Day 192/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
At different stages of life, it can be all consuming, busyness ruling the day, especially when you have a young family. Where is the time for quiet contemplation, communing with nature, journal writing or following a passion or interest of your own.
It seems that we humans have a natural innate tendency for restoring harmony. In all our various ways of doing life, harmony seems to be a key requirement along with our sense of belonging. When there is a lack of harmony, our natural drive is to restore it as best we can. We want certainty. We feel unsettled when life is disharmonious.
I hasten to mention here that with harmony I'm not necessarily talking about reciprocity. More, I'm talking about the ability to make the life you have work for you rather than view it as a transaction or a chore.
One distinct decision that I found myself making at 45 years of age, was to focus on my parenting, at that time solo, while building my business and creating a home and family life for my son.
With all those balls in the air I didn't have the time nor energy to pursue the idea of a new relationship. Parenting was something that I wanted to do well, and I realised that I couldn't be the mother I wanted to be whilst splitting my time trying to build a new relationship.
Once that decision was made, my time was dedicated to raising my son well, and when he was at school or with his father, then building my business.
At home we expended our energy on our garden and the rituals of preparing nourishing meals, keeping a warm and welcoming home, and building our relationship as a family.
Harmony was restored and maintained by using these everyday acts of living to live well, to live simply, to connect and deepen into our family connection. Time that now, as I reflect back, was more than worth its weight in gold.
Being really clear about my priorities was key. Making the appropriate decisions to support them was the next logical step.
There were occasions that I felt robbed of time for myself as I'm sure many mothers do. Each time I needed to remind myself that my commitment was to my parenting first. And each time I would settle back into what seems like the sometimes thankless tasks of mothering.
There's one thing that all the giving without expecting reciprocity of motherhood does, and that is that it builds a bond. A deep bond that is a deep well of knowing in the child's heart that they are secure and stable here. That this is their safe place, no matter what. That they don't have to give in return to win their place in my heart.
It's become clear to me that the difference between a transactional relationship with family and a interactional/transformational one is how much I am prepared to give for the pure joy of giving.
Family is not a business transaction, and when we treat it as one we lose. We lose connection, we lose deep knowing, we lose the bond that hasn't formed, we lose respect and we lose our family.
That's a big lesson for me, and one that makes sense of the difficulties that I experience in my own family of origin.
Find the way to bring harmony to your life and relationships. Let reciprocity become the natural aspect of living that it is. It's not a tit-for-tat arrangement. Reciprocity is not so much transactional as a natural phenomena.
My son is now an adult. This morning he travelled 25 Km simply to take me out to breakfast, after which he returned to his home to complete his planned chores for the day. We talked, we laughed, we planned, we reflected over a short breakfast. This is how he naturally reciprocates in the bond that has taken 23 years to develop. To me, this is the family that I always felt was possible! My heart is full.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.