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.

She doesn't ask for my perfection.

Immediately upon putting her down, my daughter fell, then got up, took a step, and fell yet again very narrowly missing a fall into a freshly deposited turd. Sometimes I can’t believe that part of my job is to be responsible for the life of another human being who so nearly stumbles into dog shit.


Times such as these bring a certain poignancy to the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing.

A broken heart is a strong heart.

Over the short time of my life I have learned a lot of techniques to shield and wall off my heart. I bury things. I create structures around things to separate my heart from everything else. I numb feelings with distraction. I make sure I am easy to like, easy to be around, and easy to love by hiding the things about myself that might be hard, uncomfortable, or messy.


When I had a kid, all of the techniques I used to know disappeared. Nothing would tolerate a burial. Nothing permitted being segregated into neat categories. None of the sharp edges could be dulled. All of the hard, uncomfortable, and messy parts of me sat out in the open for me and everyone else to see. My heart broke and so it released everything it held.

This is the story of my depression.

It is all too easy to grab the shovel and begin burying the painful parts of ourselves. Glasses of wine, bowls of ice cream, superficial positivity, pseudo-spirituality, Netflix, perfectionism, and constant business all heap their own shovelfuls of dirt onto the discomfort of being real. The notched, knotted, snagged, barbed, and broken pieces of ourselves take the cruelest beating, often at our own hands.

Carving out quiet amidst the noise.

Last week, I took a short hike with my daughter around a nearby tidal pond. It was a crisp autumn weekday. The path was deserted. The pond silent. I stopped and whispered to my daughter, “Hey, do you hear that? Just the birds and the wind in the trees.”

Parenting with the head and the heart.

Before my daughter was born I recall my wife and I talking about the kind of parents we intended to be. We  wanted to be like lighthouses for our daughter. The sort of parents that let our kid cast her ship to the sea, but set a light on the rocky shore so she could steer her way clear.

Emptiness becomes more than it is.

It’s been weeks, possibly months since I’ve had anymore than a few minutes to myself. But, today is different. Today I got some “me time.” I was alone because I was driving to a doctor’s appointment because I’ve had bronchitis for 12 days.