Mothering as a Spiritual Practice
When I imagine my spiritual practice, I picture being in flow. Quiet times of stillness and meditation. Deep breathing and softness in the moment. Interestingly enough, motherhood tends to feel like the exact opposite of each of those descriptors. Motherhood is often chaotic, quite loud, busy, wound up nervous systems and lots of sharp edges and rawness. After becoming a mother of two, I quickly realized that my pace and go-to coping skills were not going to be sustainable. I yearned to get back to my 'old self.' The woman who found quiet and stillness easily accessible and deeply nourishing. The one who stayed in flow majority of the time, and when jolted out, she quickly fond her way back.
How can my spiritual practice and motherhood coexist when I felt they often occupied polar opposite sides of the spectrum?
At the point of realizing I will either go neurotic or use my resourceful, creative energy to find the common ground, a light bulb of enlightenment shone bright. Motherhood is the PRACTICE. It is a constant invitation to spiral out or ground down. I cannot think of any other experience that has offered me constant opportunity to practice and expand... it is always available-- like a 24/7 spiritual boot-camp. I realized that this, THIS season in my life-- a newborn who likes to live on fire and a blossoming 3.5 year old-- this is my training field. I realized my desires to fall asleep (figuratively and quite literally) and wake up with a 5 and 8 year old were keeping me in this wound up state of agitation. Just that thought is an agitating thought, being that it is impossible.
As this perspective started to settle in I was astounded at the quantity of lessons and moments of choice I had every single hour of each day. Motherhood is rich with times of irritation, anxiety, deep love, regret, joy, over-stimulation, connection and presence. Choosing to come into the present moment fully, even when the moment is full of sharp edges and chaos, over and over again was proving to launch me into a deeper knowing of myself and my family. The beautiful part is that life is in constant motion. So when I missed one 'opportunity' to chose presence and connection, I could just take the next one. There is always a next one, just like escalator stairs. <3