In revising my about me page a little while back, I wrote about the awakening I felt myself go through when I became a mother; I wrote: In a sense, though it was I who gave birth to my daughter, it was her arrival in my life that opened my eyes to the world in so many important ways. Annabelle’s innocence and beauty made me more aware of the beauty all around me . . .
As I look back on these past months of my second pregnancy, I feel so much gratitude and amazement at the transformation I recognize I have gone through . . . I did not share it here but at the beginning of my pregnancy I began visiting a counselor (with pregnancy hormones and making an adjustment to caring for myself and keeping up with my 2 year old, I wanted to give her the best possible mommy who had healthy coping skills for difficult moments); what my counselor has helped me explore during these past months is who I am as a person, what I value (yes, it is possible to be out of touch with our heart), my past, making peace (when I am feeling so far from peaceful) and finding happiness with the life that I am leading. She is an older woman, a stay at home mom (before the term existed) to 4 children; she is spiritual, she is optimistic, and she is just a regular person. But she’s been a God send to me . . . I can’t say exactly what it is that she has taught me or done for me, but what I learned to do during the months since I began seeing her is something that arguably she could take no credit for: I learned to pray. I also reconnected with a part of myself that went away a long time ago . . . a younger side of me that believed in the very best, in the spirit side of what we experience, and that saw light everywhere and goodness everywhere. I lost that part of myself sometime around the time my father passed away . . . he was one of my strongest guides here on earth; though neither he nor I are/were perfect, spiritually, we were good friends. My father was a difficult person (I see that in myself too) but he was a good hearted and loving person . . . there are still so many days when I cannot believe he has been gone for so long. When he died, a large part of my heart shut down . . . it almost ceased to beat at all . . . looking back (and because it coincides with the time when my husband and I became acquainted and began our journey together), I sometimes wonder at my husband’s resolve . . . his love and belief in me as a person . . . a love that I cannot explain and a love that well seems to have arrived in my life at just the right time.
Moving on from the loss of my father was one of the hardest experiences in my life (and I know that so far as tragedies go, the loss of a parent is perhaps one of the more natural ones we experience; nonetheless, it was hard). Getting myself back was not easy either; finding one’s spirit (which is so fragile) is hard work . . . when I look at my daughter, at my husband, and down at my stomach (so full with baby), I smile. These are the sources that revived my spirit, which have kept me going . . .
And now that I have reconnected with my spirit, with God or with whatever you may term it, I am holding firm that it stays a central part of my life. Daily I read inspirational writing, I pray, and I do what I like to think of as “noticing.” I read Cassandra Vieten’s Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year and learned about finding pause and finding peace in the simplest parts of life: folding laundry, taking walks, changing diapers . . . and tending my garden. Early in her book, Vieten writes: “Notice whatever you naturally notice, and note it as though you were going to report it to someone else, without judgment or evaluation. Just the facts. That is mindfulness.”
Mindfulness is the key here. Even if one does not consider themselves spiritual or seeking connection with a higher power or source, mindfulness lends itself so much to one’s own peace, and well, when one is at peace, extending such peace to the lives of those who we interact with . . . at least that is partly how I see it.
And in a roundabout way, because this post deals with spirit, with the great loves of my life (my husband, my children, my father (and yes mom, I love you too), and with being present for ourselves and our loved ones, I thought that I’d share a few photos from my garden because my garden is one of those sacred spaces where while working in the dirt, weeding, and harvesting, I slow down, I find peace, and I find me.
Is there a place where you feel that you notice the world (and yourself) more?