On this Mother’s Day, I am reflecting on all of the wonderful mothers I am lucky enough to call my friends. About 9 months ago (haha – the same time it takes to make you a mother!) I sent the following email to 4 women:
Hello Ladies – old friends and new,
I am emailing with a bit of confession and a “no pressure” invitation.
First, the confession:
So…I lead this blessed life (I think) with healthy beautiful children, a spouse I love, financial security, a rewarding job, and wonderful friends. And yet, I often find it HARD. I struggle to enjoy the many daily beautiful moments that make up my life. I am constantly thinking or worrying about the next thing: the next meal, the next task, the next thing on the to do list, etc. And I feel a bit like it is all passing me by and soon my kids will have moved on and I will look back and wonder why I wasn’t able to enjoy it all and soak it all in. And I wonder why I find it hard, when so many others have it so much harder!
I embarked on a bit of a personal journey (about 5 years ago) which involved learning more about mindfulness, meditation, and kripalu yoga. My goals were to become a more peaceful person, mother, friend, wife. I have had some success. I am much more aware of my anxieties and distractions. But the old issues keep on creeping in. When I am struggling with something, I turn to books (I know, but once a nerd, always a nerd).
Last March, my oldest friend and I were lucky enough to go to a 3 day retreat on loving-kindness meditation. One of the leaders mentioned she was going to speak at a group called the “Mindful Moms”.
So….you can see where I am headed. I started thinking that maybe this is what I want to try to create. A community of women who meet and support each other and help each to be more mindful in their daily lives, to practice enjoying all those little moments that are so fleeting and so beautiful.
I have had conversations with each of you, at some point, that have suggested to me that you might also be interested in such a thing. I have been trying to read this book:
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting – by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
I figured a book written by an expert in using Mindfulness practice to reduce stress and treat depression, might be a good place to start. He wrote this book with his wife and it appears to be full of wisdom and anecdotes. The problem is, it is dense. I have only made it through the introduction and I can tell I need some help.
I sent this email out with an invitation to join me in reading the book – to meet monthly to talk about it. I was SO nervous! And I was incredibly moved to receive overwhelming positive responses. Since that time we have grown into a group of 8 woman – some with children with special challenges, others with marriages with special challenges, and all of with the common desire to do better in appreciating our lives. And a desire to be more mindful of our many, many blessings.
It has been energizing getting to know these women and reading this book together. I know I am more mindful with my children AND with my husband – the effects roll out to all areas of my life. I admire these women so much and I have learned more than I thought would be possible just from spending time with them.
I am so grateful to these women for compassionately reading my confession and accepting my invitation. It was a turning point for me to write the email that confessed to myself and others how I really felt about my life and how I wanted that to change. I am grateful to be in the regular company of these mothers who inspire, nurture, love and try every day to do even better for themselves and their families.
In fact, I am so grateful for all of the women in my life, both those who live near and those who are far away, who continue to support, inspire, and amaze me. Thank you for your continued presence in my life. It is difficult to express just how important you are to me, but I hope you know it anyway.
Love to all of you today on Mother’s Day.