Speaking up

I heard this on Oprah’s podcast recently: The less powerful people in the room should speak more, the more powerful people should listen more.

On Election Day 2018, voter turnout hit a 50-year high. People are speaking up.

Giovanna (age 8) is fascinated when she sees me at the computer writing. I am guilty of forbidding her to read over my shoulder. It occurred to me that I can blog for my children. It occurred to me that I can speak up.

If my kids read this someday, I want them to know that I’m actively working on “chilling”: the art of doing nothing but sitting with them. Without my phone or book or journal or computer. Without getting up to do chores. This could be a good excuse to spend more time in restaurants.

I want them to know I’m reducing my screentime by tracking the minutes I spend on my phone. This simple practice has been profound. I’m trying to pass on healthy screen habits.

(If you want to do this and you have an iPhone, make sure your phone is updated and check “Screentime” under Settings. This feature tells you exactly how many seconds/minutes you have spent using every app. Plus how many times you’ve picked up your phone.)

At the music school recently, there was a father who, after bringing his son late to the lesson, warned the teacher they would also have to leave 5 minutes early. The strict teacher was not happy, and the father apologized. He said he was juggling solo for the night and he had a meeting. He was kind and unruffled. When you’re a parent who shows up, you’re a superstar even while you’re making mistakes. This is much easier to recognize from the outside.

Every time I look at photos of my kids when they were smaller, I want to cry. I miss those tiny people as they were then even as I adore who they are now. I am scared for the future when they are grown and do not need me so much. This age-old heartache is also a privilege. I imagine there is no greater joy than successfully delivering your baby into adulthood.

When negative thoughts run through my head, I feel guilty about thinking them, which only invites lower vibrations. So I try to squash negativity with deep, sincere gratitude. And life has been especially beautiful lately, even during times of turmoil and upheaval.

Last week I sliced my thumb opening an avocado. This small collision with a knife left me feeling more soft and mortal than usual. One misstep and I could break. We don’t have a lot of time on the planet, in these bodies. We can’t afford to wait to speak up.

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