Your messes, illuminated

I wish you loneliness… 

This line appeared in a poem for my baby, written by my sister in law. She shared it at a Blessingway ceremony held in August – a gathering with a small circle of dear women to honor the transition in my life as I prepared to give birth to my second child. 

The women brought blessings, poems, and prayers to share, written on sheets of origami paper. I planned to fold the papers into birds and place them around the house; I would be surrounded by their blessings while giving birth. My son arrived 12 days early, a little too soon to complete folding all of the birds, but some were scattered around and I have the gift of sitting with them as I fold them now, weeks later. But back to the poem…  in its fullness, it quietly reads: 

“I cannot wish you safety, because we learn through risk.

I cannot wish you peace because discomfort makes us radically creative.

I cannot wish you pure health, because the body contains multitudes, and strength comes from wrestling what seeks to unbalance you.

I can wish you love. I can wish you loneliness.

Mostly, I wish for you to live in the fullness of your humanity, whatever that may be, with as much curiosity about the messes as the miracles.” 

Written by Kitt Healy

How to accept life’s messes

Ultimately, these origami blessings are destined for a picture box to hang on the wall, surrounding a photo of my newborn son. I’ve deliberated over leaving this one in the frame unfolded, it’s love and honesty open for reading and rereading. Part of me wants to fold it, to hide the words because my mother’s heart wants no sadness or hardship for this child. And while for me it will always be this way, I know, deeply, that a life of pure ease is not what he came for. He came to forget; forget that he is made of love and forget that he is one with everything. He came to relearn and remember these things as he ages. He came for the messes.

This is a good reminder for me, too. I’ve spent long hours feeling sad over pains in my life. Friendships and loves lost. Being hard on myself for those sadnesses, as if doing things a little bit different, a little bit better or more perfect could have protected me from painful moments. I sometimes get intensely anxious about making a decision, afraid that if I make the wrong one I will be hurt in the future.

But pain free living was never going to be possible, was it? Over these past months, during the loneliness invoked by COVID-19, I’ve started using a method for releasing old emotions called emotional frequency technique, or “tapping.” Events that I wish hadn’t happened – they’re transforming into old memories without painful associations. I’m learning to love my messy life, just as it is.

Our messes, illuminated

I can’t protect my children from the messes any more than I can protect myself. But I can show them a mother who loves her life, all the bumps and bruises and how they’ve shaped her, a mother who has learned to let go and forgive and love herself. Maybe that example can be a beacon of light that helps guide them back to themselves when their messes make them forget the way. These are my messes, illuminated.

I wish that for you, too. That you see your messes as part of your becoming. Becoming something brighter and more full and more in line with the heart of you. You are made of love and are part of everything. Even with the messes. Remember that.

***If this post speaks to you in any way, please share it with your friends on social media. This is a fairly new blog and I’m grateful for everyone helping get the word out! <3

Ice cream with sprinkles. Who says adults don't know how to play or have fun?!

Big smiles served here: how to amp up your play

Today my daughter (she’s 2 now) spent some time playing with stickers. One sticker was a pair of eyeglasses. She carefully sticks it on her eyelid and smiles at me. I smile back, especially with my eyes but I make no declarations about the situation. After a few moments she laughs out loud and says “I silly!” I join her laughter. There are a thousand reasons I love being a mom, but the steady stream of laughter and play ranks high on the list. 

Play is something I’ve been pondering…adults are just kids in aging bodies. We love play, but it can sometimes feel elusive. How do we tap back into that fun side of ourselves? Read on for some ideas on how to amp up your play at home and work.

What is play?

In a sweet article with 37 reader-driven ideas for play, Sandra Pawua describes play as, “a purposeless activity that brings about joy and pleasure […]  You’re simply immersed in the moment-to-moment experience of play with a child-like abandon.” Isn’t that such a nice summary? Play is this thing that brings lightness to our hearts, but it can be forgotten in the mental train track of the day (unless of course we’re in the thick of playing with our kids). One of the play suggestions in the post is to build a snowman, which brings back a fond memory. 

One night, while living in the coastal city of Olympia, Washington, it snowed buckets. At around midnight, my husband and I decided to do something about our rain-free fortune and built the parts for a massive snowman. With hushed giggles, we assembled it outside our neighbor’s front door, eager to share in some smiles the next day upon its discovery.

Sometimes all you need to spark play is curiosity. Ask yourself: What is the most fun thing I could do right now? 

How to strengthen your Play Muscles

Funnily, the things I found entertaining as a kid are often still the case today. It’s fun to skip rocks at the beach, to draw, to play games that require looking or acting silly. But ya know, it’s sort of like a muscle – if you don’t use it, the skill becomes a little rusty. How do you amp up your play if it’s been a while?

In her post on 10 Ways to Have More Fun and Play More as Adults, Marelisa Fabrega offers a number of ways to strengthen our play muscles. These range from planning minimum play time (similar to minimum daily exercise time) and scheduling specific time blocks for fun activities. She also recommends going on a play date with your partner instead of your standard date night activity. Sign me up! 

Play at Work


Play at work…now here’s a realm where the idea of play can feel a little far fetched. But some people have figured it out! 99designs has a nice article that covers the spectrum of what play is, describes play’s ability to maximize team creativity, and offers some ideas to get us going. Ever tried writing your to-do list as a limerick? Have you invented a fun tradition that you do before starting a difficult task?  Check out the 99designs link for more inspiration.

Amp up your play!

I hope this week brings you laughter, and play, and moments of delight. And wherever this finds you, be it nursing a sick family or eagerly anticipating the next phase of life, give yourself a big dose of appreciation and gratitude for all that you are and all that you’ve become. It’s breathtaking.

Aw, why not sweeten the deal. Go on and treat yo’self to some sprinkles on that next scoop of ice cream. Just for fun.

****Know anyone who would love more play in their life? Share this post with them! Extra points for anyone who leaves a comment telling about something playful they did recently.

Fall leaves - something I list to calm my mind

The easy way to calm your beautiful mind

Those moments where your mind is spinning out of control and you just wish something could make you feel calmer? A gratitude practice, my friend, is it. The easy way to calm your beautiful mind.

My husband and I did a gratitude practice the morning of our wedding day. We spent a half hour just feeling grateful for our lives and all the love in it. We did that before anything else on our to-do list. And what could have been a very stressful day… started off just right. We rode a giant wave of love from start to finish, and I attribute the positive momentum to that gratitude practice. 

This week, gratitude made a difference

I’m soaking in the beautiful fall weather from a rocker on my front porch as I write. Enjoying the warm fall air and the beautiful trees, the soft bellows of my baby’s breathing, his body curled up snug against me. Even enjoying the sense of not knowing as we head towards presidential election results later tonight.

Yesterday didn’t feel so pristine and easy. I was exhausted after a sleepless night, and my mind spun out of control with anxious thoughts about affording daycare for two children. Not knowing what else to do, I wrapped baby up and off we went on a gratitude walk around the neighborhood. 

There’s the saying that love and fear can’t exist together. It’s the same with gratitude and anxiety. During the walk, I listed all the things I’m grateful for that I could think of. Pinecones, sunshine, people who inspire me, people who joined our meal train, the spot that opened up for my daughter in a coveted daycare nearby, red leaves, red doors. Twenty minutes later, I can’t say I was flying high on life, but I was much calmer. I’d stopped the mental train tracks. 

All good things

Try a gratitude practice next time you find yourself in a negative mental state. It’s the easy way to calm your beautiful mind, and you can do it anywhere. Try it before a big day, or before any normal day. Gets you set up in a positive place – ready for all good things to come to you. And they will. You are enough. <3

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Tell me – I’d love to hear! – what are five things you’re grateful for in this moment? Please share in the comments below. May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. Go mama love.