I've always identified as being a seeker. I look for the spiritual lesson in every experience. I have taken deep dives into two religions in the course of my lifetime (Catholicism + Buddhism).
And even throughout these experiences, there is nothing that has built my spiritual muscle more than having kids. If you have kids, you know just what I mean.
Here are five reasons why your kids ARE your spiritual path...
1. EXPECTATIONS --
Kids teach us right away how much trouble we can get into having expectations of them. This, of course, is a valuable lesson for limiting our expectations for all of those around us.
I remember begin pregnant with my first kiddo, my daughter. I am freak about health, exercise, wellness and all of it. More than anything, I wanted to birth my daughter naturally. I knew I could do it; I felt I'd been building up to this athletically and health-wise all my life. I wanted to prove it to myself.
As life would have it, my daughter was late, and in distress. After a grueling labor, she was born by emergency c-section. I was devastated. Instead of focusing on the fact that my daughter and I were healthy, I found myself awhirl in thoughts of I should have done X differently.
This was a huge lesson for me in letting go of my expectations that happened right in the beginning of my relationship with my daughter. This moment continues to remind me that there are two of us at play here, this is not just MY experience as a mother.
She didn't choose to be born, and to me. She owes me nothing short of kindness and maybe a little respect. Other than that, she came THROUGH me not FOR me, as is true with all of our children.
2. PLAYFULNESS --
Once we hit adulthood, life suddenly becomes serious. We have jobs, mortgages, bills to pay, social and family gatherings to attend and more.
As adults we are supposed to know things. What we want out of life. What we want out of relationships. What our next step will be. What is the proper amount of money to be saving. And on and on.
But our kiddos remind us to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously.
Last night at the dinner table we were discussing farts and why they shouldn't be "shared" while eating. "It's just a body noise, Mom," my middle son insisted through giggles. He had us all busting up by the end of dinner.
What a gift it is to be reminded to loosen up a bit. If we all channeled a little childlike spirit, how much more playful, fun, creative and exciting our day could be...
3. IMPERMANENCE --
I cannot sense myself to be aging, entirely. A year goes by, and from my perspective, not much changes drastically in my world.
But to watch my children and see their changes in a year, it is absolutely astounding. And I know these little beings are my mirrors, my reminders that though I don't sense myself to be shifting, watching their changes is proof that I am.
Life is impermanent. Change is certain. This is the only certainty there is. Watching our kids grow up reminds us of these incredible lessons on a daily basis.
We want to stop time (or make it go faster depending on the day). Having children reminds me of how incredibly important it is to make the most of the time I have both with them, and with myself.
This time is so fleeting...
4. FOCUS --
"If you want to hire someone who can handle it all and exceed your expectations, hire a mother." My friend Allie always says.
Man, is it true.
Since becoming a parent, my ability to focus and get shit done is exceptional. Never before has my time been more valuable. And never before have I treated it as such.
I no longer spend time with people who don't add serious value to my life. I have three mornings per week from 9-12am to work, and in that time, I've written 4 novels, started a business, trained for and run 3 half marathons, taken night classes and more. I get up at 5am so I can do my meditation practice, then exercise. I cook most nights, I volunteer in the classroom, I take webinars and dance classes when they're in bed, and on and on and on.
And I am NOT an exception.
Parents know how to get it done. ALL of it. The days of aimlessly thinking about how to spend my time are long gone. Having kids keeps us parents on point when it comes to getting the most out of our life and time.
5. LOVE + COMPASSION --
Perhaps the most important lesson having kids reminds me of is what true love and compassion for another is. I've always cared about people. But having my children has shown me what true, selfless love looks like.
I would die for them; I'd do anything for their wellbeing. I've never felt such strong feelings of love and adoration in my life. Parents know that when we're awake in the wee hours of the night either feeding our babies, or worrying about our older children, that this is just part of the job. We don't require praise for this sort of thing, we just do it.
Being able to love our children like this shows us that this type of love is possible in the world. After all, we are all just little babies in grown up bodies.
This is my favorite reminder. Inside all of us is a child who wants to be loved and accepted. A man who is angry and being rude is an expression of a child who's needs were not met. A woman who struggles to find her true friends in the world is a little girl on the playground unsure of who to ask to play with her.
We all owe each other this kind seeing into one another, this kind of remembering.
The seeker in me now knows that my spiritual path was never outside of me. It was always right in front of me. These beautiful little beings give us such incredible opportunity to learn to be the very best version of ourselves, should we let them teach us.
March 16-23, 2019