We all have them. They are the scripts that get us through life. The stories we tell that paint us as the hero, the victim, the survivor etc. I have been thinking about mine lately, and how I choose to tell my story. I recognize that I have focused on the negative as an excuse to not grow. I allow myself to be the victim, so that when I don't live up to my potential I can pull a tragedy I have overcome out of the past and make myself feel better. I tell myself things like, "I have been through so much, and am still successful. So what if I (fill in the blank)." This is a limiting practice,and at the root of it is fear. Fear is a little-death everyday. A great example of how this works in my life is how I talk about my pregnancy (and my break-up):
I remember crying, I mean boo-hooing when I was pregnant because I didn't want to be a single mother. I was pregnant, alone, and I got fired from a job I had taken to get health insurance. It was a true low point in my life. I didn't know you could go to sleep crying and wake-up still crying. I was consumed by anger, sadness and fear. I didn't know how I was going to make it from one month to the next.Where was the man I had been in love with, wanted to spend my life with, whose child was growing in me? He abandoned me. He cheated on me. He lied to me. He took away my fairy-tale, my love ever-after with mama, daddy and baby. I was broken.
Pregnancy was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I felt connected to the whole spectrum of life. My relationship with myself, my mother and friends blossomed. I lost my job, but was able to collect unemployment which afforded me the time and money to take up yoga and tai-chi. I had the time to read for pleasure and watch the sunset over White Rock Lake everyday. People were so kind to me: the yoga teacher allowed me to attend Hypno-birthing Classes for free, and introduced me to a Doula (who massaged me throughout ten hour of labor), my Ob-Gyn continued seeing me, and delivered my son for free, and my son's father freed me from a toxic relationship (something I didn't have the courage to do at the time).
Both stories are true. However, I have found that the I let the first script be my dominant story. It is my crutch, my excuse for continuing the same bad habits (after all, I am damaged). That script allows me to "take a break" from personal responsibility and owning my choices in the present moment. I could easily coast through life using scripts like that, but what does it really get me in the end? Just an excuse for not living the life I want/ am destined to live, and that isn't worth it for me (anymore). Life keeps moving, you can't take a break from it. We all have histories that have sadness and trauma as part of the story, and we also have the choice to actively address and resolve the feelings that come with those things. When we are honest with ourselves we often discover that scripts 2, 3, 4 and 5 exist and are equally true. Is your life script working for you?
Monday, January 30, 2012
Kahlil Gibran on Children
Your children are not your children.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
It has taken me nearly three years to answer Bernestine Singley's call to write about my adventures in motherhood. This will not be a linear project, it will be a space to collect my musings on the complexities of being a woman/daughter/sister/mother/lover/friend. One of my favorites, Zora Neale Hurston once said, "There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you." So here it is, the story of my becoming. I have come so far/I have so far to go...