Thursday, July 26, 2007


"...A life typically includes birth, ageing, pain and death. We can spend our lives distracting ourselves from these facts but they are inescapable."

I've been addressing internally the complexity of motherhood. I feel like what I'm doing is not working, for me, or those I mother. The more I think about it the more I realize it is a matter of *surrender*. The surrender begins even before birth--at conception, really--but there is a real collision with this surrender in labor. One woman relates the story of her labor:

"I wanted midwives, candles, incense and pain.

After 34 brave hours of labor, I gratefully accepted when a male doctor offered to slice me open and relieve me of my ordeal.

And from that moment, my life's mission of being my own boss, was terminated. Here I was, a warrior, a fighter, in whose path men trembled with fear, at the beck and call of a shrivelled little ET person who did not understand that I was a woman who ran with the wolves. Suddenly all that I had imagined I was, was fundamentally challenged by this new state. I had strived all my life for independence. Respect. Control. Now, I was a leaking, sagging, encumbered zombie."

Yet, the surrender also includes giving your self up to the present, accepting imperfection and acknowledging the equal importance of each moment.
"The whole world is medicine."

In other words. We can learn something from each life step, every pain, each frustration, each restless, irritating, mundane moment. So, my step today will be to live with more mindfulness: to feel the effects of the ground on my feet, the rush of water over my hands while washing dishes, the taste of the food, the sensation of swallowing and digesting, and the feel of food in my stomach as I eat, the rise and fall of my breath. Then, as I feel anger or frustration bubble up inside me I will acknowledge it, in a spacious mind it will then dissolve.

Resist rating the details of the present moment 'good' or 'bad'.

" the stillness of a mountain weathering the extremities of each passing season."

Finding the space of quiet pausing between who I was and who I will become.

*All quotes came from Buddhism for Mothers: a calm approach to caring for yourself and your children by Sarah Napthali


Jenny Dahl said...

I love reading your words and in this case I share your thoughts. I'm writing similar words, not yet ready to post. Attempting still to decipher my own feelings.

Tasha said...

Have you read "Surrendering to Motherhood" Its great!

Kelly said...

I loved reading your thoughts on this. I find myself often kicking against the pricks, and I realize that surrendering makes it easier. But, it's still hard to give it up sometimes.

michelle said...

I was also going to mention "Surrendering to Motherhood"! Tasha and I really need to meet in person. Surrendering is so difficult to do, but living mindfully does bring daily rewards. Keep us posted on your progress!

Amy said...

I loved this. " the beck and call of a shrivelled little ET person who did not understand that I was a woman who ran with the wolves." And "the whole world is medicine."

No surprise all stemmed from a book with that title. The East calls to me, and I think I'll be calling to that book.

glenns said...

You don't know me, but I'm your dad's cousin's daughter...Terri (Burch) Jenson's daughter, Erin. I think you knew my brother Jacob at BYU. My aunt Tonya (Burch) Bascom forwarded your dad's blog to "the family" and I found your blog from his. I've been checking yours often, since I felt a connection with you when I first read your blog- probably nothing to do with the fact that we share genes, but more that we're close in age and stay-at-home moms. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your insights and your real self- you inspire me to think about this often frustrated state I'm in- the thinking is both healthy and rewarding. I'd pass you my blog info, but I have yet to create one. I may have to cave soon!

Jordan said... glad to "see" you, please visit often and can't wait to peek on that blog your starting up soon!!

John and Jolene said...

I think Tasha was the person who recommended "Surrendering to Motherhood" to me and I loved it. I think I want to read what you are reading as well. I love reading your blog. I keep making John read your words and saying "this is what I've been trying to tell you!!" Thanks for putting into words what many of us are feeling.

- Jolene

Tasha said...

Jolene N, is that you???

Jeni said...

"Accepting imperfection." I have a hard time with this. I look around and see dishes that need to be washed, laundry that needs to washed, and floors that need to be swept. Sometimes I think, "I'm failing miserably." But, Calyn is clean, fed, and loved. So, I guess the rest can wait.

Michelle said...

Good Buddhist wisdom! Mindfulness is such a huge and necessary step towards peacefulness. Beautiful words.

John and Jolene said...

It is me Tasha....your girls are beautiful.


Brook said...

I wish I would have read this last week! My reads have been about "taming our zoo", stopping bratiness, etc. Your words inspired me to try and start living motherhood rather than merely survive it...although some days surviving is all that I can muster.