I’ve travelled far in my 6 years as a mother. No other stage of life has shaped me and changed me as profoundly as my journey alongside my growing children. I’ve struggled and I’ve triumphed, despaired and burst with joy.
I’ve learned through experience, and through intentional reflection on the books I devour on the subject of the good life, that the secret is really in just being present. Being with each moment and task of the day, being with the people in front of you, and not dwelling in the past, in the future, or in conversation with the voice inside your head. I spent too many years chasing perfection, in the form of perfectly decorated rooms, a sparkling clean house, the exact right outfits and the illusion of all under control. Chained to debt, to an addiction to shopping and consuming, and desperate to find a sense of peace.
The last year has utterly changed my life. I began practicing Yoga Nidra (deep yogic sleep and guided meditation) and reading about mindfulness. The study of mindfulness aligned so strongly with my desire for a simpler life, with minimalism and living a life that aligned with my core values. It challenged my iPhone addiction (be here now!) and inspired me to be a better mother.
And so I find myself, on a Sunday night, with a moment of quiet to sit and write. I reflect on the weekend we have had, one that I might have felt stressed over because our routines of cleaning and laundry were not accomplished in the time I usually do them. We went to classes, enjoyed a spontaneous lunch with the grandparents, another unexpected visit from a friend, and a celebratory dinner with my husband after a work accomplishment.
We were up late with a sick child, sharing with each other that though it means less sleep for us, we secretly enjoy the late night cuddles and movies with our growing girl. We scrambled to make an early ice hockey time, and watched our growing boy pick himself up off the ice and try try again as he skated with kids who were much more advanced than him, marvelling at his determination and love for the sport.
We made the world’s best fish tacos and cake for Oma and celebrated someone who doesn’t draw a lot of attention to herself. Filling up her bucket and bringing a smile to her face was a joy for the children.
We read books, sang songs and had good conversations. And though my floors need mopping and the laundry will likely live on the floor for a few days, it was a good weekend, and being present in each moment, not worrying about the next, or how the projects will be accomplished, allowed me (recovering type A perfectionist me) to enjoy what may have felt in the past like a too busy, hectic, tiring weekend.
I’m slowly changing my perspective from busy to lucky. How lucky are we to have local grandparents, to have a fridge full of groceries to entertain friends? To have happy, healthy kids?
I've learned that living with presence isn’t all about resting in the good moments though. It’s about resting in the uncomfortable, vulnerable and messy ones too. And using our wonder to layer on non-judgmental curiosity, to seek out why we are so pissed, so scared or so resentful. To sometimes question our opinions, assumptions or stories we create in our heads. And to emerge more open-minded, accepting, kind and peaceful - towards others and towards ourselves.
Be here now.
With presence and wonder.
My mantras for the simple life.