(Photo: me with Jacob on his 11th birthday…him eating chocolate cake and me with my gluten-free cookie!)
Am I the only mother who is insanely busy at the moment driving from end-of-school-year publishing parties to final soccer games? Every day last week I thought I’d done everything on my “to do” list and was positive there cannot possibly be one more teacher celebration, field day or house rental to look at (yes, after searching for a house to rent for 6 months on the morning we were to sign the lease the people who owned the house decided to sell the house so we are looking again). Every minute I looked on my calendar I discovered a new item had been added: Aden’s soccer tryouts for next year, Jacob’s birthday sleepover and Aden’s soccer team’s end-of-year gathering. And I only have two kids.
I’m thinking the Octo-mom is definitely homeschooling. She’d be broke and exhausted just from the teacher appreciation notes and contributions.
Just as I began to think my “to do” list tunnel was ending, moments away from swimming in the yummy sea of nothing-to-do except a bowl of soy ice cream and The Bachelorette (DVRed), Jacob walks into the living room Sunday night at 8.45pm, fifteen minutes past my “feed the feminine” rule, his stomach in pain.
“I can’t sleep the pain is so bad,” he tells me.
“What can I do?” I ask, annoyed.
“I just need to walk.”
He walks in circles for ten minutes around the living room.
It’s now 9.05pm and all I can think of is my bowl of soy ice cream and The Bachelorette.
I’m too full for this now.
“Can I rub your tummy?”
“No – that will make it worse.”
“Hot water bottle?”
Out of tools I suggest, “How about I just sit with you?”
So we sit in silence.
“Mom,” Jacob says a few minutes later, “why am I always the unlucky one?”
“Why do you feel unlucky?”
“Aden doesn’t have stomach problems, he can eat anything,” he says. “And he can read and write really well too.”
Okay, yes, the dagger was firmly in my heart at this point.
The unlucky one…
Flooded with pity, shame and deep sorrow, Jacob’s words also snapped me into the present moment, my hands stretched out, holding his feelings.
I thought I’d use words to comfort him, but instead a hug felt more like what he needed.
“Thanks,” Jacob said as I tucked him into bed ten minutes later.
Thank you, I thought.
I came across this Rumi quote a day later:
This being human is a guest-house,
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness;
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice;
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
We are all sailing unchartered waters; especially mothers because if we’re standing in our feminine power we hold both the physical bodies of our children and their emotions and feelings. This week my yoga nidra class and at-home practice focused on awareness of our spaciousness, which is a concept I constantly need to remind myself. When I’m aware of my spaciousness, that all objects like fear and anxiety are allowed to come and go (and that they do go), my body relaxes and my mothering is more joyful and calm, even with my crazy “to do” lists.
I’ve been thinking alot about this stage of iRest yoga nidra, where we can get to a state of spaciousness that’s completely devoid of personal self. Richard Miller (iRest founder who I’d like to have a crush on because everything he says is spectacular but he isn’t very crush-able) talks alot about how us humans have had a lifetime of conditioning by the I-thought construct. Yes, our egos. It’s all about us, our pain, our feelings, our emotions. According to Richard, the moment we shed the I-crap (my word, not his) we enter into a “formless meditation” and that helps us move closer to our True Nature.
This is mana for mothers. We’ve been conditioned to think of ourselves as solid, and that our ego and our children’s egos are real. What if these are only conceptual beliefs that have no ultimate reality? What if we let ourselves free-fall through vast, dark space or fly in a cloud? Sound nuts? Maybe not.
The day after Jacob told me he felt like “the unlucky one” I dropped him at filmmaking camp and cried hysterically the entire way home. No, actually, I hyperventilated the whole way home, sobbing in between. His feelings brought out in me not only the protectiveness of a mother wanting her child to feel happy, but it triggered the same “unlucky” feeling I had as a child (I was always the one sick, always the one who had to work 2 hours more to do the same work others kids produced). I did not want to welcome this feeling, that’s for sure.
But as the Rumi poem says, “some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor” and this is what ultimately “may be clearing you out for some new delight.”
I decided to go to my yoga nidra bed and sit with my pain, my sorrow, pity and shame. I did Robin’s 48-minute yoga nidra session (CD #2) and treated “each guest honorably,” inviting them in. It was not what I’d call a happy moment. I was sure I was going to throw up. I had a sharp pain in my heart. And, yes, I was falling through space, big time.
And now, I guess, the mystery unfolds.
PS: Next week I will start using Joy Kirstin’s CD “Birthing the Phoenix.” I’ll start with the 25-minute track. Join me!