Does Love really have this Power?

I have You

I have You

The other morning things were not going well for my stepson which translated into a less than positive dynamic in our household. Things have been building for some time and it has taken all of my skills and awareness to match the level of his struggles.

After the crisis settled, my stepdaughter’s friend called and she was at an outdoor venue near our home. I grabbed our dog for a walk and told my stepdaughter I would walk over with her so she would not have to go alone. Plus I wanted to decompress after the “adventures” with my stepson.

As we were walking, I jokingly sighed and said to my stepdaughter, “Do you ever wonder with all that goes on if one day I am just going to quit?”

She stopped and turned to me and said, “Never. You love us too much.”
Sometimes, I am not so confident with the stepparent/stepchild dynamic and it is an exhausting process on a mental/emotional/ and dare I say, financial level.

But do you have any idea how powerful it must be for a child to see love in his or her life so clearly displayed that they have no fear that it will be taken away or leave them?

In the fatigue of the day, in the wearing down of moments both large and small, you can wonder if your power of love is transcending you as you hoped it would.

Somehow my stepdaughter showed me on that day that my message of love (which I wished was stronger on some days) was getting through.

She has a love she trusts will never leave her. How beautiful is this?


A Portrait In Spirit

Lion Amongst Us

Lion Amongst Us

Spirit will use any means necessary to help us understand how wonderful the energy of life is.

The above picture is my current version of our family portrait.

Family and home have always been very important to me. The older I become, the more of a drive I realize this is. I became a college professor vs. working in industry for the simple reason I wanted more time at home. I had also at that point envisioned having 4 children and I wanted to be there for them.

Families and home, as we know, carry so much energy and power within them. They can be at once uplifting, joyous and one of the more tangible ways of coming to know love. They can also be frightening, tension-filled, and chaotic.

We do a very poor job in this society painting realistic views of families and family dynamics.

In this current portrait, I believe I am the ant with her Heart upon her back. Ants as totems, of course, represent hard work and diligence. As most of you know, I have put my heart and soul into creating a good home environment for my husband and stepchildren.

Ants symbolize to us that we are architects of our domains. Things may not happen overnight, but each brick we lay down serves as contribution to the life we are living.

According to Spirit Animals website the following sayings can be attributed to the ant:

“You are stronger than you think! Sure things are tough right now but KNOW you will soon be reaping the rewards of all your hard work.”

If you see yourself also as the ant with your Heart upon your back, this totem should give you hope. Things may not change over night, but every step you spend building your dream will pay off in the end.

The ant is crawling towards a bee hive. Bees and their hives are highly symbolic. They represent family and community and with their hexogonal honeycombs, they represent love and union. The bee and its hive represent domestic stability, wholesome child-rearing and harmony.

The hive is the home I hope to have.

The hive is protected by a lion-like creature. I purposely drew the face a little different. It’s a bit more heart-shaped, and the face is more questioning than the normal self-assured posing of most lions.

And as I sat and titled this image, only then, did I understand the lion represented my husband. My husband is a Leo, through and through, by the way. Always well-dressed, with a mane of hair that I have always referred to as “anchorman’s hair.” He can be King of the Jungle in all the best ways.

However, my husband recently began a new job and although it is going well, the King of the Jungle is feeling a little bit less than confident with all the changes afoot.

His job change has also substantially affected his time at home and his time with his children. Thus, we see him with his energy protecting the hive (home), as it is important to him, but he does not know what to do in regards to new job, changing children, and the changing home dynamic.

I place a winged-snake as the lion’s tail, to symbolize all of this awakening energy within him.

Lions are very strong solar symbols, speaking of hope and light. Thus, I drew the mane more solar-like in appearance.

And the clock on the right is a play on a grandfather’s clock (symbol of home) with an egg as the clock face. I think we would be well-served to have all clock faces egg-shaped. Eggs speak of transformation and newness and that is what time should represent to us.

Certainly, this represents my family at the moment. A new place of being waiting to emerge.

Spirit signs and symbols cross all boundaries. Above is my interpretation of a dynamic currently affecting my life, but I wonder as I look to this image, where are you today?

Are you the ant carrying the glory and hope of your dreams upon your back?
Do you believe every step you take is bringing one step closer to your dream?

Is something in your life represented by the egg in the clock? Currently, it is kept safe and sound, but is there something awaiting to hatch as time ticks by?

Maybe you are the bee hive today- a place of love and union. You feel secure and in that security you can be a home to others seeking a place to manifest their dreams.

Or are you the lion? King of the Jungle, smart and proud, but also a little concerned. What are you, with your beastly ways, protecting? Are you letting your solar mane shine your light or are you hiding?

Can 5 minutes a day make a difference in my Stepkids’ Lives?

Carrying Her Heart in Her Eggs

Carrying Her Heart in Her Eggs

Spirit always feels hope. Where we see fear and concern, Spirit is determined and sees opportunity, not barriers. And because of this sense of Spirit, I have begun to hold a “Sacred 5 minutes” with each of my stepchildren per day.

The last line can be read literally. I find each of my stepchildren in a private time. I say to them “Want to do a sacred 5 minutes? We can just sit with each other. We don’t even have to talk”

I thought I would be met with resistance from them with this idea. So much so, that I bring my phone along and tell them I am setting the timer for 5 minutes. I feared that they would think they would be stuck in some long conversation.

Want to know what has actually happened? When I ask them “Want to do a sacred 5 minutes?”, they always stop what they are doing and say “Sure”. When the timer on my phone goes off, invariably they and I ignore it, continuing on with our conversation or my stepdaughter’s piano playing for me or my stepson’s reenactment of his favorite movie feature and so on.

I am not sure we have covered the most life-changing of topics. Yet, when I look back, I see how much we have shared in some ways.

It may seem funny and I wonder what can 5 minutes really do? But I do it.

Spirit, if anything, is an opportunist. And perhaps all it needs is 5 minutes to change my and my stepchildren’s lives.

5 minutes per day- perhaps that is all that Spirit needs.

The Balance of Meeting the Needs of Others

Images don’t always tell the entire story. I feel this is especially true in the area of stepparenting. We have such a societal vision of the “ideal family”, and we work desperately hard to uphold this vision, that I don’t think we acknowledge what a stepfamily actually involves.

My stepchildren love me, yet they struggle to fully understand me and truly include me. It’s as if their lives, having been so torn apart and needing attention, do not permit the possibility of adding one more thing. Plus, no one truly wants a stepparent. It is a role never created in the original family dynamic.

At our family dinners, I am frequently ignored. I am not exaggerating or kidding. But the kids always want me present at dinner. They will talk over me, around me, sing while I try to speak, etc. It’s as if the children so need attention, that there is simply no space for my life at this table.

My time is important to me, so at times, I feel this family dinner places me in the bind of determining which means more to me- their needs or mine?

The poem at the end speaks to why I am there. I see my stepdaughter and I feel her pain at trying to create a family dynamic, so she can get what she needs- time and attention. And, she knows, if I am there, she will receive it. Once again, I see how the needs of others (good or bad) drive my actions.

“The ‘Family’ Table”

“Are you coming?”
The invitation sent with regularity

The “family” table is the marked destination.

Someone else’s needs have always been
a homing beacon for me-
Giving me sense and direction where I had none.

I follow a swerving, serving course. Needs, requests,
and wants pop-up as guideposts so I do not lose my way.

At your setting of “family”,
I am the interloper.

My part never writ in the original composition. The
screenplay set before my arrival.

I am never the understudy, though you bill me as such.
An understudy implies a role, of which I have none.

I come and I sit and I dutifully play my part.

While you, my sweet younger self,
with equal desperation,
holds together the fantasy in your tiny, tiny hands.