Finding the center. Give and take. Sow and reap. Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. Striking balance.
Easy to think about, but more difficult to execute.
“If I just eat a little less…move my body a little more…”
“If I spend a little less time doing this…I’ll have more time to do that…”
“If I can just be a little less [fill in the blank].”
There is always something that I can do a little more or a little less. There is always a place where growth can happen.
It takes noticing.
Something has to catch my attention for me to see that I need to start working on that part of me. We become so accustomed to the way things are, the way we are. We even say it to ourselves and others (or about others), “that’s just the way I am”. It is easier to shield our eyes and not look. It takes courage to turn and face the things that feel ugly. It takes even more to decide that there is no ugly too ugly to change, so that we don’t just glance, but rather stare and soften and have compassion toward ourselves and others so growth can happen.
Sometimes it is hard to see change or commit to change, because there are others we have to sacrifice our own “self-improvement” for.
My life right now is motherhood. Three young kids, a small home in a beachside town, a very modest one-income family. And, really, most of the time, I love every bit of it. There is little stress. Summer really feels like a vacation when we stay up late making fires and playing on the beach almost daily and roll out of bed late in the morning, drink coffee and sit around the kitchen table together. What we don’t have in money we make up for in time together. My kids have a pretty incredible childhood home and that makes me happy.
there are still the nights where I lay in bed, baby suckling on my milk filled breasts and I dream and list the things I want to do, to change. Projects and trips and desires I don’t dare speak, because maybe if I say them, the dream will die and they won’t happen. So I close my eyes again and save them wrapped up tight in my chest, where my heart is burning with fire and remind myself that this little soft and fleshy version of us – myself and the man I share a bed and family with – won’t always be so little and vulnerable and needy.
And being a mother may be the most important thing I do, because while dreams are meaningful and working with our hands and minds are good for the soul and the world, caring for the humans who will inherit that world should be ranked so much higher on the list of “valuable things to do with your life”than it is.
So, for now, I sacrifice a little for something I know will pass by quickly, and really, I believe I’ll be better for it – not missing out on something. My husband shared a piece he was reading the other day, and I don’t remember anything about it other than the words, “having kids may be more for our formation than their own.”
These years are precious, because I won’t be who I am going to become one day without them, and the more I lean into it and try to live a graceful life, the more we will all benefit. Motherhood begins to feel less like a sacrifice and more like an investment, where I am choosing each day and moment how much I am willing to give.