I’ve started Yoga Teacher Training. We had our first training session last week and with over 25 other participants it was mostly a get-to-know each other session. A lot of the other teachers-to-be were open, vulnerable and truthful about the reasons that they came to be sitting on the mat, in that big room, today.
As I looked around and listened to the stories it reinforced to me that in Motherhood, we don’t as much lose our personas, as shed them. We leave behind our previous selves in search for a more satisfying answer to that eternal question, “Who Am I?”.
In the love that we feel for our children and in the fulfilment of our service role we feel temporarily healed. This is what life’s about. Devotion to this love. When the kids get older it feels like less like devotion and love and more like a life of servitude, in which we are not entirely grateful because we don’t gain that same sense of pleasure from the acts.
So my answer, in my head at the time, was self-love. These women, myself included, had given their all to their family and when they were depleted they went searching. For something bigger than themselves, for something they felt passion for, for something that showed them the path back to themselves. So we give up ourselves when we become Mothers and self-love can bring us back.
Today in class however, the teacher was talking about how sometimes in the name of self-love we can be too into ourselves. Really? Is there too much love we can give ourselves? I didn’t think so but then (I think) I don’t really step over the line, I’ve hopefully got a keen balance over what my family needs and what I need. I guess in the name of self-love I could go on an 11 day yoga retreat but I don’t because I am conscious of what my young family needs from me and that my husband, who is our bread-winner, needs to be at work. Thinking this through as only one example I can see how self-love could be over used.
So what is the answer then? How do we fill ourselves up, not over-balance our actions and better love our family?
It all comes down to our thinking process and attitude. If we are continually being resentful of the things we are doing for others then we will be depleted pretty quickly. If we approach the same tasks from a place of love, the same love that we had when the kids were little or when we were newly in love with our spouses, then we are using daily tasks to fill ourselves up. We are choosing in each moment to be happy. We have that choice but rarely do we choose it mindfully, we instead wait for our emotions, which hoard stories from our past, to dictate how we choose to be today.
We need to practice giving love for what we give out to the Universe is already on it’s way back to us.
This is a huge challenge. One way bigger than writing yourself a little self-love menu and choosing something from this each day to feel good. What we are talking here is reprogramming our brain, training it to see life in a different reality to the one we perceive it to be now.
Isn’t that funny that we can “think” a reality but it’s true. Our reality is our own and our own alone. It is not your spouses reality or your Mothers, Doctors or children’s. It is not the person telling you to “Live in the real world” either because each of the billions of people in the world are walking around in their own “realities”, clouded by their experiences, conditioning, culture, perception and their emotional state of that particular moment.
When I am tired I know that I live in a completely different world (and am a completely different person) than when I am full of energy.
My main aim for this year (and life) is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Living a life of equanimity – calm, composed, the ability to see but not be caught by what I see. Being more Zen or as one meme put it “unfuckablewith”. To have my kids screaming but to stay composed, my husband in a mood but not be affected by it, for annoying things to happen but to stay happy. To live a life of surrendering the outcome. Enjoying actions for the actions themselves and not the fruit of the actions. Living in the now. Being happy in the now.
I believe the practice of doing everything with love is something that would keep me on a more even keel.
And maybe you too.
Let’s try it and see.
This is a lovely piece, and I couldn’t agree more. I think for many women the balance is in favour of our families to the point where we neglect ourselves completely and it’s pretty rare to find a mother who has too much self love. A lot of my work is in helping women to know it’s OK to do things just for them, and that they can only do their best for their families if they take some time to replenish their energy and boost their happiness and wellbeing. Good luck with the teacher training! 🙂 Alison x
Sounds like amazing work Alison xx
Love this, beautiful! Your focus for the year (and life) is so inspiring… I want to copy it out! Beautiful. And it really does come down to love, doesn’t it? And I don’t think you can ever have enough of that. x
This is such a fascinating post because its been something ive wondered a lot lately, just due to chats ive had with my mum and gran who’s generations never really practiced self love. ..they see the movement as possibly really self.induldgent and unnecessary (which i understand is how theyve grown up to believe!) Yet i know when i pour love into myself and do things for me, i come back to my relationships a better person and able to pour out a whole lotta more love than when i havent given any to myself! Beautiful post xx
Aww thank you – I love that so many woman are realizing that we are actually worthy of so much good stuff in life and we only get one chance to live life the way we want it so we have to do it right.