Mothering Muse ~ Adventure

On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon us.

I don’t know about you, but I had one of those weeks that felt very un-adventurous. Little sleep and a lot of work. Every time I see this photo of our friends’ daughter Vivian jammin’ in her backyard with her papa and her buddy, I smile big. It reminds me that adventures are not something you need to plan or even leave your yard to do. It can simply be your lifestyle — what you choose every day, driven by heart, courage, passion, creativity. And our children will often happily lead the way. Here’s to some spontaneous adventures for your weekend.

Wild Card Wednesdays ~ Adventure

Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about adventure all week, and I’m always curious to see what synchronicity pulls in.  Last night my Dad asked me if I wanted to go to Dhaka, Bangladesh—all expenses paid, and flying business class, no less. I would be accepting an award for Economics on his behalf. I must admit I am considering it.  The wild lark appeals to me, as does making a detour to India.

And this morning, at breakfast, I read an interesting review of the book In Praise of Messy Lives, by Katie Roiphe. Dwight Garner’s review says Ms. Roiphe carefully — and necessarily — isolates “messiness as a value, a good thing, a lost and interesting way of life.” And I love this: At bottom Ms. Roiphe fears that as people “we may have forgotten, somewhere in the harried trips to Express Yourself Through Theater or Trader Joe’s, to seize the day.”

Getting messy, seizing the day, being caught in the rain without an umbrella, all capture the essence of adventure.

Hitting the road of some sort is my favorite kind of adventure. The struggle for me  sometimes is coaxing my son to be my adventure co-pilot. His comfort zone is  the inside realms: books, drawing, and pretend play. The call of nature falls on  oblivious ears. I have to strategize a bit: instead of suggesting a bike ride, I call it a treasure hunt. A walk gets disguised as a trip to the library.

My son has also had the good fortune to be working with Simon Paul Harrison, the founder of Wild Earth’s Children. In his book The Truly Alive Child he has a whole chapter called “Adventures and how to Support Them.”

I treasure this excerpt:
“As adults, we have a responsibility to help our children respond to the call of adventure. It is not going to go away. We can encourage them and provide a relatively safe environment in which they can have positive, full, and free experiences. How can we improve the chances of this happening? By understanding that adventures are not just for children! We too must play and be alive. As adults we can also embrace the experience of becoming more. But that cannot happen unless we refuse to allow fear to paralyze us. Adventures must be consciously chosen, and the spirit of adventure passed on to our children. We must allow children to have their own adventures, find their edge, and go beyond.We need to stop wrapping them in cotton wool every single minute of the day. Instead let them get muddy, dirty, and wet. Let them be hot and cold, tired and awake. Let them be happy, sad, angry and joyous. In this way, they will leave fear behind and become all the things they can dream of.”

I’ve been saving things up for my adventure blog. I have this poster hanging up in my office. The poetry fragment sums up the incredible perfume adventure adds to our lives. It was chosen by The Academy of American poets for their 2012 National Poetry Month poster.


I was so excited to pull this card, not only because I adore Jenny’s art for it, but also because the very word gets me excited, envisioning one-way tickets to continents far away.

My travel days are on the wane for now. But kids can turn everything into an adventure—for better or worse.  Still there are times when the luster of adventure dims in the scripted routine of snacks, naps, clean-up, and bathtime. The day gets taken up in sorting laundry, wrangling dust bunnies, and the endless battle of tamping down clutter.

I want to toss it all to the winds—this life—and let the pieces scatter. Let me dance among the fall out. Dinner can wait.

The prosaic chaps my heels. All I want is simple presence. How hard we struggle with phantom riffs, when all it takes is a twirl, run, and tumble to get back  into here.

Don’t leave, you winds of adventure, even if foolishly I prefer the safety of routines. Come back when you can.

How do you invoke adventure to stage an intervention? Which ways does the wind blow you, and your family?

Mothering Muse ~ Devotion

On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon us.

Last year, in search of creating holiday traditions for our family, I stewed over ideas with a friend to make a Christmas Spirit calendar. My daughter helped me sew this pocket calendar with fabric scraps. Then, my husband and I made a list of messages for each pocket. We wanted each note to inspire loving kindness, gratitude, spiritual devotion and devotion to family, friends, nature and animals. These were some of the messages:

– Surprise a neighbor with egg presents from your lady hens.
– Make + hang peanut butter + bird seed pinecone ornaments outside for our bird friends.
– Help Papa build a fire. Then everyone choose a book, cuddle and read together.
– Collect icicles  and make icicle paintings. Send one to Grandma in the mail.
– Plant (these) seeds in the greenhouse. Give them lots of water, songs, and love!
– Give Oso-the-dog EXTRA love today: brush him, sing him a song, bake him dog-cookies, and take him for a walk through the woods.
– Bake cookies and take them to the Temple as an offering for kirtan night (devotional singing) — bring your instruments!
– Sing “Happy Birthday” to Baby Jesus this morning (Christmas Day)– my family’s tradition since I was a baby. :)

We would love to hear how you share+inspire devotion with your children, too.

Wild Card Wednesdays ~ Devotion

Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.


O seeker,

These thoughts have such power over you.

From nothing you become sad,

From nothing you become happy.


You are burning in the flames

But I will not let you out

until you are fully baked,

fully wise,

and fully yourself.


These fervent lines by Rumi, aptly speak to my experience as a devotee on the divinely ordinary spiritual path of motherhood. As I am being baked and wisened, The Mother’s Wisdom Deck has become a centerpiece of my daily devotional practice.

Altar with CardsThe cards I draw help to focus my awareness. Instead of running willy-nilly, my free-flowing thoughts contribute to an ongoing conversation I am having with myself and with something beyond. This week I may find myself reflecting on something I am doing with an “Oh, is that what You wanted me to get about Devotion?” Or, talking myself down with “Breathe. This is not a big deal. I just need to step out and take a break.”

Who knows what practice is in store for me next week on the fifty-two fold path of motherhood, as I fondly like to call the deck? Gentleness? Harmony? I love that some deeper calling awaits, alongside the endless reminders to pick up socks. I have been humbled and awed by the deck and all that it has brought to my life as a mama. How has your relationship with the deck evolved? How does it support you on your  journey toward self-awakening?

Jenny:  During my journey of illustrating the Deck, I did wonder how I would interact with it personally, if it all. It has become a source of energy when I am exhausted, a time to breathe when I’m holding, a reminder that “whatever” I’m feeling or what my present reality is like, I’m NORMAL. And, I’m not alone.

One beautiful truth that my mama friends and I share when we are together, is how we all want to be the best mamas for our kids. To grow ourselves and our mamaselves. The Deck helps me pause, see with a fresh view, and gives me things to think about and ways to grow. I don’t choose a card every day. I choose one when I am needing guidance, inspiration, or a meditation.

Card DrawElizabeth: I am still amazed that we pulled it off, and the writing seems to come from some deep flow of wisdom we were able to tap into. And, I love connecting with Jenny’s art and vision in an ongoing way, letting her art seep into my awareness. I have had some great experiences with the cards, they are always right on and in sync with whatever process I am involved in, consciously or not so consciously.

Right now, just to see, I posed a question to the deck: How should I deal with Oriah’s tantrums? I have been struggling with them lately and they overwhelm me with illogical intensity. I pulled Shell-Listening. What a good reminder to tune into some deeper need that Oriah may not be able to express in words or signs. What a great resource we now have in our midst.

We invite you to join in this conversation. And, we give ABUNDANT THANKS to all of you who are sharing this journey with us!