Monthly Archives: August 2015
“…looks like I don’t know what is on my mind until I go to writing to you.” Burley Coulter in A Place on Earth by Wendell Berry
We all need a place and space to make sense of our lives and the world around us. Ideas, questions and musings sometimes trickle down and other times bombard my thoughts as I do my everyday work. During times of intentional quiet meditation, the most pressing matters float to the top of my heart and mind and either whisper or scream out to be attended to and heard. For me, the voices are quelled and a level of peace is attained when I put aside the urgent matters of the day and sit down to write.
This blog has been a place for me to reflect, begin to put words to deep feeling and experience and to be encouraged as I pursue a newfound passion. Thank you to each of you who has read, commented, challenged and encouraged me along this path. My life is certainly richer for my interactions within and without as a writer.
A part of my journey has been moving from a doing, accomplishing, often mask wearing human to a more being, contemplative, authentic person. This is a journey that I hope to travel the rest of the days of my life. One of my sons recently pointed out that with the passing of my 53rd birthday, “mom, you are now solidly in your 50’s and that is old.” To a twenty something, 53 is old. To me, I just shake my head and say, “how did I get here so quickly?” My beloved father in law lived out most of the last days of his life during his 53rd year. As a twenty something, I too thought he was “old” but wow, has my perspective changed. I wish for many more years, but we never really know.
Over the summer, I began to feel nudged to spend more of the hours of my week in pursuing this blossoming passion for writing. I picked up a few books on the topic – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It now seems time to spend more energy doing writing than reading about it.
We have a small workshop behind our home that is full of tools, gardening supplies and seasonal paraphernalia that also includes a nice little desk area. When the realtor showed us this house, she said, “this would make a great writer’s retreat.” I have slowly begun clearing it off and making the little desk area “my space”. I think it is kind of fun and symbolic that I will be writing in this area with lots of tools hanging on the wall – after all, I am “in pursuit of a toolbox”.
Our girls have been back in school for a week, and we have gotten our youngest fairly settled into her first year of middle school. I have set and blocked off on my calendar “writing office hours” for each week. I won’t be able to pursue this passion full time since my other job of mom and chief of keeping the household together still demands much time and energy. With more support and hands on help from my husband, there is more space for me to at least pursue this part time.
I imagine that I will be working on a more comprehensive memoir type project, but I’ve learned that I never know where the writing will lead. I hope to pop into this blog to write on random topics that show up along the way, but it may be less or more frequently. We shall see.
Thank you to all of my readers who make this journey more interactive, accountable and purposeful. Wish me well as I enter a new season of life. I will do the same as you enter your own seasons and pursue your passions.
On the heels of my Best days post, this one idea from the Mothering and Daughtering book persistently whispers into my consciousness. One of the major tasks as mother or father is to mirror the soul of our children. The author, Sil Reynolds, expresses it in this way: “Mirroring your daughter [or son] is seeing her for who she is and reflecting back to her who you see, without judgment or agenda… [this] communicates, ‘I see you, and I deeply value who you are and who you are becoming’.”
I wasn’t sure I was ready to tackle this blog topic, but then a few days ago, I received a text from a dear friend that included these words: “”I’ve spent years trying to get over my sense that who I am is profoundly disappointing to my mom. What fun it is to read about a mom seeing her girls as individuals, and working to foster a deep relationship with them. Keep it up!!” This friend has a beautiful soul and it is hard for me to imagine who it is that her mother wishes that she had become.
What brand new parent holding a newborn baby does not have hopes and dreams of who this fragile miracle in their arms will grow up to be? And in the blink of an eye, this baby becomes a toddler who makes it known that they also have a will and desire of their very own, separate from that of the parent. This can be the beginning of a beautiful dance of reflection and guidance or a battle cry that can lead to civil war for years to come. It all depends upon the stance of the parent. I have participated in both.
A friend of mine who is a new grandma shared with me that the dad of her newly born grandson was frustrated with the inability to get the baby on a reasonable schedule. Much thought and energy went toward adding up the hours spent feeding, changing, and holding this little soul. At one point, he said, “the math is just not adding up.” We are all wise to learn and accept that children are not math equations but unique and individual souls from God that arrive with some traits that mesh with our own and some that will not.
Carl Jung once said, “The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parent.” I would add to this statement “or a parent’s burning desire for a repeat performance.” We don’t have to look past the local sports field to see the pain and agony caused by a parent attempting to live their own dream through one of their children. My greatest moments of heartbreak as mom have come when something that is dear to me has been rejected by one of my children.
I believe that the all too familiar adolescent cry of “you just don’t get me/understand me/understand” is a deep shout out to the parental heart to “please just see me for who I am and be delighted in who I am becoming even though, and especially when, I walk a path different from one that you, my parent, might choose”. Does this mean that we will not correct, teach, and pass along our values? No. But it does mean that we will be attuned and in tune with who our children are at their very core – their soul – and encourage them to become their truest selves.
For me, fear is almost always a part of the hurdle in the way of accepting my children just as they are at any given time. The writer of Ist John addresses fear in this way: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…” My children will walk paths and make decisions that displease or deeply concern me. The less I try to control that and the more that I can acknowledge the fear and make wide the space inside of me for love and grace, the more effectively I can be a mirror to them as they figure it all out. When the fear and attempts to control are at bay, there is much more room for joy and delight as we live life as family.