Well Mother's Day has passed, and for many single moms I know it is with a sigh of relief. I spoke with one of my closest friends yesterday who is a single mother to a sweet, little boy, and she was struggling with feelings of sadness and loneliness.
When the kids are little, it is usually the dad who initiates the appreciative gestures or gifts for Mom. So, it can be especially wrenching for moms when no one else steps up in that way to help alleviate the pain. Or even if someone does offer love and support, there can still be an emptiness that is difficult to deal with. Luckily, time does march on, and as the children develop they usually begin to offer their own versions of love and appreciation for their hard-working mamas! _
I wrote this piece The Coffee is Ready. Am I?
quite awhile ago, but I wanted to share it again today in solidarity with those single moms who do it all - often without fanfare or thought, but just because they love their children, unconditionally. And also to offer support that the job of parenting, single or otherwise, does get easier!
It has been a tough week - in so many ways - and it is only Tuesday.
Like many of us, I have been feeling so many different emotions since hearing about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. So, when a relatively small thing happened in my small world, I started freaking out (which is not something I really ever allow myself to do). But a friend reminded me of the importance of letting go of my pride, reaching out, and allowing myself to be vulnerable, despite my resistance. I think a number of you can relate to my reticence to do so.
We, as women, pride ourselves on being the backbones of our families and communities, but we can't forget to be real people with real troubles and insecurities. As I write this, I am reminded of my own post where I declare "vulnerability expands consciousness," and I am thinking, a) I need to re-read that, and B) I am so full of sh#t sometimes, because often being vulnerable is the last thing I want to be!
But today, as the sun sets here on the west coast, I admit my frailty, appreciate my friendships, and offer my love, thoughts and prayers to all those who are struggling, confused or in pain right now. May the dark comfort of night bring solace to your soul.
Do you hear the call? A call to action. A pulling toward something that you cannot explain, but that you cannot ignore. Do you know what I am talking about? I am speaking of the hero's journey, and the call that leads you to it.
The brilliant Joseph Campbell has written extensively about the hero's journey, and it “always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, 'Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.' And so it starts.”
I wonder if you hear the call? Sometimes it looks like something very dark and scary - for good reason; it is calling you to a necessary action that feels dangerous to your comfort and security. Sometimes, it hits like a bolt of lightening, and your entire body thrills with energy. Or maybe, it is more of a whisper that keeps repeating, until it is too loud or urgent to ignore.
I have experienced the call more than once in my life (or maybe it was the same call, just at a different time). I was called to return to school to complete my BA, and to confront the demons (real and imagined) that had caused me to drop out years before. Energized by the call, I enrolled in graduate school, which has led me to my research and doctoral dissertation on transformation.
To my horror and fear, I also heard the call to dismantle my family unit, and divorce my husband. This call pushed me to the outer edges of fear and confusion; not only about life, but also about who I was as a person, what I was capable of, and what my purpose in life was (outside of being a mother).
I existed in that frightening and lost place with a strange sense of dark comfort, because I knew there was no other choice. Rather than feeling trapped, I felt supported in a kind of embryonic state. And that is where I stayed until it was time for me to push through and out into the world in my new form.
The truth is, once you answer the call, you have to allow the process to work on you, while you work within it. It is that push and pull of the transformative process that you are being asked to hold the tension of.
Yes, answering the call can be painful, and terrifying; but imagine what beauty and energy awaits you on the other side!
Excerpt From: Campbell, Joseph. “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.” Joseph Campbell Foundation, 2011-08-01. iBooks.
"Morning Pages are a boat that move you through bad feelings. But if you stay in the boat, you will indeed move through them." Julia Cameron
Julia Cameron's "Morning Pages" are a method of journaling consistently every day first thing in the morning. The "boat" to which she refers in this quote is essentially the vessel that helps you shift your energy from a tight, negative place to a more positive, expansive place.
If Morning Pages are not your thing, what is? As creative beings, finding that outlet that allows us to move, shift and transform our emotions and lives, is not only beneficial, but essential.
It is not enough to think your way through bad feelings. You have to get your body involved some how. The physicality of writing, or creating something with your hands and/or body, helps move energy through you and out into the world where it has the ability to change into something beautiful. And there is the added benefit that you are no longer suffering alone, but have invited in the rest of humanity to help and support you. Through your offering, human consciousness can't help but expand in response to your vulnerability.
I confess to being attracted to the dark side–my dark side, other peoples' dark sides. It is like going down a rabbit hole–the light gets dimmer and dimmer until there is nothing visible but the sensations of experience: touch, taste, smell, sound, instinct. Sight with your eyes does not exist; you have to look inward to see your way out. Only then does the light tease my imagination.
So it is to this that I confess–I desire my dark side. In some ways I have always explored it, yet have never found a home there. Like trying to see something in my peripheral vision, I end up frustrated and in-between worlds.
Maybe it is because I am wary of the light that I sometimes linger in darkness. Perhaps the light is too bright, too good, too powerful, or that I doubt my ability to withstand the glare. Do I doubt my deserving to stand in the light? Not anymore.
Darkness can feel dirty, and the light ... clean and bare bones.
Sometimes I seek to save others from the darkness; the light within is so strong I feel I can take others with me. Unfortunately that has never worked out for me. Not once.
My confession is this: I like the dark, and I like the light. Balancing between the two. Soaking into darkness, without losing my light. Allowing the light to flood through me, so I can flick it from my fingers, and shout light from my mouth, "Go away Darkness!"
Until I need it's earthen shell to balance me once again.