It’s time I tell you a story about coming full circle. About being worn and shiny and beautiful. About darkness. And about light. And a storm that welled up inside of me.
My “Why I Wake Up Early” volume of Mary Oliver poetry was ruined recently by some water mishap I still cannot wrap my head around.
But, on a walk in the sunshine, I found a lovely worn washer to add to my strange, yet beautifully quirky collection of metal washers — washers that remind me of my own worn yet wise mother self who has come full circle on this journey.
Our daughter woke us up in the middle of the dark early morning hours with a bloody nose and I could. not. get. back. to. sleep. Hello, awake mind and everything-is-falling-apart worries.
But, outside the sun was shining all day and the temperature actually went above 60 degrees so I went for not one, but two walks and saw the way the light sparkled on the flowing water down the streets as the great melting soaked the earth.
“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968
The only way to transform out of a not enough mentality — the same one that keeps us feeling down and out and trapped in the Land of Bitter and Sour — is to see the light when the light comes — and to honor the dark when darkness sets in.
This is the ultimate lesson I teach in The Abundant Mama Project — how to find beauty in the ordinary, the everyday and the painful darkness.
I know what the darkness feels like. I’ve tasted darkness. I’ve lived darkness. I smelled it in for long, long hours alone. I’ve wept in it. And I’ve breathed through it.
I first met darkness on Day 9 of my motherhood journey — the Day. You know the day? I know you know the day.
The day everyone leaves you.
For me, it was the ninth day – a Friday — after my C-Section that welcomed my sweet girls into the world.
It was the ninth day when I was left alone with two very crying infants. And I was one very crying first-time mother who had no clue what she was doing, a huge healing gash in her stomach and no one to call for help.
That was the first of a nice long bout of darkness. Not depression. Not postpartum.
Just darkness. The kind of darkness that comes when everyone leaves and you’re left violently alone with a responsibility so intense and so immense you want to fall to the floor.
Day 9 was one of the very tiny seeds that began my Abundant Mama journey.
That day, my aching red eyes swollen and my babies hungry, I sat up.
Looked my sweet girls in their tiny, infant faces. Wiped my tears away. Breathed deeply.
And I looked around the room and focused on the light and how it shimmered through the silk, burgundy curtains we had on the windows. I focused on how the wood floors had bits of dust only noticeable with the sunlight shining down on them like a spotlight.
It was on Day 9 when I first realized I had an inner wisdom and strength I never knew I had.
All I had to do was surrender to what was right there in front of me. To live each moment as if it was the only moment.
I have proof in tape after tape after tape that, yes, the light did pour in — in fact it streamed in beautifully.
In little baby smiles. And silly faces. And pointing to body parts. And chocolate chocolate cookies. And meals from neighbors. And walks down the block in the sun.
Thank goodness for videos. To remind me of the light. To remind me that where there was darkness there was also immense, shimmery light that transformed me into something more than just a crying lump who had no clue.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” — Haruki Murakami
For many mothers around the world, it’s often never clear if the storm is over for them. If they will ever shed their not enough mentality. If the darkness will finally make way for light. If their joy will return again. If things will get easier. If they will find themselves, again.
For me, the storm became a hurricane of inner strength where I learned to listen to my inner mother and how to show other women to do the same.
And I have never been the same since.
When I look back, I can clearly see my own transformation from feeling not enough to feeling true abundance. I can see the exact moments unfold.
Dark into light.
Weak into strong.
Chaos into peace.
Fear into courage.
Lack into enough.
Bitter into joy.
And the transformation happened not in one day, but in a series of days … of months … of years … of moments … of dreams … of being in the moment.
And true feelings of abundance rose up the more I did the work and the more I used each and every tool that showed me my own worth — and the beauty of being a mother in this crazy, modern world.
Now, I am honored to witness those same moments unfold in the lives of women around the world — when they begin to have their own epiphanies as they learn to transform out of their not enough mentality and start to find abundance in their everyday.
I am proud to watch them learn how to put themselves further up on their own busy todo list, and understand what it means to finally trust themselves more and do less — not in a lazy sense, but in a liberating oh-I-got-this sense.
And I’m eager to see another mama start understanding that playing a little each day isn’t about giving up control, but about living life to the fullest and embracing true joy.
We begin on Monday. Join us.