the wise fox



The other night, I dreamed of a fox who told me to “drop into being”.  I awoke still tangled in the stars.

In the limited meditating I have done and the abundant dreams I have had, it is often the fox who comes to speak with me.  He is my wise animal guide.

Hospitals are strange places that make me think.  I walk down the halls trying not to look in each open door as we pass, but my eyes always manage to dart and scan; tableaus of vulnerability as people lay alone or with sullen family members.  My lungs itch as I breath the too-warm air making me wish we hadn’t brought the kids.

I have been doing a lot of thinking  in the past couple of weeks.  Thinking about life, happiness, family, goals, health, mortality, human fragility, mindfulness, priorities.  Death brushed  a little too closely  nearly two weeks ago and it has been on my mind ever since.  I sit under our own apple trees and wonder if I have tasted as many as I could.

The truth is, I don’t feel that my life is lacking anything.  I have two healthy, vibrant, gorgeous children.  I have a handsome, ever present husband who still rocks my every world and takes me to every edge and back again.  We have cupboards and freezers full of good, homemade, organic food.  I am right where I want to be in the heart of our home and family.  Our families are supportive of our choices and help when they can.  We have good benefits and Mike has an incredible job which he loves.

My life isn’t lacking, but I could certainly use some work.  I am just now coming out of the fog of two pregnancies, 2 years of nursing, nearly 4 years of not fitting into my old clothes, and all the challenges of having 2 kids only 18 months apart.  I have rolled and battled with depression, fatigue, resentment, heartbreaking love, and the nagging fear that I would never be the girl I was before I had children.  Sometimes I don’t recognize myself and it is true, I have aged, I have new lines on my face, I have stretch marks and scars.  It is also true that my heart beats about outside of my body.

You see, I realize it is time to take care of myself again.  I gave 110% of myself to my children in the early days, but now after 3+ years I am on the verge of burn out.  The fix is simple:  1) I need to wake early, sip tea, read, journal and meditate as the first light of day slips over the trees and 2) I need to run, stretch and move.  All this so I can be more present and mindful in my daily life and keep up with giving to my children in a more balanced way.  It sounds simple enough, but when Mike tugs gently on my toes to wake me, everything in me shrieks “Not on your effing life!”.  I struggle with mornings; they always seem so unfamiliar and empty, but it could be precisely what I need, so I will keep trying.

I had a light bulb moment when I realized I was looking for the answers of how to be a better, calmer, more patient parent in all of my parenting books.  I became frustrated as each book repeated the same advice again and again which, for the most part, is common sense to me.  Of course we know how we want to parent, but how do we remain composed on those inevitable bad days?  We’re all capable of kindness and patience when the conditions are right, but how do we remain mindful in the turbulence of a messy house, piles of laundry, and milk-spitting-counter-climbing children?  Not only do I want to be a better parent, but a better wife, friend, daughter and citizen of the Universe.

You see, the answer, for me, isn’t in the pages of of those parenting books (though they too hold an important place in my life and bookshelf).  Without realizing my error, I had let yoga, self work, and mindful affirmations fall to the wayside when I became a mother, but now I realize that they are indeed inseparable.


This is my pose, this is my breath.

In this moment, I am ok.

The way to peace and health in all chapters of my life  is to learn how to stop reacting and just ‘drop into being’.


go gently + be wonderful


For anyone curious, some of my favourites include Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and I just picked up a few of John Kabat-Zinn’s books for my mom.

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  1. Posted April 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm by eidolons | Permalink

    This is an amazing post. I think it’s one I will revisit again and again.

  2. Posted April 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm by Amberlea | Permalink

    Your words speak to me and always remind me to be present. Perhaps you are my wise animal guide? :)

  3. Posted April 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm by Chandelle | Permalink

    Oh, I understand this so much! I had my kids 20 months apart and now, seven years after the first birth, I still feel shel-shocked.

    A wise friend once told me that, when we’re in our last extremity as parents, when we are stretched to the breaking point, we fall back automatically on the way we, ourselves, were parented. For many of us, this is not a pattern we want to repeat, so we look outside ourselves for the answer, the way that others do things, which can never be our way because it’s not from within. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, because I have been spending a lot of time with someone who seems like an “ideal” parent. I want to be like here, but then I think, wow, that’s so not like me! I’m trying to be a better parent from within, but that means wading through a lot of crap, a lot of bad history, a lot of current stress and childish petulant “I don’t wanna.”

    Make sense?

    And I hear you on the “not on your effing life,” too, because I’ve been thinking for weeks, “If I want that time, to meditate, drink tea, plan my day, be alone, I have to get up early,” but oh, it hurts!

    Thanks for another beautiful post.

  4. Posted April 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm by erica | Permalink

    these are good words for this mama to read right now. thank you so much. erica

  5. Posted April 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm by Kim | Permalink

    I needed to read this today….feeling a little bit of the same lately. Thank you.

  6. Posted April 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm by rebecca | Permalink

    oh man – you sure do have a way with words. Thanks for this reminder about what is important.

  7. Posted April 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm by KC | Permalink

    I wish I could get up early but S gets up at 5 and I am not willing to get up at in order to have me time. So I take in 5 minute chunks through out the day. I feel so much better for it. And I stubbornly try to work in crafting here and there while the kids sit around me.

    Wonderful post as always. You are a sage even if you don’t feel it!

  8. Posted April 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm by Michelle | Permalink

    Good for you for finding this out sooner than later. Good for you. I know you will find your way.

  9. Posted April 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm by Bonnie | Permalink

    Isn’t it amazing how, when you put yourself “out there”, there is always someone (or many!) that feel just the same??
    I could have written this post myself. My lovely children are 10, 8.5, and nearly 5. At my doctor’s office yesterday, after some tests and weeks of feeling like I was going to given bad news (thankfully not), she asked, “are you meditating? Doing any yoga?” She told me it was time for some self-care, and this time, I really need to listen!
    Here’s to early mornings (maybe one day they’ll feel easier?), quiet cups of tea, and mindfulness. And, what the heck, here’s to fitting into some old clothes too!

  10. Posted April 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm by coleen | Permalink

    Wonderful post. I think as women, we all tend to lose ourselves at times.
    Question, how do you know the fox is your animal guide?

  11. Posted April 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm by heather+you make do™ | Permalink

    Beautifully said, Erin. A mother must take care of herself too, so she may love taking care of others. A lovely post. -heather

  12. Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:45 am by Marnie | Permalink

    This is so me! I have just planned my list of five things to do in the morning before the children wake and meditation was one! Shower, moisturise, dress and brush my hair are the other things on my list which before children would have seemed so bizarre to need a list for but now after kids, not so crazy!! Yoga is a definite as well. Loved this post xx

  13. Posted April 15, 2012 at 10:50 am by Cary | Permalink

    Your words are beautiful and exactly what I needed. Thank you!

  14. Posted April 16, 2012 at 10:29 am by Sherrie | Permalink

    “My life isn’t lacking but I could certainly use some work.” Oh, I couldn’t agree more. That was *exactly* what I needed to read today. Thank you.

  15. Posted April 16, 2012 at 10:45 am by Joan | Permalink

    This is the conversation I had with another mother (her kids are grown and out of the nest) recently. She said that is one lesson she learned early in her single-mother experience: take care of yourself so you can take care of your children. It is a lesson I am relearning every day. I take walks, run, read or do errands by myself at least once a day and I am always the better for it. It is hard to think sometimes with little ones around (especially very talkative, energetic 3 year olds!). Good luck, Erin! (OH! and those mornings by myself NEVER happen. I’m not a morning person and probably never will be. My husband puts our daughter to bed and that is my ‘alone time’ most days.)

  16. Posted April 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm by Julie Perrault | Permalink

    I am reading Martha Beck’s book about making your way in a Wild World and she talks about a fox that visits her in her thoughts. Then he VISITS her. She goes on with tales of whales and other remarkable animal encounters. Its a very interesting read. I’m loving it.

    I came crashing into the same thoughts you’re having when my littlest was just over 3. Now we’re a year later and after tackling self care with every stitch of mindfulness I could muster but also every bit of TANK I could materialize. I have to say the results have been remarkable. I still can’t wear my darned pre-pregnancy clothes but I ran 13km yesterday. I feel strong and in control again. I take time that I need (when I usually felt I must stand by for my children, husband, the farm etc.) I feel whole again. Don’t give up. You will have wonderful things to write about in the coming year!

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