I was walking through the zoo (yes, we spend A LOT of time at the zoo) and thinking about how happy I feel, and really on a deep soulful level have felt for a while now. It feels like this year has been about fully living in and embracing my life and role as mother, and in turn has helped me fully come alive in ways I struggled to before. I feel like these days my default is joy. I spent so many years trying to get here, trying to understand my fear of joy, my reluctance to embrace it....and here I am.
I was trying to deconstruct it in my head, (because of course I was!) looking for all the contributing factors. And there are a lot.
Being a mother has turned out to be the single most rewarding and fulfilling and challenging role and adventure I have ever taken on. It has called me to greater heights and greater depths than I knew I was capable of feeling and enduring. I love being Zane's mom, LOVE it.
There is also the surprising fact that I love being a "stay-at-home-mom", which I really wasn't sure I would. Sure, there are days I am counting each minute till my partner gets home and I can get some down time, but overall? Love it. I love filling our days, our weeks, finding the balance that makes each day enjoyable and nourishing for us both. I love how much I am called to be in the moment and responsive: to my son, my own needs, the seasons, etc...
I also love being a "homemaker", making home a place of peace, nourishment, love, enjoyment, for our family. I find so much purpose in making space for us as a family, in providing for us through shared experiences, healthy delicious meals, time together, a peaceful safe clean house. The more peace I find within, the more peace I want to create without.
And of course, there is the undeniable contribution of therapy. I have seen the same gifted therapist for over a year now and have experienced greater change and greater freedom within than I have in any other therapeutic relationship or experience. I entered therapy with a few goals, one of them being the freedom to truly enjoy and embrace this incredible life I am so lucky to be living. I can say without a doubt, we have been greatly successful in this.
My therapist and I are in the process of assessing where we go from here....we are kind of in a place right now where it makes sense for me to stop seeing her so often, at least for a while. And this has me nervous. Without that place, that relationship, held out for me, consistently to come and find myself within, will I get lost? Will I forget this joy? It's scary. I know I can always go back. I know there WILL be more stuff, more cobwebs that need clearing, more wounds that need healing, more patterns that need undoing. I know that in all likelihood this is just a "break", not a "break-up". But still, it scares me.
So, today, when I walked through the zoo, pondering all these things, thinking about how happy I am and have been, how almost every day there is at least one moment when I want to pinch myself to make sure this is really MY life, I am really here (because, happiness has not always come so easily to me), it was a sweet little gift to look down at the base of the statue of mama and baby hippo that Z loves climbing on at the zoo and see the words "Abundant Joy".
I was reminded of all the reasons I have to be joyful in my life and how many of them are within me, deeper than circumstances, deeper than fear.
I hold abundant joy within me.
There will be struggles, there will be darkness, life will be hard at times. But I know now that this capacity for abundant joy is within me. I may need help from time to time to access it, but it is a part of me now that cannot be taken away. And I never ever thought I would say that.
And here is one of the greatest reminders of joy I know of: