Author Archives: Eric Walker

Some reflections from my parenting experience

I have always known I’d be doing the work of a parent. This is where I belong. I’m a good Dad. This is what I know before I hear it, and I believe that when you know something before you hear it, that is why you are in the world. Despite this knowing, parenthood isn’t what I thought it’d be. Not so far.

Here are my reflections:

  • Parenting is burning black holes in our dark memories. Parenting is an opportunity to relight the candle and find our shadows on the wall.
  • Parenting has led me to discover my biological father whom I met at 36. This deepened my understanding of fatherhood by offering me a different perspective of the Dad I’ve always had.
  • I didn’t think I’d be a single parent. Being a single parent makes me reflect about my winding road with Love. If I wasn’t a parent, I’m not sure my heart would have reconciled its feast of losses.
  • I never thought I’d be separated, and barely know my oldest son who lives in another state (although we’re making progress).
  • I didn’t think I’d be living paycheck to paycheck, or feel as if I’m a flat tire away from disaster. I have learned how to make it work. Not just with a tight budget, but in every instance.

Yet, these realities set in motion my resolve to make amends with it all. The buck stops with me. That means a lifetime effort to bring awareness of, and scrape off the sticky spots on the tread of my soul. Especially when it gets messy. Because parenting, if anything, is carrying the weight and never stopping. Each step is a journey. Going all the way is a promise.

Nothing brings me more joy than parenting. I have faith in myself as a parent to Ben, Ella, Lucan and Ada.

Love Is Like Water

The developers straightened out Rivers
to make room for houses. Sometimes the
rivers flood these developments. But
it’s not really flooding. It’s remembering.
It’s returning to its rightful place because
water has perfect memory. It will forever
try to get back to where it belongs.
Love is that way too. Love gets lost.
Love reappears. Love remembers where it was,
where it came from, its trials and tributes.
Love remembers the rocks in the river,
the angle of sun’s light and route back home.
Just like water.

Me and Ada

Ada’s mom was pregnant with her when we broke up. It was a painful time period. I was angry. Nothing was certain. Even the rights I had taken for granted as a father with her siblings, Ella and Lucan, were put into question.

I wasn’t at her birth. I will always feel hurt about that. It took almost two years before we gradually made it to 50/50 parenting time.

Every visit was precious in those early days. I summoned all of my “be present, be patient” mojo hoping to accelerate our bond.

At bottle time, I’d caress her forehead, sing her the “Daddy Loves You” song and pull her close into my warmth. That became our thing.

She’s almost three now. Our relationship has caught up. We’re on par with the other two.

Today, she brought me her empty bottle, “Num nums Daddy.” She watched me fill it then took my hand to lead us to the rocker.

I caressed her head and sang her the song, our familiar love ritual now.

I’m proud and grateful for how things turned out for us. We love each other.

I’m also grateful that her mom and I have grown to share our joy for the children together. It makes the difference for all of us.

No More Bedtime Stories

Being literate of our social responsibility, of social media, news media, all media, politics, advertising, race, gender, first and second amendment rights, the history of our country – even the weather – requires an unprecedented level of intellectual maturity that I often see usurped with an audacious moral high ground that sprawls into every crevice of our living, that even the bedtime stories I tell my children are no longer politically or socially acceptable.

Good Day

Walking through the days
crossing paths with my people
telling tales about where we’ve been
what has happened
where we seek to go
and what it means to get there.
We carry heavy things
and we’re capable of rest
good talks, laughter
sharing what’s ripe
and leaving with the reminder
that dark nights are as important
as sunny days

Just for today

Not all who wander are lost. Not today.

I am exactly where I want to be, for better or for worse. I belong right here, right now.

Just for today, anyway.

I don’t know where I’ll end up. I am exploring. I have no goals.

I am a wanderer. When our paths cross, I am kind. I have no expectations.

Just for today. That wasn’t the case yesterday. Maybe not tomorrow, either.

I work hard, but nothing is for keeps. I will work harder yet. I promise not to hold on.

Not today.

I have attachments. My kids. I love my kids. I see them half the time. Sometimes more.

I see their mother to exchange our kids, there is simplicity mixed with depth. What we now share meets my emotional needs beyond the years that have passed between us. Today.

Just for today.

Today, life has delivered me to each tree instead of the entire forest.

Everything is less overwhelming today. There are no hassles.

Just for today, anyway.

Sometimes I get off the Internet. Because connection occurs when I disconnect.

I post my reflections about the experiences I have when I am “disconnected.”

Today – phone calls, text messages and emails are a suggestion, not my obligation.

Today a real book in my hand is beautiful. I went to the library to read them.

Today, I didn’t read random articles on the Internet. There is no “information” I am missing.

Today I will do one thing. I will not talk about 100 of the other other things.

Today “doing” is information. Today “doing” is experience.

Just for today. No guarantees about tomorrow.

Today, no desire, no possession, no control. I have no longings. Fear is gone.

No miscommunication.

Today I’m not asking ‘Why?’

Today, I won’t make room for him or her if I don’t choose to do so.

I don’t have space for his or her projecting. I’m sorry if it’s been a bad day, or a bad life. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that today I choose not to try to understand. Even my own shit.

How? By not asking “why?” Not today, anyway.

I am not seeking to accomplish anything today. Yesterday that wasn’t the case.

Today “accomplishment” is society holding me down.

Today no one is judge. Especially not me. No inner voices that say I have or have not.

Today I can afford to give it all away.

Here are the things I know, if just for today:

      • A story is better than a material gift

     

      • Joy is best. Joy is a choice from the inside, not an emotion that can be given.

     

      • If I make the wrong choice then be hard on myself, then be hard on myself for being hard on myself, I lose. If I don’t judge myself or make others wrong, I win. I like winning!

     

      • I’m attractive and rich when I am charitable with my love, wonder, kindness, curiosity, friendship and connection. This is gold to me.

     

      • Tomorrow the deck is liable to flip, and I’ll change my mind.

     

    Today I have no goals.

    For so long I have had goals that do not serve me.
    ie. “Once I achieve ____ (x) I will be _____ (y).”

    Today nothing outside me will make me happy. I don’t have room for anything outside of me.

    Today = no goals.

    Instead, I hold my own hand. If I do so, I will achieve all the goals I never made for myself.

    Don’t take advice from me today, and if you read this, thank you. May our next step be lighter than our last.

    At least for today.

How I Became a Better Father After Splitting with My Co-Parent

Several years ago when Ella was a baby, we were at my mom’s house. Ella was in my arms. I noticed she needed a diaper change. So I called to my to ex. Then handed Ella over to her.

‘She needs a diaper change,’ I said.

As I recall, that may have been the norm. I cringe when I reflect back on it. It feels like such a “bad form” move. Why didn’t I just change the diaper?

Because for years, I was consumed with making money and making amends with a sore spot that tainted the tread of my soul. The result? I not only failed at doing so, I wasn’t present to the beauty right in front of me. Diaper changing included.

So what changed? We broke up.

It may not have been as one-sided as I am depicting. What’s for sure is that the break up forced me to take stock of who I was. I had to get clear on what the fundamentals of successful parenting should look like (to me).

Here are just a few things that changed me for the better as a parent:

  • I morphed into a multi-tasker, taking on chores previously done by my ex.
  • Once away from the stress of a failed relationship, by degrees, I became more relaxed, more reflective, more present, and as a result, enjoyed being fully immersed with my life raising children.
  • I developed my own parenting style.
  • With 50% scheduled parenting time, I no longer took anything for granted, and thus, developed a more single-minded focus with the kids (as well as my off-parenting time, which has proven healthy).
  • I became much closer and more connected to my children. Like so many nuclear families, mom is the center of everything and dad is a supporting player. I became the center of everything when they were with me.
  • I got focused on (very) slowly repairing damaged relationships from an old version of myself. This improved my self-esteem and the surrounding support every parent needs when raising children.

Right now, it doesn’t necessarily get easier to leave my children at mom’s doorstep, sharing holidays or having to work everything around a parenting schedule, but I’m proud and grateful for the process.

I always say about parenting: the first step is a journey and going all the way is a promise. I live by that.

Last night after a day of playing, visiting, crying, laughing, cooking, cleaning, running around town, and then cuddling them into bed, I came back later. They were sleeping. I looked with wonder at the angels who have transformed me.

Artistic Stability 

I’m currently reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

When you begin to write right out of your own mind you might have to be willing to write junk for five years, because we have accumulated it over many more than that and have been gladly avoiding it in ourselves. We have to look at our own inertia, insecurities, self-hate, fear that, in truth, we have nothing valuable to say. It is true that when we begin anything new, resistances fly in our face. Now you have the opportunity to not run or be tossed away, but to look at them black and white on paper and see what their silly voices say. When your writing blooms out of the back of this garbage and compost, it is very stable. You’re not running from anything. You can have a sense of artistic security. If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside of you. Besides those voices are merely guardians and demons protecting the real treasure, the first thoughts of the mind.

— Natalie Goldberg

from Writing Down the Bones

8 Exercises for Dealing with Life’s Emotions

For me, fitness is medicine. Especially for dealing with feelings and emotions.

Here are workouts from my life experience that have helped me deal in a healthy way.

If you’re feeling…

Heart Broken

Go distance running.

Find a pace and “run Forrest run!” Hit cruise control on your pace once you reach 65 or 70% of your max heart rate. This repairs the heart by pumping so much blood into it.

Insecure or Unsure of Yourself

Do sprints along with core exercises.

With the sprints, focus on having the posture and keeping Olympic gold medal form. The sprint posture is a metaphor for independence. The core exercises will help keep your shit together. Literally.

Re-connection

Swimming.

Swimming forces you to be in your body, and find buoyancy and equilibrium. Feeling disconnected with your significant other? Swim together.

Reinvention

Yoga.

Yoga will force you to stretch, strengthen and breathe. It will quench your anxiousness, allow you to find your calm. If you practice consistent, in 30 to 90 days you will be unstuck, which paves the way for reinvention.

Falling in-love

Lift weights.

Keep everything pumped, inflate the muscles with blood. It’s also testosterone and oxytocin producing. Yum!

Angry, Frustrated, Rage

High-intensity interval training combined with meditation.

The short bouts of high intensity will neuter the anger. The meditation will, over time, help curb the triggers which send you into the red zone of rage.

Tough Decision to Make

Batting cages or Frisbee or “around the world” basketball.

Keep your hands and body moving together where you have to hit the ball, make the shot, or make a throw/catch. While you do so, keep visualizing best case scenarios.

Creativity Block

Trampoline or jump rope.

Basically you’re bouncing to loosen all your stuff, which will prime the pumps to get your creativity moving.

If you have an emotion not listed, grab my contact info on the side bar and let me know. I’ll match you with a corresponding exercise.

Picture of a Naked Woman

Tribute to my Pobby (grandpa)

This, long after he grew tired of being young and full of running.

This, long after sweeping away the ashes from tables he set and torched.

This, long after he broke from desire when it went back on what he believed.

This, long after he silenced his screaming. Then learned to breathe.

He remarried, sketched his wife nude: swinging hair and hips, hand covering

her breast. Looking toward the Big Lake one early August morning in the 1970s

when the sun rose high in the sky, and his love for her was a landscape.