And so it is, sometimes, or maybe all the time but we just don’t fully realize it… You’re this leaf, vibrant, swaying in the breeze, feeling so alive and lush and moist…. and then you fall, it all does, all at once, and you find yourself in a labyrinth of dryness, death, decay, and darkness. And as you lay there, with all the wind knocked out of you still trying to understand where alive went, you learn. You learn that this is also beautiful. You learn that this is also growth. You learn that this will catapult you on your spiritual journey much more than peace and serenity did. And so you breathe into this, too, and find out how this too can be alive, in different shades and from different directions than you planned but all the same, alive.
And so I’m going through all the lovely and gross, gently high and sharply low, and beautiful shades of being a mom, loving myself, and finding my way. It’s truly exquisite.
“On the whole, tho’ I never arrived at the Perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet as I was, by the Endeavor, a better and a happier Man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”
— Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
A dear old friend reemerged in my life for a moment and wanted to introduce me to what inspires her. She’s pointing me to Gretchen Rubin [the above quote in an email she sent out] and though I’m not ready yet for new information from a new source, I know, I know, I know that when I’m ready I will adore her referrals to Gretchen, Brene Brown, Kristin Neff, and Martin Seligman (who I enjoyed like twenty years ago). Right now, I’m staying with my old friends, the old and dear authors you have guided and inspired me. Author friends like Andrew Weil, Jack Kornfield, Michael Singer, and Louis Hay. And really, I think the main reason that I’m not open to new friends is that I’m offline, almost totally and my authors I have in paperback right here and all of her’s will require me to be online, which I’m not ready for. Yet.
And this is a returning theme that I struggled with in Nov 2011 with My Biggest Travel Mistake, and again in Dec 2014 with The Other Letter and so many more intense moments in between and before and after, like these three videos from 2015 [if you only watch one, I guess, go with part two]:
Being offline for me is this photo… It’s lush and cold and inspiring; it’s cuddling inwards, wrapping myself in my own here and now approval and not getting overwhelmed and lost once I go out there. It’s inspiring and with so much more to discover, in silence. Yes, it’s very quiet here, and I thirst for it like a drunk for his next fix, but with the difference that I’m not addicted, not so focused on that that the noise of raising three kids and regular family life are not a distraction from my peace of mind. On the contrary, it becomes the focus.
Can I find my path with heart also in the bruised and bustling confusion of a household of five ADHD bumblebees, all dramatic, all working through their own issues and all meeting here, in the living room, to have it out and find out how to be beautiful regardless of how much we’re feeling like a victim, or feeling unattractive, or unworthy, or lost? Can I find my path with heart and fight for it like a warrior while fully living in my life with all the uncontrollable-ness and emotional unpredictability of it all?
A Path with Heart
“Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone one question. This question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is: Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use. “- Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda
And so I’m reading A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield, a few pages or sometimes a few lines at a time, thus allowing myself time for silent reflection. So in writing about the path, he says:
In modern life we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have forgotten this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart. When we ask it about our current path, we must look at the values we have chosen to live by. Where do we put our time, our strength, our creativity, our love? Does what we are choosing reflect what we most deeply value? – Jack Kornfield
And I look at my life and all the teachings I have been honored to receive or read from teachers and the lessons my life as a sample size of one have given me, and it’s totally clear now that every single time I sought admiration or fame, every time money was my primary goal or focus or worry, every time I got so wrapped up in a passion that I missed the here and now; I got lost. I lost myself, I lost my kids, and I lost being and appreciating the life and the smallest and huge things that make me so blessed.
I know I am meant to be
-in the light of my children’s remarkable growth– hiccups and all, and rise to the occasion as a mother of three fascinating teens
-in the light of my health– and listen to my body and soul and dance and do what makes it most alive and clutter free and flexible
-in the light of my couplehood– and honor this intimate reflection of growth and support and learning in a friendship and romance of over 22 years
-in the light of my home– cleaning and simplifying (also reflecting internal work) and breathing into projects that excite us and make our home more light-filled and thus increasing the rental potential on weekends and holidays
-in the light of my garden– growing, tending for, creating, cleaning- again, like on the inside; and cuddling as a ritual with cat number three as the sun breaks through the night sky
-in the light of guiding others– which I am doing with modesty and joy through a marvelous non-profit I work for that brings parenting classes to staff and parents, and private clients
And in the light of learning to lean into my forties and celebrate and appreciate all the growth, all the emotional confusion and then the relieved clarity, and knowing that really, deeply, truly everything always will be ok and that we will get through it all, and can choose to take that path with as little drama, and with as much humor and appreciation and wisdom as possible. Amen
Speak, or don’t. I’m here. I get it.
PS: The post is called Rebirthing Myself for I meant to integrate into this my first rebirthing experience… but we’ll save that for another writing-inspired day. I felt the title still fit. 🙂
Thank you for all the art in the world, all the songs and poems, all the photographers and artists, all the dreamers who hear the inspiration and bring it down from way up there to way down here. I’m thrilled and so inspired by their works and am so grateful to include great photography and quotes in my writing. In order of appearance…
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