This is going to be my last triple-duty post, at least for a bit, because this officially ends my Just Jot it January 2016 make-up posts. The final prompt is clumsy, and comes from Judy at Edwina’s Episodes.
I’m not quite ready to begin ‘making up’ the first couple of weeks of Love Is In Da Blog just yet, but I am totally on board for daily posts, and I will be catching up once I rest a bit from my belated JusJoJan catchup marathon, and move a couple other projects along a bit. Today, the prompt is loving mindfulness.
Bee is also efficient, and has paired her month-long hop with others, including Silver Threading’s Mindful Monday, one of my regular weekly blogging stops. A bit of a windfall for me, as I get back into the swing of things, while at the same time adapting to my Accomplice’s midwinter vacation.
All that is a little clumsy, isn’t it?A lot of words to say where this post fits in, and you haven’t even had a chance to read the post yet.
I think maybe that says more than it might seem to. You see, I’ve made a practice of mindfulness for the last several years. Without it, I couldn’t possibly have made the huge paradigm shifts I needed to make in order to become the unschooling parent I wanted to be. It was necessary to look at every aspect of my parenting, and that, by extension, led to examining my approach to the rest of life – my marriage, my relationships with my family of origin, my friends, and the larger world.
What I resisted the most, though, and have come to lastly and rather clumsily, is my relationship with myself.
Like many women, and maybe most mothers, I tend to focus more on the services I can do for others than those I can do for me. Western culture paints an image of the selfless mother, giving and giving to her family, stretching herself thinner and thinner to met the needs of others.
It’s never really mentioned that, if we approach marriage and motherhood selflessly, we are by definition subsuming ourselves. Or, put differently:
We. Are. Subsuming. Our. Selves.
Don’t our loved ones deserve wholehearted, full-souled love and service?
Don’t we deserve to be ourselves, to be something beyond the roles we fill in the lives of others?
In my journey into radical unschooling, I released a good many of the trappings society gives to the role of ‘mother’. If there had been nothing of myself to replace that with, I might have alienated myself from my children – and that would have done nothing for the relationships that are at the heart of unschooling.
So there’s a real, external reason for prioritizing the care and keeping of me. But that’s really not the point.
If I never nourish or inspire my own soul, I’ll lose myself. Without myself, I have nothing. Nothing for anyone else, but, more importantly, nothing for me.
So, even though it’s clumsy, in the last year or two, I’ve put increasing attention on being mindful of me. What does that look like?
Rather than attempt to be awake or asleep on my family’s schedule, I honor my own rhythms. I don’t need as much sleep as my spouse or children, and, especially at the new and full moons, I tend to be nocturnal and highly creative. I treasure those quiet hours. I couldn’t fully indulge in this tendency when my children were small, so it’s something I really appreciate now that they’re older.
I have my own morning rituals. For years, my Accomplice has generally risen earlier than I do, and gone to watch game shows in the living room. It’s his way of waking up; he needs to cocoon himself. Only in the months since I first read Amy Kennedy’s #onegoodcupproject post, I’ve realized that what I need upon waking is time with my various journals, and in meditation. I’ve also learned that I do best when I change up the meditation, so I’ve been exploring various techniques, such as the tangling drawing shown here.
I seek out movement and exercise that suits me. A lot of my activity is hometending, in bursts throughout the day – writing is sedentary, so I set a timer on my phone and hop up when it chimes. I also love moving firewood, mowing the lawn, walking, swimming, and tai chi – generally, low-impact but strenuous activities that allow me time and space for inward focusing.
I take time for my own pursuits. Both of my children, ages 14 and 11, enjoy spending a good deal of time in their rooms, engaged in their own pursuits. While we still have more time to just be together doing things we enjoy than we’d have if our kids had school, homework, chores, or punishments, I also have far more free time than I did when they were small and needed me for most of life’s essentials. I use some of this to attend a weekly write in with my local NaNoWriMo group, and to attend tai chi classes. More, I give myself time to write and blog daily, because those are both integral to my personal happiness, and feed my journey into mindfulness.
I’ve given myself space. Space to learn and grow in, to create in, to dream in. Physical space, in my cozy little study, and inner space, in unscheduled, flowing spans of time to simply be.
Yes, I’m still learning, still more clumsy than graceful. But that’s if I only look forward to those levels that I haven’t attained yet. If I turn back, though, and see where I’ve come from – well, I’m a prima ballerina!
How about you? Have you been mindful of yourself lately, are you in danger of becoming selfless, or somewhere in the middle, like me, learning and growing as you go along?