Thursday, August 20, 2015

Being Here Now

With school starting for my little and medium children and my oldest babe fixin' to graduate from college, I've been dealing with this nagging feeling of, "Should I be doing more?" For the past few years, I've settled comfortably into being a full-time mom and wife. I've found my best self in encouraging my people to be theirs. But as their physical need for me lessens, I feel this pull...get a job, finish grad school, do something...more.

For a long time I struggled with learning how to be present, but now that I'm living more engaged in the moment, satisfied and grateful for our life, I'm wondering: Is this enough? Am I complacent? Am I using my unique gifts to their fullest potential? Naturally, the answer is often a resounding NO.

Earlier this year, inspired by an amazing friend, I decided to pursue yoga teacher training. I have found great peace and mindfulness through my own yoga and meditation practice, and I absolutely adore and am in awe of the woman who was leading the training. Fueled by ambition, I ran full speed in the direction of, "I'll be a yoga life coach!"

But you know how sometimes you run full speed in the wrong direction? Is that just me? Anyway, it appears I let my infatuation with someone else's dream pass as my own. I love practicing yoga, but it is very personal for me. Yoga, in fact, is one of the few gifts I regularly give myself. Don't we do that too often, as women? Especially as moms. We give our gifts away.

Of course you can have some of my ice cream!

You like this sweater? Here, take it. I rarely wear it.

You can watch something; I wasn't watching this silly Oprah episode.

Those are just a few top-of-mind examples, but don't we do that as women? Especially as moms. We give all our goodness away and sometimes forget to save anything for ourselves? That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's okay--in fact it's healthy--to keep some goodness for ourselves.

My husband travels, and the past month he has been gone a lot. Weird segue, but we'll get there. Promise. This month, he was gone for a week, the day he came home, I left for the weekend. The day after I came home, he left for another week. So in the past two weeks, I've seen him for about 6 hours. He is my person. His unique love fills my tank in a way nothing and no one else can. So, in this drought, I've been running on empty.

That emptiness is reflected in my short-tempered interactions with...well pretty much anyone I've interacted with, but specifically, my itty-bitty girl. See, I am her person, and when I'm empty, I have nothing to give. When my kids were little and had fits, I sometimes met their outbursts with, "Did you not get loved enough today?" And then we would cuddle. A kiss, a hug, a long snuggle all have magical healing properties. Sometimes I met their screams with screams of my own too. Just sayin'. But yesterday, when my tiny girl screamed at me, "I DIDN'T GET LOVED ENOUGH TODAY!" shit got real.

The other day I heard Bishop TD Jakes say, "You cannot reap what belongs to others. You have to reap what is yours." Goodness, that statement will rock your world if you let it. I sometimes get caught up in what society thinks I should be doing...getting a job, finishing grad school, doing. something. more. But maybe that's not for me? Maybe I'm just supposed to be right where I am. Putting on my own oxygen mask so I can put Lily's on. Making sure my own love tank is filled so I can pour into my kids. Finding space and following my breath on the mat so I can be fully engaged with the people who count on me.

Perhaps I'm not using my gifts to their fullest potential, but I am using them. I'm always going to aspire for more, but today more is right here.

2 comments:

  1. Re "Finding space and following my breath on the mat so I can be fully engaged with the people who count on me." -- I loved this post. Often I feel what you felt about the yoga training too. I have, in time however, learned to sculpt it to feed me too now.

    Your passage I clipped reminded me of our struggle to fill others, and in that moment when my therapist once told me to lean in, and make those moments about exchanges rather than what we might feel as a depletion. I sense, no win a better way and due in great thanks to my yoga training, that the concept of mothers on empty is largely cultural and largely American -- because our children are our teachers... Best book ever: The Tao Te Ching for Parents. Oddly, I've recommended it thrice this month alone.

    You are a great woman. Breathe and love yourself too. Xo

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  2. Thank you so much, Molly! Your words are always such a gift. That is great advice...make those moments an exchange.

    Looking up that book as we speak. I read The Conscious Parent, which is great as well. You're absolutely right. Our children are our greatest teachers, and sometimes I miss the lessons because I am busy trying to teach them something instead of being quiet and learning. thank you <3 xoxo

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