I want my children to know…

My mother died when I was a baby. She left me and my three sisters when I  was 4 months old. Growing up I had one wallet-sized photo of her. That is all. Her shirt was stained and she looked tired. She was a mother.

I became a mother when I was 26 years old. As I held my infant daughter in my arms and nursed her from my breast I thought often about the mother I lost. When my daughter reached 4 months in age I thought, “This is when I lost her.” When she turned one and a half I thought, “This is when Patrice lost her.” As she neared three years old I thought, “This is when Elysia lost her.” It was hard to imagine the devastation my daughter would have experienced if I were to have suddenly disappeared from her life at these ages. It made the tragedy even more real than it already was. I knew in those intimate moments when my baby lay curled up next to me in the bed, tucked into the protective curve of my body, that I had never been loved so deeply by anyone. That I never would be. It hurt. But,at the same time I was so thankful that I had been given the opportunity to experience this much love in my life. Now I have two beautiful babies and a loving, caring husband, and my days are defined by love.

Newborn Oliver    Chani Newborn

I never used to fear death. Now I do. I don’t want to leave my children. If something does happen to me I don’t want them to be left with only pictures. I want my children to know…

I love you! I love you! I love you!! I’ve said it thousands of times and I will say it a million more if I get the chance. I want you to grow up knowing that you are perfect in your imperfection; that there is nothing you could ever do to make me stop loving you. Thank you for the incredible, life-affirming gift of loving you! I am no longer just Mindy I am Chani and Oliver’s mom. It took some time to adjust to, but I didn’t lose my identity when I became a mother…  I found it.

The Golden Rule is truly golden. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When interacting with others you should stop and ask yourself if you would like it if someone were to do the same to you. Of course, while the Golden Rule is golden, it is not perfect. We are not all alike–something that you would like to have done to you may very well be something someone else would hate–but, the Golden Rule is still a good guide to live by.

The Earth is more than your mother. It was so amazing to look at you during your infancy, when you were exclusively breastfed, and to think, “Wow!! Everything that you are has first passed through me! My body gave you life.” The Earth does this for each and every one of us, and not just for 15 months, for our whole lives!! If that doesn’t deserve love, respect, awe, and conscious care I don’t know what does.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being  superior to your former self. This is a quote from Ernest Hemmingway and I think that it is as golden as the Golden Rule. Unfortunately, it seems that many people choose to live their lives trying to prove themselves to be better than others. They seek to prove this in a variety of ways; through credentials, through possessions, and through forceful displays of superior strength and power. I seriously doubt that any of this brings true fulfillment. Competition is not the salt of life. The only person you need to compete with is yourself. Set your sights high, but the goal should be personal growth not glory.

You should eat your veggies! I want you both to live long, healthy lives. A salad a day will definitely help you get there (as long as you stay away from those nasty pre-made dressings.) Here are some super veggies that I would love to see become staples in your diet: dark leafy greens like collard greens, spinach, kale, and chard, cruciferous veggies like cabbage, and brussel sprouts, root veggies like beets, carrots, potatoes and turnips, and fruit-veggies like squash, tomatoes and avocados. Hopefully I won’t need to coerce you into eating fresh fruits!

Never underestimate the power of conscious breath. I brought you into this world with the help of conscious breathing. When I take the time to meditate and focus on my breath I am a smarter, healthier, happier, more loving, and more intuitive person. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

Money is no substitute for love.  Many people, in seeking to fill a void in their hearts, convince themselves that if they only made more money and had nicer things, they would be happy. I suppose this is an easier path towards happiness to choose–there is no need to put your heart on the line. The problem is that this path doesn’t actually lead to happiness. True happiness can only be experienced when the heart-soul is flooded with the light of connection–LOVE.

Different is good. To me being different means thinking for yourself and being creative. Being different is not always easy. I see around me a world largely divided into two opposing sides. The decisions in this arena are not that complicated–you simply need to choose which team you are on and let the talking heads be your guides. It takes real courage to look deep inside and decide where you really, truly stand. If more people had this type of courage the world would seem more like a giant spider web–with all of the parts working together to make a whole–than a football field with each team poised at the center line ready to duke it out. Be brave. Be yourselves.