I’ve been feeling really unsettled lately. Too much caffeine and too little sleep, an overload of scrolling and comparison, out-of-whack hormones and a diet of leftover french fries can really do a number on you.
I can’t turn off my mind. On top of work and the work of keeping a home, there are schedules to remember, school projects to usher along and a million little tasks that need checking off each day. My pen has run dry. I’m all out of check marks.
After feeling like a tornado was spinning through my chest for a solid week, I declared a day of rest. With the children in school, I took a walk and actually went to a yoga class I signed up for, for once.
I breathed through upward and downward dog. I practiced a shaky chaturanga and lost my balance a few times. When it came time to set our intentions, I whispered, “Find Stillness.”
Halfway through class a song shuffled through the playlist, voices chanting:
Mother, I feel you under my feet
Mother, I hear your heartbeat
It took me right back to my oldest at three years old. His first year in preschool, the children dressed in native T-shirt fringe and learned this ancient song. They drummed. We smiled, adoringly.
Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost my footing. Those words were a reminder to connect. Whether to Mother Earth or Father God or sky or song or universe – when we lose our way, connection is one way back.
I made time to connect today, with myself and the world around me. No pressures, no commitments … a chance just to be.
On my morning walk, I listened to the call of the birds and felt the cool wind in my face. On my yoga mat, I felt the strength of my muscles and looked inside my heart. As I twisted my body through the poses, I felt stillness come.
At the end of our practice, the teacher read a meditation. Part of it talked about being versus doing. Another part said what we give our attention to becomes our worldview. If we focus on discord, that’s what we’ll feel. What if we paid attention to the good stuff?
I think I’ve been giving too much thought to where I’m failing. Did I lose my patience and yell at the kids? That must be the kind of terrible mother I am. I’ve been spending too much time wondering if I’m good enough to make my dreams come true than actually doing anything to get there.
Today, instead of worrying about doing anything about any of it, I decided just to be.
I put my feet in a tub of strangely blue water and paid to have them massaged and made smooth. Inspired by my friend who jokingly realized she might be the worst kind of high-maintenance (the kind who thinks she’s low-maintenance) I even got a manicure. Now, my rough edges seemed smoother, too. Turns out, we all need a little maintenance.
I went to the grocery store by myself, another luxury among mothers. As the automatic doors slid open to rows of perfectly organized produce, I was greeted by another familiar song, a standard of living room dance parties we need to bring back, Andy Grammer shouting, “It’s good to be alive right about now.”
When you pay attention, you start to see all the good.
Self-care is a trendy thing, isn’t it? The mothers who sang to the beat of the ancient drum didn’t have Instagram or Instacart or insta-anything. They had each other. They were rooted to the earth and to their families. We’ve let modern motherhood tell us all the things we need to do instead of remembering what we are called to be.
I was reminded today of the privilege to be “Mother” – the heartbeat of my family, what my children feel under their feet.
It was a much-needed day of rest and restoration I hope will stay with me when the kids get in the car in a few hours and start screaming at each other.
I’ll let you know how that works out.