I sat down to meditate, formally, for the first time in I don't know how long. It has been a rough ride this fall. Between colds, a freak parasite, visiting grandparents, a quickly changing toddler, and 10 teeth emerging all the while - I had my hands full. The daily chaos was tiresome, but it was the months of nights with broken and restless sleep that really brought me to my knees.
At first I was fiery and wrathful about it, then simply desperate and hopeless, at my wits end and just trudging through each day. Everything felt like an obstacle to overcome or a burden to bear. From mealtime to diaper changes to bath or the car seat, I dreaded it all well in advance. I was "over it" (can I just leave for a few days?), resentful, and completely joyless in my time with Rowen.
I finally realized I needed help, and so I turned back to my practice. A practice that I used to carefully and seriously tend to. So I placed my weary soul on the cushion, closed my eyes, tuned into my breath, and asked for guidance.
As I rested with my breath I realized how my body was contorted in a mangled version of itself, tense and rigid from the inside out. I began to breath into these spaces, opening and relaxing the entire fabric of my being. And then this phrase arose in my mind and began beating like a pulse as I continued to unwind:
I will not live in fear or tension
in anticipation of what may occur.
I will be present and responsive to whatever arises.
In that voice of reason I heard how my struggle and sadness was a prison of my own creation and I saw how my habit of forecasting the future was the thief of my joy. I realized that I was continually living in anticipation of the next "difficult" task I would have to overcome with Rowen and it was clouding my entire experience of parenting.
He woke from his nap shortly after my sit. I welcomed him back to the day from this new place of presence I had re-carved in myself and our relationship was noticeably transformed. Joy, a sense of ease, cooperation, and mutual respect now felt accessible to me, and Rowen seemed willing to return the favor. This has continued since that day and a sweet lightness is still present in my relationship to mothering.
This reminder is now pinned on our fridge. I read it daily and it shakes me awake every time. It serves to reconnect me with my purpose, which is to explore the possibility that their is more to parenting than I was led to believe and that it can be a profound path to fuel my own awakening. So, here's to Growing Up and tapping back into that source of Radical Life only He knows how to lead me to. In gratitude.