He screams out. ” GET AWAY FROM ME!” I can feel the knot in my belly. My jaw clenches. I have learned how to get low, and grab the oils. I have learned to move my body to the cozy chair. I have learned to put everything else down. Turn off the stove, take a big sip of water and settle in. As his anger erupts all over the room, I sit and wait for him to crawl in my lap and melt. His emotions are so big for his body. I was and am the same way. I can’t resist him. I have to embrace him. When this happens, NOW- I’m more skillful at being the parent, mama, human I want to be.
I do this more often than I used to, and that feels good.. especially since it’s all quite intentional. Daily, I make choices that keep me at home more than I’m away. Choices that allow me to make dinner and read bed time stories over teaching classes, leading workshops or supporting other families.
And lately I have been talking about this thing I noticed-
The days are not “flying by.”
I told someone recently that I’m not watching my kids grow up at a speed or pace I can’t keep up with. And that in this current cray busy culture, saying that out loud feels so weird. Pretty much every where I go people are talking about “how big” they are and “how fast” it has gone.
But, I don’t really agree. This happens a lot to me where the general public says something that “everyone else” is saying and I just kind of stand there, feeling all awkward and uncomfortable b/c I’m REALLY BAD at small talk, lying or saying things just b/c other people say/ think them. So, there’s usually a pause. a nod. a smile.
But I’m really nervous about being self righteous when my own experience does not match up with the group…. I don’t want to be the one who’s like ” oh, no, not me, not my kids, not my life” in a baggy or boastful way. But the truth is, my days are long. I have morning and evening rituals that rock my soul b/c EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I feel the preciousness of it all.
I mean, I UNDERSTAND why people say these things. I understand that in their experience IT IS flying by. B/c when you are rushing and racing and mindless and chasing a life, it can totally feel that way. I have been there. I was someone who never slowed down, EVER.
Now, in our family, we make choices based on our deepest values. What I mean by this is that right now, in our lives, Mel and I aren’t into fancy clothes or bags, boats or cars. We have stripped so much away and now it’s like, SO SIMPLE. The food, the life, the stuff, the flow. We are super into health and while are income is probably right on par with “normal” DC.. we spend a lot on our well being.
There are so few chapters of these past 20 years with Mel were I can remember actually having time to just BE together. I mean, maybe in the early days when I was in college and I would do my school reading why he would watch movies on the weekends. That was sweet. But then.. oh man, My addiction to busy took over my life. So little time for him, for us, for just hanging out. To be honest, I have NEVER been great at just hanging out.. but now I practice relaxation daily…
Years ago the real estate market was booming and while I was head down teaching in SE DC Public schools, Mel was making a lot of $. I was spending a lot of money. There was no real awareness or grounding or reality. Just doing whatever I felt like, at whatever whim. Partly immaturity, partly just b/c I was so involved with my work that I spent and bought what I wanted when I wanted, and my salary paid for it. And Mel paid for it.
Many years later, when the realities of 2 kids, 2 homes, changing real estate market hit…ALL while my studying of minimalism, mindfulness, buddhism and yoga increased.. it sort of made the perfect storm for what we now.. awareness. health. conversations. clarity. spaciousness. creativity. This feels so good.
Choosing intentionality, choosing mindful living, choosing to do less means….and 18 months ago, drowning in debt from running the studio and closing it, I vowed to stop using my credit card until I got the $$ relationship under control, until I learned how to use it in a way that was healthy, intentional and based in reality.
I have not used it since.
So, now that I have made the commitment to live in my means, live in reality with my $ and my relationships, I also declared to get on the other side of this time debt culture we live in, and choose abundance, in all areas. There is no scarcity over here. I find what I need in each day and I stand with that intention that I believe I will be cared for in all areas. And I see it come to life, daily.
I did not think or know that aligning my life in this way would lead to all this emotion.
Would lead to just walking right into it all. Every day, with clarity and awareness, I see her get older. I see the physical changes on her body and I step into each day painfully aware of all that lies ahead… the unknowns and the inevitable challenges and joys of life. I only have this moment.
I see more. I feel more. I absorb more. The past few years, I wake up and feel it.
Totally engaged in my life. I have dissolved so much of the numbing.
First it was the smokes, then the boys, then the drinks, then the drugs, then the TV, then the shopping…
I have let most of that go as part of my “regular” life. And well, sometimes I return to these things, but I’m not ashamed of the “being human” part.
But something I did not realize would happen is that it takes a whole lot of extra brave to see your kids for who they are. To see yourself for you who are. to see your life for what it is.
No matter if it’s grand or super simple. In my experience the slowing down has brought on a lot more sweetness for sure, but this does not come without it’s own shadow.
The pain of sitting with a child erupting in anger, the awareness of your spouse deeply disappointed by something at work, the aging of your dog right in front of your face.
I’m not running way from it. In this moment in time, we are together. We live and laugh and cry and love in this home. And at some point that will change. Do you know how painful that reality can be?
This is what I see now, all the time. I see them. I feel them and I know I want to be here for this, I don’t want to miss it.
In our home, may we live with open hearts and minds.
May we honor this season and cycle of our lives.
May we cherish this time together, however difficult or beautiful, in order to embrace this human experience and to live fully with all the feels as they come and go.