So it turns out the Brene Brown is quite persuasive and impacting. I just finished her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are’ in two days.
She has this way of communicating concepts so profoundly that once you digest the message, you find it hard to believe you ever thought any differently. Like how important ‘play’ is to one’s mental state, how to recognise the insidious voice of shame so that you can expose it, and that creativity is something that cannot be stifled without negative internal results.
So last night I picked up Dave’s guitar and began writing songs again. It feels so weird but so good to be expressing that part of me that has lain dormant for so long. This time around I certainly harbour no illusions of grandeur, but it is so healing to my soul to be using creativity in this way.
For a long time I’ve ‘skipped over’ sentences in blogs or books that speak about practicing yoga, but I’ve finally become a convert. It actually really does work, for slowing down breathing, taking away the physical aches that I had just become accustomed to, keeping you grounded in what matters and adding to the reserves of calm that are usually hovering just above Empty. I just have to figure out a way to make it more boring so that the kids don’t use my ‘downward dog’ as ‘TUNNEL TIME’!
Not that adding these elements to my life has ‘cured’ my anger or made me into some kind of angel… I may or may not have taken it out on the chalkboard easel last night when the damn thing refused to respond to my fixing attempts after a particularly active game of ‘peek-a-boo’ by Eli had pulled it apart. Dave has a newfound annoying response to me anytime I snap at the kids or him: “That’s not very zen yoga of you!”
It does feel at times like when life is going well I cannot even imagine feeling any struggle or negativity. And then, when the dark cloud has settled and the shame is hovering, I fail to be able to picture myself ever having a positive experience again. Perhaps a little overstated, but it does capture the see saw nature of my emotional responses to life as a mother!
I can see progress though, ever so slowly, but my first instinct is not to gravitate towards the dirty dishes straight after breakfast, or ‘get things done’ as soon as the last child is tucked into rest time. I’m learning to respond to what is important at the time, not what seems urgent to my overloaded brain. I also had an epiphany after yoga the other morning, when I was sitting on the couch surrounded by a jumble of toys and beginning to plot my clean up route- it is my choice to internalise the external chaos and get agitated by the disarray. While my ‘clean first, relax later’ philosophy was formerly a purely positive one, life with kids simply doesn’t afford that option without parting with your sanity… or at least that has been my experience!
It blows my mind how much there is to learn about life and ‘being’. It also excites me, but that might just be because I’m in one of the sunny zones of feeling on top of the world (it helps that the house is silent with sleeping kids and I’ve been able to think and breathe just for myself this past hour!). Ask me in half an hour when the usual pantomime of interactions resumes (ie. Eli provoking Hudson by walking past his favourite toy police car and saying ‘MINE’ slyly, with Hudson’s predictable reaction of throwing himself on the floor and crying even if he had no intentions of playing with the car in the first place). Right now, however, it’s all roses….