May 8th, 2013 - 74 Comments
With time, your roots grow deep and your branches long. You lean a little less backward in fear and a little less forward in doubt, resting solidly right where you are. When the wind blows, you bend. When it stops, you straighten. Your boughs provide shelter and shade. Your strength supports the sky.
— Momma Zen
There is a quiet hollow to my days now. I have less to do and more time to observe. I can see inside the hearts of new mothers and old mothers and grandmothers. And grandfathers too. Good folks in every trembling state of hope, exhilaration, despair, exhaustion and worry. And so I fold my hands and pray.
May you be tired and afraid
overwhelmed and ready to quit.
Start over, over
ten thousand times over
roll out, get up, fall down
break into tears
open in laughter
sing and dance
be silly, be glad.
May you forget most things,
come to know in your bones
with your blood
through your eyes
from your lips
out of earth
deep below, well beyond
you are love.
You are just love.
A companion to Prayer for a Girl Becoming.
You might also like “Motherhood is everything,” an interview at Sweeping Zen.
These are the last days to register for the weekend retreat June 8-9 in Marin.
September 18th, 2012 - 15 Comments
Reprinting this, because it’s about time.
Last week I received this message from a young mother. I asked if I could respond to her via this post so others would benefit. No matter what our stage of parenting, we could all use a little time out to reflect and refresh.
I have two little girls, age 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. They are wonderful and show me what aspects I need to work on as a person and a mother.
Children are indeed wonderful. They are always showing us aspects of ourselves we aren’t familiar with. One aspect, for instance, is happiness. No one has ever made a mother feel as happy as her children do. The other aspect is sadness and despair. We’ve never felt so frustrated, hopeless or inadequate. Every day our children introduce us to a completely new human being: their mother. And although she vaguely resembles someone we used to know, at times we hardly recognize ourselves. When it becomes especially tiresome and difficult, our relationship with our children sounds an alarm. We need rescued.
I have them both at home with me everyday except for four hours each week. Perhaps I’m overwhelmed but lately I’m finding motherhood to be a total drag.
Too much togetherness is too much. Every mother needs more help. The first step is to admit it; the second step is to ask for it; and the third step is to take the help that comes. You never know where help will come from. Not every angel wears wings.
When we have help taking care of our children, it magnifies the love in our lives. When either by circumstance or choice we think we have to do it all by ourselves, we scrimp on love. Everyone suffers for it.
We don’t always have the money to pay for help, so we have to rely on family. We don’t always have family nearby so we have to make friends. We don’t all have friends so we have to be brave. We have to speak up, make calls, trust strangers, invite people over, walk the street, meet, listen and console one another. Last week I called a friend who talked me off a ledge. Just by contacting me you’ve done the same thing for yourself. And look: no one jumped. read more
May 19th, 2012 - 25 Comments
Yesterday morning trying to pry my daughter out of bed and off to school was so completely awful, so terrifyingly bad, so angry, so loud, so confounding, that I thought: she needs a new teacher, she needs a new school, she needs a new attitude, a new diet, a new bedtime, a new mother, and short of that, an exorcism. I trembled with the weight of the disaster all day after. Something big would have to change, right away, and I had no idea what that could be.
This morning was different. A radical change occurred overnight. It’s called “a new day.” I never know for sure exactly what my daughter needs, but when I’m at the end of my rope what I need is more rope.
There are a lot of contrasting parenting styles and an endless supply of dos and don’ts. You’ll find a parenting expert of the day on the daily morning shows, and that expert isn’t me. Don’t get me wrong: every bit of information that comes your way can be helpful. If I have anything to offer it’s just my ever-renewed trust that our babies will be okay. If I have anything to give you it’s just more rope.
I always invite people to stay in touch with me, to write me with their questions and concerns. Sometimes they do. They might ask about discipline, handling sibling rivalry, overcoming their own parental fears and anxieties, or how in the heck to get the kids dressed, fed and to sleep through the night. It might sound like I’m giving an answer, but what I’m giving is simply rope – the lifeline that keeps us bobbing aloft until the blessed rescue of a new day.
Do you know who makes the day new? Only you.
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November 9th, 2010 - 23 Comments
It’s okay to be angry. Be totally angry. You don’t have to build it, bury it or chew it. Anger incinerates itself, and it will end.
It’s okay to be sad. Be sad. You don’t have to drug it, drag it out or plumb it. Sadness subsumes itself, and it will end.
It’s okay to be tired. Be nothing but tired. Fed up, over, out, done. You don’t have to fix it. Tiredness tires of itself, and it will end.
Be angry. Be sad. Be tired. Be as you are, not as you think you should be.
I bet you feel better already.
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