Being & Becoming Our Truth

A year and a half ago I wrote this piece about writing and why I write. In it I write about my nervousness in sharing my words with the world, and how yet I am drawn to share “my truth” which really is my experience, with others.

Now, a year and a half plus later I feel like such a different person. I have found my voice and no longer feel sad or frustrated or small when my writing style may be criticized. I’m on the other side of my graduate school education, in my final year and know more about the work I want to do both as a therapist and as a women’s guide than I even had dreamed of back then. I have settled  into my skin and found a new confidence that even a short year and a half ago I didn’t quite have this fully yet.

I wonder what I will think when I look back on these words in a year or two or more.  What will that future self think of this current present self. How will this present self become a past self to guide me in dark times tomorrow?

A year ago I cleaned out a footlocker I have that contains all my high school memorabilia. In it are journals and short stories, reports and notes to and from friends. I read through much of that writing and while some of it was definitely cringe worthy, some of it I still found to be good, even twenty-plus years later. All of the writing held my experience and oozed of who I was at that time in my life. And perhaps that is what made me cringe more than the poor writing of some of the pieces, that young woman revealing (or not) who she truly was through her words. Those pieces of my past self that I don’t really want to claim, and yet they are a part of me, and always will be.

This doesn’t mean I am the same person I was at fifteen. It means that fifteen year old still lives inside of me, her fears and dreams, her vulnerability and bravado. She has lessons for me still, just as my twenty year old self does, just as my eight year old self does, just as my thirty-seven year old self does. Yes, there are pieces of those women and girls I am glad I no longer am, and yet each offers a lesson in strength and resilience, a lesson in joy and abundance, that are still good for me to review and soak in every now and then.

Dwelling in the past is not helpful, certainly. Wishing for things to be like they used to be or how we used to be blocks us from enjoying our present and future. However checking in on our past selves, and seeing them with our new eyes, and allowing them to guide us through their strengths into our future can be so revealing and freeing.  It can allow us to see how some of those personal myths that hold us back originated and aid us in shedding those myths and moving forward. It can help us write a new story of who we are.

So every now and again I look back. Sometimes back to my college years, sometimes to my high school years, sometimes to my thirties or even my first couple years into my forties. I look at photos and read what I wrote and I look into my past self’s eyes and deep into her soul. I smile and laugh and cringe and learn. I take in the lessons I see and allow my current transforming self to do what it will.

This is part of all our Being and Becoming. Understanding who we were and seeing our past selves with new eyes. In the fall circle we will spend about three weeks with our past selves, exploring who we were through visualizations, meditations, collage, blackout poetry and of course, mindful stream of conscious writing. We will explore those strengths we think we have lost, those stories about who we were and are that hold us back and we will start to shed the layers that stop our own glow from radiating out.

Join us in this journey. It will be amazing.

a daily transformation

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The dark times

Our son was born almost three months ago. He’s so different from his sister and our experience as parents of a newborn has been so different from what we remember it was like seven years ago. He’s more sensitive than she was and more demanding than we remember. I’m physically and emotionally more drained at the end of the day now than I was with our girl. He screams and cries louder than we remember his sister doing. And he fully expects all eyes to be on him at all hours of the day.

It’s been a very hard adjustment for me. I’ve questioned my competency as a mother; I’ve questioned if having a second child was really a very good idea; I’ve questioned my sanity. I’ve cried countless tears and had more moments than I care to admit where I just want to scream and walk away. I’ve tackled postpartum depression; dealt with sleep deprivation and struggled through figuring out breastfeeding, which included literal blood, sweat and tears.

These first three months, in a brief phrase, have sucked.

But now, now. Now my sweet boy seems to be over his colic; now he is starting to laugh; he’s beginning to roll and trying so hard to sit up. He “talks” to us almost nonstop and smiles. Oh that smile. And yes, he’s still sensitive and tells us (loudly) when he is displeased and yet it doesn’t seem as hard as it was even a few weeks ago. I feel like I can breathe again, I can see how quickly it all passes and am starting to appreciate these early months. I can repeat the mantra “This too shall pass” during those trying moments and remember the same in the sweet ones.

When we’re in the trenches, the dark times, we can feel like they will never ever pass. In those times when the world feels like it’s caving in on us, it’s hard to imagine life could be any other way, ever. When we are feeling our moments of deepest despair, the thought of ever laughing or smiling or enjoying life seems impossible. And yet, this too passes.

When my mom died six years ago, grief overtook me in many ways. I felt so raw. If a person even mentioned my mother I would burst into uncontrollable tears. I was angry and sad and wanted to lash out but wasn’t sure how. I felt lost and desolate.

Six years later I still miss her. I still cry sometimes. There are moments of anger about her passing, but mostly I’m sad. I look at my little boy and acknowledge he will never know the feeling of sitting on my mom’s lap. I look at our girl and mourn the relationship she and my mom will never have.

Yes there is still sadness, but it’s not all consuming. I don’t feel so raw and exposed. I can see how life just goes on and while I mourn the missed relationships of my children with her, the reality is, they know no different.

And so it goes. The ebb and flow of life. When we are deep in it there can certainly seem to be no way out. Yet, life marches on, and this too passes, and one day we find we are able to breathe again. Not right now, perhaps not tomorrow, but one day. We start to see the lightness and beauty in our lives, with new eyes, and learn to appreciate it in new ways. And eventually, eventually, we even start to look back fondly on the dark times, seeing our transformation and strength from the other side.

My heart reaches out to those who are struggling, in their dark times right now. Those who have recently lost a loved one. Those in the throes of their own depression. Those who can’t see the light in this moment. I ask you take a moment, put your hand on your heart, take a deep breath, and allow whatever needs to come out, to do so: be that tears or screams or a deep sign. And then, feel your heart, feel how strong it is, how strong you are, and know that while you are in the depths of darkness at this moment, the light will come.

 

This post was inspired not only by my own struggles, but also by a beautiful woman I have had the privilege have become my friend through Facebook. Last weekend her husband completed suicide. She has set up a memorial fund through the Black Dog Institute, whose mission is “to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of the mood disorders by continuously raising clinical, research, education and training standards. In so doing, the Institute aims to improve the lives of those affected – and in turn – the lives of their families and friends.” Please consider donating to the Dan McAuliffe fund by clicking here

 

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Always Begin with Breath

I slowly take in a deep breath and hold it for just a moment, allowing the air to fill my entire torso, from pelvis up to my throat. I feel the expansion within me and as I release the breath I also release the anxiety, the overwhelm, and a sense of calm settles into me.

I’ve been taking more and more of these breaths lately. My daughter and I are struggling as she learns to share her parents and I learn to juggle the needs of two (very different) children. I am struggling also as I work through the ebb and flow of focus on  my internship, classes, business, time with my husband and oh, yes, time for me. I have moments, really hours, sometimes full days, of feeling so thin, so raw. And then there are the moments, hours, even days of feeling like I’ve got this, I can do it.

I have been going back to my lifetime practices again and again since our son was born almost three months ago. I am oh so slowly getting back to doing yoga daily; sometimes with the baby in front of me playing on his playmat while his sister plays with him or plays on her own; sometimes not until after they have both gone to sleep for the night. Slowly finding my way back to my body, back into my center. Slowly finding ground and calm again.

I have slowly started to nourish my body again with healthy foods, reducing my sugar and caffeine, going back to a mostly paleo/primal way of eating that seems to work best for my body.

Slowly, so slowly, getting back to writing regularly, to creating art, to meditating. Not every day. Not even every other day. But more and more often, slowly building back my practices, the one’s that help me through my days, that keep me sane.

And always, always, I start with my breath, with remembering to breathe. Setting alarms on my clock to stop right where I am and take in a deep breath and find focus. Tuning into my body and becoming aware of the anxiety and overwhelm sooner and sooner, taking in the breath and releasing before the buildup becomes volatile.

It’s easy to step away from my practices. I have a long list of excuses as to why I don’t have time just like anyone else. My practices ebb and flow as does the rest of my life, sometimes I’m very consistent, in-love with the ritual of it all, and others, well, not so much.

When I finally accepted that these things I do are lifetime practices, not just something I can do for a little while and then never need to do again, I became more forgiving of myself when I didn’t get to them, when I went through my lulls of not doing them, for whatever reasons. Knowing that I have my full life to continue the practice means it’s not the end of the world if I didn’t do it today or yesterday. It means I can let go of the shoulds and have-tos of having a practice and simply allow it to be, as it needs to, in its own time and space.

I know when I need my practices. When those times come it can be a struggle to get back to them, life can fill those quiet, seemingly empty spaces quickly. Yet, gently, slowly I come back to them, over and over, back to me, always, always, starting with my breath.

It is my process of being and becoming. My practices help guide me through each transition, allowing more ease and calm into my life. The more I allow them back in, the better I feel, the more energy I have and of course the more I then want to practice. And then there are the time of chaos, like these first few months after the birth of our son, when while I know the practices would help, even the thought of doing them overwhelms me. It is the ebb and flow of life, of having lifetime practices.

Slowly coming back into my body, starting with my breath. Adding in yoga. Some writing. A bit of artwork. Moving towards eating in ways that support my body again. Slowly the practices build again; soon enough I will be doing them every day. And then when I am in my groove, life will happen and the practices will be put aside and again at some point I will slowly come back to them.

No judgement, no “I shoulds” or shaming. It is simply how my own being and becoming ebbs and flows. It has taken time for me to be accepting of this, for me not to beat myself up when I eat foods that make my body ill, or don’t do yoga for several days in a row, or find myself in a state of total overwhelm and stress because I didn’t take a few moments to breathe. It has taken time to accept that I am human, and that this is simply part of my human experience, moving away from and then coming back to my practices. Knowing that when I am ready, they are there for me and my body always welcomes them back.

 

We will be spending the first two weeks of our time together in the Being & Becoming Circle focusing on building back lifetime practices of self care, nourishment, replenishment and love. Guiding our bodies and minds to a place of calm and peace so we can do the work of excavating who we were, who we are and who we dream of becoming. We have a beautiful tribe coming together already, come join us: click Being & Becoming Circle Fall 2014 for more details and to register. 

being & becoming circle Fall 2014 link

 

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Privilege, Depression, Writing

It’s been a hell of a couple weeks. My heart is heavy with grieving on so many levels and my body is tired and heavy. There are all the events outside my little bubble bringing me sadness—the conflict in Gaza, the shooting in Ferguson, Robin Williams’s suicide— that I have been trying to process, while living in our own little bubble of frustration as our baby goes through another developmental leap (super sensitive, refuses to be set down or left alone for a moment, not getting enough sleep or eating much, many tears all around) and our daughter starts to (finally??) act out her own frustrations of not getting enough focused attention from her parents.

This morning I sat in tears on the floor, holding my crying son, begging him to let me set him down so I could eat “breakfast” at 11am. My frustration with not feeling able to participate in the many discussions about depression and white privilege because even if I could form a coherent thought, my hands are literally filled with children almost every moment of the day. Feeling frustrated that after promising myself I would #writeeverydamnday it hasn’t happened—the moment I wake to get out of the bed to write the baby wakes and by the time he is down for the night I am too exhausted to do much more than stare at a screen.

This too, shall pass, I know, all too quickly. There may come a time when I look back longingly on this time of their desperate need for me. Right now however, I’m in the thick of it, in the trenches, and at moments I feel myself drowning.

This drowning feeling isn’t helped by the events and chaos of the outside world. As innocent children are murdered, both here in the United States and across the world; as brilliant spirits decide to end their own lives instead of going forward one more day, my own pain and frustration seems trivial. Both of my children are healthy and safe, it is unlikely either of them will ever be the brunt of violence as seen in Gaza or Ferguson. And while they may have a predisposition for depression and anxiety, they will grow up receiving far more support than I did, which hopefully will help keep some of the worst demons at bay.

But we never know do we? We never know what paths our children will walk down or what dangers lie in wait for them.  I know I feel safer in my community than others do, I know I feel safer in my part of the world than others do. I know I don’t need to live in the darkness of certain fears. It is my luck, it is part of my white privilege and as such it is part of my responsibility to take these moments to write these words.

I don’t know what I can do to end all pain, all suffering. I don’t know what I can do create a world where all others feel safe. I know I can act in my little bubble though. I can do my best to raise my children to be compassionate, empathic, aware. I can offer smiles and hellos and kindness to the people I meet out in the world, at the grocery, the library, the park. I can write here that while I don’t understand what it means to be African American or an immigrant in this country, I am fully aware that I don’t understand. I can state that I too have suffered from depression and anxiety and while I haven’t completed suicide I don’t fault those who do and have deepest empathy for their survivors.

My words here in the blogosphere and my actions in my little bubble are all I have to try and bring some peace and justice to the world. My work in guiding women and working with families, I hope, also brings about more peace as the ripple effects of each action spread out across the universe.

No, I can’t change the facts of injustice in our world. I can’t waive a magic wand and make all mental illness disappear. But I can do my best in my little bubble, I can keep myself aware, and I can write, and write, and write.

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Creative expression

Writing is my main main form of self expression. Through words I am able to dig deep within myself, give my rambling thoughts a place to land, to travel and twist and perhaps be made sense of. I have been writing since elementary school, sometimes fictional stories with a heavy base in reality; sometimes I write about my reality which probably has a few dashes of fiction; always writing my truth and emotions and experience from my heart.

In the last few years I have discovered other ways to express my stories and myths and self through painting, multimedia art, collage, blackout poetry, meditative coloring, and zentangles. I have painted love notes on rocks and cardboard and canvas. I have colored mandalas, Day of the Dead skulls and abstract designs. I’ve transformed books and magazine articles into poetry. And I started to write again. Always, I come back to writing: on my blog, to my newsletter readers, in my Facebook groups and in my personal journal.

I’ve also learned what a visual-oriented person I am. Instragram and Pinterest have become as much of my daily life as breathing it seems. I’ve discovered how much visual beauty means to me, to my soul, and how much I express who I am in the moment through photography, be that pictures of my kids, my art projects, me or my surroundings at the time.

Through all these mediums I have been able to connect more deeply to me. Pieces of my past come forward through words and images for me to explore, to better understand. I am able to express who I am right now as I snap pictures with my phone or write out a blog post. I see the woman I will become as I leaf through magazine images and scrawl across my journal pages.

And it is through each of these mediums that I also find connection to others, that I find my tribe.  I read the words of others and feel less alone  in my struggles; I share my own words for this very same reason. I share images, snapshots from my day on Instagram and Facebook and start conversations with people I would have never met otherwise. We share our stories, one image, one comment, one blog post at a time, using the internet as our own backyards, calling across the fence to our neighbors; taking the moments in-between motherhood, business ownership, wifehood, to reach out and connect, seeing the glow of others as we allow ourselves to glow and be seen in these random moments.

Ultimately, that is what this thing called life is all about: community, being seen and heard and witnessed as we see and hear and witness others. Finding ourselves, sharing ourselves, all while constantly creating: creating strings of words, creating images of who we are and where we are in these moments of our lives, creating our homes, our communities, our families, our Selves.

For me, this is what Being and Becoming is all about: accessing our own innate (and perhaps dormant) creative selves—excavating and exploring all aspects of our Selves, in a supportive community where each of us can glow and expand.

So I write and share my words. So I click snapshots of my day and share with you.  This is how I step into my own being and becoming, how I am learning and growing and transforming every day, just like you.

As posted on IG and FB: My greatest frustration

As posted on IG and FB: My greastest frustration over the last two months has been not finding time to myself to write. Again, I am learning the lesson of compromise.

For three months I will guide you to connecting more deeply with your self, utilizing collage, blackout poetry, stream of conscious writing, visualization, photography and body centered mindfulness and self-care prompts. I will share the tools I have gathered together over the years and together we will build a supportive and powerful tribe. We won’t start until mid-September, but early bird registration is available now. For more information and to register, go to the Being and Becoming Circle page. 

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Ecstatic motion

stop acting small

Stop acting small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. — Rumi

 

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Gathering

When I started my business almost two years ago, I thought and dreamed and visioned about the people I wanted to gather around it: who they were, what they looked like. I knew the feeling I wanted for my programs and my business as a whole: I wanted it to feel like gathering for a celebration feast—multiple generations coming together, preparing a meal and beautiful table and sitting down together, sharing food and stories, laughter and tears, love and support. I wanted a feel similar to actual table I gather around each year with my family at the holidays, where the youngest generation is off playing and laughing while the three older generations sit and talk, eating delicious food and drinking wine, talking of our shared pasts and not-so-shared present and future. Learning and growing together, in those moments when the past year apart doesn’t matter because we are together in the now.

For each of my programs my goal is to have this feeling, this feeling of family and love, of unity and individuality. Sometimes I think I have succeeded and other times I think, not so much.

The Being & Becoming circle that gathered this past Spring, for me, had this feeling of gathering together at the table as women shared their stories, their creative explorations, pieces of themselves and everyone beautifully and generously supported each other as we traveled along, diverting off on this unworn path or that well known one. I was personally lit up every single day by this circle and my only regret is that we were not gathering in person so I could hug each one and look them in the eye when I told them how beautiful they are. These women from all parts of globe became a true tribe, where each person gave and received; where we all sat down at the table, sometimes together, sometimes just a few of us. It was amazing.

Being & Becoming: Come together

Our table awaits

When I sat down to vision the tribe that will gather for the fall circle, the image of the table became central. A table filled with food and drink, chairs empty yet inviting. Images of women circle the table: the maiden, the mother, the wizened elder; each filled with energy; each having wisdom and love and support to offer; each ready to take the next step into her own becoming, ready to receive the wisdom, love and support of others. Women from all walks of life and cultures, coming together to explore this shared journey.

This is part of the work I am called to do in this life: gathering with women, guiding them to deeper understandings of their past, present and future, building tribes of love and support. It is our work as women, I believe, to gather together in tribes, be they virtual or in person, building each other up, generously sharing our unique gifts with each other, each person an integral part of the whole. I am excited to meet, to know more deeply, the women who will gather together this fall.

Won’t you join the gorgeous tribe that is gathering right now?

To learn more about the Being & Becoming Fall Circle, click here or on the image below. We are waiting for you. xoxo.

Being & Becoming Fall Tribe Vision board

 

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Release

Each time I release a program for registration I ride a roller coaster of emotions. Days and weeks before the release I am giddy with excitement, proud of the work I have put together, knowing that I will help others along their journeys. The night before is usually a mad rush as I check and triple check the registration links and edit and re-edit the copy. In fact I tend to change the words, adding, deleting, for days after the release, trying to get the feeling of the program to come through my words on the screen. I write my emails telling my newsletter list and past participants that the program is open for registration and then schedule them to go out.

And I wake up the morning of the release, after all the emails have been sent and the posts have been scheduled and I start to feel the vulnerability I stepped into. I get scared. What if no one signs up? What if people look at my offering and think it’s dumb? What if this work I have poured my heart into doesn’t help or inspire a single soul?

Then the voice comes. The one who ask who the hell I think I am to offer this program, to think I can help others. The one who tells me how I’m not good enough to do this or don’t have enough experience. The one who tries to make me remain small, to keep my own glow hidden.

Next, I breathe. And remember my word for 2014: Release.

I acknowledge my fear and send it some love and then let it float away. I’m getting better at this with practice, and still the fear comes each and every time. Even when I know in my gut how amazing the journey will be, how this program is straight from my soul, how I’m glowing when I think of it and work on it and share it with others. Even then, the fear tries to get the better of me.

Each day I now pull a card from the Oracle Tarot, to give me a bit of focus for the day. Today’s card: Strength. Courage, open heart.

Ah, yes.

Stepping  into our vulnerability is stepping into our strength. When we open our hearts to the world, our own light shines out and helps others see their way. Courage is when we do the thing we are called to do, despite the voices and the fear.

Today I opened registration for the fall gathering of my Being & Becoming program. Starting in September, the week of the fall equinox we will explore and excavate who we were, who we are and who we dream of becoming for thirteen weeks, all the way to the week of the winter solstice. I will guide you to utilize creative explorations including collage, black out poetry and journal writing. I will provide visualizations, meditations, and body-centered mindfulness exercises to aid you in coming into your own body and soul. We will delve into your personal myths and stories, finding your strengths and bringing them forward for all to see. We will examine ritual and sacred space.

Most importantly, we will circle together. Our tribe will come together, building a community of support and love. Guiding and holding each other through this three month journey. Learning and teaching together, as we are each meant to.

I hope you will join the tribe that is gathering for this journey.

For more information about the program and to register, follow this link: http://gwynnraimondi.com/being-and-becoming-circle/

 

 

Being & Becoming: You belong here, where the wild things are

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Cleaning, Clearing, Shedding

I spent yesterday helping my daughter clean her room. We spent over eight hours cleaning, clearing, decluttering, putting things in boxes for storage, in boxes to send to a friend, in bags to give to a local thrift store. Her room is clean and organized and currently my favorite space in the house.

We are spending today cleaning the rest of the upstairs and then moving down to our middle floor. More clearing and decluttering will happen and I know we will fill more boxes and bags with stuff to leave our home, leaving open spaces, spaces for our home and family to breathe.

I find a special kind of satisfaction and relief when we do these deep clearings of our home. It becomes a sort of game to see just how much stuff I can release and let out of the house, recognizing it no longer serves us (if it ever did). My brain seems to function better when our home is less cluttered and I feel myself breathing easier; I’m able to write and paint and play more freely. I feel lighter and more joyful.

The frustration also sets in, of course, when the first messes and clutter start to reappear, none of us taking the five or less minutes to clear it up in the moment because of other distractions or simply feeling too tired and so I tell myself that I’ll get to it later. And then the clutter and piles build and grow because there is Never Enough Time until I finally can’t take it and end up spending an entire week at once cleaning and clearing and decluttering.

It’s my process. My own ebb and flow. Needing the time to focus on my home and having it just so and then needing the time to do other things and ignore our home.

As I write this our son is screaming with a tummy ache (we think) as my husband tries to calm him. I stopped writing to nurse him, text with a one of my best friends and then read Anne Lamott’s latest Facebook post. I now sit in our office typing and seeing the clutter of the room out of the corner of my eye, knowing I won’t be able to get to this space until Thursday or Friday. Wanting the rest of our home clean and cleared first so we can all breathe a bit better.

And to be honest I want to get these words down and out. In this moment it’s more important for me to write than to clean up the piles of paper on the floor or to sort through the pile of my daughter’s art that is on the shelf and needs to be either recycled or put into the box of saved art.

I feel as though there is something that is trying to push through me and perhaps this is why I need to clean and clear—to create the space for the next iteration of my own being and becoming. As I let go of the physical things I no longer want or need I feel the internal bits of myself that no longer serve me also disappearing. I can’t quite articulate what those internal bits are, only know that I’m finding myself able to breathe more, feeling more generous and understanding with each small bit of space that gets cleaned, each bag of stuff that is filled and ready to leave our home.

Yesterday I was questioning if this call to clean and clear is a symptom of my resistance to write. Today I see that it is part of my process. I find a certain meditative calm in folding laundry and putting it away; a peace is having a clean and clear floor; a joy in having our shelves and counters organized and neat. The act of cleaning and clearing for me is a both a meditation and a shedding process—while I am physically busy my mind is able to wander and ponder and I’m finding myself needing to have a notebook next to me so I can jot down my thoughts to explore or expand upon later. Ideas for blog posts and ideas for my fall offering are starting to bubble up all as I decide whether to keep this thing or that and while thinking of the coming weeks filled with busyness and fun and living.

The cleaning and clearing is living too, but in a different way. It is quiet for me, solitary even when my daughter is helping me and we talk. We now take breaks while I stop to feed or change her brother. Yesterday while he was sleeping we took a break to sneak downstairs for some ice cream.

Life is made of these simple moments. Folding laundry. Packing away extra lovies. Cleaning toilets and bathtubs and dishes and countertops. Of conversations about the Barbie Dreamhouse my daughter desperately wants for Christmas this year and her telling me how her dolls will live in it. Of cooing and giggling with our little guy. Of stopping to hug and kiss my husband as we are passing each other in the hall. Of sitting down and writing about how cleaning and loving my home is part of my own creative process, part of my own being and becoming.

I often hear or read a person stating that their life will begin when this or that big thing happens. That they will finally find happiness in the future. That they will truly begin to enjoy life when X and Y come into alignment.  And I wonder, what do they think they are doing right now, as they wish and dream of the future? Do they truly think they aren’t living? Aren’t breathing? Aren’t being?

I understand how in hard times seeing the beauty of our lives can be more than challenging. I admit that I have said in the past how if only this or that THEN life would be truly beautiful. I’m grateful for my own growth and change through various practices that has led me to see how amazing and beautiful my life is right now. Right now even though we struggle. Right now even with sleep deprivation. Right now even with a messy house. Right now as I write about folding laundry and cleaning and the simple moments.

So these layers continue to shed. A new way of being in my home, my world; a new way of connecting with my family and friends. I find myself stepping out of my shell a bit more and into the loving arms of those who matter to me, realizing they have been here all along. And through my process of cleaning and clearing I am able to process my thoughts and feelings and eventually write them down or release them or both. I am learning about taking the first steps, reaching out, asking for what I need, allowing myself to be more deeply vulnerable.

All of this from cleaning a small space in my home. I look forward to what the clearing of the next few rooms will bring.

 

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The evolution of becoming

It’s already the end of the July. We’ve had our traditional week long heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest and are now dipping back into the temperatures that make this the perfect place for me to live. Already I am noticing the light begin to shift from the brightness of summer to the softness of fall. Our mornings are chilly and the fog settles in for a few hours while we slowly wake and start our days.

This becoming time of year is my favorite. It’s still technically summer, yet hints of fall are starting to appear. The leaves are already starting to shed from the trees in our little backyard fairy forest and I’m finding myself dreaming about the cozy sweaters and sassy boots I’ll get to wear in a month or so.

While I love the chaos and non-routine of summer, day after day of play with friends in our backyards, last minute trips to the beach and spray parks and fountains, I am also looking forward to the settling that happens in fall when we have the routine of scheduled classes and work and life is somewhat predictable. I find comfort in that routine just as I find a certain giddiness in the unpredictability of summer.

And while I love the ends of the spectrum—the chaos and the rountine—I love this inbetween spot where we are still in one and yet I see hints of the other. I have been catching glimpses of what this routine will look like now that we are a family of four and now that I am in clinical training out of the house. This slow evolution of our family moving to our next iteration has met resistance from each of us: my daughter expressing her displeasure at my being out of the house without her for a few hours a couple times a week; my own frustration with the pull between needing to care for our infant son and needing to work on my writing and my business; my husband showing his own bits of resistance to the constant ebb and flow of our family life. And yet though we resist, the evolution continues.

In those sporadic and unpredictable quiet moments when my son is sleeping and my daughter is engaged in her own play I work on the details of my fall offering while remembering to take a few moments to breathe and nourish myself. What I used to be able to accomplish in a couple of hours in one sitting now takes days or weeks. I find myself unable to focus even when I have a couple hours in a row to work: instead of being able to settle in to write I’m called to fold the laundry or straighten up a mess or declutter a shelf or closet. My monkey brain has me jumping all over and coherent streams of thought are almost impossible.

So I settle into my resistance and ask if that is what it really is. Or is there something in the folding of laundry or decluttering of our home that helps me settle, helps me find moments of peace? Is there there something to be found in seeming distractions that will bring light to my soul, that will offer inspiration for me to write, to guide, to create?

Perhaps.

So while our sunlight transforms from the being of summer to the becoming of fall, I too find myself  in the inbetween place of settling and nesting and creating and discovering. I am learning more about my own ingrained values, the importance of family, letting go of control, and asking for what I need.

This last one—asking for what I need—is perhaps my greatest challenge. I have been known in the past to allow resentment to build up while I strive to make sure everyone else’s needs are met and I am left crumbling, depleted. It is not easy to ask for help or to state that I need a certain amount of time each day to work on my business when I know my husband is as sleep deprived as I am and struggling to keep our family running too. I find myself feeling guilty for needing time away from my newborn and daughter, time to breathe and center. How selfish of me when they need me so much right now.

Perhaps.

The reality is that if I don’t take this time, time to write, time to start my yoga practice again, time to shower and put on clothes that haven’t been puked or peed on, time to breathe, I will start to unravel. I will become less and less of the mama, wife, woman I am called to be and more the one I detest, the one I vowed I would never become. Asking for this time is so challenging, and when I am quiet and ask why it is a challenge the response is clear: I don’t feel I deserve this time.

And to that response I say: Fuck you, yes I do!

Many of us have this ingrained in us: that our own self care, our own needs, are less important than everyone else’s. We have been shamed into not asking for quiet moments to go to the bathroom by ourselves; we have been convinced that our work—whatever it is—is less important; we have internalized that our need for creative release is selfish. We have been told over and over—by our culture and ultimately by our selves—that we and our work doesn’t matter, is a waste of time.

I am taking this time to step back into my rebellious self, to talk back to those internalized voices that my work, that I, don’t matter. I am learning to ask for time to do this work beyond motherhood that I am called to do. I hand over the baby, I close the office door, and I sit down and write, create, express.

And I find myself able to breathe with every word that comes up on the screen, I find myself smiling as I scrawl words across the page of my journal. I am slowly coming back into my body again, feeling able to connect with others now that I have finally connected with me. It is a constant evolution, a constant non-duality of being and becoming and while I find myself at times struggling, it is an amazing journey.

a daily transformation

 

Posted in Becoming, Being, Connection, Grounding, Mamahood, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Nourishment, Personal Myths, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off