Do you have your own pile of dirty, wet leafs?
Do you have a place that you go to, either physically or in your head, when things are getting rough? Is there a practice that you’ve found that will almost always bring you out of the funk that you may have landed in and back to the gratitude of how truly good your life is right now?
What shape does yours take? Is it a glass of wine in the bath when your husband takes the kids? It’s certainly not for me, and not only because I do not currently have a husband. Is it a Netflix and Chill night? Is it 4 hours of Grand Theft Auto 5 after the wife and kids are in bed? Yoga? Meditation? Cocaine? Just relaxing in bed with a good book? Is it not a place at all? Is it not a tangible moment or thing? Is it more simple than that? For me, at times, it’s as simple as looking up. Looking up into the blue sky and knowing that this is all going as it should and accepting that I wouldn’t change a thing about my life right now. I can do that whenever I want, and whenever I do I find that I am almost always at complete ease. The tricky part is this: I don’t always do it. Sometimes I just decide to sit in whatever negative feelings I’m having.
Part of that truth is the self-knowledge that I kind of like feeling uncomfortable. That’s cool and at least I’m aware of it. Self-pity and indulging in a “woe is me” mentality is sometimes a lot easier than recognizing that my life has never been better than it is right now.
The other day I was just laying down with Allison. It was, by all accounts, an ideal moment. Jack was sleeping. Charlie was sleeping. We were cuddling and I asked her if she can just be in this moment, or if she finds herself thinking about a million other things (as I was doing at the time). She admitted that she was thinking of a million other things, and that’s okay. We are right now living in the times of “a million other things” and a few hundred thousand of them require some level of total attention. I told her that I have lately found that I can pause in moments like this and just go…well, I couldn’t think of any other word for it than “nowhere”. I have been able to find myself at perfect peace in the knowledge that my wife is happy and my kids are safe. I have the simple understanding that everything is going to be okay and JUST LIKE THAT it’s gone. It’s not a sustainable state, it’s something that I’ve got to access continually. This place, this nowhere, I know that I don’t get there unless I’m also here. I know that my life here is the anchor point to reach this amazing sense of ease and comfort.. Now, is this God? Is this praying? Is this meditating? I don’t know, and truthfully it doesn’t really matter. All I need to know is that when I stop, breath and access that place the result is this: I feel better.
Now most of my day is not spent in this slow-motion, feel-good, hippy-tastic state of being. A lot of my day is probably indistinguishable from a lot of your day. It’s making breakfast while you’re unloading the dishwasher. It’s turning t-shirts around on necks to get them on quicker. It’s tying shoes, but forgetting to tie your own. It’s driving to school, going shopping for birthday parties. It’s eating quickly and not as well as I should be. It’s over caffeinated and under-washed. Now the data is that I can do that routine and do it well, but what kind of person am I to be around? How are my relationships going? How’s my self-care? If I keep on going like that, fueled by nothing but this endless quest to move on to the next check on the list, I am eventually not going to be much good to anyone. One of the hardest truths I had to accept as a parent is this:
My well-being HAS to come before anyone else. Before my wife. Before my kids. I am incapable of taking care of others if I am not taking care of myself.
So, I take the time to lay in my dirty, wet pile of leaves. I don’t do it perfectly and I don’t do it as much as I should. I am, like all of us, a work in progress. Each day I am learning a little bit more and meeting a newer, better version of myself. I know my kids like him. I know my wife likes him. If I keep doing this, I may even learn to like him as well.
Thanks for listening and be well.