returning to love

You cannot restore someone to their Connection with Source by belittling them or by punishing them, or by being disgusted with them. It is only through love that you can return anyone to love. And if you do not have a way of returning them to love, they will always be a problem to your society. -abraham-hicks (see a new quote each day at

seems to apply nicely to parenting ... we can't shame or blame our kids into behaving better for long. they behave poorly when they are not feeling good about who they are or what they think they can contribute or accomplish. if we want better behavior, it's much more effective to look for ways that our kids are already making a positive contribution in some way, no matter how miniscule, and reinforce that by offering our attention to it. a kid who feels like what he does matters to someone is much more likely to cooperate.

in the absence of communication ...

... where do your thoughts take you?

this morning when I logged on to my internet dating service to confirm a first meeting over coffee for saturday, the profile of the man I was meeting had disappeared from my list of matches without a trace. yesterday we were discussing a time, and today, poof! no sign of him anywhere.

it was fascinating to watch what my mind did with this information. I was bewildered. it seemed so out of character for him to just delete me without any communication. my first reaction was to worry that I had somehow unintentionally offended him. then I mentally retraced our earlier communications to see if perhaps I has misread his character and missed some signs of emotional instability.

finally I decided that an ending without closure was not okay with me, so I dug out his direct email and wrote to him, saying that he was gone from my connections, and if that was intentional on his part, then I wished him well and had enjoyed talking with him. as I hit the send button, I released it all and prepared to just move on.

minutes later he responded to my email and told me that the online dating service was having technical difficulties, and that he had not deleted me, and that we were still on for coffee. this explanation would never have entered my mind.

so I learned something about myself today. I leaned that in the absence of communication or information, I will assume that I did something to screw it up. I suppose some people might assume that someone else is to blame, or that things always turn out badly for them, or who knows what else. becoming aware of my own mental predispositions helps me to take my thoughts less seriously, and to consider that it's just my tendency, and not necessarily the truth.

I also discovered some good things about him in observing how he handled this bizarre situation. And I am relieved that my character assessment instincts seem to be pretty accurate after all.

joint custody

if I can share only one piece of advice with single parents who lament having to send their kids off to another house, it is this:

parenting time does not equal parenting influence.

be the very best parent you can be when your kids are with you. make good use of the time they are away to nurture yourself physically and emotionally.

you cannot control what is happening at their other house, but you can absolutely control the quality of attention and presence you share with them when they are with you.

don't get caught up in arguing with your ex over hours or days of parenting time. stay centered in what is important ... demonstrating your love and appreciation for your children, listening to them with your full attention, and living your own life as a model by behaving in ways you would be proud to see your children imitate.

love transcends time and space. keep that truth close to your heart.

diving in

I have a feeling this new format might render my postcards by email obsolete ...

this afternoon I was driving past a school as it was letting out for the day, and as a green minivan approached me in oncoming traffic, I saw what appeared to be a mother absolutely RAGING at her son, who was cowering in the back seat. I was sure I could see veins bulging in her neck, and I can only imagine the volume of her screams based upon the contortion of her face. It triggered a visceral fear response in me, and I was safely protected in a separate vehicle traveling rapidly away from her!

Tears came to my eyes, and a lump formed in my throat... for the child, who could not have been more than 8 or 9 years old, and cannot have done anything even remotely deserving of the magnitude of her response to it... and for the mother, who lives inside that body filled with venom 24/7. all I could figure out to do was send a silent blessing to them both, and pray to whoever might be listening to send them help.

it's just so sad that there is still so much pain eating away at the love we naturally have for each other. I so rarely come in contact with that kind of energy anymore that I had forgotten it was out there.

that mother might be driving around actually thinking that her child deserved what she gave him -- not at all aware of the toxic emotions that are surging through her system just waiting to explode with volatility on the nearest bystander, innocent or not.

she might think it's his fault, and therefore miss her opportunity to change her thinking and change the experience of her life. she may feel victimized by external circumstances and react with rage to her perception of powerlessness.

she might think that yelling and threatening and scaring her kid is going to motivate him to change his behavior.

none of those thoughts would be true.

and all of them are a direct route to living in a personal hell.

but so few of us know that we hold a set of keys that unlocks the cage of our personal hell. one key that brings my clients astounding results is The Work of Byron Katie. she suggests we ask ourselves four simple questions which examine the beliefs upon which we have based our actions and assumptions and stories about how life is. check it out if you want.

I can't do anything more for her or her son, but you are here, so I will share it with you. thanks for listening ...