Monday, February 8, 2016

Brave New Mama: A Project Is Born

I thought I needed to promote my business, you see. 

I opened an Instagram account to do just that. Except I didn’t really want to and I didn’t really need to. But I did it anyway because this is what I felt I should doI should “put myself out there.” I should make more of an effort to be "successful."

And what is success exactly? According to my ego (and other, outside sources) success means busy. Success means work outside of the home. Success means money.

(A woman who stays home, to raise her children, is not successful. She may be kind, strong, creativeshe may even be really, really smartbut she is not "successful." How nutty is that?)

I opened a professional Instagram account and started sharing thingsmy logo, words of praise received from an old student, a quote about healingand it felt forced. 



I've learned, through years of practice (and prayer), that when things feel forced, empty, and inauthentic, it’s because they are. It’s because the door I am knocking at is not my door. The wave I am waiting to surf is not my wave. I am attempting to climb a mountain that is not mine to climbat least not yet, not right now.

I felt a little lost. I reached out to a few friends and said, “Joining Instagram has caused me to have an identity crisis!”  Who the hell am I? What do I care about? What brings me joy? Where has my passion for healing gone? What am I passionate about now

I know, I knowit wasn’t Instagram at all. Instagram was just the catalyst. The questions had started some months agonine, to be exactwhen my heart quadrupled in size as my arms held my miracle baby for the very first time. 

(Motherhood, man. It does weird things.)

This week, as I was taking a walk, with baby and dog, the questions came again: Who am I? What do I care about? What brings me joy? Where has my passion for healing gone and what am I passionate about now? But, this time, the answers came too (thank you, sunshine).

I am so many things, to so many people. Mother, yes. Writer, yes. Healer, yes. Wife, daughter, sister, friend, yes, yes, yes, yes. Changemaker and teacher, yes and yes. Just so, so many things. And beyond all of these superficial titles is the real thing that I am, which is exactly what you are too: love. I am love. We are love. We are love in human form. 

I care about so many things, too. But, right now, I care about being a good mother the most. I care about being present and mindful and gentle the most. I care about kissing tiny toes and playing with tiny blocks and marveling at tiny hands that reach for tiny socks. I care about being home with my boyto see all of this, feel all of this, miss none of it.

What brings me joy? Easy: see above. 

What else brings me joy? Easy: writing. Writing brings me so much joy. Writing has always brought me joy. Writing has been the constant in my life of inconsistencies. Writing lights me up. 

Where has my passion for healing gone? IT IS STILL THERE. It is absolutely still there.

Let me be very clear: I love my work. I love Traditional Chinese Medicine and eastern nutrition and I love being a woman who helps other women. I love working with pregnant women or soon-to-be-pregnant woman or women juggling the magic and the madness of the post-partum period. I love helping a chronic insomniac get a good night’s sleep. I love helping an anxious person rediscover her breath. I love all of this. I am good at all of this. And I am grateful, every day, that I was guided this way.

But now is not the time to promote a business at which I work only one evening per week. Now is not the time to devote precious energy to growing something I don’t wish to grow at the moment. There will be time for this, yes, yes, absolutely. But that time is not now.

What am I passionate about right now, in this very unique moment that is unlike any other moment I have ever experienced or will ever experience again? Easy,  so easy: mothering and writing. THAT's what I'm most passionate about. THERE is my answer (thank you, heart).

As I walked (a little lighter) and smiled (a little wider), it hit me (kapow!) that combining these two things is what I am meant to do, right now, in my life. And then, it hit me harder (kapow! kapow!) that I have already been doing this.

(Wise words from a friend: When seeking your passion, ask not, “What should I or could I be doing?” but, instead, “What am I doing already that fills me up inside?” Oh. So. Wise.)

Since F was born, I’ve been scribbling little love notes to myself, on paper and on screen, about the adventure that is the first year of motherhood. They come to me, these words, at random times throughout the day and night, in little sparks of insight and creativity. 

They are a combination of my own experiences and the experiences of other motherssisters I’ve met along the way. Some of them make me laugh and some of them make me cry. All of them are tiny word-snapshots of this particular life stagethis sacred and terrifying and marvelous life stage called “motherhood.”

I’ve not been sure what to do with these little love notes. They’ve been sitting on my computer gathering virtual dust. I’ve not shared them with anyone.  

But I know, now, that these little love notes are not just disjointed little love notes at all. They share a common theme (new motherhood). They have a common purpose (lifting the spirits of new mothers in that way spirits are lifted when we realize we are not alone in the rabbit hole).

They are a book, friends.

Yes, yes, they are. They are a bookmy bookin beautiful, magical progress.

(This was the biggest KAPOW! of all.)

I’ve already started writing my book. The one I’ve been dreaming of writing forever (literally, forever). 

I’ve got these little love notes, you see. 

And when I read them now, back to back, I see a book, I feel a booka book of little love notes (call them poems) inspired by new mamahood. 

Cool, right?

I’m so happy I could cry. I have cried. And laughed. And danced. And hugged my guy. And said thank you. And said thank you some more.

There is work to be done. There is writing and editing to be done. There are love notes that need to be tossed and others that need to be sparked into being. But it all feels so good. It feels the farthest thing from forced, empty, and inauthentic. It feels easy. It feels fun. The words are flowing and I’m flowing with them. 

THIS IS MY DOOR, you guys. This one, right here. This is my right-now-door.

I knocked and it opened and I'm crossing the threshold and I'm inviting you in, too.

I’ve temporarily deleted my professional Instagram account (she will be revived, some day, when the time is right) and I’ve created an account for these love notes. That’s all this account will bea sharing of little poems (one a day, or so), by a mama for the mamas, until I feel the book is complete. I won’t share everything, of course. Some of the loveliest pieces will be reserved for the book alone. But I will share many of them, hoping they bring comfort, laughter, a shared nod of understanding or a collective sigh of relief across the sisterhood of mamas that I feel so blessed to be a part of.

Find your love note: @bravenewmama and please share this with any poetry-loving mama you know.

(woman. on the cusp of the catapult. isn't she lovely?)

See you on the other side of this door, you guys. Thank you, as always, for the love.


{This is my favourite quote. It was actually part of my speech when I graduated in 2012. It has never felt more relevant than right now:

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Instead, ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  —Howard Thurman}