About OFF KLTR!

Hi!  I’m Tracy Barsamian Ventola.  Welcome to my blog, OFF KLTR, cleverly pronounced “OFF KiLTeR”.  KLTR are the first initials in each member of my family’s names…and, well off kilter also describes how I feel sometimes!!

 

offkltr whole family

 

I started this blog when my younger daughter came home from China in 2012.  Initially, I’d hoped that the blog would help me to maintain my sanity and be an opportunity to make others laugh in the process.  I’d planned for the blog to serve as my own personal soap box – for my favorite topics:  adoption, education, and holistic healing.  I’ve done some of that, but it hasn’t turned out exactly as planned…

I really haven’t talked about adoption much over the years.  The more personal work I do, the clearer it becomes that adopting my two little beauties was part of my life plan way before my hubby and I ever attended our first adoption seminar.  To tell you the truth, I don’t even think about adoption all that much (except the time that attachment parenting fanatic announced that she doubted whether adopted children could ever attach to their adoptive parents – that was sure a big to do).  Of course, I am so grateful to have formed my family through adoption, but it doesn’t have much to do with our day to day lives.  Adoption is just another way to form a family.  A beautiful way to make a family.

I do, however, talk A LOT about education.  Homeschooling in particular.  Once we tasted the freedom of homeschooling, we never looked back!!  We LOVE homeschooling.  Our particular brand of homeschooling is called slow homeschooling.  It’s child led (so it’s technically unschooling) which means that we give our children the freedom to explore the world and their interests.  My husband and I serve as our children’s guides, not their teachers.  We support their interests, helping them to find resources when appropriate.  By stepping off the treadmill, we have been gifted with a slower paced, family-centered lifestyle.  When we went to school, our home was a chaotic, temper tantrum zone.  Over the years, homeschooling has helped to transform our home into a peaceful sanctuary.  Now home is every member of my family’s very favorite place.

And finally, holistic healing.  Well…I do believe in energy healing for sure.  But when I started the blog, I was sure that alternative medicine was going to solve all of our problems.  Like if I could find just the right combination of alternative therapies, it would straighten my little girl’s eyes (cure her Strabismus).  If I could find just the right practitioners my big girl would drift softly to sleep at night (cure her insomnia).  Instead, over these past four years, I have formed an entirely different view of health.  I have come to believe that our bodies are communication mechanisms (nothing more, nothing less).  Anything that goes wrong with one’s body can be attributed to a spiritual or emotional disequilibrium and that dis-ease is just presenting in the physical body.  Head aches for example.  Since I was about 18, I had a head ache 5 to 7 days a week.  That’s a LOT of head aches.  I tried everything to cure those head aches – chiropractic, reflexology, cranio-sacral therapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, everything!  Nothing touched my head aches because these therapies weren’t addressing the root of the head aches:  my traumatic childhood.  It was only by healing my mother wound that I was able to gain control over my head aches.

And along these lines, I have to say that the most profound gift I’ve received over the past four years is the understanding of motherhood as the ultimate spiritual journey.  Motherhood has brought me to my knees.  Motherhood has forced me to do deep, heart wrenching personal work.  I have come to view my children as mirrors into my soul.  The girls have unearthed the deepest, darkest parts of my history that I have tried so hard to keep buried.  These two little girls I love so much gave me no choice but to dig deeper and deeper until I freed both my own inner child and my daughters from my past.  I have learned that parenthood is not actually a series of difficult decisions – rather a spiritual journey in which our children selflessly step into our family constellations (our generational patterns and muck) and if we are brave enough to listen, our children give us the opportunity to heal ourselves (which in turn heals our children and even our parents and their parents…).  When we do NOT take responsibility for doing the work they so bravely mirror for us, we end up hurting those little messengers immensely.  The stakes are so high.  We have to get quiet and do our work…which is just one of the myriad of reasons that homeschooling supports families so well!

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