Tag Archives: self-exploration

The Mom-cation: You’re next.

I am writing this post while sitting in a tiny Florida cottage on the Gulf Coast. I am by myself and have been by myself for 56 hours now. I can hear the clock ticking. I have spoken no more than a handful of sentences since I’ve been here, except for the times I talked to my husband and kids on the phone.

 

Let this stock beach photo inspire you.

 

I came to this place to visit the spot where my sister and I sprinkled my dad’s ashes into the ocean 2 years ago. I came here, too, because I need to stare out at the ocean once or twice a year…if I don’t do that, then something undefinable is missing in my world. I came here because the routine of my daily life was starting to feel like a routine of stressors. I was tense all the time- enough so that a yoga class or a walk in the woods wasn’t going to make me feel better. And I ain’t no dummy. I’ve been down the road before where a little slip turns into a long slide and there you are suddenly wondering about how to change your whole life when really all you may need is one small change. Like maybe a vacation all to yourself.

 

I firmly believe that time alone is healing for most people. I encourage you to give it a try. You never know what you might discover.

If you’re ready to explore the Mom-cation, here is how it goes:

Pick a place you would like to visit. Not a place your kids would have fun visiting or your partner has been talking about going to. A place YOU would like to visit. Maybe it’s been on your mind for months. Maybe you’ve been thinking of it for years. You know the place. Start short and sweet if it’s more comfortable. A car ride and an overnight. You don’t have to jump into a week in Thailand just yet.

Find a moment to get online. (The next time you are supposed to be taking a shower, turn on the water, close the door and sit on the toilet seat lid while researching trip options.)

Bolster you nerve. Yes, you can do this: Number of travelers: 1.

See if you can make it happen financially (where there’s a will there’s a way.)

Tell your partner or support system that you need this. The kind of need that is non-negotiable. Like I need to work out. I need 4 hours of sleep. I need a haircut. Tell him/her that you will help arrange for extra support for the kids if needed and will return the favor in kind when he/she needs time away. If a partner is not in the picture, try your closest friend or relative.

Pick a few days that will work with your calendars. Yes, the kids can miss preschool. Yes, relatives can help out. Yes, you can miss your book club meeting.

Book your trip.

Go. You deserve it.

 

 

Say That Again Saturday

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”- Unknown

I wish I knew who spoke or wrote these words so I could give them credit. Anyone who has ever suffered from depression or loneliness knows this quote to be true. I think a new policy should be instated at the soul level (whoever is in charge of that, pay attention.) Everyone should be given a true friend at birth that will be a guaranteed BFF from childhood until the day they die. Totally accepting, validating, and seeing the best in us. So much can be accomplished when you have someone to remind you of how precious and good you really are.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you sit there.” – Will Rogers

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you sit there.” – Will Rogers

newton

I am great at sitting there. I’ve mastered it, actually. Especially sitting there on the right track but not moving in any particular direction. It’s kind of my speciality. But in order to steer the direction of my life, I must make, at the very least, micromovements toward my goals. When sitting comfortably in my comfy comfort zone, eating pretzel rods, and practicing not moving, it helps me to remember one of Newton’s  laws of physics:

In order for the motion of an object to change, a force must act upon it.

To me, that means if I want the motion and direction of my life to change, I must make a change, even if it’s a small change. (Yes, I know life is not an object, but just pretend that it is.) Making one small change can often have profound effects. I can change a thought, emotion, or action. Doesn’t matter which. That change is a force acting upon my life’s current trajectory and acts to steer me toward my goals….Wha-bam! Newton’s laws and train track quotes working together to inspire change! Yeah, baby.

Motherhood & longing…

I was listening to a Pandora station yesterday that had heartfelt female songwriters featured (think Brandi Carlisle, Annie Lennox, etc.).  Though I typically go for funk, blues, bluegrass or Grateful Dead-esque tunes on Pandora, I was really moved by these ladies and had forgotten how soulful music can change your inner landscape.  Duh, it’s often been the kind of music I write, you’d think I’d remember this truth.  But it’s usually not the music I choose to listen to, mostly because I like to tap my toe and groove a little when I’ve got music on.  In the middle of an Eva Cassidy song, I suddenly felt myself on the verge of tears.  The song had reached a melodic hand right into my diaphragm and given a gentle tug.

 

Oooohhhh, I thought, awash with emotion.  So that is where grief from my father’s death is living.  That is where my overwhelm at not having enough time alone sits unnoticed.   That is where my longing to write songs lives.  Somehow Eva Cassidy found it-right there.  And a big longing washed over me.  I miss making music.  Muuuuuuuusic.  Grown-up, philosophical, moves you to the bone music.

 

One of the great sacrifices of becoming a mother has been the interruption of the flow of my creative life.  It just hasn’t been the same in the two years since I’ve had my son.   Before having a baby, I wrote music alone.  Usually staring out a window at nature, with a glass of wine on the coffee table, a guitar in my hands, and a notebook and voice recorder next to me on the floor.  With a toddler, three parts of that equation must disappear.  Voice recorder & notebook- toys too fun for him to leave alone.  Guitar- ditto.  But most importantly, a fourth and essential part of the equation- the alone part, has almost entirely disappeared.  Is the sacrifice worth it?  Is having a child worth not having time to write & play songs?  Yes, but the longing to have both is not something I can let go of.   Having my son is worth more than anything.  But walking around with a sorrow at not actively and regularly making music is…well, it feels like a big hole to fill, not having that creative outlet.  No matter how much I love my son and am thrilled with him and who I’ve become because he exists, I still have that hole inside that makes me feel a little like swiss cheese.  Maybe the longing to make music is part of what defines this part of my life.  Is that part of motherhood?  Longing to do the things you don’t have time to do?

 

I remember seeing an interview with Annie Lennox once and she was saying how important it was for her to maintain her own vision as an artist when in the recording studio.  Often, a producer will come in with their own ideas and try to steer a musician one way or another to create their own vision of what the artist’s music should sound like.  Annie’s take was that such a relationship was tantamount to someone standing behind a master painter saying, “I think you should add more blue over there in the corner. And red sparkles up there by the bird.”  She would not have people messing with her medium.  Music and its production was her art to shape and form and she would only work with producers who would help her vision come to life, not morph it into something that was not hers.  I love that.

 

It’s a nice philosophy to try and strive toward in life- to only have people, activities and interests that help shape and form your vision into reality.   Part of my struggle has been to quiet that intrusive producer within me saying who is saying, “You must spend all waking time with your son.  You must be attentive at all times and build a rich and colorful life for him in every way.  You must set your own needs aside to be with him.”  When the artist in me is struggling for breath and, quite honestly, the vision for my life includes a rich and colorful life for me, not just for him.  A simple necessity of that vision is alone time- time to hear my own rhythm, time for music.   The vision is pure.  Time alone for creative outlet?  Children?  I want both.