Spring BREAK

spring-break

The possibility of becoming wrapped up in the To Do Lists of life is a topic I often write about. This article happens to revisit that subject again. Surprise, surprise.  But just like everyone else I need a reminder.  Habits are hard to break. And that damn To Do List is a drug that I can’t seem to fully detox from.

The month of March did not disappoint when it came to the phrase “in like a lion, out like a lamb”. Holy shit. The first 19 days of March were a chaotic frenzy of scheduled classes and events. Though I had seen my family it was as if I hadn’t seen them. Though I was slipping in between the sheets each night it was as if I hadn’t slept. I went into each week hating Monday and hating Friday along with everything in between. It wasn’t until a divine intervention in the form of a wet nasty cough came into play on a Saturday morning. Cue bronchitis diagnosis on all three children not to mention a cold for mommy and daddy as well.

Swim lessons were cancelled. Karate belts were left unworn. Yoga classes were missed. Preschool and Kindergarten were issued absent calls. Tutus weren’t even attempted. The week prior to spring break was one long series of endless days of sick kids and exhausted parents. I sat with my little ones sprawled across my lap. We read mounds of books filled with fiction and talking animals. Plenty of odd characters and colors filled the television screen. The time spent indoors during recuperation, though snot filled and echoed with coughs, was a time of bonding, a time for retreat and not to mention gave me time to clean every inch of the house. The only problem was that we were leaving for Texas at the end of the week to start spring break at Nana and Papa’s house. It was clear we needed the helping hand of a doctor. Two days before we were scheduled to board a plane we wiggled our way into the pediatrician’s office on a sick visit. All three kids were checked head to toe, all three leaving with the same diagnosis. Bronchitis. All three with prescriptions to ease their breathing and help their little frames to stop coughing.

Fast forward to the plane ride. To make traveling with three year-old twins and a five year-old bossy brother even better, my ear tube popped causing a domino affect of pain and sinus problems leading to an infection and visit to the Urgent Care – woo-hoo!  Long story short, I literally broke on spring break.

Breaking forced me to fully embrace the break part of spring break. It helped to be surrounded by family day and night. I went to bed early and slept in late. I sat by the pool and ate apple pie (that GASP wasn’t Paleo – it was homemade by the gals behind the grocery store bakery counter). I didn’t cook dinner once and laid in bed watching Law and Order more than once. I forgot about makeup and wore a hat rather than brushing my hair. Rest. A true break from reality. I welcomed it and so did my kids. They skipped naps, stayed up late, swam all day and ate fists full of candy and squished fries into their little cheeks. They followed on the heels of their older cousins and ignored mommy altogether.

As we littered around the living room after filling our bellies with Easter goodies. We rambled on about this and that, leading to the talk about taking a walk. My brother in-law’s dad responded “I don’t walk on Sundays, it’s a day of rest.”  So simple yet so brilliant. A day of rest. When was the last time that i had a day of rest? When was the last time that I felt like it was okay to rest. March had proved that I could do it ALL, but it also proved that I shouldn’t do it. It also made it clear that days of rest were need for those small and not so small. So why is it that we feel like we MUST do it all? That we should wear all hats and not just one. That being well-rounded with a full schedule is far better than being down to earth and grounded with a lack of schedule.

With the taste of rest that spring break provided, I welcome summer. Not only for its sunny bright days but also its lack of schedules. Lack of structure and more freedom to promote creativity and imagination.  Long days filled with independence, dirty hands and tanned skin.   Far from being useless, resting play is the food that feeds the soul that drives healthy development for the young and the old(er). I invite the productive-lazy days of June, July and August. Months of exploration of not only nature but also the interests of my three wee ones, my own and my husband.

With less than 2 months before the last school bell rings to mark the start of summer, my family is gearing up for those warm days by not only planning but also breaking into restful play days. The bikes are out, sidewalk chalk litters the yard and our hands have already planted the first greens of our makeshift garden. We’ve ditched going home right after school for the play ground or the backyard.  Our days are filled with more freedom and play rather than lessons, structure, treadmills and rules.  I may not be throwing my bikini top off a stage or getting drunk at noon on a beach but I’ll be throwing caution to the wind and getting drunk on the freedom that summer has to offer. You get drunk too …

 

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Recognition by a perfectionist …

Brooke Halperin Low Res30

I’ve been thinking about becoming famous.  I’m thinking that it may be a good idea to do something, invent something or create something that would bring me to celebrity status. As a mom who doesn’t shower on a regular basis or hasn’t stayed up past midnight in years (without a child puking as the main event) it’s hard to not want to be a celebrity, I think about the money, the parties, the vacations, the spa days, the clothing, the personal trainers … it’s hard to not get swept up and in the glitz and glamour of it all.

As of lately, I find myself drawn to this idea even more.  In fact, I’ve had vivid dreams of reaching my day-dream status.  Instead of reading something that won a Pulitzer Prize I dive into the latest blogs and articles covering the gorgeous and famous. Did I mention that Oscar night is like my very own version of Christmas morning? So what gives? Why the sudden emphasis and desire of public attention, this focus on bling?

Like the rest of the world, I looked for answers to my questions in the all-knowing Google. According to the articles within it’s not a desire to be in the public eye or a love for money, it’s actually the longing for recognition.

Ah-ha! Now this makes sense! Recognition for what moms do on a daily basis is far and in between. I find myself reminding my kids to say please and thank you at least a million times per day. My dogs could care less if they give me some love to show they realize they would starve and barely survive without me.  I’m not alone in my feelings. According to my placement in Generation Y, it turns out more than 50% of those born between the 80’s and 2000 long for a status of rich or famous.

So which is it? My longing for recognition for all I do or is it my Gen-Y birthday??? Google has no feedback and Bing has no idea. Unfortunately, it turns out the only person that can answer this question is ME. Cue pity violin for ME.

Looking within, it may be that I cannot give my own self recognition. It’s hard to recognize the things I do and accomplish on a daily basis without focusing on what I feel I could have done or accomplished. It’s hard for me to see what I have right in front me when it’s so easy to see what I want in the glossy pages of a magazine. I blame my lack of self-confidence too. It’s easy to be conned into the words and images depicted across the pages of my magazines, within the clicks of my inbox and the screen of my television. If only I did that, looked like that or had that I would be perfect. Damn you perfectionist, damn you.

Recognition by a perfectionist …

For me the solutions to life’s questions or what may be ailing my soul can be found in words. For me the words spoken by another or those I read in a book are similar to the comfort found in the warm arms of a hug from my mom. Words in all forms seem to bring a sense of calm over my crazy. So when I came across the following words without even really searching for them, my celebrity fantasies came to mind …

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich, fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  (Mind you this is a biblical verse which I usually tend to stay away from in my own writing but when I came across Timothy 6:9 in not the bible but a Google search, biblical or not it spoke to me.)  To me the word “rich” is equal to famous so YES this makes sense, YES this was the end result of these so-called desires I’ve been having. Timothy knew what he was talking about, even though he may not have had a stay at home mom in the age of Facebook in mind when he uttered these words. My materialistic desires and fancy celebrity daydreams had become a snare, a trap set for my own good fortunes.  Rather than seeing all that is awesome in my own life, those desires fueled by my own lack of recognition for what I do and the woman who I am were ruining and destroying all the good. Because when I pull back the curtain of “the grass is greener” and look through the eyes of gratitude all I have around me is all that I truly need.  All that is around me is perfect in it’s own imperfect way. 

Recognition by a perfectionist …

Taking a cue from Timothy, I focus hard on the present and on my own “green grass”. What do I find? I relish in the love of my devoted husband and treasure the sticky hearts and hands of my small children. I am famous in my own little celebrity world where this blog is my writing outlet and grabs the attention of more and more readers with each article posted. The MOPS group I created that has opened the door to a whole new world to so many mothers. The volunteer work I do. The tiny human beings I raise. The thought and care I put into my actions as a daughter and a friend.  The mundane but necessary work I put in as a homemaker, mother and wife does all matter. I may not be recognized for it all on the front cover of US Weekly, but until I come to recognize it on my own, it wouldn’t matter if I was on the front cover of every magazine in the checkout line of Target.

Recognition by a perfectionist …

4 TIPS TO RECOGNIZING YOUR OWN CELEBRITY STATUS:

  1. Reflect on your What I Did Today List, rather than what is not crossed off on your To-Do List.
  2. Think about who you cared for today … whether it be an ailing parents, a newborn, your high school age daughter, your new husband or your loyal dog. To that one being you mean the world!
  3. Did you flex your talent muscle today? If you’re good with numbers or words, did you jot some down? A great baker or fabulous cook, were you in the kitchen today? Amazing singer or instrument player, did you hum a tune or strike a note? The list goes on …
  4. Think of your body in regards to senses not just looks. Engage in smelling, seeing, touching, tasting and hearing while being grateful for all those abilities to experience this brilliant life. Go a step further and thank the body that holds all those pieces of sensory together.

 

 

 

 

Potty Mouths and Butt Tag.

Photography-BabyButts

I’m worried that I may have some sort of amnesia. It seems that I have forgotten that at some point I taught my three small children the words poop, pee, butt, eww and pee-pee and that while I taught them I laughed hysterically at the use of the words.

Apparently at some point I must have squatted over a basket while also pretending it to be a potty. Along with these incidents I had at one time pulled down my pants baring my ass cheeks while I cupped them in both hands wiggling my buttocks back and forth while humming. I mean I MUST HAVE because my children are constantly engaging in this behavior and where else could they have learned it???

I’m confused as to when my three soft and adorable babies became tiny adults using phrases like “Eww, look at your butt” and turning every ordinary object into a pretend potty.

The more I thought about it the more I realized I do not have amnesia. Rather, I blame the evilness that is Kindergarten. In analyzing where the birth of such language and fascination of bowel movements started I recall an incident in September when my son’s teacher pulled me aside after school to inform me that my sweet first born boy had been engaging in potty talk with some of his friends during class. HOW COULD THIS BE??? My angel? My little boy who I read to nightly and listened to classical music while he incubated in my belly?!!?? Yes, true story, my son had become a potty mouth.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is where it all started. Like a plague the use of such words and play spread like wildfire from my eldest to my youngest. I could physically see with my own two eyes the bright light and gleaming glee that came from the eye sockets of my younger son as he heard the word butt used by his older brother. It was as if a light-bulb had been switched on in some dormant part of his brain producing a euphoria that he could not and would not ignore. When my sweet little girl was ordained into this butt and potty mouth fraternity, she cooperated and followed like a first class potty word slinging soldier. Soon all three were taking the gift of potty words and running with it. What followed was a progression from shaking butts, to making butts talk to dropping their pants at passing cars. The words had taken on actions and a mind of their own.

It gets worse. Now we have hit a whole new level of low. A low where their mother, yes me, stooped as low as her children in attempt to stop the butt shaking, ass tagging, potty mouth insanity. Let me paint a picture of this new low for you:

I’m in the bathroom trying to look presentable when I hear the potty words begin as my three lovely offspring play with different action figures in a KidsKraft Firehouse. In my first attempt to stop the spread of the words any further I yell from the bathroom to knock it off. About one eye shadow swipe and a brush of the hair later and I hear, “Hurry! Throw the toilet out the window! Oh no he’s pooping everywhere!” “Put the fire out with the pee!” Now I leave the bathroom and enter into the living room to make it clear i’m not messing around. Now I’m standing in front of them telling them that they know better and aren’t to use those words and that I can hear them. They all promise to stop. I head to the bedroom to throw some clothes on.

Now as I pull my shirt over my head I can hear the muffled words, “Throw the garbage can out the window! Look at his naked butt, he’s shaking his butt out the window and has no where to pee!” Now with only a shirt and underwear on I storm down the hallway for my third attempt to quiet their potty mouths. As I turn the corner they are already looking in my direction and before I can say my peace my youngest son points at me and loudly exclaims “Eww! Mommy’s underwear! Look at her butt!” Now I had become the butt of their butt jokes. That’s when the low came into play as I exclaimed back, “If you guys like poop and pee so much that is what I’m serving for breakfast, lunch and dinner from now on. If that’s the language you want to use and be potty mouths then that is what I will feed your potty mouths!” As their eyes grew wide and their potty mouths dropped open at the possibility of such a reality I knew I had struck a cord. Apologies were fast and needless to say I finished dressing in peace only hearing that the firemen were saving babies and climbing ladders like normal non-urinating rescue workers would be doing.

Unfortunately, my scare didn’t take as permanently as I would have hoped.  The following day I watched my youngest son run naked through our kitchen while his older brother ran after him trying to swat his naked tush while yelling “BUTT TAG!” It appears that in using their language I had only stooped to their level rather than raising them from it.

Moving forward, I will be claiming my original claim of amnesia. Don’t be surprised if you see me pant-less at Target, but at least you’ll know why.

Parenting Pop-Quiz

Pop

Since the birth of my twins I’ve been receiving somewhat of a pop quiz from the Texas Twin Project (my babies are TX born).  An assortment of questions ranging from what my little ones eat to when I read them stories to how I handle stress when I am in their presence. The questionnaires have been popping into my inbox every six months. Usually around 30 pages long and containing what feels like a million questions.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Truth be told I look forward to these pop quizzes. They keep me in line. They demand that I stop and take a deep long look at my skill set as a mommy. Filled with questions that ask me how I am treating my children as a whole and individually. I answer the questions with complete honesty. Thinking over my interactions with my minions. Analyzing the last six months of bed times, meals, arguments, hugs, games, books and struggles. Was I right? Was I wrong? They even ask if I think that I need improvement in my skills as a parent. Well, mommy do you????

A parenting pop-quiz.

Though just a simple email, just a series of questions, a click of a mouse and clatter of computer keys. Simple tasks that mean so much more within my mommy self. A parenting pop-quiz that makes me answer uncomfortable questions while confronting the struggles I face as a wife and woman who is a mother of three.  Why do I react to each twin differently? Why do I yell on bad days? How can I laugh more? Emphasize the good I am doing rather focusing on the bad I wish I would stop doing.

A parenting pop-quiz.

In fact, I like this questionnaire so much that I wish I received the same one in regards to my first born. Making me check-in with who I am as his mother. How I interact with my little man. How my mini-me is growing with me by his side. Though I am not receiving any formal questionnaire when it comes to my eldest, the one that hits my inbox every six months makes me create somewhat of an informal check-list and quiz within my mommy brain, taking in to account the words I’ve said and the actions I’ve taken when it comes to my little boy. My own version of a parenting pop-quiz.

A parenting pop-quiz. Holding me accountable for holding one of the most important titles in the world: Mommy. The brilliant minds behind the questionnaire never send me any results or data quantifying how great or bad of a mommy I am. They don’t need to. The questions they ask are enough. The reminder each six months gives me a reality check, gets me interested in the mom I am and the way my children are being cared for. I would say with each day my grade is different. Sometimes I am an A+ and other days I probably deserve a big fat F. Some days I’m a cool C+ being an average mommy, but other days I’m above average with a B+ or an A- after scoring big with no tears, easy school drop-offs, crafts executed with Pinterest quality and five star home cooked meals.

A parenting pop-quiz.

Have you taken your parenting pop-quiz this month??? What grade would you give yourself? How would you improve your scores?

 

Mirror Mirror On the Wall.

broken-mirror

One of the people I love the most heard a terrible secret. What made the matter even worse was the secret came from my own mouth.

I made the mistake of uttering the words that are a deep and dark secret within. A single sentenced leaked from my lips that make up the paragraphs that I utter to myself throughout the course of every day.

I spoke the words to my husband, forgetting my eldest was in ear shot, not out of neglect but out of feeling bogged down under the feelings of the adjectives I spoke ….

“I just feel gross and ugly.”

Hearing me, my oldest son responded, “No you’re not! You’re the most beautiful person!!”

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I made the error in thinking that once I made peace with my weight that somehow I would be fixed. I was wrong. What I hadn’t known was the extreme focus I put on weight and what I ate would transfer to focusing on the faults of my appearance. A deadly obsession that seems to latch on like a life-sucking leech to a new life-source each month. Who knew that skin, eye brows, a nose, facial shape, eye shape and all the rest could be the source of much dismay???

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

To be in such distraught while looking in the mirror makes mornings sort of daunting. Being envious of the way others appear make getting ready for a public outing somewhat sad. Far from shallow, I believe everyone else to be attractive, pretty or beautiful as I stand alone in a category of misfit or outcast. I can only describe it as feeling like a handmade rag-doll that though made with hands of love, her physical characteristics are mismatched and awkward.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I want to be able to see what my son sees. I want to be at peace with who I am and what I see, but I know I am not alone. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of American women don’t like what they see in the mirror, all of us struggling each day with feelings of shame and inadequacy about our physical selves. Just the other day I read that 91% of women would not use the word beautiful to describe themselves.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

Self-esteem at the reins of my body image.  A pesky little monster making me feel inadequate among the outside world, bullying my internal world with snide remarks and negative commentary on how I look. My body image a complete mess, broken and cracked. But smashed beyond repair? At present, more than a decade of self negative talk, it feels like that I’ll always be that awkward rag-doll made of bits and pieces that don’t seem to fit so well together while everyone else is a shiny new Barbie or Ken doll.

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

The answer to my problems seem to lie in my internal “mirror”. I just need to fix it, to make it a mirror of love and acceptance. I need a hugging mirror. I need to embrace who I am at the present and not for an image of perfection that I seem to be striving for each day, one body part at a time. I think my children are the most beautiful creatures on earth, each one made up of pieces of myself and the love of my life.   It’s so easy to love their parts, then why can’t I love my own?

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I find that my thoughts drift back to the idea of embracing. Embrace > The word I keep fixating 2016 to.  Embracing my body and all it’s parts, not as something that needs to be changed but as a unique and beautiful creation that allows me to relish and live in the experiences of my every day life. A vessel that I can physically love my children with, hold my husband with and enjoy laughter and long talks with close friends.

Embracing the inner mirror.

An obvious beginning of a longer process, one in which I come to accept my body and physical attributes as they are in this very moment. When one day I’ll be able to say “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all? You are.

 

 

365.

Calendar

365 days. 24 hours in a day with a minimum of 12 hours in which we are awake. 365 times 12 equals 4380. Roughly 4400 opportunities in which I can embrace the now.

4400 moments to share and love, showing myself and the ones who mean the most to me that I’m present and living mindfully.

In order to become more mindful of the present and to take advantage of these 4400 embracing opportunities I’ve devised a list of ways in which I can make the most of my 12 hours in each of my 365 days. My list is made up of actions or thoughts that I can practice in order to live presently rather than taking advantage of the present. I hope that my list will encourage you all to devise your own for these 365 days of 2016.

Each time we get into the car rather than becoming frustrated take the time to kiss each of my children.

Each time my child becomes frustrated with a puzzle or math assignment or opening a door, I will take the opportunity to let them know how proud I am of them for trying.

When I have nothing else to give or say, what I can give is a ten second hug to my little ones.

Each time I do something for someone else I will remember to do something for myself as well … even if that is sitting down to a hot lunch in the middle of a busy day.

Each time I have the extra time to give each child a separate bath I will, washing their hair slowly and rubbing their back gingerly rather than rushing a long to just get them clean.

Each time my children sing, I will comment on what beautiful voices they have rather than saying something like “Can you do that in the other room?”

Each time my husband asks for a kiss I’ll give him one.

Each time I leave the house I will tell my husband I love him.

Each time my husband enters the house I will give him a hug hello.

Each time I find myself getting angry I will ask first if it’s my perception and my doing or if it is the fault actual person or thing.

Each time I’m feeling blue I will remind myself that displacing the anger or hurt on someone I love isn’t going to solve anything.

Each time my children run through the house laughing and chasing one another out of fun and not anger, I will bite my tongue and enjoy their innocent laughter.

Each time my children ask to wear a favorite shirt for the fourth day in a row I will let them … as long as it is clean.

I will smile and say hello to at least one stranger a day.

I will be sure to always say thank you and ask how a person’s day is who is working to bring me customer service.

I will take more pictures and actually print them out of moments that I really don’t want to forget.

Each time my children ask to be carried to bed I will embrace them, hold them close and make the steps to their room.

Each time my children ask me to read a book or play a game I will let the dirty dishes and To – Do Lists go.

Each time I think of a friend or family member I will reach out to them.

Each time I think of calling my mom I will pick up the phone and dial … and not wait until nap time.

Each time I think of my husband I will take advantage of technology and send him a text.

If I am having a bad moment I won’t let it turn into a bad day. I always will take the opportunity to reroute where that moment is leading me.

Each time I think of taking a nap I will at least close my eyes and count to ten.

Each time I remember something from my childhood with my Dad I will call him to share the memory.

Each time one of my children sits next to me  I will scoot closer and hold their hand.

Each time they pull a stool up to investigate what I am doing I will share with them the steps rather then shooing them a way.

Each time my kids shed a tear I will do my best to make them smile.

Each time I find myself not mindfully in the present, I will take a moment to think of all the wonderful things, activities and people I cherish, I will reach out and touch that person or thing and dive deeper into my abilities.

 

 

 

Throw a Hug Rather Than a Punch.

HalperinFam2015HighRes29

Rather than fighting the forces of nature, why not embrace the season of life we are all in. Why not give a great big bear hug to the now we are in rather than throw a punch with what we think we should be doing . How about caressing the present instead of coming at it with blows.

I will admit my guilt when it comes to questioning the present rather than just accepting it with open arms. I’m guilty of wishing for 7 pm to come faster, for the weekend to arrive sooner, for quiet instead of loud, for sleep instead of chaos. Wishes that are only fighting the now.

I question if the way we spend our days is “enough” that if we are using our time wisely, that maybe I should have the kids in more activities or if I should be dedicating my time to even more causes and people.

I wonder if I let the kids sleep too much.

I wonder if I should have them in the “real world” more often.

I wonder if I am boring with a ten o’clock bedtime.

I wonder if I should dress sexier or drink more until I become sexier.

I wonder if my husband and I are spending too much time on the couch.

I wonder if I should be enrolling my kids in some sort of program to create geniuses rather than letting them run through the house like screaming maniacs as they pretend to be holding some sort of makeshift light saber?

I wonder if my husband and I should be having more sex.

I wonder if my kids are getting enough exercise during the winter months.

I wonder if my kids brush their teeth efficiently or if they’ll become toothless at ten.

I literally lose hours of sleep each week with the number of different “wonderings” that fly through my mind as I lay in bed.

Living in a decade of long days but short years. When feet grow quickly and hearts grow strong. An era when innocence becomes something you want to hold onto. A time in which we should really be throwing a hug instead of a punch at the life we are dealt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch. After all, my days are made up of last times. I’m not saying that today will be the last time  for everything but eventually these times and daily happenings will be a thing of the past, things that I will crave as my babies grow taller and older, and as I grow, hopefully wiser and finer.

Throw a hug rather than a punch at the daily last times.

The last time my babies will be in cribs, I cringe at the idea of what my mornings will be like when all three have the run of the house.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my kids will nap, I can only imagine what “adventures” will be had when there isn’t that short window of calm.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when my little ones will have butts little enough to fit in my lap.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time when they let me choose the books to read while finding my narration fascinating.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my husband and I will sit on the couch with all three little ones asleep, in 10 to 15 years we’ll either be sharing the television with teenagers or worried about where they are and what they are doing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time my little girl won’t care if her hair is brushed or if her tights match her shirt.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

The last time that hugging mom really tight and screaming her name when she picks you up from school is cool. (The day that my children no longer do this I may fall into a deep depression as I fall down the ladder of  cool people in their lives).

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

It’s okay to be who we are. It’s okay to do what we do. It’s okay to embrace our lives as they are, to love it and live it instead of planning it or molding it to what we think it should be like. It’s okay to be self-centered bitches thinking our lives and our time are important. It’s okay to make our own schedules, goals and memories. It’s okay to not follow the rules while making our own. It’s okay to throw a hug instead of a punch.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.

Every mundane, loud, quiet, scary, funny, sad and loving moment takes place as a piece of a divine puzzle planned for each of us. In the end, no matter how much we choose to fight it, no matter how many punches or blows we throw, it’s all going to have the same ending. The difference lies in the path to that destination, will we come out bloody, black and blue from all our resistance or will we come out wiser and finer from all that hugging and embracing.

Throw a hug rather than a punch.