About Kristine Bruneau

Hi. I'm passionate about writing and inspiring others with storysharing. For more than 20 years, I've made a career from writing and marketing communications. My commentaries, stories, and interviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including "Rochester Magazine," HerRochester.com, "Rochester Democrat and Chronicle," "Rochester Woman Magazine" and "DaKa Magazine." I post fun and insightful lessons to MommyMusingsBlog.com and at Blogs.DemocratAndChronicle.com/Moms. And I'm working on a book inspired by these lessons and their resulting conundrums.

Season of enlightenment

Alhambra sun - Version 2What does enlightenment mean?

To some enlightenment may mean to gain greater knowledge or understanding about a subject or situation. To others it may mean to have a spiritual awakening.  To me enlightenment means that I’m intimate with a moment – acutely aware of what’s happening here and now. There are no words to accurately describe enlightenment. You can’t read about enlightenment and know what it means. To be enlightened, I believe, one must feel it.

Many Rochesterians may have experienced enlightenment from their relationships with recent challenging events in our area: The funeral procession of Rochester police officer Daryl Pierson, and news of a plane crash that killed two prominent Rochesterians – husband and wife  Others may have experienced enlightenment on Facebook, scrolling through the outpouring of condolences and photos posted for a family who just lost their loved one to cancer; being moved to action reading about a mother’s miraculous survival after she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle, or finally realizing that light will break through after many dark days.

Enlightenment, however, doesn’t always arise from grief, sadness, or loss. Happy moments are more frequent and offer us many opportunities to experience enlightenment from the ordinary things we do every day:

Children often have a way of reminding you to slow down, or stop whatever you’re doing to listen to their whimsical stories, or snuggle like bears on the couch. Children are like little buddhas, plump with enlightenment and unfettered by adult hang-ups. As a mom, I’ve found that when I allow myself to see the world throughout the lens of my child and act from an open heart, I learn something new.

This season, we need to take time to experience our enlightenment. Why not start right now?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. Don’t forget, you can also post a comment on my blog, like this on Facebook, or tweet to your followers.

Moms share back-to-school resolutions

school resolutions2 sm

Moms, have you made your back-to-school resolutions, yet?

The realization that 71 days of summer vacation has ended brings a range of emotions in kids from excitement to anxiety. Back-to-school time also leaves moms trying to figure out how to cope with the challenges of getting their kids ready to return to school.

I interviewed several Rochester-area moms about their “resolutions” for the new school year, including yoga instructor Mary Aman who shared ways she was reclaiming space. I also spoke to two experts who offered their tips in combatting back-to-school jitters. After speaking with moms and writing the article – which appears in today’s Democrat and Chronicle Living section – I never thought about making resolutions in September. Now I understand that it’s a perfect time to recommit to what’s important in my life. I hope you find time to read my story in print or online and share your back-to-school goals, resolutions, and lessons with me.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook.

It’s good to be bored

I'm boredsq

“Mom, I’m bored,” said James, lying on the couch in the family room.

I’d like to tell him to get up and go do something, like take the dog for a walk, kick the soccer ball, or call a friend. But I know that giving him a list of suggested activities won’t work. He needs to sit with his boredom.

Instead I tell him: “It’s good to be bored.” Of course, that doesn’t go over very well with my twelve-year-old, and he gives me an eye-roll.

Being bored is to feel weary or disinterested with whatever it is you’re doing at the moment.

When we feel the edge of boredom creeping upon us, we often grab for a shiny object – a new video game, iPhone app,  or pressing this red Bored button, which will take you to a random, interactive website selected to help relieve boredom. Because the opposite of boredom is excitement and interest.

Buddhist teacher, author, nun and mother, Pema Chödrön  suggests that we really shouldn’t resist or change what we do when we’re bored, but observe the physical movement of what we do in the moment of feeling bored. The goal, according to Chödrön in Comfortable with Uncertainty is “not grabbing for entertainment the minute we feel a slight edge of boredom coming on.”

When I’m excited about something, I talk very fast, wave my hands around, stand up, move from side to side and get a little jittery and jumpy. That’s a good thing. I think. My son has similar spazzy movements when he gets excited. But then again, so do most kids when they’re not bored.

When I’m losing ground, or feeling bored, however, I also make jittery, jumpy movements. I can’t sit still. I’m quick to act and deflect because I’m feeling uncertain about something. I might scratch at an itch I don’t have, or eat when I’m not hungry. My son might say that he’s bored while watching TV, when he’s really feeling uncomfortable about what to do next.

There’s something I don’t want to experience, so I avoid it by doing something else. 

Chödrön suggests there’s a connection between the arising of a craving, or aggression, or loneliness that leads to our attachments, and whatever action we take as a result to avoid an unpleasant experience. Addictions and compulsive actions arise out of avoidance. For example, I might eat chocolate to distract me from an underlying uneasiness that’s rising:  Is my article good enough to submit? My son might turn on the TV to have some background noise because none of his friends are around to play: Do my friends think I’m annoying?

Neither my son nor I want to be alone with our thoughts because it’s the uncertainty that makes us feel uncomfortable.

Instead of scarfing chocolate, I try to meditate, but sitting still doesn’t give me peace of mind. I continue to come up with reasons to be somewhere else. I lie on my back, unsure of what to do except stay still for a few minutes while the bronze Buddha laughs next to me.

Instead of turning on the TV, James goes outside and sits on the deck. Stillness and peace come, but alternate with restlessness and unease.

We might not really need to solve our issue with boredom because it might be in our heads.

Maybe we just need to accept boredom, sit with it and say: It’s good to feel bored.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. You can also post a comment on my blog or Facebook.