So here’s the thing, lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of all the different roles I have had over the course of my life, because when you get to be my age, “you’ve seen some shit” (JD). All these roles that I’ve identified with over the course of my life have somehow have become less and less important as time passes. Some are permanent roles and some crop up from time to time and I don their cloaks, so to speak, to play the role. Among these roles are two time divorcee, mother without custody of one, mother of 4 more, 3 with TSC, TSC mentor and advocate, mother of special needs kids, mother of a cheerleader, wife, exwife, recovered anorexic/bulimic, recovering alcoholic/addict, clinically depressed woman, long distance runner, real estate secretary, writer, blogger more recently, biohacker, reader, seeker, pacifist, buddhist, hippie, ex fundamental Christian, girlfriend, and whoa. There are probably tons more that I’m forgetting. I take a little piece of each of them and have incorporated them into who I am today. The tricky thing is not falling in too deep with any of them to the point where I really think that that’s who I am. I like to quote Ram Dass who said that when we are born, we enter “somebody training”.
All this to say that it certainly is not easy, especially when parenting. I go out running most days which is how I worship, amongst the trees, my feet kissing the roads and dirt trails. I often shed a tear, as I feel a strong connection with all that is, and especially the trees. God, a higher power and that connection reminds me of who I am. But back to parenting. I get done with the run and enter “the house”. Most days, my calm serenity falls away within seconds of walking through the door, especially upon seeing 85 dishes all over the surfaces in the kitchen, snack fragments everywhere and my 14 year old son sitting facing the snack cabinet, ready to inhale the last few pretzel sticks I was saving for myself. Done. I’m mom again. Mom of this teenager, this struggling, hormonal, learning disabled kid, and I’ve lost my footing.
The meaning of life is coming into form through the fog as time passes. Maybe all this chasing the “American Dream” and accomplishment, constant driving ambition, achievement at all costs, wealth, success and all the external trappings of a life well lived are really not all that they seem. I tend to believe it’s one’s inner life. Our job here on this planet, as humans incarnate, for this brief blip of time, is to learn who we really are, beyond all the roles we play, way out there beyond all that seems so imminently important. All those things we strive after day after slaving day, are maybe not the point. What really matters? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s learning to love each other, and I don’t mean just the loveable ones. I mean the ones that we love to hate, the sticky ones that irritate the crap out of us and the man on the street who is begging for change, maybe just to buy that bottle of hooch, yeah, we gotta love him too. The only way I can personally do this is to put down all my armor, maybe for a moment, imagine that whoever it is that I hate or want to hate, cries too. I mean really cries. The power of evoking an image of my worst enemy crying, always opens a window in my heart, a way in, a gleam of light. Some days it’s all I can do to open my grinch heart enough to let in a glimmer of the light of love.
You know, most of the time, I may remember that I’m not the roles I play and to quote one of my favorite lyrics of all time, by The Indigo Girls, “the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine”, is more of a lofty ideal, than my minute to minute reality, but at least now, I know what it means and how to continue on the path or getting there. I imagine myself getting dressed in the morning and picking out my costume. Shall I be the rad neo buddhist, aging hipster fem fatale in heels? Or maybe the exhausted soccer mom in the SUV with the dunks latte, in sweats and no make up, taking my kids to school? I can’t go back to being the drunken, drugged up barfly or the girl hanging her head over the toilet every night puking up the feelings she couldn’t express….
I’m grateful for every bit of pain and angst I’ve felt at the hands of who I thought I was at the time and who taught me truly, over the course of many many ragged, careworn years, just who I might be becoming. I’ll continue going to church in the trees where I worship what is new every day and of which I am a part of changing and growing and evolving. Please everyone, lets just all try to tweek ourselves a little bit and move toward more gratitude for this life, our greatest teacher, and smile at a stranger, or even an old enemy as you pass by. Let light and love in through the window of our smiles and often, that is enough.