What lies beneath

Deep in my belly lie the words that need to find a page, the passion I have suppressed for too long, now clawing its way up and out, across my heart and throat, pushing, tearing, seeking.  The words are not words, formless. Emotions and expression trying to find their way.

My throat, my strong brave throat, she stops them, silences them. I feel the battle, throat tight, sore, raw. How long can she hold out? How long until the rawness breaks through and pours out my mouth, my fingers?

So many years of not writing, of not speaking. So many years of keeping secrets and wearing masks. Untold stories lost, but not really. They have found their way deep into my bones, my DNA.

What have I passed down to her? To him? What struggles, heartbreaks, tragedies have they never experienced yet live within them? Because I experienced them, or my mother or grandmother or great-great-great-grandmother. I sometime wonder what is mine and what was theirs.

The stories they never told, but held tight within their muscles. Passed on again and again. Through blood and cells and actions and words. Through tears and shame.

If the trauma runs so deep, why doesn’t the joy?

Deep in my belly, my heart, my head, lies the passion to share these stories. To hear them. To witness and be witnessed. To find relief and release.

My quest, to shed the stories that no longer serve me, no longer serve you. The ones that get caught in our throats, held there by fear of releasing them and becoming what is unknown.

I’m right along side you.

So many paths of womanhood. All of us mothers, whether we have children or not. We are creators, birthing beauty into the world. Sometimes birthing ugliness. And what does that mean? We are not to blame for this world we were born into, for the scars so deep that they are passed along through womb after womb down to us. And yet… and yet.

We, the creators, can also be the destroyers, the rebuilders. Once the old stories are excavated and released, new stories can be written. We will stumble along the way. I know I do, constantly stumbling and thinking as the hurtful words pour out of my mouth “What the fuck are you doing?? Stop!!” And still they flow.

I fall to my knees, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally. I ask for forgiveness, of her and him and her and him and them. I beg forgiveness of myself. I find grace and new definitions of beauty. I get up, brush myself off and try again, and again, and again.

And slowly, so slowly, the new stories are written and some of the cells from other generations are shed and I emerge, new but not new.

What stories lie beneath? Let’s unearth them together.

A part of the alter in my office. Release mantra card by Jen Lashua.

A part of the alter in my office. Release mantra card by Jen Lashua.

Inspired by a Liberated Lines Flash offered generously by Alisha Sommer and Robin Sandomirsky, by the reminder in this article and by my own calling to do this guiding work and play . xoxo.

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Our foundation

I watch her. One moment a little girl, the next a young woman. She’s only seven and a half and yet her body is starting to connect with the moon and with mine. Mood swings monthly. Huge tears. My sensitive girl made more sensitive. I ask her, “What is wrong?” and the sobs wrack her body as she shouts “I DON’T EVEN KNOW!!”. Her confusion breaks me. I find my soft place for her, knowing this change won’t be easy for this girl who weeps at every birthday, not wanting to become older, not wanting to accept the next age and iteration of her life.

I find a soft place for myself. To mourn the little girl who is disappearing but not really. The moments I missed or worse, tainted and destroyed. Knowing my own imperfect journey of motherhood. Forever trying. Sometimes wondering if I’m doing more damage than good and still  knowing now, that I am good enough. Knowing she was meant to be my girl and I was meant to be her mama.

Finding my own innate wisdom, my own embodied knowledge. Allowing the wise women before me to come forth and hold my hand through this new trial. Helping me to both hold her and let her go, at the same time. Allowing myself to shed my own layers of hurt and let that young girl in me come forward, to comfort her along with my daughter.

This wisdom rising up of what it is to be a woman. What it is to own my power and strength and beauty. To know there is infinite strength in the softness, the curves, the bending.

I see myself reflected in her eyes. I allow her own sadness to burst forth. Holding space for her as I do for so many others. And yet I sometimes forget she needs me to hold space for her first, always. Sometimes she gets my impatience and annoyance instead. Sometimes I fail at this thing called mamahood. And yet she always forgives me, she always tells me I am the best mama in the world, the most perfect mama just for her. And my heart cracks and shatters at her words and I find the strength to be gentle with her, with me.

I find myself grasping for her as she giggles and pulls away. In the next moment, she reaches for me, but I am not there. This is the dance of this mother and daughter. Beautiful, imperfect and filled with love and humanity.

I root down into my own embodied knowledge, my own wisdom. This too shall pass, too quickly. I have blinked too many times and missed so much. Those moments I have caught though, with my eyes wide open… they have been breath-taking, amazing. And it is those moments that remind me it’s not the big events and once time occasions, its the every day that defines us.

The every day quiet moments. The snuggles at bedtime. The warm hugs first thing in the morning. The bowl of oatmeal, lovingly prepared. The stopping typing and looking at her when she speaks to me. Holding her hand as we cross the street. The long talks in the car as we go from here to there. Those are the moments that have build the foundation of our relationship.

So we dance on this foundation, allowing it to hold us, to keep us safe during the turbulence and stress. For each moment I know I have screwed up, there is another moment or five that I know I got right. Those moments, the ones I got right, they keep us going, they give me faith in the tomorrows to come, again knowing in my bones I’ll screw some of those moments up too, and yet I will get so many more of them just right.

 

It seems just yesterday she was napping peacefully here.

It seems just yesterday she was napping peacefully here.

Inspired by a Liberated Lines Flash offered generously by Alisha Sommer and Robin Sandomirsky. So thrilled to be writing from and for my heart again.

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Life as prayer… aka breaking open

Inspired by a Liberated Lines Flash offered generously by Alisha Sommer and Robin Sandomirsky. So excited to open my writing for my heart again.

Today. Today. Today.

I remind myself what I have is today.

Looking back is important, yes. Seeing the patterns that break us, seeing what we can change and fix and explore and transform now. And knowing we can never actually change the events of yesterday, we can only change our reactions to them today, make the repairs necessary, to ourselves, with others.

Looking forward is everything some days. Knowing this won’t last forever, that it too shall pass. Excavating and building dreams. Seeing ourselves in a different place and time, knowing we have the power to become that future self. And still knowing the only way to give birth to her is to be in today, to make the shifts and shakes we need to in these moments, to shed skin, expose layer after layer.

I slow down this morning, inspired by an email to write a prayer. And what pours out in my morning reflection is sadness, turmoil, the not knowing and feeling lost. Lost in this thing called motherhood. Knowing I’m not getting it right at all and in the same moments knowing I’m doing exactly the right things. It can make a person feel schizophrenic, borderline, not whole, exhausted.

I sit here typing these words, tears running down my face as I look over and see her on the other computer, playing a game. I want to reach out, pick her up, carry her into bed and snuggle her, for hours, for days. And so I do, I go to her and try to pick her up, but find I can’t really anymore. So I just hold her and ask her how she became so big, so grown up. And she laughs and squirms and squeals “Let me go” and so I do. Even though I don’t want to, I want to squeeze and hold her forever.

And this is how it goes. We know the hours and minutes and seconds and days pass us by and sometimes we wish they would speed up and other times we want them to stop. Just for a moment to stop, so we can catch our breath and allow it all to settle into us a bit, allow us to catch up to the world that seems to be racing by.

And the world doesn’t stop. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow isn’t quite here here. We have now, this moment, this day.

And sometimes that sucks. And sometimes that great. And that is the ebb of flow of life, of being human, of being and become, always.

I want to go back and do some things differently. The tears flow with the knowledge that I can’t. But I can hug her and tickle her and let her know how much I love her now. Because she is beautiful and perfectly imperfect in these moments. As she was yesterday and last month and three years ago. As she will be tomorrow and next year and in a decade from now.

And it is as true of her as it is of me, and of you. We are each beautiful, perfectly imperfect; ebbing and flowing; being and becoming; breaking open and shedding skin and finding our own glow and power and truth. Each moment. It’s as true of yesterday as of today as it will be tomorrow.

And breathe.

mama and her girl :: a moment captured

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What sparks me: A quick and dirty list of some of the things

Inspired by a Liberated Lines Flash offered generously by Alisha Sommer and Robin Sandomirsky. So excited to open my writing for my heart again.

What sparks me::A quick and dirty list of some of the things

  1. His babbles
  2. Her smiles
  3. His strong embrace.
  4. The way the sunlight hits the trees of our fairy forest, lighting it up, yet never quite reaching me.
  5. The crispness of the cool air as it sneaks in through the cracks of our door
  6. Her sneaking in to quietly give me a kiss
  7. The smile that is spreading across my face
  8. Women gathering, circling. Sometimes with me guiding, sometimes not. Together, finding our power, our selves.
  9. flashing lights that mark the passing of each second
  10. quotes in books that make me scream YES! and want to share them with the entire world
  11. moving beyond
  12. magazine clippings waiting patiently to be assembled on the board, to give birth to the program to come
  13. notices in my inbox, reminding me to keep following my soul, my intuition
  14. coffee. because, well coffee.
  15. a new mug, just for me, found by me. all mine.
  16. cake. because, well cake.
  17. the whispering of our creek in the fall.
  18. crunching in piles of leaves
  19. a table filled with food, surrounded by those I love
  20. gathering. always gathering.
  21. sharing secrets in the dark, under the warmest of covers, only her and I, sharing our souls, letting ourselves be seen in the darkness
  22. a card to cheer me up
  23. slow cookers
  24. quiet slow mornings where I come into myself as they sleep.
  25. warm water beating down on my skin, reminding me to feel, to sense, to notice
  26. walls filled with her art, given to us.
  27. walls filled with my art, allowing myself to be seen.
  28. walls filled with his art, reminding me of reason #1,345,094, 452 why I love him
  29. unexpected packages on our doorstep
  30. unexpected texts on my phone
  31. shelves filled with over loved books, covers soft, corners tattered
  32. yellow
  33. blue
  34. pink
  35. red.
  36. fire, hot, burning
  37. fire, warm, comforting
  38. ice, cold, burning
  39. ice, cool, refreshing
  40. the city, with its magic, its energy, always calling to me
  41. the grass, my toes digging in
  42. mud, earth, connecting to the dirt and dust and water from whence we came
  43. cozy beds, with so many pillows, so many blankets, so many arms and legs tangled up in each other
  44. space, open
  45. breath. always.
  46. questioning
  47. questing
  48. seeking
  49. finding
  50. all the things
  51. wise women, clearing paths before me
  52. clearing my own path
  53. the hum of the heater as I feel the cold leave my bones
  54. stillness
  55. twinkling lights, a rainbow on my wall
  56. sand, warm on my skin
  57. boots. The boots. Those boots.
  58. laundry baskets filled with clean clothes, waiting to worn again
  59. grief, raw, real, reminding us our humanity, our utter lack of control
  60. surrender
  61. shedding skin, each layer coming through in its own time, and then, quietly disappearing, becoming dust
  62. fairy tales, rewritten, giving power where power belongs
  63. myths, exposed, released
  64. Christmas trees and wreathes with beautiful baubles, sparkling, bring memories of what never really was, but yet is deeply felt in my core
  65. creating the life I want, I dreamed of, I never thought possible
  66. knowing myself
  67. others who know themselves
  68. talking, whispering, screaming, of the evolution of who we are and were and will be
  69. letting go
  70. holding tight
  71. being blinded by the sheer beauty of it all
  72. tears of joy, of disbelief
  73. holding hands, her hands, his hands, infant hands, adult hands
  74. body wracking sobs
  75. loud, spontaneous laughter
  76. earthquakes, reminding us that even our planet can’t stay still, must move and reform and reshape
  77. words… always words.
  78. Wonder Woman, Jean Gray, Rogue, Black Canary, Black Widow, Bionic Woman.
  79. My Cher Barbie doll, long lost
  80. lotus
  81. Om
  82. yoga, stretching muscles, opening hearts, allowing
  83. glitter. because, glitter.
  84. baby hands grabbing at necklaces, tasting them.
  85. exploring with my hands, my own mouth
  86. fingers dancing across the keyboard
  87. Circles of women. Not binders.
  88. ink on skin, permanent and not
  89. long hair. short hair. red hair. purple hair.
  90. forgiveness, and the breath that comes with it
  91. warrior women, not always amazons
  92. hearts
  93. their smiles.
  94. open doors, inviting me in, for no reason
  95. those who give comfort. always.
  96. Mamas, dead and living
  97. My tribes. All of them. Each of them.
  98. allowing every person to have so many sides
  99. allowing myself to not love them all, but still acknowledge and accept them all
  100. me. because, me.
  101. (more to come…)

Explore the power of you

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morning reflection, a new practice

I’m not a morning person. I desperately need to come into the world, the day, slowly. This can be a challenge with kids, they don’t really care that you need some quiet and peace and slow when their tummies are hungry, or they need snuggles, or they are just awake and ready for the day.

Before our son was born I was starting to get this slowness down. Our girl became old enough to leave me be for a bit, sometimes even getting her own breakfast or playing quietly in her room while I came  into the day and my body with some morning yoga and meditations, sometimes even get in some writing. Then our little dude arrived and well, infants don’t really give a crap about their parents’ needs. And my beautiful, peaceful, slow mornings went out the freaking window.

Baby Boy is a little over five months now and I am starting to see the glimmer of having at least a little time in the mornings to me again. He wakes me up to nurse sometime between six and seven a.m. and when he’s done and settled back to a deeper sleep I slip out of the bed and try to slip into the my day. This sounds great on paper, except now our girl is waking about the same time baby boy is and so the morning juggle starts before I am ready. I’ve been asking her to stay in bed, because really it’s too early for her to be up, and she will for a while. But eventually she comes out and asks to watch some videos, which I say okay because it’s the only way I’ll get my slow morning.

I’ve been noticing how these slow mornings help me, how they truly impact me for the rest of the day. Taking the time to settle into being again, taking the time to breathe and check in with myself, is vital to me being present and patient for the rest of the day.

morning reflectionA few days ago I started a new practice. Inspired by the idea of Alisha Sommer’s Liberated Lines, every morning I take a picture of my reflection and do a quick stream of conscious piece. I’ve missed writing so very desperately. Finding time to sit down and write in my journal for half an hour feels impossible these days, and so I’ve been seeking ways to get writing in every day, in some form or an another. And Instagram came to the rescue for me. Doing this for only a few days has opened me up, slowly, quietly. Last night I decided to set my alarm a little earlier so I could return to my practice of coming fully into my body in the morning again. As I stretched and breathed into the morning today I felt myself come to center and a smile formed on my face. Yes, this is what my practices are for. This is what my slow mornings are about.

(If you want to follow along with me on IG I’m @gwynnraimondi and I’m using the hashtag #morningreflection)

pause observeA simple new practice is allowing me to both step into my being and step outside to observe myself, to see how the events of the days before are weighing on me (or not). Allowing me to see how I need to release, to breathe, to pause. To take these moments before the coffee to come into my being fully, into my body, into my words, into the world.

 

 

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Becoming a Superheroine

Every time I send out a newsletter to my list, one person unsubscribes. When that notice comes through to my email, I smile. I’m always curious who it is and so always look. I’m send some loving thoughts to the email address that no longer wants to receive my love letters, and I wish them well. I thank them for allowing into their inbox for so long. And I nod to myself that I must be doing something right.

The truth is, I can’t, and don’t want to, please everyone. My love letters can sometimes be muddled and murky, sometimes crisp and clean; sometimes rambling, sometimes to the point. They are an expression of where and who I am in those moments. Part diary, part hey, what’s up, part love letter, to my readers and to myself. They document my skipping, running, walking and stumbling along this journey I’m on, this pilgrimage to each new iteration of me.

I acknowledge that my pilgrimage isn’t for everyone, and I’m grateful for that. The guide work I do is deep and intense, for me and those who allow me to guide them. I don’t want my energy going to those who don’t want it, or who aren’t ready for it. I want those who gather around my guide work to be ready to be… well to be guided into a deeper understanding of who they are, who they were and who they want to become.

This is not to say that every person who is ready for that deeper understanding would want me to be their guide. I get this and understand it. We cannot all be everything to everyone. If we stay true to who we are, the right people will start to gather. Our communities and circles will grow organically. None of this needs to be forced or demanded. It’s not about big numbers to me, it never has been. It’s about, has always been about, knowing exactly the right people will come forward at the right time, and the group that gathers around any particular program will have its own magic and feel.

So now I am in this place of curiosity about being female in a patriarchal society. I’m in this place of wanting to understand what it means to be a strong heroine in the fairy tales (like the show Once Upon A Time has re-written Snow White and others to be strong, warriors, independent, the true heroines of their own stories); what it means to be a super-heroine like Wonder Woman or better yet, Black Widow or Jean Grey. Women who have their own back stories, who weren’t always Super Heroines, who have had their own trials and struggles like all of us, and still are fighting for what is right, are still hoping to heal the world. Women who are strong and unapologetic in their femininity, who reject the rules that don’t fit them and allow themselves to be fully who they are. Women who have awakened to their own embodied knowing.

I have always been a rebel, in one way or another. I’ve written about it time and again, both here on the blog and in my love letters. I believe in screaming a firm fuck you to the status quo, in letting go and burning of all those shoulds and can’ts and definitions others place on us about what it means to be a woman or a mother or good girl or a bad girl. I firmly believe we need to shed our shame of who we are and embrace ourselves and each other. We need to stand together, accepting and celebrating our differences and our similarities, acknowledging that no two stories are exactly the same, but they are also so very, very much alike.

Another truth: we are all special snowflakes, and at the same time, none of us are.

So what does it mean to stumble on this pilgrimage of life, of being and becoming, of putting on our super heroine cape, to fail and succeed at becoming the people we are called to be? How many different capes and masks to do we wear, can we wear at once? And are they all us, each its own unique expression of who we are in each moment, in each setting?  I don’t have all the answers right now, and I believe this is my quest, my exploration and excavation work for this year of being 43.

So more layers will shed and new ones will glow through, and more people will decide the pilgrimage I’m on isn’t for them, and more people will gather close and circle with me; this is the ebb and flow of life; this is part of what it means for each of us to be on a heroine’s journey, each of us finding our own way, in our own time and gathering together when our paths meet, at exactly the right time, exactly the right place.

Transform to awaken embodied knowing

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Falling and grounding

The leaves are settling on our deck and in our yard, as they slowly fall from the trees of our fairy forest. We have had a couple of windstorms, forcing leaves that maybe weren’t quite ready to leave their humble branch home, to move along their way; forcing them to stop clinging to what they now and to release into something new.

Some may think the leaves are falling to their death. I see them falling to their new life. Watching them sit and decompose in our yard, blending into the grass and mud, finding their new purpose, being one again with the ground.

I am seeing the amazing circle of women I am working with this fall in Being & Becoming are much like these leaves in some ways. Life has brought them to this moment in time, where they may not quite be ready to release what they think they know, yet they are letting go to become more grounded and centered; to discover who they are and want to be. I am honored that they chose me to be a part of this journey with them. I am grateful and awed by the work they do, the vulnerability that is coming forth. And I am learning my own lessons from them; releasing some of what I thought I knew, shedding another layer, becoming more grounded in who I am now, who I am becoming.

My 43rd birthday has passed. I quietly celebrated the day with my husband and then later with the him and the kids. It felt right to allow the day to softly pass with those who matter most to me in the world. I had quietly anticipated the day’s arrival, feeling calm in this new age, this new being I was becoming. Knowing that in one day I won’t be a different person, regardless of the anniversary that is marked by the passage of time, knowing that the passage of time will only reveal who I am.

I have been in a state of “pinch me” with my work, with the women I am guiding, with the families I hold space for at my internship, with my children and husband, with my friends. I have felt lucky and blessed and privileged to be doing this work and play also knowing the tears and frustration and near mental collapse that preceded this iteration of my life. It’s been almost four years since the metaphorical windstorm that formed me to let go of the life and career I was so desperately clinging to. When a layoff happens, in those early moments we aren’t able to see the rightness of it, the doors that have been flung open, the opportunity to explore and play and heal that has been granted to us. And yet, those things are all there in those early moments, we merely need to become aware of them.

Looking back seven years to the woman I was, right before and after the birth of my daughter. Knowing how she changed me, how I allowed the transformation, is a touch overwhelming. If people had told me then the woman I would be today I may have laughed at them and thought certainly they were in need of some medication. And yet here I am. The woman I never even thought of dreaming to become.

We make plans. And life has doesn’t care about those plans. When we are open to the shifting, the releasing, the grounding, our plans matter less and the being and becoming transforms into the ebb and flow of the breath of the universe. Sometimes our own breath is in rhythm with this ebb and flow and sometimes it is in discord. That is another piece of the ebb and flow of life.

As our son starts to figure out crawling and eating solid foods; as our daughter masters reading and writing and discovering her own passions and ways of being in the world; as my second to last semester of graduate school flows into the second half; I am seeing my own ebb and flow into being the woman I am now, the woman I dream of becoming. Part warrior becoming a super-heroine, part princess becoming a queen, part sage, part artist, part jester, part mother, part wife; filled with love and gratitude for those in and around my life; knowing that as I release from this branch, I will fall into my center and ground and grow into the next me who is meant to be.

stop clinging

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Coming home to myself, again

Time is ebbing and flowing and weaving as fall settles into our lives. The leaves on the trees in our fairy forest are falling before they change color, leaving me feeling a bit melancholy. The speed at which everything in my life seems to be changing is leaving a bit disjointed and wistful.

And yet through this I am finding and nourishing deeper connections with those in my life. I find myself connecting more with those in my life, both in and out of our home; in person and on line. I have deliberately started to reach out to people I miss or want to get to know better. I’m creating time to connect with those I love and focusing on being present with them as I do.

I’m finding as I journey closer and closer to my 43rd birthday my own need to slow down and deeply connect with those in my life. While I am wistful and melancholy  over the passing of time, I am also grateful for the time I have left to explore, to create, to live.

D.H. Lawrence wrote, “A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.” I spent my 20s living my life, and my 30s worrying about life and trying to “build a future.” I find myself coming not exactly full circle back to my 20s, but rather spiraled up to a place of wanting to live this life given to me. Some days that means being in the car as I drive the kids to this field trip or that play date and others it means being at home and having an impromptu dance party.

I have neglected my writing as I have filled our time with connection, building relationships with those in my local circles and online. School, my internship and my business have also each given me so much opportunity to connect with even more people; more people to learn and grow from as I allow them all to affect me, allow myself to feel.

I have done the work in my own Being and Becoming circle, right along with the beautiful women who have gathered together for this journey through fall. My own ah-has are highlighted by those of the other women as we each reconnect to ourselves and slowly heal and shed another layer.

I began this intentional journey of becoming 43 forty-three days before my birthday. I have dipped my toe into restarting practices I love (yoga, meditation, writing) but am finding that right now my focus is on the people in my life. I am filling up on conversations in person and online, learning more about myself and others and mostly breathing in the quiet knowing that in time I will step away for a bit and hibernate, refocusing on my “solo” practices.

Or perhaps I won’t.

Maybe instead my solo practices will naturally weave their way back into my life.

Time will tell.

For now however, connecting with those outside of me is where I am drawn. And so I am spending more time in my circles, outside of my home, and when home and not with the kids or my husband, online, learning more about the amazing people who are in my life, both peripherally and solidly in the center, and in the process learning more and more about myself. I am in the space of doing rather than reflecting, although truth be told I am always reflecting on myself, my life.

It is not a time of solitude, but rather of being in community, in circle, in my family. Seeing and being seeing, listening and being heard. My circles expand and I breathe in how gracefully and chaotically my life is evolving right now, again knowing that there are also fits and starts, the constant ebb and flow the ever being and becoming.

I feel myself coming home, again, to me as I circle and center in my community and family; as I hold the hands of my children and husband; as I hug friends both new and old. Seeing parts of myself in each of those around me, taking in what feels true to me in these moments and allowing the rest to be.

Quietly becoming 43.

coming home to myself quietly becoming 43

 

 

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Here and now: Finding True North, Right Where I Am

I am sitting at my very messy dining table. It’s been over a week since I cleaned it off and it is piled high with art supplies and materials for the Being & Becoming Circle (self)care packages.  There is a stack of mail in the corner, a bottle of wine in the center and my son’s bumbo chair (yes, I know) at one end. My kitchen is close to needing to be condemned and I have dinner cooking in the slow cooker. Last night after work (!!!) I cleaned off a small corner of our counter.

I look in to our living room that has legos and wooden blocks all over the floor, right next to the baby’s floor mat (yes, I know). His jumper seat, that was his sister’s such a short time ago, takes up a large amount of space, sitting next to the cradle that he is about to outgrow. The bouncy/vibrating seat thingy is sitting in there too, taking space, but now too small for our boy, ready to be passed on to one of my best friends as she awaits the arrival of her next son. Only one of the chairs is empty to be sat in, the others filled with bags and random stuff that needs to be put away.

I breathe in this chaos, this proof of our lived life. I feel both frustration and calm as I sit here in the midst of it, writing these words, sipping my coffee. I have opened our dining room window and can hear the birds and squirrels, our creek and the quiet movement of our neighbors. As I opened the window I caught a glimpse of the abandoned kiddy pool, water now black and filled with leaves, waiting to be cleaned and put away until next year. I am reminded of the art supplies that are on our lower deck, waiting to come back inside. Reminded of how the days seems to slip by without these seemingly simple tasks being accomplished.

I am sitting with sadness that sprung up from work yesterday, my own sadness about a future that probably will, though may not, come to be. I have allowed some tears to fall for this yet to be seen future and am breathing deeply in the truth that that future is not today, not here yet. I release as much of this sadness as I can right now, being grateful for the life I have, the life my husband and I have created together, the life our beautiful children bring to us every day.

I am sitting with calm and peace and humble gratitude as I think of the women who have come forward already to do this work of being and becoming with me this fall. Some of whom started with me this past spring, others coming forward to start now. All of them trusting me and allowing me to be a part of their journey.

There are days when I can’t believe how blessed I am. Days when I think back to my younger selves and wonder how they got through, how we got to now. I smile at how 15 or 25 or even 35 year old me would have reacted to being told who she would become at almost 43. Would those past mes believe that it would all turn out so lovely? Would they believe I could find this deep peace in my life? Would they shake their heads and laugh or would they breathe a deep sigh of relief?

I wonder about the women I am yet to become. Me at 45, 55, 75, 95. What wisdom will I have earned then? How much deeper will this quiet knowing I am only beginning to feel at almost 43 run? What stories will she share? What kind of grandmother, great-aunt, long-time friend, wife will she be? And more importantly, who do I want her to be right now, even knowing that too will change as the years flow.

Right now, my daughter has come upstairs and is sitting in the chaos of our lived in living room, playing with those legos she had abandoned yesterday; wanting to share space with me and giving me space to write, to express, to observe.

Tonight I will hold space for families who have lost a parent, a spouse. It is work I am called to do and am grateful for. This weekend I will begin holding space for the women who are ready for their being and becoming work and play, keeping that space safe throughout our fall season together. Right now, and always, I am holding space for my family: giving love and gratitude, taking in the beauty and truth and reality of our life together.

And I hold space for myself. Allowing my own sadness to ebb and flow, letting its lesson of gratitude for the now be heard and internalized. Grieving the yesterdays lost and celebrating the tomorrows to come.  Finding my own true north, right where I am.

A close up of a section of my Being & Becoming vision board. Won't you come join us as we each find our own true north right where we are?

A close up of a section of my Being & Becoming vision board. Won’t you come join us as we each find our own true north right where we are?

 

 

Posted in A Mama's Life, Becoming, becoming 43, Being, Being & Becoming Circle, Gratitude, Mamahood, Mindfulness, Nourishment, Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

A mama’s life: the inbetween spaces

It’s sometime between six and seven a.m. and my son starts to root for his early morning snack. I groggily roll over, find his little mouth and feed him milk. As I nurse him, I slowly start to come full awake, taking inventory of my body, allowing my mind to take the slow process it needs to come into being in the world fully.

When the little one finishes nursing, I change his diaper as he sleeps and tuck him in close to his papa. I go to our office and pump a bottle of milk for him, as I start to check into my online world on my phone. Once the bottle of milk is hand-delivered to my husband’s nightstand, I go back to the office and come more into my body through some basic yoga and breathing. Next coffee is to be made as the laptop and wireless warm up.

Coffee in hand, I sit down to the laptop and start to work. Shortly after my daughter wakes and I stop my work to give her snuggles and then set her up to watch some videos on the other computer in our office. I settle back into work for a while and then it is time to feed her, start some dishes, feed myself. And eventually we both make our way back to the office.

I read or write as she giggles at what she is watching. I don’t know what is making her laugh, she wears headphones to try to not disturb my thoughts and process. Her giggles and bursts of laughter seem loud however in contrast to the whispering hum of the computers and each time I need to stop and smile and regroup a bit, biting back that initial response to tell her to quiet down, to shush; instead allowing her to enjoy her moments and thereby allowing myself to enjoy them too, watching her without her knowing, wondering at her beauty (outer and inner) and being amazed that we have journeyed almost eight years together, starting with her conception, and that she is such a gorgeous person after being on this journey of motherhood, despite my stumbles and falls and failings along the way.

I hear the baby crying and wait to go to him, allowing him and his father to create their own relationship of trust, of caring. Sometimes I go and “help” and other times I wait, giving them space to learn more of each other. It is a practice in letting go of the notion that I need to do it all, that it is always my job to fix things. It is knowing in my core that whether I go and help or not, everyone will be okay.

This journey as a creative, as a guide, as a mama and wife and friend and sister, can be hard. Finding time to write or read or work or play inbetween the needs of family life is a practice in patience, perseverance and passion. Creating the space to do all that I love is no easy feat some days and others it flows naturally and makes me question what makes the hard days so hard.

And of course, just as I think I have it all figured out, something comes along to change things.

This is the ebb and flow of life, isn’t it? Once we think we know something, the Universe shakes things up for us, to show us that we don’t really  know much of anything beyond the fact that we don’t really know much of anything.

I’ve been coming into this quiet acceptance of this knowing there is so much that I don’t know. Beyond the acceptance I am finding a peace in it, in the not knowing. There is comfort in being in the here and now and releasing the need to know or expectations of the future. It is where I am in my own being and becoming.

Fall is settling into our lives now. The weather and light are shifting and our classes and fall routines are starting to taking root. As the chaos of summer drifts away I find myself feeling cozy and grateful for the more predictable pace of fall. I wonder how our little guy will shake that up for us, and I don’t worry about and allow it to happen in its own time.

I am preparing to guide a beautiful circle of women through the fall season, creating space for each of them to excavate, unearth, release, unfold. I look forward to the journey and wonder how those who are returning will go deeper and how those who are joining us for the first time will add to our circle; how we will guide each other into this new iteration of our own being and becoming.

And all this will happen between the dishes and the breastfeeding. Between the making of meals and folding of laundry. In the hours my husband is home from work and the moments when neither child needs my focus. It will happen because it is my love: to write, to guide, to dig deep, to explore.

Our lives ebb and flow and there are smaller waves within the larger ones. This wave of motherhood will last until my ending day, however what it looks like and how my other waves of being will be influenced by it will change and transform and become something different. I won’t always have office mates who are under the age of ten. I won’t always need to stop writing mid-sentence, mid-thought to feed a child. It won’t always be fall; winter will come, followed by spring and then summer and eventually in it’s time fall will come again.

So for now I work in the between spaces, allowing myself to feel my frustrations with this truth and then letting it drop away like the changing leaves on the trees outside our window. Finding pleasure and joy in moments of distraction, allowing them to feed me instead of starve me. Allowing for the truth, that whether I will it or not, this moment too shall pass.

As posted on IG: My office mate this morning. #gelamarie woke up earlier than normal and wanted to watch videos as I work. Another lesson from my children to go with ebb and flow, to shift my (unrealistic?) expectations and allow the what is to be. #becoming43 #myheart #officemates #raimondisummer2014

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