Mother: Being highly sensitive is both a gift and a curse. The gift is in the fine tuned intuition and the creativity. It’s in feeling everything, the good and the bad and knowing that the body never lies. The curse is also in the feeling everything, which can overwhelm the senses. It took me well into adulthood to appreciate that I had a built- in compass for life, and even then I often ignored it or overrode it with fear, the opinions of others, or the sheer act of disconnecting from my own source of power.
But being a mother has been the ultimate lesson in mothering myself. All the things I wanted my daughters to know- about following their inner guidance, honoring their unique gifts, and forging their own paths in life, as well as self- care and simplicity, routine and courage- were the very things I needed to cultivate in myself as well.
Much of raising Brittni -and to a large extent my other daughters as well-involved encouraging the balance of challenging sensitivities with honoring them. When do you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and when do you say no to overwhelm even if everyone around you seems to be handling it–whatever it is? I guess we all have to question our tyranny of shoulds- I should be able to handle that, I should go, I should do it, I should want that, I should be satisfied with this, I should, should should. And at the same time, some limitations are self imposed and beg to be tested. I think it comes down to knowing when something is our own desire or goal versus a perceived expectation from someone or something else. If it’s a heart desire, then push yourself! If it’s someone else’s or society’s unimportant expectation? Think twice.
Also, it became quite clear that self-care- adequate sleep, a healthy diet, time in nature, alone time, and a decluttered environment -were important to my own and my children’s wellbeing. My takeaway? Be your own good mother. And then parent from that place of abundance.
Despite the things I figured out early on though, I cannot help but look back at all that I didn’t know, or more accurately, all that I figured out along the way, sometimes late in the game. I would do it all again in a heartbeat, this motherhood gig, with all its intensity and heartbreak and joy and miracles. I would start over with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and the wisdom of a mother who has been through it already.
Hindsight is like one of life’s cruel jokes. Here you go, it says, now you know exactly what to do! Oh, but time’s up. Sorry.
But I do get to share my journey of motherhood, from the earliest days right up to today, as my oldest daughter is expecting her daughters. And writing it down, with all the perspective that experience allows, is the next best thing to doing it all again.