For those of us in the Northern hemisphere the winter solstice is fast approaching. As much as the cold and grey can drag on in London for longer than I’d like, I always enjoy this time of year. The shorter days and longer nights feel like an embrace to me in a way. I feel a sense of support and comfort staying in more and conserving my energy. Just as many trees and plants in nature use the winter months to shed their leaves and lay themselves bare before regenerating in the spring. I always feel something similar taking place within myself. It’s the natural time of year I believe, to take pause and reflect on the 12 months or so that’s been and then prepare to move forward to what’s next.
As I reflect on this year that’s coming to its end, I would say that it has been the most intense year of my life so far. The journey of raising my son has been and still is something that challenges me emotionally and pushes me to my uttermost limits almost everyday.
Only now that I have this new perspective on life can I see that I took it for granted how calm and balanced my external environment used to be before my son was born. It made me somewhat complacent as I allowed myself to take credit for my inner peace rather than seeing the truth of the situation – the things happening ‘outside’ of me mostly being within my control, therefore my mind didn’t have to work very hard to maintain balance.
This past year though, I’ve spent a large amount of my time being angry and frustrated with myself for not doing more yoga or meditation. I’ve been disappointed in myself for finding being a parent harder than I anticipated. Ashamed that I didn’t make it back to work as quickly as I hoped I would and have had to rely on my partner to bring in an income for us all. Constantly, I’ve striven to find the right balance between acceptance of life the way it currently is and motivation to create change and new opportunities, but it’s still been a tough year. It’s only now that I can see all of these moments and emotions I’ve experienced (which at the time I was totally consumed and overwhelmed by) as the most precious gifts and lessons for me to grow and gain more awareness from.
Before my son was born, very few things in my life challenged me emotionally. I had no where left to grow. The environments I was allowing myself to be in externally in my life were all very ‘safe’ and ‘known’ from an emotional perspective. Although I was travelling and meeting new people and doing new things, what I was experiencing internally was very easy to manage as it was mostly familiar territory. Having my son burst that false sense of peace and tranquility I’d allowed myself to believe I could maintain in any situation. Although for most of the past year I’ve found it painful, intense and hard to sit with the things that have arisen me, I’m incredibly grateful.
I have often heard people say that if you get the chance to have a child it will be the greatest opportunity for you to make yourself into a better person if you want it to. You are given the chance to face and then let go of all sorts of buried emotions that would never have been triggered in any other situation. You get the opportunity to practice developing your patience, compassion, understanding and acceptance like never before. You are gifted the chance to see the world from a different perspective, gain more awareness and then let yourself grow.
As I look back and reflect on my past 12 months I am extremely grateful for the experience I’ve had. I feel unbelievably proud of myself (and of all the other parents out there) for not giving up, even when life itself feels impossible. Looking forward to the next 12 months I feel ready to keep growing as a person and facing the constant internal hurdles that I know will be unavoidable.
For now though, I’m going to enjoy this time of the year to slow right down and let myself simply ‘be’, until it’s time to prepare for the blossoming of new opportunities in a few months time.
Photo by Aditya Vyas