May is closing today. It's folding up its bittersweet pages and releasing me to go along my way. I don't know whether to celebrate or sit down for a wholehearted weep. Some months are like that.
Full of reminders of what we will someday lose and of what we must do between now and then. Full of questions that have no easy answers. Full of days that ask you, "Just how badly do you want to be humane?" Full of days that make you work for it, breathe for it, live for it.
As suddenly as May dropped in it is bowing out; as though it never happened at all. Like a toddler that comes to dump out the toys, but not to play. Like the Cat in the Hat who comes and disrupts your living but sweeps through and rights everything before mother comes home.
Many people that I love have been struggling this month. If you, too have been wading through the deep this month, I hope that the promise of relief is in sight.
The last few weeks have blown like the springtime winds through our little family. Everyone maturing and changing at complimentary rates. Everyone presenting new needs at the family table either silently, in a meltdown, or in an exasperated declaration--all of us saying in one way or another, "I have changed. Have you noticed?"
Transitioning into a working mom home has had it's share of challenges for all of us. Even though I'm doing all of my work from home or with the girls in tow--or maybe especially because of this--the home/work/self life has felt a little out of control. I am getting my bearings as are those who've relied on me to carry the home weight for the better part of the last decade.
Yesterday, my body grounded me for the entire morning, and I just sat wondering why in the world I was forgetting to treat myself well, eat well, and make time for rest.
As I relaxed, softening from the outside in, I felt it, that hard shell around my heart, my center. Thin, like an egg shell, but effective at keeping certain things out like stress and fatigue and certain things in like vulnerability and softness.
There's no question as to why it was there. I am not accustomed to allowing busyness into my life. I had made some life changing, life affirming choices, and had put myself out there in several ways that left me feeling vulnerable, touchable, and wide open to criticism, misunderstanding, and rejection. The feelings were huge. I welcomed them, acknowledged them, and went on with my work.
Sometimes release and transition aren't pretty. Sometimes they sound like losing it over something small and then saying, "I'm sorry." Sometimes transition looks like panic followed by a deep breath of recognition.
"Everything's gonna' work out just fine."
This wisdom, a family mantra passed down with reliable repetition in the event of any struggle or tragedy in a slow, sure, farmer's voice, I carry now. And it keeps me soft at the center.
Yesterday, in my rest, the shell around my center cracked and out slipped a little message that said, "Experience all of this through the lens of your soul--everything that you are doing."
What I learned was that it is not enough to just plow through and get everything done, not when you are on a soul mission, as we all are. Getting there as fast as possible is not the goal. It is allowing our souls to expand through all that we experience that is important.
When you are confident that you are in the right place, when you have followed your intuition (the voice of Providence speaking through you to you) to where you are, and things don't seem to be going right, or it all just feels like too much, try sinking into your soft center. There may be some excavating to do. Maybe some jealousy has wrapped itself around your heart, or some bitterness. Maybe your ego has cloaked your wise, soft center.
Address it with love. Be compassionate with yourself. There is no mistake made in being human. But living with joy, living the good life means letting that still small voice squeeze through the cracks of whatever is ailing you. Sometimes we need to shed light on ourselves from the outside. Rest will do that. Nature will do that. Community will do that. Quiet will do that.
Love will do that.
Many Blessings and Peace on this beautiful Saturday,
Anna Turner is the woman behind Little Hearth. She's an ordained interfaith minister, a writer, a believer in purposeful living and healing, a perpetual student, and a full time feminist mother.