Each day is new, I awake with gratitude for all I have experienced in this life to this point, the good, the bad, the ugly. In my desire to look forward, at times I must look over my shoulder and catch glimpses of my past in order to grow.
Mistakes and consequence can be the most inspiring teachers in life, as long as change and correction of behavior are the outcome. I truly believe that success is based on a basic list of attributes, a list that at times in life I have faltered upon and I continue to strive for…
Generosity of spirit
It has been and will continue to be a struggle to accomplish this list in its entirety, each and every day. Though without struggle and hard work in every way, what would life be worth?
Life is unexpected, though I have only just begun to accept this concept. As one who compartmentalizes close to all that I know, filled with presumptions only to find disappointment because of my well thought out and assumed conclusions. Slowly I continue to search inward allowing for the necessary growth to make the most of each of my days. This paired with my pursuit of acceptance and forgiveness both of myself and those who I want in my life, following my intuition has slowly allowed for a new beginning.
Learning that the saying, never say never rings very true. Having gone through some dark times, filled with anger, charging others with blame, recoiling in shame and letting go so much that self love and worth for a time were lost. Somehow just stopping, starting over and having some independence coupled with solitude has directed my new, yet familiar path.
As I keep my mind open, somehow that inner peace I have always searched for has slowly begun to meterialize.
With all of the daily expectations, desires, obligations and personal needs one experiences, it is hard to be present through all moments of our day. I continually struggle with the ability to have harmony in my life. I have spent most of my existence feeling consumed by stress, depression, with the inability to express myself without my frustration shining through, and in doing so I have lost out on many moments of enjoyment from the gift of this life and the relationships I have had the opportunity to cultivate. Slowly as I have committed to daily rituals in which I can improve my days and health. Meditation and giving thanks expressed through my own personal spirituality has allowed me to keep grounded more than I have been in this life, slowly guiding me to my desired inner peace. This is a daily exercise that is as important as anything physical for me
What’s is gained, this concept of headspace, some insight as I reflect on experiences, what can be learned from them all. Recognition of what my reactions should be in moments of doubt and frustration. Hopefully allowing me to be a better role model and mother than I have been thus far.
Through time I had worried of how to balance, now all I desire is to be present. Our Sunday’s in the park are transitioning from what my original goal had been, though the core of this project has been to simply have a peaceful day together with my daughter. There is no template, just the gift of each day, it is now time to make the most of each that we are fortunate enough to greet.
This is a concept I had never explored nor is it one that had taken much of a second thought. The idea of being present was to me, just being somewhere physically, though I am realizing to be truly present it means so much more. I have added some basic rituals to my morning that have been quite consistent. There are a few practices that I have enlisted to help me become focused on my overall health, meditation being one of them. And yes there have been a few nights I have thrown all out the window, only to wake and question why, why didn’t I just want to be present?!? As one who struggles with the balance of enjoying a cocktail, or to hide behind the sheer warmth of drunkenness as a shield from what I do not want to feel, this idea to be present helps me to define the distinction between unwinding and disappearing. Understanding how to recognize and embrace the emotions and struggles with the ability to be present, hopefully learning from all that I feel and encounter.
Meditation is not easy for me, my mind is always going, an inner dialog seems continuous. Finding and reading a blog post from Flow+Glow on meditation tips for people who cant meditate helped guide me to some apps that have helped to bring me focus at times I have inner chaos. One of these apps is called Buddhify, and it gives one the opportunity to choose a guided meditation at any given time in ones day. There are many tips that I have learned by listening that have been beneficial to my ability to meditate without guidance. One of these moments, is reminding myself to come back to the breath, and be present.
Daily when I take a break from my job, I sit in the courtyard near the fountain and soak in a little sun, a perfect place to listen to a guided meditation, gaining a moment of peace that allows me to refocus and continue with my day and whatever it may bring.
It has been a summer unlike any other. Looking at years past, summer meant camping, beach days, family time simply a little more freedom than enjoyed during the busy school year. This summer was about transitions and personal space. With my inspiration, Julia, away for a length of time that I have never known since her creation. My independent son home more often than I remember in the past few years. Our oldest, Adrianna making accomplishments that have made me discern her from a child to an adult. All the while I am still trying become comfortable in my own skin, realizing my days have so much beauty and joy, even though there is an absence of what I had expected.
Julia and I enjoyed a weekend away, celebrating Adrianna and my birthday, finally having a Sunday in the park.
In the past I have lost focus of what my purpose is. There have been some changes in my daily life that have allowed for me to reclaim my reason. Knowing that for me there is always a struggle to balance all that is expected, not just of myself, but that in which is expected and needed by my beautiful children and family. I look to Julia and at times as I catch myself, just admiring all that she is. She truly gives me strength in my parenting, it’s not that I haven’t made mistakes as a parent, the mistakes I have made could fill a novel (my older children can attest to this fact). Though there is a way in which Julia carries herself, conveys her feelings, and has an absolute honesty helps to solidify that for us, it is good, we are good.
All that is meant to be will fall into place.
As the first day of summer for our family begins, a long chapter of elementary school ends. As with all things in life where there is a beginning, there comes an end, or at times just a crossroad I suppose… Our personal journeys, friendship, love, life. Rarely is there a constant, thank goodness for that I say! I had never embraced change, and that shortcoming never served me well. With so much that has turned me upside down, and given me a good shake in my last year I learned I must or I would simply crumble.
Through the challenge of our families changes and learning that there is a beauty in what has passed as I now look back, and an excitement for what lies ahead, as unknown as it is I welcome this next chapter. In the past year there has been silence, laughter, tears and at moments absolute chaos, I am at a transition point of feeling strength knowing that all will be alright.
My only hope is that my goal when I started this project will continue, even as it has evolved. The core of making my relationship stronger with my youngest daughter has prevailed. My set schedule, her busy schedule and all of the life that happens in between still we have grown closer and our line of communication is extremely open and is most likely not what it is between many mothers and fourteen year old daughters, though we have learned what we need from one another.
As one who does not usually celebrate holidays, this was one of the first Mother’s Days I had ever truly enjoyed for all that it represents. It was a full weekend, that made me feel so grateful for all the love I have in my life.
At twenty-two years old becoming a mother to my firstborn, and a beautiful three-year old at the same time was a blessing with many challenges. I knew nothing of what it was to be mother, wife, while trying to figure out who I even was.
Over time I look back and become hung up on all that I now realize were mistakes in judgment or poor choices as a mother. At the time all that I had seen or experienced in my childhood did not seem to not be indicative of the life I was now providing for my own children. Though now as time has passed, I now see how it was so much the same. It was just a new cast, with a few more characters, in a whole new setting, we were still just a family.
As I look back upon all of the holidays, celebrations, filled with love, strife, and more love, blending can be complicated as it is easy, it’s all what we make it. We have had so many wonderful times together collectively. After all somehow we all played a part in making these beautiful children and helping to guide them into the humans they have now become.
We kicked off our weekend with a family dinner that was pulled together by our oldest child’s mother. Finishing the weekend off with a picnic including my mom and family. Very kind words from my children’s father, and a beautiful dinner to wrap up the weekend, all made for a few days to know all of the mistakes I have made have not outweighed the positive I have offered as a mother.
What I truly appreciate is the love and support my mother has shown me through my not so smooth life, even in my darkest of times. As well as after twenty years of co-mothering with my step daughters mom we can all be a family and enjoy one another’s company. And of course all of our beautiful children.
A few Sundays have gone by, and my mind has been so cluttered that even writing has been difficult for me. I usually take moments like these and spend multiple times of the day making simple journal entries or something of the sort. As a year has passed for my existence as I know it there are so many moments and experiences to reflect back on, not only in this past year, but in my adult life. Wanting to learn from, and choose the moments that have been uplifting to ground me, allowing me to truly know the best path for myself and children.
Looking back exactly a year, have I grown? Have I been stagnant? Have I fallen behind? The answer is yes, to all of these questions as they pertain to different aspects in my life. Learning to not only recognize my own shortcomings, but accept that I have made accomplishments, are the ways to what I seek for enlightenment. Inner peace and love, is what will complete my journey, it has been a long rocky path with many stumbles, filled with self-doubt and angst. As I look ahead, letting go and leaving pain that cannot be changed, sadness that must be left behind, looking around at all the beauty in my life and those who want to share it with me is all that I need to know my path has a few stretches that I will be able to move freely without wavering.
Our last Sunday did not turn out they way we had planned, a long drive, a bit of a disappointment, and then just going with the day. I find that making plans or having expectations sometimes just leads to being let down. Learning to work with what you’ve got, be it money, time or place can be a challenge, ultimately turning into what may shape to be a wonderful memory.
It isn’t easy for 13 year olds at times to have a just roll with it attitude, it’s still difficult for me! Julia’s friend was wonderful and really did just that. After a few moments that made me want to just walk away, we came up with some ideas of what to do for the rest of the day. My Julia has this romantic picture of what Los Angeles is, so I figured better time than any for her to see what it is truly like and the diversity that can be seen one block to the next. We headed up the 101 to Hollywood. Now I do tend to always miss an exit or get in the lane that must exit, I must admit I’m not the best at finding my way on the road. Though getting off at the wrong exit allowed us to see a few spots that positively are not on the list of stops in any tourism guide. The traffic was stop and go, it was getting hot, we were a bit over it. We did go to China Town having a nice lunch. We made our way to Griffith Park. Once we approached that area she said, “this is what I imagined”. We went to the observatory, watched a planetarium show and just enjoyed the rest of our evening.
I started this project for so many reasons, but my focus has been to strengthen the relationship between my youngest daughter and myself. My evolution through time as a parent has brought me to a place where I find that my older children had to have a patience children should not have needed, as I stumbled and at times fallen as a human. Slowly I have come to be a better guide in life as I should be, though it seems more of a guide of what not to do, far too often.
This last weekend coming home from work, I found my son home on a Saturday night, which is an extremely rare occurrence. It was just us, spending the evening talking, laughing, and sharing, a few somber moments of reflection. He is a very honest, and vocal young man, both my favorite and least favorite part of his character. He needs to find the appropriate times to voice his opinions, and when not to hold back, this is an area in which I have not been the best guide. Through the conversation we shared, I know he will be just fine. It is difficult as a mother to see the son who you once held so close become a man. I look back and wish I had more patience, enjoying, loving and holding, had I only known how quickly time would pass.