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