Welcome to my Universe!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lisa Heyman.

I met Lisa Heyman last September at the Live and Learn Unschooling Conference in Black Mountain, NC. She walked up to me, grabbed my hand, and asked “Are you Seth’s mother?” When I answered in the affirmative, she pressed something into my palm and told me it was a gift to Seth from his secret pal.

It was the first night of the conference, and we were by the bonfire. I had been sitting alone, as usual, soaking in the free-spirited atmosphere and excitement of the gathering. Lisa sat with me for a few minutes, and we talked about her unschooling advocacy in upstate New York. I can’t remember all of our conversation, but I remember thinking “what a cool person”. I remember admiring her from afar thoughout our weekend at the conference…her cool pinkish hair, her vibrancy, her easy way with people. She was one of those people who my introverted inner self sometimes wishes I could be like.

I recently went no-mail on all of my unschooling lists except for one, the Radical Unschooling list on Yahoogroups, which I kept on daily digest. After my unread unschooling lists emails hit the 5,000 mark, I decided there was no way I was ever going to be as active in the lists as I wanted to be, and no way I was ever even going to read them all, so I did a major house-cleaning. Today, just before getting up to get ready for my shift tonight, I clicked open a daily digest from Radical Unschooling and learned of the passing of Lisa Heyman two days ago. I was stunned, and sat there for a minute, not knowing how to react. Then I began reading emails and blog posts from members of the unschooling community in rememberance of Lisa and in support of her family.

Anne Ohman wrote, (and I hope she doesn’t mind my quoting her here), “Last night, Sam came to me, tears in his eyes, and said, “I couldn’t, Mom. I couldn’t go on without you.” And I hugged him back so hard and so tight. Crying, I said, “But you could…you would learn how…and that’s the part that breaks our hearts…that’s the part that’s so so sad.”

And yet, that’s also the part that is so very wonderful about being *alive* on this earth. The learning. The growing. Sometimes it’s more painful than other times. But we do walk forward…as always…toward the Light from within our hearts.

Thank you, Lisa, for Your Light.”

A friend once told me that there was something truly cleansing about crying in the shower. That’s what I did. I cried for Lisa’s girls, and her husband Larry, because now they have to go on without her. I cried for the unschooling community in New York, because it has lost such a powerful advocate. Mostly I cried for myself, though. For the health that I take for granted. For the precious time that I have been too preoccupied to fully be present with my children. For not living my life to the fullest, 100% of the time. And for not getting to know Lisa, and so many others like her, while I had the chance.

I had decided that my family wouldn’t be attending Live and Learn this year, but I am now rethinking the matter. There are too many wonderful people that I have been shying away from.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Note from the Universe.

Don’t you think it should work like this:

You have a desire, you dwell upon it, move with it, and presto, it manifests?

Or, you fall in love at the right time, with the right person, they fall in love, the timing is perfect, and bingo, the earth moves.

Or, you have a huge question, you turn it over to me, forget about it, and ta-da, you just know.

Me, too. Which, actually, is exactly how it does work, Jennifer, in the absence of fear.

Cool, huh?
The Universe

This is from the daily email I get from Tut’s Adventurer’s Club, which is the website of Mike Dooley. Mike was one of the stars of The Secret and author of Notes from the Universe: New Perspectives from an Old Friend.

I get these every morning, and sometimes they are right on target. Such was todays “note”. Last night my husband and I toured a local coffee shop that is for sale. Owning a cafe is one of those dreams that both of us have held in the back of our psyches for a long time. Michael loves food, it is his passion, and he has always wanted to make his living with food in some way. I love food too, but I am passionate about coffee. I roast my own beans at home in small batches, sometimes sharing them with my family and friends. I have said many times that I would love to own a coffee shop/ bookstore here in the gorgeous downtown area of our town. I suppose nursing is a dignified profession, but I am a dreamer and a free spirit, and punching a timeclock just ain’t my bag.

Anyway, we had the desire, we’ve both dwelled upon from time to time, and when we heard the place was for sale, we talked about it, dwelling upon it some more. Finally, we picked up the phone and called (moving with it). The ball is rolling now, with the biggest obstacle that we can see being financing. Our family will continue visualizing, and we will see!

Notes from the Universe.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Got Milk? MilkSucks.com

While surfing the ‘net tonight, I came across a website called Milksucks.com. I’ve been hearing about the cons of dairy products for a couple of years now. I’ve even bought soy milk from time to time. (I enjoy it, but my family doesn’t.) As the mother of young boys, I’ve had a hard time getting on the anti-dairy bandwagon. My boys are picky eaters, and try as I might to get them to eat better, they just enjoy processed crap more. One of the few supposedly healthy things I can get them to eat are dairy products…milk, cheese, and most recently, yogurt. If I don’t give them dairy products, where will they get their calcium and vitamins?

The boys were breastfed (the youngest for four years), and I understand the detrimental effects of giving cow’s milk to a baby. After all, human milk is for baby humans, cow’s milk is for baby cows. But am I supposed to lactate forever? Would it be better for my 10-year-old to put “mommy milk” on his Fruit Loops? Well, I’m sure it would be…but I digress. Do my kids really need dairy products?

According to the website, “Dairy products are linked to allergies, constipation, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.”

“They are contaminated with cow’s blood and pus and are frequently contaminated with pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.” Well, what about organic dairy products? Surely they would solve some of these issues.

On the website, Milksucks.com, the ill effects of dairy products on humans, animals, and the environment are spelled out, along with information on adopting a dairy-free diet. I’m all for giving this a try, but my concerns are:

1. How will I get my children to eat soy products? And will that be bad for them too? I’ve also read not-so-nice things about soy.

2. How will this way of eating affect my food budget? It’s a damn shame that in this country, good food is more expensive than bad food. No wonder the poor have more health problems than the rich (not that I’m either, I just don’t want to have to spend half my income on healthy food). The closest health food store is 20 miles from my house, and I haven’t even been there. There is no food co-op here either (which is another topic for another post). Not only is healthy, natural food expensive, it is almost inaccessible.

The more I delve into this (food) subject, the more horrified I become. You know that food pyramid that you learned about in health class? Here’s one that is representative of the ACTUAL way that Americans eat.

Edit: After further research, I have come to the conclusion that people do not need dairy, nor do they need to replace it with soy (which is also highly processed and may cause it's own set of health problems, such as hypothyroidism). Think about this: Not only does no other species on earth drink the milk of another species, no other species on earth drinks milk after infancy either. What makes humans any different? And what makes cow's milk the milk of choice? I say it is just programming. Would you be opposed to drinking gorilla milk? Probably so, but gorillas are more like us than cows are. Think about it.

Now if only cheese didn't taste so damn good.

Note: Milksucks.com is brought to you by PETA. Not a good thing, not a bad thing…just know that their point of view may not be impartial.