I have always been a fast person. My mind never resting, always working, always thinking, always analyzing. My body trying to catch up. Be the most efficient, waste the least time, get the most crossed off my to-do list.
Some of this is inherited I know, my dad is the same way, but I suspect much of it also stems from the loss I’ve experienced these last years. First, my best friend and lover of many years, my dear uncle, a baby that I cared for, all taken much too soon, from this earth, and from my life.
These losses birthed a sense of urgency within me. The awareness of the shortness of this lifetime and the days within it. Tomorrow could be our last. No time to waste, no time to sit back and watch the days and moments pass. If I want things to happen, to continue to happen, I must always be moving forward.
I feel this unyielding desire to be PRODUCTIVE each day.
It’s the word that haunts me some days and brings me unbridled satisfaction the next. If I am not productive; getting stuff done, I am simply wasting time, wasting this wild and precious life. Productive doesn’t have to mean doing laundry, or washing dishes, it can more importantly be writing, creating, learning, or expanding my mind. When I feel I’ve had a day that has been productive and fruitful, when I have a list full of check marks and a new story written, I feel strong, I feel accomplished, I feel good.
Those other days, when despite my best efforts, everything is half done or not yet started, or just a straight up failure.
Those are the days when I need to find my serenity. My calm. My peace. I need to find acceptance of what life delivers to me each day, not fight against it with my own demands.
I must stop forcing life, stop controlling the moment. Instead letting them unfold organically and taking the time to notice the way that they do. Serenity can be found in these ordinary every day moments and in the places that live between them. Because if I’ve learned anything through the loss I’ve experienced it is truly the grand sum of those moments that comprise our existence.
Even though I may know this deep down inside my heart and soul, for me, it still takes much effort; it takes much awareness, and a lot of intention.
I have to force myself to stop. To breath. To relax my mind. To find the calm beneath the storm. For when I allow my mind to slow, time follows. The moments of the day that quickly pass can be put into slow motion if I let them. Suddenly my senses are heightened and I am able to see all the little details around me. The tiniest speck of ordinary is illuminated and visible and beautiful.
Here, life doesn’t always have to move fast. Nothing else exists but the things that I can feel, and see, breath, and taste. Not my growing to-do list, not the laundry wet in the washer. But instead the dew drops on the grass that sparkle in the morning sun and the sounds of the rain slowly dripping from the gutter. Not the vacuum taken from the closet, plugged in days ago but still not used. But the blossoms on the trees, some falling gently, some still opening, new, fresh and vibrant. Not her sleep schedule, or the night weaning, or the new molars coming in. But the way the sun illuminates her face, every curl and highlight of her hair, every curve of her face, and every bit of love that pours from her wise and knowing eyes.
Sometimes serenity is easy to find as a mother. Those peaceful moments when you feel their body finally release and become limp on your chest. When all you feel in the world is the rhythm of their breath and all you can smell is the sweetness wafting from their head. After a long day, when you’ve peeled away their muddy clothes and plopped them in a warm bath of bubbles and they quietly play, not needing you for a moment. You sigh, and you see that moment as a memory you will replay when you are old and grey and they are grown with children of their own.
Other times finding serenity in the crazy rollercoaster of motherhood can feel almost impossible. When nothing is able to get done, or worse, when things continue to become undone. The laundry you folded, with one swipe is a jumbled heap, the meal you spent hours cooking is used to paint faces and floors instead of nourishing little bellies. When your eyes are heavy and your patience is thin, when you feel weak, and tired, and near your end.
But these are the times when it’s most important to find your peace, to slow your breath, and count each inhale, each exhale. These are the times where you must dive deep into the ocean, away from the storm to the peaceful calm living below the surface. For me, I look into her eyes, her deep, wise knowing eyes, so full of love and acceptance. I feel my tensions softening, and the unimportant worries fall away. Here, I am more able to connect to the love that we share, to come to her with only that love spilling from my heart the way it spills from her. These are the moments where our souls become intertwined.
This peace feels easier to find since she came along. Despite that my mind is more full of worry and my day is more filled with tasks than it has ever been. Because she helps me to slow down and see the world through her innocent existence, the wonder in which she sees the world, and all its moving parts. But also because I must find this peace for her. Not only to center myself, to find a place where I can offer her all the love and patience she deserves but to show her how to hold onto this sense of wonder that her newly developing mind allows her. Most importantly, to show her to be mindful, to live with purpose and intention, to live with love and peace and serenity and to notice all those simple lovely pure moments and the ones that live between them, because what else do we have then those moments?
Those beautiful, illuminated, ordinary, everyday moments.
By Holly Klisak