes, football cleats, popular fashions, the newest in electronic gadgetry, and over-the-top birthday celebrations. Apparently, with the risk of ruining their sense of charity, humility, and contentment. Such is the life of the "house-holder". If you're reading this, welcome to the club. Here's my recipe for an exquisite experience...of it all (that would be, this gift of embodiment in the family that is Humanity):
1.Talk to yourself. Daily. In loving terms. No degradation allowed. Make up a mantra or choose one provided here: "I am AWESOME". "I am LOVED". "I will be okay". "Smile". I highly recommend self-talk. I've managed to talk myself out of many not-so-great decisions...(and also, a few good ones.)
2. Try something new. You may discover a previously hidden talent. I recently took up the tambourine and found that I'm STELLAR at the double-row jingles.
3. Practice yoga. Find a teacher you resonate with. The hardest part will be walking into that studio the very first time...trust me. Getting your foot behind your head is CAKE compared to committing to a regular class.
4. Get a cowbell. Ring it often (outdoors is best...).
5. Find a team to celebrate. Doesn't matter if you even watch the game. Every time your team plays is an excuse for a party. Break out the cowbell and your tambourine. Make noise.
6. Call on a friend. I have the BEST. She reminds me I'm good...I'm better than good. That she loves me.
7. Tell someone you love them. Someone you don't tell everyday...or ever. The surprised look on their face is worth it EVERY TIME. It will make THEIR day. A nice side-benefit.
8. Laugh. Even if your the only one who thinks it's funny. It's infectious, despite a limited audience response...if you find it funny, that's ALL that matters.
8. Lastly (for now), forgive yourself. Often. Admittedly it is my weakest practice. But I've learned, I can't let go of others "transgressions" until I can let go of my own. It goes with the "love-yourself" thing. Regularly, in my car (out loud) "It's okay, Kim. You're a good person. It's okay." a couple hundred times a day.
The truth is, by simply being aware and noticing these thoughts...we are on the path. It's a sign that we are conscious...and conscientious. That we ARE, in fact, awesome. A teacher said to me once (and I've heard it repeated many times since...) progress on the path is fast and immediate at first, but the more we practice and pay attention the slower it seems to go. So. As long as we have the means, I'll continue to provide my kids with the cool-stuff. With the added reminder that they can't take it with them when they expire. As long as the cultivation of love and respect is manifest in their behavior, it's ALL GOOD. Amen.