IKEA The Other Letter- The Lessons We Know Most and Why I’m Living Offline
So, I remember as a child, my mom had this parenting book at her bedside stand. And I picked it up one day and read it and got so excited! It talked about how parents need to spend more time with their kids and how only through time spent together can parents build the positive relationships they wish to have with their kids. And I earmarked that page and got so excited that my mom would read it, and then, and then, and then she would know. And then, surely, she would spend time with me.
And though that day never did happen, I get it. Now, I get it. I get how there is always another thing to do to run a household, how there is always twenty things on the to do list and that doing them feels productive, reduces stress, and makes the emptiness gnawing at the silent corners of our soul shut up.
Many years ago, waaaay before The Nomadic Family and waaaaay before the Conscious Parenting classes I taught, I taught Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body, which, turns out, mostly came woman looking to lose weight. We did some amazing holistic why-I-eat and how-can-I-change-my-relationship-with-food-and-my-body and how-can-I-get-this-padometer’s-numbers-to-increase-each-week and it was fucking amazing! The work we did was mind-blowing amazing. And so, we also laughed a lot.
You’ll see in this Conscious Parenting video(below) I made years back, that, yes, laughter is a huge part of our growth. We laugh at the things we would otherwise cry again.
That Joke That Rings Too True
So, there was this joke/quote one of the women brought to one of those groups:
Deep inside of me there is a skinny woman screaming, wanting to get out. I can usually shut her up with cookies.
My Biggest Travel Mistake
And that’s what we do. Every day. The more I worked feverishly towards My Biggest Travel Mistake, the more quickly my life took the following turn of events:
And then, the mistake began. It started out nice and slow, and slithered it’s way into my soul. “Hey, what if we make a blog to remember our experiences. A nice little online keepsake journal for us!” Then,, “Hey, what if our blog brings traffic and then someone may want to donate money for our volunteer efforts!” Which turned into, “Hey, let’s write some e-books and sell some products that are really good and then, people will spend money on this good stuff, and then, we can keep traveling”…. and eventually it became:
“Let’s not sit and relax and do any of those family or couplehood things we love to do. In fact, let’s stop being and let’s just be productive and effective all day and night and in our actions and in my dreams and in every waking moment, let’s figure out how to get more twitter friends, more YouTube subscribers, more clicks to the blog, and more Facebook Friends! Actually, family, could you please go away and stop bothering me, so that I can write another great article about how travel has bonded our family, cuz this one will bring us tons of traffic!”
And I built an online empire, and I got on the first page of Google, and I had hundreds of best friends on social media. I would wake up and first thing in the morning see what comments I go and see how my stats were doing. I was doing the online waaaaay before I was greeting the sun, kissing my children, counting my blessings. I was actually frustrated and annoyed when my kids would bother me and get in the way with reading what some random stranger had to say about something I posted, for then, for me, in the insanity of it all, that was more important than my kids.
Nothing is More Important than Our Kids
I love my kids. You love your kids. We all love our kids and still, I stay perpetually busy, and find things to do: the laundry, the dishes, this thing on the computer, that, or this; almost anything but to sit down and be with my kids, to love them and be, be, be with them.
And still, of course, our kids are the most important thing in the world, and yet, if you look at the how your time is spent in a given week, if you look at how much time you are celebrating them (not doing all that you do for them), but being with them, it sometimes looks grim.
I see these pictures of my kids so small and think, “Where the fuck did the time go?” and “Oh my God, now, now, now I still have to be with them while they still really want me around!”
And I know those moments when you just want to kill your child, when your soul is limping, when you want to regain your sanity for your falling apart, and when you’re living in blessed chaos. I know, I know. I’ve been there too.
[Each of these links is a great article that I think you would deeply enjoy. I’m beyond honored to share them with you!]
The Other Letter
It’s that awesome. IKEA did one amazing job! They really did! We should be at the first IKEA this summer for our two month in Sweden, and are super excited!
So I called home boo-hooing about our children’s wasted childhood (I’m hypersensative, deal) and when I get emotional, I fail to remember the whole picture, like I homeschooled for two and half years to have my kids with me and give them the freedom to be themeselves that I felt was right for them. I forgot that I helped found a school and gave huge chunks of my soul and sleepless nights to fighting for that school to become an emotionally-safe, curious learning environment in which I volunteered tons. And, yeah, I forgot that we left jobs and money and a home, family, and a community we loved in order to travel the world for three and a half with my kids. OK, so we’re not perfect parents, and there is always more we can do in life, but there is no end of that.
So, I Skyped them and had them sit down and watch. I actually recorded them watching it.
Kobi’s thoughts in reaction:
we had a great time yesterday playing ball and skating. we always knew that our time with kids is priceless. no surprise here but i feel that we need to be more proactive about it and make more opportunities to actually do that. we do play games with them ALL the time. we are both home with them. we take them to school and pick them up. I go with them to school every day. we take them to ice hockey and we stay and watch them. we ask them how was that and how was this. we watch movies together, we clean together, we eat together and we are a lot together. our kids totally have their parents in almost every turn….we even let them sleep with us… so i feel we are more than ok on this part… one thing i would put more time is the quality time. i stared to sit with them on reading (girls) and math with orazi.. it was good…anyway, have a great time andl love you a lot and i appreciate what you and I have!!!
I’m in India right now, getting healed at the Bone and Body Clinic by Ringo and Miranda and staff. Part of my healing is moving bone and muscle and tendons that have been off for most of my life. That, apparently, is upsetting my inner child and the things I’ve been holding onto unresolved in my soul, for I have the nastiest, itchiest, bloaty-est, reddest, most uncomfortable rash all over my body, which has miraculously moved over the last week in a straight line up my tendon line meridian and through all of these internal organs perhaps still affected by my recent surgery. The point is that toxins are leaving me and I’m grateful for this healing.
I am far away from my family for a total of 9 weeks and it’s been tough on all us. Some days, I died and went insane in my loneliness and self-inflicted solitude Other days, I just wanted this entire process to not be for the pain of it was a bitch that I didn’t know how to cope with
And still find myself doing a million things instead of doing what I plan to do (like work) or when I talk to them on Skype, I get ADHD-bored and start clicking around to other things. I’ve sat with them before and felt this fight-or-flight, life-or-death, stay-here-or-get-up-now urgency so many times.
This, I will learn to overcome. I want to be here. Here, and now. Here and with my kids.
I have already arrived. I have. Now, to do it!
I’m crying every time I see the Other Letter video. What does it say to you? What do you feel? What are you juggling in your life? What parenting wishes do you have from your parents, for you, and do you see any similarities? Your thoughts? What empowering new I-love-my-children traditions would you like to incorporate into your lives this new year? Please share
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Insanely unorthodox, embarrassingly honest, and on her path towards spiritual awareness, Gabi Klaf blogs about her family’s ups and downs in their now third year of non-stop budget world travel. This family of five has lived with an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Ecuador, hitchhiked throughout the world, danced with drunk Vietnamese at weddings, and hiked the entire Annapurna Circuit trek with a documentary film crew in tow. Gabi writes about the untold sides of family travel life, those moments that take your breath away, adventures and mishaps while globetrotting, and how bits of her soul remain in this small town and off the side of that river. She is a guitar-stumming, energy-healing, ADHD wind-loving scaredy cat. Hugely romantic, tantalizingly sweet, and hysterically funny, Gabi Klaf represents a rare Rubik’s Cube of family world adventure.
We’re out doing crazy stuff and making our dreams come true, every single one of them, and a few more that sort of flew into our mouths while we were smiling into the wind. Should you like what we are doing as a family, BUY AN EBOOK to support us, share this, tell any media source or local newspaper, leave a comment. Your footprint makes all the difference in the world friends. Gracias!
Gabi and Kobi, Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai
And, sweet new news loves: In addition to parenting, family life and trauma therapy, Gabi is now offering Make Your Dreams Come True/We Wanna Travel But.. Coaching too. Engage with Gabi!