Faking Christmas for a social media post.

I worked hard to make it seem like we were rocking my first solo parent Christmas. See? We’re a goddamn family. Me and my daughter. We’re a family and we’re nailing Christmas. I have the photographic evidence to prove it. 

Behind the pictures was something different.

It's ok not to be ok.

There is nothing wrong with being not ok. Right now my reality is dark and heavy and it’s ok to be present with those shadows. It’s ok to speak truthfully of that experience. I do not owe it to anyone to lighten up. I do owe it to myself to be real.

On being thrown from the nest.

There’s this quote from When Things Fall Apart in which Pema Chodron says “to be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”

Well, I am most certainly being thrown from the nest. Pema wins. I am begrudgingly and painfully alive and fully human and it sorta sucks.

Loss makes you do weird things.

Loss makes you do weird things. There are such intense feelings of grief, anger, confusion, relief, sorrow that it all combines to this strange, unpredictable experience. And everyone’s path is different. And everyone’s path is weird. And good. And necessary. It’s the weird stuff that works when life falls into an unrecognizable mess on the floor.

Here are some of the things I did in the first 6 months after separating from my ex-wife.

I am terrible at meditating. And it has changed my life.

I meditate because I have chosen to notice in a very pedestrian way that I have a mind and a soul and it might be nice to sit with those things for a moment. That’s it. No enlightenment for me.

I sit with all the pieces of my recently destroyed life and continually notice that I’m still breathing. It sucks. It’s good.

It's ok to cry.

It was my daughter’s bed time and I could feel a buildup of tears making their way to my eyes. While my daughter sat next to me on my bed awaiting story time, the tears fell and quickly transformed quickly into hard, raspy sobs. Control was lost.

I didn’t get through this difficult time as a good parent. I didn't think I would.

I have parent shame.

I am disheveled. Covered in crumbs. Unsure of when I last showered. I am constantly distracted and forgetful. About an hour ago I was holding my child’s booger in my hand after she handed it to me.

Listening to the messages of pain.

When you have a physical wound, you don’t spend the whole time thinking about how eventually the wound will be a scar. So, I’m trying not to do that with this emotional pain. I’m resting. I’m nursing my wounds. I’m changing my habits to accommodate my new reality. There is hurt and pain and I am piecing my life together so that I can feel those things in their wholeness.

I call bullshit on badassery.

So, here is the highly unpopular, counter-cultural path I strive to follow. This isn’t always how I show up, but it is my intention. Be weak. Lean right into the soft, dark places. The places that give when I press into them.

The holiness of anger. The divinity of grief.

The life I once knew had disassembled itself.

My former life had been held together by the adhesive forces of a family of three, a house, a dog, ongoing busyness, and TV on Friday nights. I had a sense of security and stability about that life. Then, suddenly my marriage ended.

My heart has taken a heavy pruning.

At times the circumstances of life take their biggest, sharpest shears and hack right into the fleshy, tender skin of your heart. And it’s not just the hardened, woody branches that get cut. The tender, bright green growth also meets its end. What is left is small and spindly. My heart has taken a heavy pruning. Old branches and new growth both lay strewn about the grass. My heart is in pieces.

Forget love and light. Give me love and darkness.

It’s possible I’ve heard the phrase “love and light” more than most. The course of my life has included an herbal apprenticeship and over five years as a yoga teacher. It’s used as a well-wish, a greeting, a farewell. It’s like the Whole Foods way of saying “I’m praying for you.” And you know what I’ve realized? Despite all the hippies, hipsters, and crunchy granola types my life has brought me in contact with,  I’m just not a love and light kind of person.

Rest so you can tend.

There are moments when I’m in the garden and I know she is speaking to me. Who is she, you might ask? I do not know for sure. The earth. My gut. Spirit. Inspiration. But, something or someone definitely speaks. Do you have these moments? The moments where you think you’re part lunatic, part sage?

Building the world a good human one humble step at a time.

I spy on parents who appear to wield their enterprising spirit by crafting an empire during the nap time of their 4 children. Meanwhile, I’m digging through the cupboard for a morsel of dark chocolate, getting lost at internet sea while trying to find a biscuit recipe, and taking my dog out for a poo in our neighbor’s yard (And, yes, I pick it up). When I’m disciplined I imagine I might write a blog post, stare at my screen for a long time and scrape out a sentence. If this is an empire I’m crafting, it extends but a third of an acre to the edges of my yard.

I never prayed before I was a parent.

Since becoming a parent almost once I day I talk to whatever surrounds me. Energy. The gods and goddesses. The universe. God. I don’t know why. Things always feel a little beyond me. I’m called to do more than I alone can do. I ask for help.

We Search for the Moon. We search for light.

Last night the family went outside to look for the moon as has become our nightly after dinner ritual. My child loves the moon. I wear a moon pendant that she loves to look at. Before she goes to bed each night she says “Bye moom. Buh bye moom.” So, we bundled up and went to look skyward.