uncommonmommy

Inspired Life – Conscious Parenting

Nurturing Self

As we begin to unravel the mystery of who we truly are,  we may find the things that bring us the most joy,  or are a soothing balm to our souls,  may not be what we expected,  and almost certainly not what we wish they were.

There are a number of ways to discover these hidden gems.

Some people experiment with a wide range of new activities,  leaving their comfort zone in search of something that clicks.

Some people reflect on the activities they loved as a child.   In fact,  that’s a pretty good starting point.

You may ponder the question,  what do I do for fun, when no one is looking?  Or, what would I do if money were no object?

Often what we wish we loved,  we simply don’t.

I for one am enamored with the idea of being an ultramarathon runner.  I love the idea of camping outside year round with no belongings.   I want to hike the Appalachian Trail,  take up boxing,  be a yogini, do cross fit 5 days a week, play harp, piano and drums and speak multiple languages.

But here’s the thing,  I hate running.  I’ve tried and we do not make happy companions.   I also do not do well in group exercise classes.  I’m not competitive or violent,  and I no longer travel to foreign lands.  And,  need I mention I have 3 children? 

My truth,  my spiritual balm,  my peace comes from much more mundane activities.   I love to walk through nature with no goal in sight and sit by rivers and in random patches of sunlight.  

I love to take pictures of nature and am finding I’m pretty good at painting them, as well.  In 30 years I’ve never lost interest in words.   I love to read,  journal,  blog,  write stories, pay scrabble, and day dream.

My celebration of music does not involve hours spent practicing an instrument.  It does, however,  express itself in song throughout every day,  dancing at home,  in grocery stores and in the car (much to the embarrassment of my children) and in listening to classic rock on vinyl.

As far as yoga and exercise go,  I bought an aerial yoga trapeze for the house.   It’s cheaper than classes,  there’s no one to impress or compete with,  my kids can use it,  and when I was of playground age,  hanging upside down and flipping around on the monkey bars was my favorite activity.

When we accept our limitations and embrace what we truly love,  we not only come to know ourself better,  but we begin to nurture ourself and fill our lives with meaningful,  honest work.  We begin to walk in joy.

Self, let me mother you.
Let me take time to read the pages of this riveting book.
Let me visit this blog where I find hope and understanding.
Let me cry—I don’t have to be strong all the time.
Let me encourage myself: Who I am becoming matters more than who I once was. Today matters more than yesterday.
-Rachel Macy Stafford

 

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Lucy on Self

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.   You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
-Lucille Ball

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Reinvention of Self

How often have you had the longing to escape the doldrums of your current circumstance?  The wish to reinvent yourself? To start over?

The magic of reinvention doesn’t lie in moving to another state,  leaving your family or significant other,  or changing jobs.  Those things might be catalysts to motivate you,  or even by-products in the long run,  but they alone do not change you.

Reinvention comes when we forgive ourselves,  accept our past,  relinquish its power over us,  and start making choices based solely  on what is right for us. 

Reinvention seems easier when you’re surrounded by strangers and have yet to have been cast a role in their play.

But, reinvention starting from where you are today,  that’s courageous. What’s more,  it’s authentic.  And, if we’re being honest,  at that point, it’s really less about adopting a new personality and much more about allowing your true self to grow and mature.

Growth is not easy.  It is not a quick fix.  It is messy and heart wrenching and ultimately beautiful.

We do not grow absolutely,  chronologically.   We grow sometimes in one dimension,  and not in another;  unevenly.    We grow partially.  We are relative.  We are mature in one realm,  childish in another.  The past,  present,  and future mingle and pull us backward,  forward,  or fix us in the present.  We are made up of layers,  cells,  constellations.
– Anais Nin

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Integration of Self

I have a close friend who has dissociative identity disorder.  She often talks about the other people who share her body and how difficult it can be to have so many contesting viewpoints,  opinions,  and preferences and only one body with which to express them.

Imagine the confusion she experiences, the scatteredness, the incredible lack of focus.

You may not have to imagine very much.   For so many of us, mentally sound or otherwise,  this is our reality as well.

Who were you as a child?  As a teenager?  As a college student?  In your 20s, 30s, 40s, and so on?   As a mother or father or spouse?

Each of these people is a separate entity complete with their own “story.”  When we were these people we did silly,  offensive,  hurtful things.  Perhaps we were funny or popular or downright abusive.

As long as those stories are kept alive,  whether through reminiscence and longing for the good old days, or through guilt and distaste over who we were and what we did,  all of those entities reside inside of us and weigh in on our daily activities.

How then do we integrate them?  How do we become authentically who we are right now and let the others go? 

We must acknowledge that each of them existed for a reason.  Who we were at different stages of our life got us through said stage.  We couldn’t possibly be where we are now without the choices we made in our past.   It could not have played out any other way.

Acknowledge this service. Thank that part of yourself.  Let them know you’re safe now.  Their job is done.  Allow them to rest. Love them for their contribution to your growth.

In so doing, you can bring all the little children back into the fold and begin the journey to a peaceful completeness of self.

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Learning Self Love

Let’s say you’re walking through the grocery store when someone catches your eye.   They look vaguely familiar,  but you can’t remember the first thing about them.   Perhaps you were introduced once through a friend,  or sat next to them at your kid’s game,  either way, they are heading your way with the same spark of recognition and a really nice smile.

Do you:
A) greet them kindly, strike up a conversation and end up exchanging facebook handles or phone numbers
B) immediately jump into a relationship and expect a perfect marriage
C) look really concerned with finding the right can of tomatoes and hope they don’t talk to you?

So it is with self love.

It starts with the realization that we may not actually know ourselves all that well,  particularly if you’re new to this journey.

You can continue to ignore who you truly are and hope everything works itself out.

You can decide this is a no-brainer and obviously you love yourself,  in fact,  why bother asking questions,  just get married already.

Or,  you can begin the slow beautiful unraveling of who you truly are. Find out your interests,  beliefs, and passions outside of social influences, cultural obligations,  the role you’ve been playing,  your job,  and the expectations of others.

Only through getting to know your genuine self can you begin to like yourself and allow that to blossom into love for your self. 

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
-Anna Quindlen

Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.
-Aberjhani

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Love of Self

We often spend so much time trying to love others we neglect to take care of ourselves.  

Who can love us if we do not first love ourselves?

We all want desperately to be loved by those closest to us,  but we cannot control their emotions,  thoughts or actions.   The most we can do is to give ourselves what we crave so much.  We can choose our own happiness, acceptance, joy, emotions and self talk.

Let us first choose our own happiness,  for what is more attractive; a confident happy individual, or a needy demanding mess?

You yourself,  as much as anybody in the entire universe,  deserve your love and affection.
-Buddha

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Animals and Love

Connection is the energy created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
~Brene Brown

If you’re a pet person, think back on your favorite cat or dog. 

Do they come running in excitement when you return home?
Do you pet them, pick them up, or cuddle them?
Do they know they can depend on you for more than just food and water?
Are you companions to each other, each deriving comfort from the closeness of the other?
Do you still love them even when they have dog breath, mange, rub their butt across the rug,
     hack up hair balls on the floor, vomit on your bed,
     or intentionally knock over any beverage left unattended….every…single…day?

Yes?

Do not the people closest to you deserve the same quality of relationship?

Don’t you?

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Sunday Evening Special

Taste of Dreams
           Salty and Smoky 
On My Tongue

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Further Musings on Forgiveness

The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we should all aspire.  Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology.  Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either- or both- when needed?

– Gordon B. Hinckley

An age old wisdom occurred to me during my musings on forgiveness this week.
When we connect with others and forthrightly forgive them,  we realize we too can ask for forgiveness from others and find ourselves worthy enough to receive it.  
The release is twofold.  The karma is nigh instant. Another blockage is removed. 

When we forgive,  we are forgiven. 

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Connection of Love

Three years ago I embarked on a journey to love more.  I thought it would be simple.
Now, I look back and laugh at my naivete.
Not only was it incredibly difficult to just “love more,” but I found I did not, in fact, understand what it was to Love at all.
So I started trying to break down the “how-to” of Love.
Patience, Kindness, Compassion, Forgiveness, Self Acceptance, Empathy…
I couldn’t even tell you what these words meant, let alone how to live them.

It wasn’t until I started seeing the connections between myself and others, the connections all around us, the domino effect of events in my past that I began to understand.  When I really thought about it, I knew I was exactly where I needed and wanted to be in life.  There is only one way I could have gotten here.   Just as we can trace the steps back for how our morning fruit got into our hand, we may also retrace the route that brought us to where we are in our lives. 

It could not have happened any other way.  The people at the beginning are crucial to the existence of us at the end, and without us, look at all that wouldn’t be.  It is only through recognizing these connections that we might lose any notions of our self-importance and begin to cultivate gratitude for all that has happened in our lives, good or bad. 

We may not be aware of our role in the grand scheme of things, but we can be sure we have one and that it is vital to the lives of all we come into contact with.  It simply cannot happen any other way.  Every one of us has a role.  No matter what judgement you may pass on those that seem less worthy, intelligent, or authentic, they are a part of the Whole.  They have a role. 

The exquisite birth of spring could not exist without the cold death of winter.

Connection is that process of knowing our importance to the Whole, as well as comprehending that others share this importance with us.  When we do so, we are less likely to hate or fear.  We can rest, sure in the knowledge that we are all eternal threads in the grand design.

~ Judith Lasater

Growing up is after all only the understanding that one’s unique and incredible experience is what everyone shares.

~ Doris Lessing

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