We walked along the edge of the river as the sun shone brightly overhead gently illuminating our path, our faithful companion trotting ahead eagerly awaiting more ball tossing.
It had taken almost an hour for me to convince my 16 year old son to come for a walk with me and I wanted to soak up my time with him as much as I did the fresh air and sunshine.
He has no idea really, the depth of my love for him or how much I appreciate his presence and I am not sure it is possible that he will ever fully understand that.
I watched his 6’5” frame move along in extreme lankiness but also with a grace I had not noticed before. When did he transition out of gangly? Hell, when did he stop being 7 and calling me mommy?
We walked for some time in silence, perhaps neither of us wanting to fill the space with meaningless banter.
As we walked together, each in our own thoughts, I heard his voice say “Mom, do you ever wish you didn’t have kids?”
I hesitated, not because I was not sure of my answer, but more so because at the time, I could see no way to form an answer he could conceivably understand.
After a drawn out pause I said, “No, I don’t wish that, I do wish I had done things differently, but not that I never had you.”
This question caught me off guard, not because I don’t welcome the conversation, but in that brief moment, perhaps I did have to actually think about what that meant. Or more accurately what motivated him to ask.
My hope was that I could of opened up totally and told him exactly what I wished I had done differently.
But like so many times before when I could have chosen to be authentic with him, I didn’t.
I let my answer hang in the air as incomplete as a day at the beach without swimming.
It pains me sometimes to be vulnerable with people I love, at times it feels like the hardest thing in the world, my son has been a remarkable teacher for me in this arena.
I live my life trying not to harbour regrets for the choices I have made. I feel deeply that I would rather put my energy into creating the life I do want rather than looking back in condemnation at my past.
However, there are indeed things I wish I had done differently as a parent, they don’t plague me with despair as they once did but they are there, as constant reminders of my own evolution, individually, and as a mother.
I spent some time after our walk reflecting, if I could have been vulnerable with my son in that moment, this is what I would of said.
I wish that the 9 months that I carried you I had focused more on the miracle of creation that was happening inside of me rather than the fear of losing you.
I wish that I would of trusted myself more as a woman, that my body was designed to hold you and birth you, rather than be swayed by the medical system and treated as if I had a disease that needed to be treated.
I wish that when I brought you home and felt so alone, I would have reached out to other women for support, so that I could of been better for you.
I wish that I would of rested with you, holding you in my arms, rather than running myself ragged trying to clean or get my space in order for fear that it would look like I didn’t have it all together.
I wish I would of taken longer off of work to be with you, to enjoy being a mom, to get to know you in a way I watched your daycare lady achieve.
I wish I would of sat down on the floor with you, looked you in the eyes and played more, instead of trying at any given time to accomplish 20-30 things.
I wish I would of been gentler with you, that I would of taught you with love in place of fear.
I wish I could of been the mom who was totally content being home with you, but I craved outside stimulation.
I wish I had been less reactive with you, that I had enough self control not to raise my voice when you triggered my impatience or that I could of just paused, for one second before yelling.
I wish I could of developed the skills so necessary to assist you earlier on, so that I could of been a better role model, a more effective parent for you.
I wished I had relaxed into you, into your growth, into your fears, into you.
I wish I has asked you more questions, about how you saw the world and how you felt, rather than impose my own onto you.
I wish I had been more honest with you about my feelings at times rather than project anger on to you that you didn’t understand.
I wish I could of been vulnerable, instead of trying to be heroic for you. I know now, our heroism IS our vulnerability.
I wish I would of touched you more, hugged you, scratched your head, your back, simply revelling in the miracle of you.
I wish my temper had never gotten the best of me,
I wish I could of taken away every pain you experienced at the expense of unconscious people, including myself, especially myself.
I wish I had known myself better so that I could be there for you in a way that was beautiful
I wish I had never taken for granted your childhood, your presence, no matter at what age
I wish when people said to me, “Enjoy it, it goes fast.” that I would of believed them.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I had never hurt you
I wish with all of my heart that I could take away the times I did
I wish I had been more present for you, in the moment, rather than living behind or ahead.
I wish I had understood this journey, that it is a classroom, that we are both just learning, that I would make mistakes
I wish I would of told you more how proud I am of you, what an amazing individual you are and how much confidence I have in you.
Never for one moment of my life have I ever wished I never had you, you are the reason I still walk this earth and the reason I have made the choice to be a better human.
You are my motivation for spiritual evolution and you are the reason I work on and practice integrity in my life. It is because of you that I made the choice to deal with my pain, and it is you that propels me to continuously become aware of my unhealthy patterns and cycles.
When we are together and our egos are laid down, those are some of the most fulfilling and beautiful times I have experienced. You constantly delight me with your kindness, humour and compassion.
I cannot imagine my life without you in it and there is not a day of my life I am not in deep gratitude for the gift of you.
My wish for you, that you always know how much I love you, despite my behaviors or my words at times, that you know that my desire to be better and do better is a consequence of you.
I wish, in this life that you will live fully, connected to source, confident of your path, surrounded by the love that you are, embodied with the joy you have brought to me.
I wish, that no matter where you go, where you are and who you are with, you will feel the power of the connection that binds us, the incredible depth of my love and the infinite potential of what and who you are.
I wish you knew that you are and always will be the most magnificent part of my life. Out of any choice I have made, it is you that I am most proud of.
We walked home laughing and joking as we often do, and as I looked at my son, taking in his character, his energy, his heart, I knew without a doubt it has all been perfect, all of it, every heartbreak, every precious moment of gratitude, every challenge, I am deeply grateful for it all.
Here are my top 5 things to tie up before you tie the knot….
Proposal is accepted, loved ones informed, your getting married! How exciting! This is the time you have been waiting for, your chance to plan a day to celebrate your love. Right?
The truth is most people enter into an engagement with a naïve view of what is going to happen over the next several months. Our lenses are usually rose colored from watching far too many romantic comedies and reading novels that are at the very best…. Predictable.
Here are 5 steps you can take to enhance your chance at not only a positive and enjoyable engagement, (yes! it IS possible) but also to enter into a conscious marriage. Ps. if you have to ask what a conscious marriage is… This blog might not be for you.
1. Complete with your ex/exes.
Seems like a no-brainer but it is amazing to me how many people/clients I know that are still engaged (energetically) with their ex. What does this look like? Messaging, calling or hanging out with your ex. Even going as far as to help them out with certain things around the house. Hmmm. If this is the case, then why are you not together anymore and how does your current partner feel about this connection? While it is healthy to maintain a ‘friendly’ approach with our exes, putting energy into maintaining a friendship could be holding your back in your current relationship.
Yes. I know but YOUR ex is an exception, it is possible to be friends with them AND be committed to someone else.
Sure. Let me know how that works out. More often than not, it only creates tension and issues in the current relationship, no matter how confident people are. Bottom line is, cut the tie and move on. Where attention goes, energy flows.
2. Disclose any and all secrets or withheld information that could in fact change the nature of your relationship.
Whoa! Scary right? Sure it is, but you know what is scarier? Getting divorced in 6 months to a year after you put your entire savings account not to mention your time and energy into your wedding day.
IF there are things that you have withheld from your partner that could indeed change your relationship, then now is a perfect time to clean it up. This could be a tiny white lie or a monumental ethical disaster, either way, entering into your marriage vows with this holding energy is not only hypocritical but just downright irresponsible.
3. Stop leaking sexual energy all over the place
You know that girl at the coffee shop you flirt with every morning while ordering your triple shot Americano? Or that cute guy you share the elevator with every night after work? Or the delivery -man that you always check out and flirt with? Well guess what? You’re leaking sexual energy and just like a tire with a slow leak, it will get you nowhere.
If you’re current partner is not worth harnessing all of your sexual energy for, then perhaps it is time to re-consider your next step. If you are throwing around your special attention like confetti, you may find yourself in a situation at one point that is beyond the will power you have.
Flirting is the act of sending a message that says, “Hey! I’m available!” If your not, then your living a lie, and this is not what you want to bring with you into your marriage.
4. Ask yourself the question, “How do I represent my relationship in public?”
This one goes hand in hand with number 4 but takes it one step further.
How you behave ‘out there’ is what you bring back into your relationship energetically and psychically. If you are not respecting your partner enough to behave in a way that is loyal and trustworthy, then perhaps you are not ready to commit to marriage.
Here a few key questions to ask yourself that will assist you in keeping in integrity to your relationship.
a.) Am I behaving in a way I would want my partner to behave?
b.) Am I representing the true nature of my relationship, being trust and loyalty?
c.) What message am I putting out there with my behavior?
5. Be aware of your ‘deficits’ and issues and do the work!
Our work as conscious individuals is never done, but this is never an excuse to not starting.
Expecting our partners to fill us up or be our ‘everything’ is unrealistic.
It is our responsibilities as adults to realize the areas that we struggle with in relationship, whether it is reactivity or blocks to moving forward.
Our partners are not our therapists, not are they our parents, and while it is healthy to have open and honest communication with them, we cannot assume they are there to process our emotional heavies.
Start doing some exploratory work, BEFORE you say I do. There is no shame in it and it will only strengthen what you already have. Afraid that if you start you will discover you’re not happy with your life?
Then there is not time to waste, start now so you can make the changes necessary for you.
If you are ‘whole’ going into marriage then your not ‘sucking’ your partner dry with your neediness. Your chances of a long and healthy marriage increase dramatically.
While there is no right way to be human, there is always a more conscious way. Marriage is not a joke, it is a sacred act between two spirits that want to join on a life journey and it should be taken seriously.
We take time to prepare for many other things in our lives that matter much less, so why not take some time to honestly prepare for one of the most important things you will ever do?
Great relationships and marriages don’t just happen; they are a result of conscious effort, and a consistent awareness.
It’s 5:30 am, the birdsong tickles my ears and sends a shiver coursing down my spine. The smell of damp sage after the nights storm is intoxicating, I feel as if I am being cleansed from the inside out.
I move along, noticing the birds leave their safety amongst the sage bushes, rousted from a rest. My dog is faithfully in front of me, not so much ensuring my safety, as looking for appropriate sticks for this morning jaunt.
I feel the damp earth under my feet, it provides a cushion for my step, a buffer for my body.
I see the sun peaking over the hill tops in a splendid display of golden radiant light, I breathe,and in this moment I know I will never walk again.
I will never, for one moment take for granted the ability to move my body on this earth, I will never not look up at the beauty around me while in earnest getting my heart rate to the desired goal.
On May 16th, I was blessed with a ruptured disc in my neck. The next eight weeks proved to me some of the most important of my life.
I have experienced pain, as most of us have. I am a mother, I have experienced the pain of labour, I am a woman, I have experienced the pain of love and loss. I am human in physical form, I have experienced pain in my bones, muscles and soft tissue.
I have never experienced anything like nerve pain. There was NO escaping it, there was NO calming it, for weeks I laid on my back, needing assistance for simple tasks like bathroom breaks and meals.
It is only with the love and support of a few good friends that I was able to feed myself and my son, and keep my home running in a somewhat reasonable way.
I could barely move, and when I did, I paid the price. At first I had no idea what was happening with my body, I had no confirmation of anything I was experiencing and each day I waited for it to dissipate, it never did.
My body was invaded by drugs of which I never thought I would use let alone be marinating in, and even copious doses of those, did not break the pain.
Initially I was mostly surrounded by my friends, but as the weeks went on, they needed to continue their lives, my pain was changing, and I was alone.
I laid on my back day after day, not being able to do any of the things I loved, hiking, yoga, getting my garden prepared, I could not do anything. I felt useless, scared and confused.
It did not take long to sink into a depression that had me wishing for a quick exit simply so that I did not have to feel the pain in any way. I dreamt of not feeling the pain, and would wake up crying because not only did it not leave, it seemed to become stronger and more debilitating as time went on.
I am a recovering OCD person, by recovering, I mean I do my best to mask this affliction when I have people around, secretly a cushion out of place or pet hair on my floor makes me want to scream and move quickly into action.
I could not keep up the maintenance of my house or yard, it was one morning when I watched my best friend change the sheets on my bed that I broke inside.
What If I NEVER recover from this? What if I am NEVER able to be able bodied again? I dove into a process of my life, of the pain that has been consistent in my life since I can remember. The pain, my friend, my companion, my shepherd. Pain. I knew in that moment, that I had to change, that it was time to let go of a cycle that has become so much a part of my story.
For over a year I had been coping with a break up using alcohol to numb out, while telling myself it was ok, that it was just to get through.
I realized that I would never ‘get through’ if I did not learn this lesson, if I did not allow myself to access my emotions, my grief, my pain, not only from recent happenings but from my entire life.
I have always been blessed with loud lessons, with lessons that stand in front of you, inches from your face and yell in a way that parts your hair and leaves you feeling awake if not somewhat jolted.
Lessons that jolt you out of a spiritual slumber and bring you back to a place of soul resolution and evolutionary movement. I am blessed.
This has been one of the most physically painful processes of my life, and one of the most spiritually rewarding.
I have started doing some real ‘work’, not just talking my way through counselling sessions but actually being honest with myself and my practitioner about where I am at, I am being open and vulnerable. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I am accessing memories and ‘stuck’ trauma that I made a career out of burying, telling myself all the time that if I focused enough on helping others I could heal through that process. I was wrong.
There is no substitute for doing your own work, there is no shortcut and no back entry to evolving through the places we become stunted emotionally and spiritually.
There is no avoiding your pain and I no longer want to. Every session I have, every thought, belief, trauma I uncover inspires me to keep going, to continue on this path of vulnerability, fear and awareness.
No matter how uncomfortable… no matter how unsure I am.
I am in a good place. I am alone, but not lonely. I am confident, but not arrogant, I am grounded but not stuck. I am awake, and in this I know. I will never ‘just’ walk again.
I will gently place my feet upon this earth with a sense of gratitude and reverence for my journey, I will affirm with every step that I am worthy, I am enough, no matter what I ‘do’ I am enough.
I will never walk again, but I will look to each step I take as confirmation from this earth that reaches up to embrace my body and soul.
I will allow the energy of life, abundance and gratitude to seep into the very core of my essence and remain in a place of honoring each aspect of myself so that my remaining journey may be one of empowerment, and love.
I will never walk again, and for this, I am blessed. I will move with mindfulness, I will revere my body, I will nurture my soul. I am awake.