I've been recalling my dreams more lately. I'm not certain the cause, but it could be that my "allowance" of wine has decreased significantly since the anniversary of Mom's death. I knew my increased consumption of wine and bagels is not sustainable for a healthy life, yet gave myself a year of comfort foods and relaxed shoulders in the evenings if wanted.
Recently, in a dream, my youngest daughter and I were rolling around in a glass ball powered by our peddling. The balls glided over the surface and we smiled at each other, waving as we crossed paths. We were tooling around and it felt easy, relaxing and even productive as if were accomplishing something, seemingly intentional in our directions.
Decades ago, I took a workshop about interpreting dreams, read some books and have since maintained a curiosity about what my brain is doing with these experiences. The night that followed, it wasn't the dream that I recalled as much as the "lesson" I recalled learning in my dream. I woke with an analogy; my mothering to my children is like a pacer (and / or rabbit) to a runner. Parenting as a pacer and coach, someone who can see and set safe pace, but reflects the child's experience, eventually more and more, dropping off the track to let them find and run their own races.
This doesn't mean we aren't invited back on the track, maybe it's a new race like their own version of mothering, nor does it mean that we aren't still near(ish) to watch their race (journey, Life, adventure). As I've "run" (completely figurative - I'm a walker, not a runner) with my babies, my youngest is "running" more and more independently. I am embracing the opportunity to find my pace as it includes theirs less and less. For more than 33 years now, I've chosen to hold / mold my tempo to honor and keep theirs too, gratefully have been invited in after some have stepped away and back again.
I suppose the awareness comes with a greater intensity partly because my youngest finishes elementary school this year. (a school my kids have attended since 1990!) She is, more and more, learning about self-management. She tells me when she's ready for bed, that she's bathed and brushed teeth. She monitors what homework is due when and what supplies she needs for school. Next year, she'll use a locker and by all indications, will be ready to succeed in a middle school setting of class changes and 7 teachers.
Please don't misunderstand, we watch to ensure that she (and we) are practicing healthy choices, but the "management" of it is very different. Remembering to stop tying their shoes when they can do it themselves can be challenging (and painstakingly exhausting as we wait for them to do it). Same for setting bedtimes and other important practices for well-being. Personal responsibility that we want our kids to grow up with not only has to be taught and modeled, but also has to be practiced.
This isn't an unfamiliar shift. Her siblings (4 of them, some in their thirties now), all made these leaps, but she's the baby and there isn't someone behind her that I'm walking in those closer "paced" seasons with anymore. More and more, I'm walking at my own pace and not embodying their races inside mine, but rather able to cheer them on.
This comes too as I miss my Mom, my biggest cheerleader. We "ran together", having some kids near the same ages, and I'm learning to count on her Sprit, more and more releasing her form. (that's another post for another day)
I know that I'm not alone. I never have been...especially not when I chose to leave her pacing me as I set out away on my own adventures decades ago.I had to find my pace, my authentic expression of this Life. Our mothering is like that of a pacer, yet we have more responsibility to know ours than controlling theirs. We are, after all, more than a Mom.
Do you have reminders of what works for you; what your healthy "pace" (and energetic, physical, emotional, spiritual space) is? If you need help determining your healthy (s)pace, especially relative to including your work, kids, creativity, health, self-care, etc., please reach out. You're not alone in this, but you are responsible to learn about what you authentically thriving and healthy looks like; responsible to adapt and adjust to the changing terrain of your Life.
I'm allowing myself to be curious, not critical about the changes happening in my (s)pace, especially regarding my participation with my kids. Having held the awareness of "running" along side them, sometimes pushing or pulling, sometimes sitting and resting talking through a challenge, I'm trusting their inner wisdom as I am reminded that I had to find mine...and still am responsible to cultivate my relationship to it, .
May we all be well and run a good race.
Mindfulness and meditation are gaining in popularity. The science that backs the benefits is becoming mainstream, launching new level of awareness for the general population. Being raised by hippies, meditation was always a part of "my world" yet knew that it wasn't a "normal" thing for my peers and their families.
I'd estimate that 80% of the mothers I work with identify self-care as the 1st area that needs their attention for their health and well-being. As that area gets attention, we identify the gaps and brainstorm ways to support her choices toward her ideal, happy and healthy Self. As women learn to tune into themselves to see those areas in a light that can support them (rather than just seeing the glaring gaps), meditation has proven a useful too.
There are A LOT of meditation apps, programs, courses, and methods. Recently, I heard feedback online in a Facebook feed where a mom was frustrated by her attempts to meditate. The thing is, you can't "do it wrong". She was trying a breath focused meditation and felt like it added pressure to breath a certain way which only added stress to how she was feeling instead of releasing it. My encouragement was to try a word, phrase, or sound instead of her breath. Start with 1 minute instead of trying for longer...it's a brain muscle that needs to be warmed up and like exercise, you wouldn't go for a run if you haven't run in 20 years, you'd start with a walk.
Regarding those pesky, interrupting thoughts, consider this perspective. You're currently living IN YOUR BODY and you have to stay connected to form. Imagine the mantra as a vehicle connecting to the Heavens, but our bodies need oxygen so our thoughts bring us back to Earth in an atmosphere our bodies can live in. We can notice and release our thoughts, return to the ship (mantra) connecting to the Divine and go again. Each experience building on the one before and over time, we can travel for longer with fewer breaks between. Increasing our capacity and stamina takes time...like the "pray without ceasing" practice. We return to worry, fear, fret, frustration less and less when we intentionally surrender, submit, participate and choose Love, trust, grace, patience, etc.
Mindful, intentional, present moment living forces Higher level of participation and awareness. Functioning with this greater awareness helps us to make wiser choices, releasing what is no longer serving us, our culture, our minds, our bodies, and family stories.
May we all become more gratefully aware this season.
Especially big endings challenge us to reflect, yes? Experiencing and processing my mother’s passing since last spring has challenged my relationship with the impermanence of “this world”. The moment she left her body, I felt a wave of her Spirit pass in me. Just hours before, my daughter sent a video to my phone where we heard the heartbeat for the 1st time of my grandson, a new life that will arrive within the month now. Gratefully, “Life does go on”. Often it is with great heartache though that we release what was to come to accept and embrace the next seasons.
Grief is a mysterious emotion, isn’t it? The companion of loss is still washing over every aspect of my life though the waves come with varying impacts. Some are gentle and others knock the wind out of me. Those enormous ones catapult me into depths of introspection and then the outburst of emotion that come from having allowed the vein to be tapped. Over the summer months, in moments of my deep reflection, during the especially “darker” ones, I found myself asking “what’s the point of living if it’s going to pass and end anyway?” On a simple, not heavy scale, the question could easily be asked why to decorate for fall holidays if they’re going to end? Why participate?
The asking was far more important than answering for me. Asking made room for my grief and its spectrum of emotion to surface. That needs to happen.
Answering was a pep talk, a positive spin, a way to tidy up my thoughts before returning to the day to day and week to week participation with “my world” and the people I do Life with. The pep talk tethered me back to the commitments I’ve made and the work I’ve agreed to. Recently, I heard Dr. Bernice King refer to the work we’ve agreed to as “our assignment”.
The inner dialog sounded something like “Well, silly, the same reason you make your bed, wash your dishes, or brush your teeth. It’s the same reason you decorate for the holidays then pack them up for the next one; participating well with the season that is currently presenting itself.” Could we ever question the seemingly small act of supporting Life by changing a diaper or feeding a child simply because they’ll be hungry again later? Life goes on and we’re still called to participate. Even the night before mom died, she brushed her teeth and tended to the Life remaining as she could.
In the darker moments, my eyes close and the struggle is real to release what was. The CHOICE to return to what IS, accepting the impermanence, change, and loss has sometimes has felt like an emotional wrestling match of sorts. Opposing emotions, sometimes reacting or pausing to assess and counter with a worthy and effective move to gain leverage in my actions and behaviors.
When I’m challenged, I try to simplify the big picture using coaching techniques on myself. I wonder and get curious. I ask questions and look for lessons to support my processing. More often than not, simple examples usually present when I’m trying to wrap my head around an experience I’m having.
Recently, I was trying to untangle my iPhone earbuds to call my sister while I drove to an appointment. The temptation was to pull and yank, forcing the cords free from the tangled mess they had become. Pulling only tightened the knots, creating more work and frustration, adding to the time it would take to resolve my little challenge. My little challenge offered insight to honoring the bigger beast I’m facing as I move and participate with the “knots” in me.
For me, a healthy shift in my processes came when I paused, looked more closely, and notice the needed moves.
I paused, noticed that what I needed in that moment was:
My sister said, “me too”.
When put together, these two words become incredibly powerful. Next to the phrase "I love you", I'm not sure what else ranks as high. I'd suggest that this is partly why support groups are so effective.
Knowing that we are not alone facilitates our processes with a safe somebody to reflect with. Engaging with our needs; identifying them and taking responsibility to meet them affects our future. As individuals and collectively as humanity, we are impacting the Life that DOES GO ON.
Like with so many other hard bends in this journey, “going through” is required to arrive on the “other side” of loss. I choose to participate well with the Life that is still IN ME, engaging well with the Life around me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t take breaks to grieve, process, reflect, renew and restore. Losing Mom was a catalyst for me to embrace impermanence. At a new level, I am allowing change instead of resisting, making room for Peace and participation that shifts the experience enough.
My processes (and the results of them) are both impermanent and imperfect. I'll change again.
A dark moment still can come and say, “what’s the point then?” Sometimes I still sit in the dark where I wrestle then submit. Ah, but Light comes because the dark moment can’t last either…and Light shines again, forcing the growth from the buried, dark space, inviting me to say “yes” again; participate well so that the reflection FROM ME to what I leave behind is good too.
What grows out of the dark moments takes time; the sad, dark, grieving moments are also impermanent. They have already changed so much. Another will return, inviting me to participate well with it too. Waves…they do retreat, they go under and out, they leave their mark, washing away a layer of what I “perceived” to reveal a Truth; a treasured knowing more deeply, that the one thing immune from impermanence is Love (aka God).
This truth reminded me of the Bookmark Prayer by St. Teresa of Avila
Let nothing upset you,
Let nothing afright you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing;
God alone fills all her needs.
I can allow (vs. resist) the parts of Life that aren’t as I might design them; I can grow my imperfect patience, and accept the imperfect parts of myself and others. I can represent the best I can today…and not expect any more of myself (or others) than that. We’ll keep changing because that is the way this impermanent Life works.
Life does goes on. Love lives on. My mother’s love lives on IN ME and many. I know more completely in my core, in the bones and fibers of my body, that I am to Love well in my impermanent and imperfect state.
Widely known for her passion, dedication and commitment to supporting the expression of potential, Lisa is famous for inspiring patients, especially mothers. With nearly 3 decades of service in chiropractic, she easily communicates the value of wisdom within. Her experience has been used to create a safe, effective, and reflective coaching model for mothers without the judgement, comparison, and crippling overwhelm that often inhibits change for families. To learn more about Lisa's work and contact her, please poke around the website.
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