My word of the year in 2008 was “present”…a worthy word of the year for just about anyone on the planet, but especially so if you are a parent to young children. As a word of the year, it served me well; mostly showing me how oh so NOT present I am.
It seems the pull towards busy-ness is especially strong in the parenting years of life, but maybe that’s just because that is where I find myself. We want so much to give our all to our children, yet at the same time to have a little piece of ourselves B.C. (before children) left over for ourselves. The truth is, it’s not an either or thing. We don’t really have to choose to give it all away OR to save some for ourselves. That is the really great thing about love; it begets itself.
In a society which values “doing” over “being”, for me the key to finding balance as a parent and a person is, put simply, to live in the moment. To be here now. Simple to say, yes. Simple to live…not so much. If you would like to find balance and happiness in parenting and life, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to practice living in the “is-ness” of now. And no, you are not the only person on the planet who has trouble finding (much less living in) the now. The pull we all feel to be everywhere but here now is called the human condition. It is this condition…our overactive monkey minds…that have us racing. Racing to find something, somewhere, everwhere, anywhere when all we want is to be still, to be at peace, to be here now.
Freeing isn’t it? To know we all face a similar challenge in stilling the mind? Of course, there are degrees to the trouble we face in sourcing stillness. I myself have been blessed with what I can only describe as a particularly active monkey (needing constant supervision and the occasional “time-out” where I make her sit on the steps until she has calmed down). I am on top of it though and for this reason yoga has become a lifeline for me in many ways. My body moves into the poses and the poses move me into my body.
Present was my word for 2008. So what about 2009 you ask? My new word of the year is…can I get a drum roll please?…my new word of the year is …discern.
Now that I have spent a year exploring what it is to be present, I want to explore what living in the present brings…namely truth. This truth comes not from outside us but within us. It comes, I beleive, when we discern…when we pause to listen.
I find discernment and the truth come in handy, particularly when I don’t know what the hell to be or say or do next. Like for instance, when I am oh, sometimes, let’s say…being a parent? Yes. The weight of nurturing, molding, loving and guiding a future generation is a heavy one. But armed with the truth, ah-haaaa, yes…the load has just gotten a little lighter. This word “discern” is a favorite of mine. For me it means to listen for the truth that exists inside me. This truth is there for me all the time if I but still my mind and listen.
So on this day, join me in my quest to be here now as a person…and as a parent. Please enjoy these inspirational words from my friend Henri J. M. Nouwen on being here now. But before you read on, I’d like for you to sit back and let the song Be Here Now by Ray Lamontagne wash over you. Trust me…click here for the song and prepare yourself. Ray has the voice of an angel and a deep message to share with you from the depths of his soul. It touches mine.
May these two nuggets of truth and beauty feed you along the journey this day fellow moms and dads. And happy new year. May it find you living in the is-ness of now.
Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.
-Reflections from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey.
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne owns a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers life coaching as Zen Mommy Coach.