It is always amazing to me that as soon as the seasons shift into the great wind down of fall into winter that the great cultural ramp up begins. Activities pick back up and schedules fill in, even as the days get shorter, darker, cooler. It is that way over here for sure. While I effort to get my soccer(swimming/music lesson) mom legs under me and live in to the fullness of this season of our lives, I feel at the same time my immune system as well as my mind reaching for the call to slow down and turn inside. It’s kind of like a conflict of interest but I think I can manage it.
For the last month or so I have felt myself being pulled in the direction not so much of the seasonal great slowing down- for which I have often thought this time in years past- but a bit more as the great letting go. I have been in the process of peeling back some layers, shaving away some of the superfluous behaviors that fog up my perspective of myself. Those behaviors are generally the things that mitigate the discomfort of being alive but I am attempting to manage with less of them for the time being.
It is a good season for letting go in my life. My kids are stretching their wings more and more and are exploring further from the nest. Yesterday, I dropped my mom and Maple at the Milwaukee airport to begin their journey to London and then later up into the Highlands of Scotland. Eider and I will meet them there next week. But even still I have never let my umbilical cord out this far before and the lead up for me was tender and the tears that came after she was gone stretched well into the night. And as much as I delight in their growth and independence it is of course not free of grief and the eternal longing for their smaller more dependent selves. I know that I need to let go. But it’s fucking hard, so I talk kindly to myself and endeavor to loosen the clenched claw of my mama grip.
What I’m learning though is that I cannot just practice there in the realm of me and my people. I must also turn toward the dark shadowland of the deep inner gears and cogs, twists and narrow traverses of my inner landscape. The terrain in which I am busy with old stories of loss, of regret, of self flagellation and abuse. I am mostly waking up to it now, because for the last few years it has been a room inside of me cloaked in an attractive veneer, a hopeful, optimistic, promise land that underneath was feeding the ugly beast of guilt, self-loathing, and a particularly insidious form of body-shaming.
I’m ready to be done with that now. I am ready to be through with being oriented around all of the ways that my body once again let me down this month. I want to move past the stories of all the ways that my actions and behaviors in my body are still not good enough or are counter my aim or simply just fall short. The too little too late sob story that I feed myself over and over and over that hangs right on the heels of accusation and assault. I am all done beating myself up over what my body cannot do. Life is too fucking short and my time is way to precious for this shit any more. I want my minds energy toward my body to be oriented around tenderness and love and appreciation and gratitude. Even if that means the chapter of me growing, birthing, and nursing babes is really and truly from a story in the past. I want to let go. Even if all of my parts aren’t exactly ready yet. Most are.
So I’m slowing down. I’m watching myself. I’m relaxing the mental death grip on the loop of the story that I have been feeding myself. I’m washing the dust from my eyeballs so I can see more clearly what is instead of what is not and celebrate the accomplishments and the joy rather than the lack and the sorrow. But friends, I have to remind myself to do this shit every day. Many times throughout the day. The pit of this negative path of self-talk is deeply rutted in me and if I stop paying attention I fall straight into it’s dark middle. But I choose myself. I choose today. I choose my family. I choose to smile at the sunshine instead of lament it’s setting.
And while all of this practice is happening between my ears, I also pack up my boy and I so that we may head across the sea in a few short days to find our girl and our gran. What an adventure awaits! I am lucky and grateful and thrilled and aware as ever that life is a complicated paradox of contradiction and wonder and grace.