Something shifted over the past few weeks. The world started waking up from it’s unexpected midwinter’s nap. Slowly stretching, pressing snooze, stretching some more. With trepidation we started to reengage. We have slowly started living after our unimaginable, unprecedented, forced break from life.
It is safe to say we are all a little shaken.
We are not the same.
It is safe to say that’s not a bad thing.
We were just given an unlikely gift of time. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t know what to expect as we started to unwrap it. There was a sense of hope that we would be able to use the time to refocus, align our priorities, and recommit to the meaningful responsibilities of our lives.
Well… Time’s Up!
It is time to ask ourselves the tough questions.
Who are you committed to? Who is important to you? What are you doing to honor, protect and celebrate them?
What are you focused on? Is it meaningful? Does it align with your life’s purpose?
What are you doing? Is it helping to make a better world for the children of our children’s children?
Are there things you’re ready to let go of? Are there changes you want to make? My advice is to start now. Soon enough life will be moving fast again, steamrolling the intentions and plans we have made during our quarantine.
Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man
Our friends and family are not the same. Some of us may have experienced spiritual growth, others may be coming out of this angry or afraid. Some are waking up in financial distress or mourning the loss of a loved one. We need to tread lightly. We need to be kind. We need to listen. Above all else we need to greet each other with open hearts and open minds.
Now more than ever our children need us to model courage and witness us standing up for what is right. We must do this even when it is painful or difficult, especially then. We need to ask questions when we’re not sure and challenge things we don’t believe to be true.
As usual, Sarah Boyd is spot on! It has always been a struggle to teach our children to avoid the trappings of choosing the easy way out. To be a leader who stands up for what is right no matter the cost isn’t in fashion during those elementary and teenage years.
This generation has access to more information than ever before. So often they lack the maturity or knowledge required to process it. This leaves them vulnerable to accept things as they are, avoiding the risk of embarrassment and ridicule.￼ They need to see us living as lifelong learners, actively challenging things and witness our ability to be vulnerable when we are unsure.
Might I add this type of parenting is not for the faint of heart. It requires a relentless commitment to choosing what is right and letting them fail. We can not swoop in and fix things. We can not rescue them.
The act of standing tall and firm while our children are in pain, struggling to overcome defeat and face their fears requires ourcourage.
They must fail!
Facing failure or injustice and working through resulting emotions provides an opportunity to develop the bravery needed to overcome it. The process is essential! Allowing my children to sit with that pain has been the most painfully necessary piece of my motherhood journey thus far.
I’ll tell you what through, my courage game is on point! 😉
I recently re-read the book, The Alchemist by author, Paulo Coelho. I try to read it every few years. He was on to something when he wrote “every blessing ignored, becomes a curse.” See, God puts people, as well as obstacles, and even tragedies, in our path with great purpose. Sometimes bad things have to happen so that good things can happen. Our experiences are all pieces of blessings that make up the puzzle of life. They are meant to come together to lead us to our life’s purpose and to help us reach our fullest potential. We must learn to see the good in all that we encounter. Even the awful things. If we ignore the pain or avoid doing the work that’s necessary to process it, we will most certainly get stuck, unable to make connections or see the bigger picture. If left unattended long enough the hidden blessings of our life become a curse keeping us from our magic.
So many times we get lost in the pain or anger of a soul altering loss and are unable to recognize the hidden blessings that almost always accompany it. This slows our personal growth and blocks us from achieving true peace and happiness. It’s different for everyone. Yet it seems to be a necessary part of reconnecting oneself after a personal tragedy. I hope in sharing my experience I can shed some light into the darkness of this universal pain.
The first time I was faced with this unique type of pain was in 2010 when my father died very suddenly. It was a complete shock. His death completely devastated me. I lost all sense of control over my life and fell into a state of deep depression and anxiety. This lasted for almost three years. I was angry. I was tired. I was in no shape or state of mind to reach out for help. I was sad. I was often confused. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat.
I could not breathe.
I didn’t know it then but taking care of my two very young children and tending to their very special needs is what kept me from completely breaking. When my boys were born I never would have described their disabilities as blessings but that is exactly what they are. I never could have imagined their albinism or subsequent legal blindness would play a protective role in our family but it has. See, the magic isn’t usually where we plan for it to be. In fact, It usually ends up being something completely different than we expect it to be. More often than not its hidden in the crevices and corners of circumstances we wish we didn’t have to face.
I am a Warrior Mom. What does that mean? It means that I suffered from and survived postpartum depression. In my case, it also means that I am a mom of children who have special needs. That one sentence defined me for years. I was stuck, isolated, pissed off, and afraid. I was a tree. Our entire family was suffering. Our lives were not being lived, they were being endured. Everything was out of control.
I knew in order for things to change I had to figure out what the actual f@-! was going on. It took me about a year and a half of soul searching and bi-weekly therapy sessions just to catch my breath and then another year or two to remember to exhale. That was the easy part. Then I had to keep breathing while fighting to acquire the services and supports we needed to make the changes necessary for lasting growth in our family.
Figuring out how to get the help our family needs is a full time job. It’s my full time job. The systems in place to help families are incredibly difficult to identify and access. To make matters more complicated, I was elbow deep in depression, anxiety, PTSD, and PPD for the first 6 years of motherhood. Fighting for the needs of my children while battling depression and anxiety is the hardest thing I have ever done. Those years are a blur, I remember only bits and pieces, flashes of birthday parties and holidays. For so long we seemed to be living life on a roller coaster, our emotions taking us in each and every direction without any sense of stability or predictability at all. The courage and grit needed to fight through my depression so I can do what it takes to help our family grow is an ongoing battle that I know will be a part of my life forever.
The Change I want to see in our life is less serious and anger and more silly and happy. I will do anything to make it happen. I have changed the food we eat, the activities we engage in, the words we use. We have made so much progress.We still have a long way to go. Part of it, I am sure, is that there is not one recipe to follow. There are so many outside factors involved! It doesn’t help that the ingredients necessary to make lasting progress change with the seasons!
I guess that means that we need to continue to change as well. I have been, it’s exhausting y’all. We all need and deserve some understanding and compassion.
The hardest part, for me, is that the changing, growing, and adjusting, occurs at such a rapid rate. I don’t get to enjoy the present very often. I am so focused on the things that I want to change that it feels like I am distracted all of the time. It is relentless. It is so easy to get pulled into the dark tunnel of defeat and self loathing. I need my tribe to stay productive and present.
The Find Your Magic Mama Tribe.
Does this sound familiar? Maybe you’re stuck? Please reach out if you even think you are. This may sound crazy to some of you but the last two people I turned to during this time were my mom and my husband. For me, it was too hard to let it all out in the middle of our daily lives and way too easy to just lash out at them. That made it super easy to avoid doing the real work I needed to do. I was too afraid to openly share with my friends, I mean who wants to hang out with Debby Downer all the time!? Plus-what would they think? I mean really!?!
Instead, I got myself a great therapist. I sought out others who were going through similar things. I went on a writing retreat. I went on a religious retreat. I started following amazing people writing raw and powerful blogs. Little by little I started to feel a noticeable change.
I found the experiences that I connected to and started seeking them out. It is going to be different for all of us. Instead of therapy and blogs some will begin to heal through church and running or reading and playing darts. How we heal is not the point. The point is, we figure out whatever it is that helps us heal, in a healthy way, and then we go and do that. In the meantime, let’s practice being kind to each other and, most importantly, ourselves.
When Tali finished sharing her story I found myself reliving a weeknight dinner at my childhood home. My parents, my brother and I lived in a publicly assisted apartment complex of a wealthy town in Massachusetts, yes my friends, I grew up in the projects. My mother stayed home and took care of my brother and I. She drove us to school every day armed with our brown paper bagged lunches, sweet notes of love and encouragement written on them. (Might I add this was before pinterest people-this was all her!) She picked us up, along with most of our friends every afternoon. We knew she would be waiting with a smile and a snack. There are no words to explain the comfort, confidence, or sense of peace this one unconditional act provided. My Dad got home from work shortly after we got home from school, around 3:30 or 4 o’clock. We did homework, got ready for sports, watched Wheel of Fortune and then we ate dinner together. Every single night between 5 and 5:30 we ate dinner together.
Family Dinner Matters
My parents made financial sacrifices to support our time together. Growing up my father always told me “Tarsh, money doesn’t mean anything. Don’t ever let it get in your way.” He quickly followed this up with, “Just take care of your credit and money will only matter as much as you let it.” I am sure some of you are thinking he was crazy to teach me that money doesn’t matter.
I mean obviously it can spread joy and alleviate stress when used properly. Through education, money can provide the opportunity to expand and grow. In that way, it can also buy the supports and services required to help one meet their fullest potential. But fooled be not-money will never learn the lessons for you. It is up to YOU to learn them. How much you learn depends on your effort and determination. The difference maker is tenacity and passion and desire and consistency, not money.
Money can also be used to pay for the expenses of a family vacation, or to bring people together who live far away. You know what though, if you are full of desire, angst, anger or any other distracting entity you will not be fully present for these vacations or gatherings. In that case it doesn’t even matter how much money you have. When mistakes are made or feelings are hurt you address them with love and hugs, not Gucci and Prada. What matters is how you treat yourself and your people, your tribe.
You’ll notice I refer to The Alchemist by Palo Alto often. (Honestly, if you have not read it you are really missing out. (Check out a PDF copy of the book here )That is because, like Tali’s words, the book opened my eyes, my mind and my heart. Alto encourages his readers to remember happiness comes from within. Happiness comes when you figure out the legend of your soul and then live your life accordingly.
What is the legend of your soul?
Money is not my currency…
In the world of this Magic Mama money will not bring you true happiness. It can be used as a tool to spread joy but be careful to remember~Happiness is a state of being that a soul exists in, searches for, and enjoys. Money is something used to acquire and consume. The two could not be more different.
The American Foundation for the Blind has compiled an extensive list of resources for families living with low vision or blindness. I highly recommend you check out the Family Connect section of their website! Please share any successes with the resources in the comments section.
— Read on www.afb.org/blindness-and-low-vision/familyconnect-8160