Sunday, October 20, 2013

There's a stack of clean clothes waiting to be put away.  
Always.
They're at the foot of the bed.  All I have to do is carry them to the appropriate bedroom and shove in to the appropriate drawer.
Or better yet, get one of my perfectly capable CHILDREN to do it.
That's a lot of work; getting them to be responsible.
Although guidance, teaching, disciplining is part of the gig, 
and being C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-T with those obligations,
sometimes it's just not worth the fight.  
Especially when you feel like crap.
Light Saber(s), a Darth Vadar mask and random Barbie clothes adorn my un-made bed.  
Trinkets left behind from little visitors stopping in to check on mommy.
People magazines, little pockets of crumpled Kleenex and empty mugs of half-drank drunk(?) tea are piled up on the bedside table next to me.  This is how it works.
When mom gets sick?  The whole house goes to shit.
My attitude included.
We're not supposed to get sick.
We run this show, the mom. 
But it happens and life's not fair and who am I to complain.
It's just a bad cold.
So the "fun one" (daddy,) picks up the slack the best he can, so I can get better.  
As long as it's by Monday.
In the meantime, all the crazy little things we obsess over when it comes to running our homes, gets neglected when we're down.  
But it's a welcome respite.
If we're lucky, we get a day or two to lay in bed, read, sleep, watch crap TV, nurse ourselves back to health.
And if you're me, it's a perfect time to reprioritize and rethink some things.
(Dangerous, I know.)
My problem today (ah, let's be honest. . .everyday,)
is this incessant need to create and accomplish.
I'm not sure where it comes from.
Probably a lot from fear, wanting to do and experience and give as much as I can while I'm here,
but also to experience that sought after sense of worth. . .to prove to myself and others, 
I am not JUST a mom.  I'm not JUST a wife.
The epiphany I had while blowing my nose raw and hacking up my lungs,
is in this battle between the TRUE self and our ego,
the ego will always win. . .if we let it.
Striving to be the mom who can and WILL do it all, 
filling up my plate until the scale falls to one side completely, 
only and always, results in chaos of my mind and body.
And then I get sick.
My compromised immune system from months of stress and pushing and throw in the change of seasons and school kids coming home with more germs=boo hiss.
And then for me, the seas part and the clouds open.
My TRUE inner mommy, a soft and comforting voice,
"You are enough.  You don't have to do it all.  You are perfect just the way you are.  And slow down."
Every illness, every setback, every challenging or even traumatic event that steps in to our lives,
is always a reminder to take stock.
Again, to slow down.
Be present.
So I bail out on the pity party, and begin the work of clearing things out.
Get rid of all the stuff that's been weighing me down.
Physical, emotional and spiritual.
In these hard but blessed moments,
life's answers (or at least sufficient explanations,) become more concrete.
With each new day I wake,
in my own personal and never ending quest for simplicity and balance, I learn I keep missing the point.
True balance or "feeling centered" comes not from the ease of well behaved children, days when ALL the laundry gets done AND put away,
or I complete every item on my to-do list, 
or when I feel the most "in control" of everything.
It comes from the hard stuff.  
Balance is found in failure and shame, mistakes, illness and even tragedy.
It is the DIFFICULT moments of life, 
that show us most clearly (if we're paying attention,)
what we most need to see.  WHO we need to be.
WHAT we need to get rid of.
WHERE we need to be going.  
In my search for more balance in the chaotic world I've created, I know now, I'm not even CLOSE to "mastering" balance.
I am a poster child for crazy.
But I have moved forward to THIS part of the journey. 
Recognizing my intense self-motivation, the self-induced challenge to do, see and be as much possible,
isn't, well, possible.
I have to pull the reins back on myself a lot.
Or I get sick.  Experience major muscle tension.  Headaches.
Get super irritated with everyone around me.
And have ZERO patience.
The only reason I'm writing now, 
is because it's one of those moments,
when I'm down.
Once again, I work to end the cycle.  I rest.  I blow my nose a bajillion times.  
I write.
When I teach Yoga, one of the common ideas I preach in class, 
is the importance of following the path to being more PRESENT.
I bring it up constantly, because it's one of the hardest things for ME, personally, to do.
How often are we TRULY present?
I know this is not a trait I will master,
but will have to practice daily.
My kids (kids in general,) are so good at it.
Unlike us, they're not rehashing the past,
or worrying obsessively about what's to come.
They're just. . .here.
Enjoying whatever's in front of them.
Sure, easily distracted and scatterbrained,
But present, no less.  In whatever is before them.
Although Jack and Grace are getting to those ages where they're starting to "anticipate" and have thoughts and worry about things in the future,
they're still good at letting it go and coming back to where they are right now.
I love that.
So in my busiest season of work,
as I work with amazing families and businesses, photographing their lives, 
I work to stay focused and centered in what's most important.
To help me do that, I sometimes have to adopt a mantra.
"WHO CARES."
Who cares.  So simple.  But a response that can apply to just about anything.  A reminder that MOST of the stresses that come our way in life, really aren't worth stressing about at all.
To that, I say, WHO CARES.
Who cares about the cleanliness of my home?
Who cares what my children choose to wear out in public?
It's so much more rewarding to be present in letting them be who they are.
{Tuna's big in to Star Wars right now.  Everything's a light saber.}
Who cares about the mud and the muck of daily living with children?
Being present means working around the messiness of life and re-learning, everyday, to let go of control.
{Charlie took a bath on the muddy ball field across the street from our house.} 
Who cares about the organization of my kids' dresser drawers?
Being present means fighting the urge to clean out and organize Charlie's underwear drawer because it's bugging me.
Who cares.  He loves it.  His treasure trove of life as he knows it.  Weapons and Lego's mixed with socks and undies.
Who cares if a storm is on the horizon?
{Jack wanted to play outside a little longer with his buds.}
Who cares if they carry their Light Saber with them everywhere they go?  They'll be 16 tomorrow and totally annoyed with me. 
Enjoy this time.
I get in to ruts every once in awhile, where I start caring about the wrong things. 
Get caught up in everything OUTSIDE of myself, 
instead of the truth that lies within. . .
that everything is okay and will always be okay, 
as long as I'm being present.
I had to get out of the house in my haze of congestion,
so took the kids to Subway for lunch.
We ran in to one of Jack's football buddies with his mom, 
who's beautiful face was softened by inch-long hair.  
Clearly having finished chemo and battling her own, more serious illness.
I took pause.
Again, reminding myself NOTHING is more important than what's happening right now.
Reminding myself to SLOW.DOWN.
Take care.
BE.PRESENT.
BE.GRATEFUL.  

 

1 comments:

B. Holmes said...

Hi again Liz, hope your feeling better. You so beautifully put into words what myself and so many other mom's feel. the anxieties of mother-hood and life. Thank you for your honest take on it all. We are settling in here in the Mt. Hood Natl. Forest in Oregon. Finally escaped the cold of Alaska. It was a long trip that took a lot of work to make happen. But here we are in these awesome woods, my home state, close to family for the fist time since having kids. 15 years away, but I came back. Funny how that happens. Take care girl... -Barbara

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