There are times in my life when I get so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of responsibility that I feel – as a mother, a caregiver, a provider, a partner, an advocate – that it is hard to catch my breath.
I literally cannot get air to fill my lungs.
The overwhelming pressure mounts in every part of my body, from all sides, and I feel myself compressing to bend to its will.
But the pressure only grows with flexibility. And it takes every part of me to come back to that which gives me strength, to feel it in my heart, to know it as a full and undeniable truth. And that is what gives me the power to feel present, to feel alive, and to take one full, deep breath of life.
And, slowly, I come back to myself. And, slowly, I find my bearings again.
And I repeat this practice as often as I need to in order to recognize myself. Because without me, the people who I care for – the kids I work so hard to grow, protect, and bring into this world as whole and happy human beings – cannot be who they are. And the responsibilities and obligations I uphold cannot be fulfilled without me. And the friends, family, and husband who care for me cannot have my presence or attention or energy without me being myself.
We like to think, at times, that we are individuals. That we are isolated from others. That we are alone in this world. And that the world makes us this way. The world forces us to assert our individuality into every place that we show up.
I’m here to say that that is entirely false. If you are in a family, you know that how you arrive to each situation – with your kids, your partner, your work – affects those around you. If you have a loving pet, you know that they sense when your life force shifts. And even if you are an individual, living independently, on your own, the times when you show up in public – for a quick bite of food, a coffee, a drive through pick up – the people you interact with notice your energy.
Because whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we are all connected. Every life force is connected to those around them. Every breath you take is an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that is shared with those in direct proximity to you. Even if your eyes are closed, or your attention is focused elsewhere, you can feel the approach of another person. You can feel the brush of air as someone walks by you. You can share in the joy of a laugh, the pain of a tear, the shift of energy that a stranger, who you do not know and who does not see you, has on your being. We affect each other.
We are all connected. Through air. Through cells. Through the vibrational shift in energy we bring to every situation we are in.
In the past few days I’ve written about restoring our weary places, quieting thoughts, cultivating delight through deep authenticity, and the bond we feel with those we love. Those things are real. Understanding them is powerful. Knowing their power, in your heart, becomes undeniable. We are the energy we bring to the world. We are the energy we bring to our relationships.
And, so, today I’m giving a small gift to you, in the form of an assignment: read and know this quote from Wendell Berry. Feel it in your being. Come back to the places – the peace – of wild things. Do not tax yourself with grief. Come into the stillness of water and earth. Feel the shift in the air on your skin. And know, without looking, the undeniable truth that there are stars and planets and galaxies above you, that there is a tremendous amount of stored energy in the layers of earth beneath you, and every being on this planet is, in some way, connected to your breath through the exchange of air that flows and touches each of us. We are connected. And there is unlimited power in that truth. Be a part of this world. Your world. In this moment.
Products used in this post: Ali Edwards’ February 2017 Digital Kit stamps and One Little Bird This Year Paper Pack in a handmade traveler’s notebook with a sewn binding. Paper is printed on Canon Matte 8.5×11 Photo Paper using a Canon Pixma Printer.
For several years Ali Edwards has started her year with a word. No resolutions or promises to break, just one little word® (OLW) to check back on for guidance or reflection. As she describes it, “You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. Follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.” After a challenging 2016, my choice for 2017 is to become SECURE. Each month, I’m focused on a different aspect of securing who I am, where I am, and what we’re doing. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. For more of my one little word, follow my tag one little word.
MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers, is and international organization that encourages and equips mothers of young children to realize their potential as mothers and leaders. “We’ve all been placed in this time and place in history, as the tribe of women who are raising the world. And the beauty of it is that we don’t all have to agree with one another but everyone is in and we all need each other.” This 28-day challenge is coupled with reading, a daily truth or dare, and videos and resources that allow us to connect, discuss, and dive into this topic of woman-hood and mother-hood. Come back daily, or read along in this thread, to see my posts and stories for each day.