Shawn Ledington Fink was one of my first readers and online friends. It’s nice to watch her twin girls grow up and play. Since I’m in the thick of writing a book, I asked her to pop in and have some fun. This is a guest post.
We sat in a circle in the lovely, peaceful home of Lil Omm Yoga Studio in Washington, DC.
I listened as Maezen’s voice soothed me. It sounded just as I had remembered from the year before when she led a workshop for mothers.
“Buddha means awake,” she said to a group of dozens of mamas like me.
My eyes lit up.
I had no idea.
I’ve been on a quest to wake up and stay awake for years—becoming a mother only intensified those feelings.
And though since becoming a mother all I feel like I want to do is sleep, the reality is that my daughters are my little Buddhas—as Maezen gently pointed out to me in her book Momma Zen.
Buddha wakes at 5 a.m. sometimes at my house. Or in the middle of the night with a bad dream.
Buddha has a temper tantrum over not getting her way sometimes.
Buddha thinks God is in all of us.
Buddha likes to dance and sing silly songs.
Buddha likes to solve fourth grade math problems even though she’s only in first.
Buddha is everywhere at my house, waking me up in each pile of clutter, each handmade masterpiece, each random sock strayed on the kitchen floor and each, “Mommy, watch this.”
My daughters are the reasons I am awake—the reasons I can walk a curvy path of a nature trail and see a whole new world of tiny details I never would have noticed before they came along—like a tiny seed or a wiggly worm or a spotted leaf that’s been brunch for a caterpillar.
Wake up, that’s what my children say to me each day.
They say it when they tell me about their dreams at night.
They say it when they use words like “Mommy is the best,” and when they call me loving and caring and, my favorite, “She takes care of me.”
They say it when we’re struggling and I don’t know what I’m doing.
They say it when I’m spending too much time in my head and all I hear is, “Mommy … Mommy … Mommy.”
Their whispers and murmurs and screams and tears and belly laughs and silly antics are the bell, chiming all day, every day.
All this talk about waking up, it’s everywhere. We all want to feel more in the moment and more connected and more engaged.
But I’m left to wonder if we’re more awake than we realize, us mothers?
There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not up before dawn, and waiting.
Ready at a moment’s notice.
Pouncing at the slightest sound of pain or hurt or difficulty.
Five or 500 steps ahead of a negotiation about what to consume or not to consume.
Ready to point out another wonder or to be cracked open wide to the awe of just simply being alive.
Perhaps this is the hardest part of being a mother?
Always on. Always alert. Always awake. Always ready.
And yet … and yet that’s exactly how I want to be and how I want to feel and how I want to live.
I had no idea.
If you have a Buddha that wakes at 5 a.m.—or later—perhaps you are interested in signing up for Shawn’s latest offering, The Playful Family Adventure—an e-course this summer that will inspire you, motivate you and encourage you to be present, peaceful and playful. Register now! The course begins June 24.
ABOUT SHAWN: Shawn Ledington Fink is the author of The Playful Family and the Thinking Mama behind Awesomely Awake, a project inspiring families to find their happy place. She is a peace and kindness spreader and has led more than 300 Mamas through her e-course The Abundant Mama Project, which leads mothers through an intense gratitude practice to help them develop an attitude of abundance. You can follow Shawn on her Blog or find her on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.