I was taking a bath yesterday, and I started chuckling. I had carved out a few hours to do a New Moon ritual, including a nice, long, relaxing bath. My hippie side aside, I was laughing at the fact that I scheduled a damn bath. I thought about how much my children fight me on bathing, going to bed, or being sent to their room. As an adult, those are my three favorite activities! What comes to children naturally, somehow becomes something we forget as adults. Part of re-parenting myself is becoming more like a child (without anti-bath sentiment).
Countless articles give lists of to do’s for your life and relationships. Why is everything so much work? In so many relationships, communication, or even sex become a chore instead of a happy … thing. At some point or another, relationships depart from the realms of 3AM convos about the moon, giggling at farts, and kisses to 3PM arguments about dishes, money, or lack of texts. It seems as though rules begin to get applied where previously none existed. As a Mom, all the expectations I have for myself are extensive, and I get so disappointed if I don’t meet my own bar. I always felt that I would have to work off my fuck ups in order to be a good anything or anyone – spiritually or in life.
I have a habit of making and breaking habits. I have stopped and started so many great self care journeys. It seems that loving yourself is usually a last place, when I have time activity. Before, I’d frantically try to get all of my to-do’s done, so I could relax. “Working to relax”. How many other people meticulously scrub their house before vacation, because they don’t want to come home to a messy house? The beach just isn’t the same if you haven’t cleaned your fridge and dusted your baseboards, right? Self care became another cumbersome “to do”, I’d end up exhausted; I’d fall asleep before relaxing. I would beat myself up every time I stopped something I thought “I should do” with self care. I realized, if I keep it very basic and minimal in terms of my expectations on myself, I do better. I pursue the things that ignite my passion, instead of following “should”. If I fill it with activities I love, versus what I think I am supposed to do, I am happier.
Last night, it was pouring. The rain was coming down in sheets, and I went out on the porch to listen to it. I was inhaling that awesome smell, and smiling, and feeling it spray on my face. It dawned on me just how easy it is to be happy; a rainstorm makes me remember being a little kid. That’s what re-parenting has been about – coming back to my childlike joy and happiness, and the wisdom I have always held before the world distracted me from it. My adult self told me that I had to build structure around it, but connecting with my inner child made me realize I learn by doing then discussing.
Spirituality and self love now go hand in hand for me. As I saw last night, by becoming attuned to my true self and happiness, I can teach my kid. by example I called Shock out on the porch with me and pushed her into the rain. She laughed hysterically and started dancing and giggling in the rain. She exclaimed “This is the most fun I’ve ever had!” Listening to her, I felt my perspective shift dramatically. One of those rules or expectations I had for myself was all around money. Big cool vacations, a big house, etc. were all necessary to make us all happier. Listening to her dance in the rain for free, I realized that I don’t need nearly as many rules as I place. As her giggles made my smile grow, I said to myself, “this is love, and love is easy.”
I think it is actually human nature to over-complicate life. Over and over, you hear “Happiness is not a destination” or “love is a state of being, not an emotion”. So many of us struggle to believe that we choose happiness and choose love. We have this drive and need to work for everything that we want, and nothing comes easy. It is only natural, I suppose, for us to reject that the two feelings we want more than anything, are as easily obtained by simply saying I am ___. I am happy, I am loved. How many relationships can you look back and say, “I don’t know why I let this hurt me so much”, etc. (I always think of Offspring’s Self Esteem “the more you suffer, the more it shows you really care, right?” feels like my anthem…) Deep down, many struggle with a feeling or belief of unworthiness. That we have not yet earned happiness or love.
The Buddha told a priest to stop punishing himself for bad Karma. By the priests’ logic, at some point, the bad karma would be removed, and Buddha pointed out he would not know when. So, the priest would begin punishing an innocent man, earning more new bad karma. That story changed my way of thinking for everything.
From then on, my spirituality, life, etc. became focused accepting myself and cultivating joy. I realized that all of the rules attached to happiness, love, and even religion remove joy and foster unworthiness. If I am doing an exercise or diet that I absolutely deplore, I won’t stick to it. Exercise once felt like a punishment for being fat. Yoga, on the other hand, is an exercise I truly love, so I keep going, challenging myself, and choosing to continue. Instead of building a routine or habit that will build consistency, I am building joy and happiness in what I choose to do.
Spirituality has gone from being something I have to do because I will go to hell to an exploration of self and The Universe. It is the Joy of Discovery. Instead of focusing on results – weight loss, etc, I focus on the joy of doing Yoga and moving my body. Instead of focusing on rules, I focus on the joy of loving. My reality will never match the expectations of my mind, but my capacity for love and happiness seems endless. I have found so much of both by not trying to find it. This “new” Mom dances in the rain and smiles at the sunshine, and she doesn’t sweat the dust mites (unless she’s doing cobra…)
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