Every day is another universe to explore. If it seems routine or boring, look harder. Breathe. Feel. Taste. The weather is always changing. The light will never be the same. The sounds arising, each and every one, are more miracles of universes being created and coming to pass. This human life is the tiniest blip on the grand scale of the universe, where entire galaxies are born and die and eons flash by in a single day. Don’t take yourself too seriously. This will all be gone, and soon. How you live this day is the only thing that matters.
It’s almost 11pm. I am tired. Right before I carried my sleeping son from my bed to his bed, I checked out the prompt over at NaPoWriMo and figured I’d just wing this one.
🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪 What It’s Like Being A Single Mom During a Pandemic 🏗🏭🏢🏬🏣🏤🏭🏢🏬🏣🏤🏢🏢🏢 I drive into the city to pick up my kids. The city doesn’t act like a city anymore. It looks uncertain and confused— like the rest of us. It looks like it is waiting for something— like the rest of us. 💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻💻 We get back home and I fiddle with my computer until I successfully get my fourth grader into her online class meetup. I bring her snacks. She tells me she isn’t supposed to eat during online learning. (I think to myself, Why in the world not?) I watch her drawing during the online class, just like she does when she attends class in person. I mean, just like she used to do, back when kids went to school… I fiddle with my other computer until I successfully get my second grader into his online class meetup. I bring him snacks. He chews with his mouth open and sprays bits of apple on my laptop. I am not amused. I attempt to read while they finish their online class meetups. I am only partially successful. 🌳🌲🍃🌷🍃🌲🌳🌲🍃🌷🍃🌲🌳🌲🍃🌷🍃🌲🌳 I take my kids out on a walk. It’s a beautiful, cool day. My ten year old is already fifteen in her tone, body language, and declarations of existential angst. I am not amused. I attempt empathy, patience, kindness, and compassion. I attempt to enjoy my walk in spite of my ten year old’s angst. I am only partially successful. 🧁🍰🍮🍭🍬🧁🍰🍮🍭🍬🧁🍰🍮🍭🍬🧁🍰🍮🍭🍬 Back home my idea to bake brownies devolves into a fight over who gets to set the oven temperature. I am not amused. I again attempt empathy, patience, kindness and compassion and am mostly unsuccessful. I am disapointed, annoyed, frustrated and depressed. I want to scream. 👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻👩🏻💻 Another mom tells me that her husband is annoying her by sharing his two cents about their kids’ remote learning, and then going back to his remote working while my friend attempts to harangue their kids into actually attending to their remote learning. She is not amused. I am suddenly glad that I am single. 🥦🥙🥕🥒🥦🥙🥕🥒🥦🥙🥕🥒🥦🥙🥕🥒🥦🥙🥕🥒 I make dinner with as much efficiency as I can muster. We eat well. The kids devour their dessert. We sit together working on our own things. My ten year old draws. My eight year old works on a puzzle. I play with my singing bowls. We are very successful. 🌲🌳🍃🌳🌲🌔🌲🌳🍃🌳🌲 We get ready for bed. I read to them a few pages of The Phantom Tollbooth. My son passes out. My daughter goes back to her room to read some Harry Potter. I muster up the strength to carry my eight year old into his room. I pour him into his bed and tuck him in. My ten year old is still reading. I tuck her in and turn off the lights. She smiles and says I love you. I am extraordinarily successful.
It’s up to me. I choose how I go through this. I choose my response. The old habit may be to panic, catastrophize and focus on what could go wrong, but this habit isn’t helpful. It isn’t life-affirming, or empowering. It doesn’t enable me to offer my gifts to the world. Why not breathe? Why not practice gratitude for what could be an incredible opportunity for awakening, for transformation? Why not envision a realm of infinite possibility? Let’s collectively create a brand new habit called: awakening to our blessings, envisioning possiblity, offering our gifts in service to the greatest good!
Worrying doesn’t help, so don’t do it. A break from the routine is a chance to appreciate the minute daily occurrences that we take for granted. That which appeared insignificant in an unconscious repetition suddenly becomes profoundly meaningful. The mundane becomes sacred in the light of such deep appreciation. We find we yearn for what we had, so many little acts of connection and familiar places we can no longer access because of unforeseen changes and uncertain futures. When we aren’t involved in an unconscious routine the space of uncertainty lets loose a discomfort for the one who needs the calm familiar, the safe, the known. My friends, be not afraid. This is an awakening. How you experience this is entirely up to you. Take a deep breath with me, now, and breathe again. Now is the time to cultivate appreciation. The molecules of gratitude for everything you love coursing through your being bring tidings of light and health to every cell of your body. Drink in what you love, now through smiling deep breaths of YES YES YES to life, YES! Do not let fear pickle your cells in darkness and despair. Let me feel your shining smile through the ethers our friendship now inhabits. Stand in your one little spot of earth and declare that you are an anchor for peace, for gratitude, for love. My friends, be not afraid. This is a sacred time. Let the visions that were trampled under the daily stampede of traffic now float up in a whisper an inch behind your eyelids. Listen to this whisper. It promises the joy you have yearned for in the deepest center of your soul. Now is the time to create, to express; in the space of the unknown you have so much room to choose how this goes. Sweethearts, this…is…a…VACATION! Celebrate! Love! Sing! Dance! Enjoy the beloveds you have the privilege to share space with! Show us your art! Sing us your songs! Let us hear your laugh! Let us see your funny faces! Share with us a video of something beautifully boring! Let us send little resonances along the web that connects us to tickle and delight and uplift what the outer world cannot touch.
You’ve come a long way baby! You were scared to live without him and then he left. You thought you were going to die, but you didn’t. You were terrified you wouldn’t find a new home, and then you did. You weren’t sure you could make ends meet, but you have, month after month after month. Just look at you go, sweetheart! See how it all works out? From my perspective, you’re a superhero. And…I LOVE YOU.
It won’t feel like it’s mine unless I’ve worked for it, and so the Universe is giving me a chance to work. I can feel my old thinking crop up sometimes, especially now, when I feel tired in body and mind and I’m longing for quiet and rest. Old thoughts come back, about deserving better, about wishing it had gone differently, outraged about circumstances beyond my control. But I’ve been practicing. I’ve been practicing day after day I’ve been practicing hard. And my new thinking responds to the old and says: You don’t HAVE to do this, you GET do to do this. You aren’t a victim, you are a powerful woman who has been given an opportunity to step into her power and love herself back to health. You are a fortunate woman who has been led to wake up to the beauty of the present moment and express her gifts, talents and abilities in service of all beings. You are a work in progress, you’ll never be done, so keep working, woman, keep working.
I can get excited about what’s coming,
I can dwell in the past,
or I can rest in awareness of my awareness
in this present moment.
One is creative and incites me to action.
One recreates the hunger of anxious places.
One allows me to see my Universe
from a broader perspective.
Where I go in my mind is my choice.
May I choose well.
At the end of the day,
if I can say I did my best,
well then, this must be good enough.
Sure, my credit cards are maxed,
there’s next to nothing in my checking account,
and I keep asking my mom for grocery money.
But there is a roof over my head,
my children are clean, fed and in bed,
and I’m breathing.
This is good enough.
I taught a meditation workshop today
and only three people showed up.
From a profit-driven business standpoint,
it was a miserable flop,
not worth the time invested.
Luckily, I have access to other standpoints.
So when a young woman approached me
after the workshop, crying,
sharing that she remembered her deceased father
during our lovingkindness meditation,
when she appeared bewildered by her emotions
(even apologized for them),
and when I was able to praise her for her courage
and share with her that it was an honor and a privilege
to bear witness to her process—
I knew something bigger was at play here.
Today wasn’t about me turning a profit, it was about me touching a life.
It wasn’t about material abundance, it was about human connection.
It wasn’t about my personal glory, it was about beholding the radiance of a sweet soulcoming home
after a long time away.
From this standpoint,
my workshop was a huge success,
and I am proud of the work that was done.
And so what if
I could hold myself accountable
for being the kind of person
able to create the kind of life
I’m really excited to be living?
What if I discovered my power
was in changing my perspective
when I could no longer
change my circumstances?
What if all the big questions
weren’t supposed to have answers,
but were instead just doors
opening to even bigger questions?