Tag Archives: gratitude

Basking in a Clearing

This year has been…full. I intended to use Lent to create more space. I am failing quite miserably. Last week I was suffocating in the onslaught of tasks I crammed into our schedule, trying to force our way out of the jungle of applications and trainings and general adulthood minutia that has engulfed 2015 thus far. A futile attempt at an impossible goal.

Then there was a moment last Friday morning, on the way to the fifth doctor’s visit of the week, when I realized I wasn’t filled with dread. I was relaxed. I was in a clearing. There was still a dense forest of stuff waiting on the other end of the weekend, but for the better part of a couple days all I had to do was spend an uninterrupted afternoon playing with Leila, enjoy a happy hour with my husband, take in a rare evening with my brothers, savor some sushi, eat birthday cake, delight in a family walk and watch a little HBO. Not to mention the sunshine.

I’d already passed the clearing by the time I woke up this morning. The sky was gray. The schedule was full. I was not looking forward to it. We got through it, and I made it to yoga, I started setting up our haft-seen, we watched some John Oliver and I got a little mini-clearing to bask in, just enough to recoup a bit before tomorrow’s trek.

Gibb's Farm

Exactly Where I Am Right Now

This morning as I passed by a neighbor on our morning walk he smiled and said, “I remember that.”

“It’s pretty great,” I responded.

“Now she’s twenty.”

I loved the joy radiating from this father’s memory of walks with his daughter. There is nothing quite like an older parent remembering the time when their children were younger fondly. Even more, it made me ridiculously grateful that Leila was exactly 16 months and 19 days old, and we were going on this walk in the drizzle, followed by a detour to the park where she would hone her skills of sliding and riding snails and swinging.

I feel this way almost always. Grateful for exactly where I am right now.

The first time in my post-adolescent life I distinctly remember not wishing myself into someone else’s life was in a J.Crew dressing room sometime around my senior year of college. I was happy about a pair of green pants I was about to buy. There was a woman with an enviably slimmer figure in the dressing room down the hall, and I did not wish I was her. I was more than content with my body.

I had this striking feeling again less than a year after I started dating Ben while I was on a retreat and saw another couple lovingly cuddling each other one morning. Instead of wishing myself into their established relationship shoes, it made me grateful for Ben and this thing we had started together.

I have had these moments more and more since we started the parenting journey.

Another mom once remarked on the way I seemed to be enjoying motherhood and appreciating the passage of time in a way that she found unique for a first-time mom. I suppose working as Brené Brown’s research assistant during almost the entire nine months of your pregnancy will do that to you.

If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.

The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute. Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.

So many of us have created a long list of worthiness prerequisites:

• I’ll be worthy when I lose 20 pounds

• I’ll be worthy if I can get pregnant

• I’ll be worthy if I get/stay sober

• I’ll be worthy if everyone thinks I’m a good parent

• I’ll be worthy if I can hold my marriage together

• I’ll be worthy when I make partner

• I’ll be worthy when my parents finally approve

• I’ll be worthy when I can do it all and look like I’m not even trying

Here’s what is truly at the heart of whole-heartedness: Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.

(Brené Brown, Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect)

I know I lead a charmed life. I am sure there are people that would look at it and think, of course she’s grateful for exactly where she is right now. I think it is more than that though. I think we’ve been conditioned to want for more – a body more like a models, a romance more like the movies, a career more people admire, parenting more like the books/technique/expert-of-the-moment. I love and hate that list Brené writes because it is painfully true for so many people so many times. I would by lying to say it is never true for me. I do know that it feels pretty great to sit in the blissfully imperfect muck of it all, grateful for exactly where I am right now.