No Mud No Lotus

Earlier this week I was waist-deep in mud.

The truth is, I am not a naturally selfless caregiver. I was not born with a “servant’s heart” that I have heard others describe. I have to work hard to cultivate the seeds of selflessness, of letting go of ego, when it comes to mothering.

Don’t get me wrong, it is easy for me to be compassionate and loving when my kids are sick. But it doesn’t come without a small sigh, or “why me” in the back of my mind.

So this week was a real opportunity for me to practice.

I also noticed this week that when I myself become sick, I have a strong aversion to the discomfort of illness. It was hard even to think about searching for conditions for happiness around me, although of course there were many: my comfortable bed, my luxurious (and convenient) ensuite, my loving family. I felt very stuck in my illness. I became my illness, you could say.

As with most discomfort though, when you really practice, you can choose to surrender. I first touched this feeling previously in childbirth, but it is a lesson I have called on many times since in my meditation practice. We know that sensations – all sensations – arise and pass away, arise and pass away. If we can let go of our intense aversion for discomfort or craving for comfort, we can ride the tide of these sensations and experience the freedom of the feeling of surrender. Nowhere to go. All that we have is the present moment. This too shall pass.

And when we come out the other side, it is very beautiful. Our roots are stronger. We can better appreciate the happiness of everyday. Normally I don’t appreciate my absence of illness, but today I am grateful. And I am even more grateful for the health of my children.

Tonight as we were buckling the kids into our car while leaving a restaurant, I noticed our health (especially our absence of illness), our good fortune, the beautiful pink sunset in front of me, and I was deeply happy.

Snow Day

There is no better feeling than having my whole family at home when the weather is really bad.

They have been calling for a big storm, but this morning the skies were calm, so we enjoyed the walk to school. By the time the snow started flying I had already managed to get out and run a few errands, stock up on some groceries, etc. Baby boy is feeling much better today, so I had a chance to get dinner in the slowcooker while he played too.

Around midday the roads started to get pretty messy, and I was so relieved when hubby’s work dismissed everyone early. He got home in time to watch Arlo while I ran out to pick Violet up from school.

We came home to a warm house, the smell of dinner cooking, and the boys asleep together on the couch. Now I can smile at the snow and wind outside my window – we are all safe at home together.

There is so much to be thankful for.

Let it go

It was a difficult night, with an unsettled baby and a sleep-screaming 5 year old. Most of the sleep I got was a semi-conscious half-rest with my baby boy sprawled across my chest. Today I am tired.

Trying to let it go.

I’m eating my breakfast standing at the kitchen island with a crying baby in one arm.

Let it go.

Apparently Arlo has caught the bug Violet came home with last week, and can’t keep anything down. I’ve changed his clothes, and mine, 3 times already this morning. I had plans for today, but it looks like that has changed.

I have to let it go.

So, I bundle everyone up and we make the cold walk to school to drop Violet off. With my two munchkins snug in the stroller I can enjoy a few minutes of quiet, fresh air. I get to see a few friends along the way, and take pleasure in the light conversation.

We return home. I know it may be a challenging day ahead, but there are still many conditions for happiness around me. Right now I can find contentment in the sleeping baby in my arms.