Raeven’s Haven…Reflections and Honoring of Sacred Life

Blessings! My name is Raeven. Though I have almost always maintained a journal throughout my life and spent time writing short stories and dreaming of writing children’s spiritual and nature based stories…I have never sought to publish anything. I heard about Blogging years ago and even read a few different blogs over the years, but had never seriously considered trying to create and maintain a blog myself until these past few months when I decided I wanted to try and further focus on, and develop, my own writing with a little more of a public presence. At that same time, I had begun to re-focus once again on my spiritual path and in recognizing and honoring the Divine Sacredness within all of life. I truly wished for all beings to experience and honor that Divine Sacredness within life and upon this Earth, and therefore I knew the best thing I could do was to continually seek to live in a state of Gratitude and Love, and to be of service to all life upon this Earth, for the highest good of all.  And maybe a public blog was one way in which I could share that with others…maybe even inspire them.

In short, this blog is a reflection into my life, my experiences, my thoughts, my hopes, and my dreams. And it’s a good mix of true events seasoned with my wild dreaming. To both share my world and also create it at the same time…in a beautiful and sacred way. To summarize everything below, I felt I was hugely lacking as a parent even though I wanted to be better than I was, and so I resigned myself to just being “designed” that way and waited for my children to launch into their adult lives so that I could go about my own self centered and self focused life creating experiences for myself that I had always desired without feeling guilty any longer for not being able to “connect” and “be there” for them in the way I felt good parents do. Then one of my adult son’s had a daughter of his own and through some very intense spiritual experiences, I was blessed in having a very close relationship with this very special child and she began to teach me HOW to be a better parent and role model through her existence and presence in my life. And through the gift of our relationship, I began to see all the ways in which I needed to grow and become as a person, and how to get there. She inspired in me how to be the kind of parent figure I always desired to be and yet felt I had failed at when I was younger, and she inspired within me to reconnect with my spiritual and creative self and to share that with her. This blog details much of that. Below is the long winded detailed path of how I got to THIS point.

My first spiritual awakening came at 19 when I had my very first child. Though I loved my son dearly with all my heart, I knew I was in no way prepared to be a parent at that age. At that age I knew I was lacking almost everything that I believed a good parent should have and be in nature, disposition, maturity, mental and emotional availability and focus, and ability to adequately provide for my child. I KNEW this. And even though I sought classes and information and support groups and guidance…I still struggled with all aspects of parenting…a LOT. And back then, I had decided that there were some people that were clearly designed for parenting and destined to succeed beautifully at it. And then there were people like me who just could not even understand why one would truly even desire to become a parent…it was SO HARD and SO DEMANDING!!! I was at a loss. And yet I felt the only thing I could do was obviously continue trying to do my best and trying to succeed at it. But, to be honest, I never felt like I truly “got” it about parenting. I never felt like I truly embraced parenting. And I struggled with balancing my own desires and needs in my personal life, and as a consequence it can often be said that I could be a very selfish and self centered parent…and I was. Even though I tried harder to be less of that and more focused on the world of my children.

During those tumultuous parenting years that never seemed to get much easier, and though my heart ached for my children having to go through the experiences of my many parental shortcomings in patience, wisdom, and a ton of other aspects…I watched and observed other parents as they parented. I saw some of them that seemed to be wildly successful in creating wonderful relationships with their children and inspiring their children to become amazing young adults that seemed focused, aware, goal oriented, kind and compassionate towards others, honest, and sometimes even very ecologically conscious. And then I would also see other parents that seemed to struggle with parenting as well. And oftentimes they seemed just as overwhelmed and lost, or completely disengaged from their children. Many of those parents seemed to struggle with having deep and meaningfully connected relationships with their children. Often I observed those parents engage in issues concerning a lack of respect and value of the relationship between themselves and their children, and many of those children I saw grow into young adults that seemed angry, lost, confused, hurt, distrusting, directionless, and sometimes even became adults that did dishonest and destructive things to themselves and others. I often wondered what caused such struggles in parental relationships, where the breakdown had occurred that started those children onto a “less than joyful” path into life…and how it could be fixed, healed, and changed. Were so many of these parents like myself? Were they lost and confused on the path of parenting and feeling like they had no wise and supportive guidance and assistance? Were they parented the same way as they were parenting and experiencing similar results in difficult parenting relationships, despite their best and well intentioned efforts? Or worse, did they simply NOT care about the outcome of their parenting and the adults they would be bringing into society??

I pondered about these things for years. And I often thought about my own mother. She lived less than 10 miles away from me, and though I knew and felt that she had always done her very best to be a good parent, I remembered often feeling disconnected from her in ways I wished I hadn’t. I remembered feeling like she often wasn’t very available to me emotionally, physically, or mentally on many occasions when I had desperately sought that connection and didn’t know how to achieve it. She was often distant and in her own world. Perhaps because she had become a parent herself at 15 and never had her own adult life to herself? Perhaps because her own mother had been a severe alcoholic while my mother was growing up and therefore not available to my mother at all as a parent in any important and meaningful way herself, thus modeling parental behavior to my mother that was disconnected and self focused? Perhaps because as a result of the many stressful and hard situations my mother went through while growing up she had learned to focus inward and ignore many of the unpleasant things going on around her…outside of her? I wasn’t sure. What I DID know was that despite any feelings of lacking I had felt about the relationship between my mother and myself, I observed with surprise and wonder that she seemed to feel and express much more of a connection and focus on my son, her first grandchild than I had ever expected her too. And she was a WONDERFUL grandmother. And as I watched her being a grandparent, being so patient and in tune and connected to my son in ways I felt I failed to do and failed to understand HOW to do…I often wished that my mother would take over the primary responsibility of taking care of my son. I wished for her to be his primary caregiver with myself being the strong secondary. In my mind’s eye, I saw that if we could achieve this arrangement, then my mother would be able to offer my son all the love, stability, security, support, guidance, experience, patience, and wisdom that I so clearly lacked in so many ways. And in return, I could observe and learn from her on HOW to be a better parent, and HOW to become those things. And my job would be to support my mother’s efforts in raising my son in any way that was needed. In my mind’s eye, in this dreamt about arrangement, I would work, go to college, explore life and careers, travel and write and learn about myself and life, and I would not drag my son through any of those experiences with me UNLESS I was sure it was stable and desirable for him. And I would spend as much time as possible with my son and I would provide for all of his financial needs and child care whenever needed. But in this arrangement, I knew my mother would keep him safe and he would have a wonderful upbringing precisely because she was experienced, she was stable, and she was patient and knowing and wise in ways I had yet to grow to become. And I knew it.

But that didn’t happen. Instead my son went through the ups and downs of life right along side me, for better or worse. And I never stopped thinking that this was ALL WRONG. In tribal cultures it was family, extended family, and community that was there for the support and guidance of the child, and their parents if needed. But our society is so divided in so many ways and families are often very fragmented with many families ONLY consisting of the parent or parents, or some parent type, and the children with no additional support from family or close friends within the community. And thanks to this isolation, the prevalence of drug use in our society, the breakdown of strong and positive family support and guidance, the demand for a 2-3 income household in order to make bills JUST FOR SURVIVAL, and the growing lack of guidance and positive modeling of parenting and parent-child relationships, I wondered if THESE things were the main culprit for the breakdown in positive family relationships? Something felt very wrong about this entire model of our society that I had grown up in among the lower-mid income class. Could this be the basis for so many issues in families and in child raising??? Or was it simply that some people simply weren’t designed to be parents? I pondered these things for years, and eventually concluded, based on my personal experiences, that it was both. And some people, like myself, just seemed to lack the “right stuff” for being great parents. So, filled with self resentment about “what and how” I was as a parent, I resigned myself to this awareness and just waited for my children to grow up and start their own lives, all the while apologizing to them for all of my shortcomings as I struggled through those years.

I never gave the idea of grand parenting much thought. My husband did. He seemed to be the exact opposite of me, thankfully, on so many levels. He loved and embraced parenthood and all its responsibilities, even when we disagreed on some issues. And he looked forward to being a grandparent. I looked forward to my last child launching into their adult life and then I thought of hitting the road in a travel trailer and going to live the life I had always dreamed about full of travel and adventure and new experiences with new people and cultures.

Then at the age of 39 I became a grandparent for the first time and was blessed to be present at her Sacred birth. For many people, becoming a grandparent is probably often an experience that is viewed as a wonderful blessing, as I believe it should be. However, for me, I wasn’t expecting the gift of a granddaughter to be such a dramatic life changing event for me. But to this day, at 13 months old, she most definitely has been the most blessed, powerful, and spiritual gift I have ever experienced within my own life and I continue to feel and express nothing but gratitude and love for the gift of her, every single day.

I wasn’t even sure how or why these sudden changes within myself had occurred. I had raised sons and never spent any time around daughters or little girls even though I had desperately wanted a daughter. When my sons were growing up, my husband reveled in being a father and loved to share with them things that he had enjoyed from his own childhood and experiences, and felt a connection to them in a way I just couldn’t relate to or identify with. In truth, even though I loved my sons dearly, I did not know how to share and connect with them the things that I felt a sense of value about. And because of that, and a dozen other reasons, I really felt I failed my sons as a mother, as a parent. But it wasn’t for lack of wanting or trying to the best of my ability.

So when I learned I was expecting my first grandchild, I didn’t think much about what that experience might mean. I simply hoped my son and the mother of his baby would have a much easier time with parenting than I did and I would try to offer as much support as I could. But as the pregnancy progressed and life events occurred, I ended up developing a fairly close relationship with my granddaughter’s wonderful mother. We shared a lot in common with our life experiences and I grew to love her dearly, as my own daughter. And I became excited about meeting this new child. And then, upon her birth, as her wonderful mother shared that special and sacred experience with me, I fell hopelessly in love with that tiny soul as I watched her enter the world and take her first breath. And I KNEW in that moment that she was very special, that she would bring many spiritual teachings to my life, that we had a very special soul connection and had great work to do together on this earth, and that I would do anything on this earth to shelter her from pain and sorrow and protect her with every breath within me.

Since her birth, and now over a year later, I am blessed with spending a great deal of time with my granddaughter and we have many adventures together. Both real, dreaming, and yet to come. And she has been the greatest spiritual teacher in my life so far. I am blessed beyond words. And these are our stories….

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