The Truth of Who I Am

"Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free." -Eckhart Tolle

The Yin and The Yang of It

on May 7, 2013

I’ve been working on this post for a few weeks and can’t seem to find the truth of it all. Maybe it’s just how it’s supposed to be.

It’s just the Tuesday since spring break and it feels like we’re a month into the week! I am proud to say that I embraced some down time while the kids were on their spring break last week. I started out the week with visions of quality-time activities jam packed into every minute of each day. As it turned out, life is not that glamorous for this mama. We spent three of the days not getting out of our pajamas the entire day, one beautiful, slow-paced, sunny day at Sweetwater Creek Park with friends, and I can’t even remember the remaining days except for the fact that we did get dressed on those days. The quality-time was experienced in kairos moments rather than whole diems (this blogger, Glennon Melton, was the final push to start a blog). I flitted ungracefully between gentle, loving parenting and crazed-mama parenting all week long. I apologized often to my kids. I do that often – maybe even too often – but that’s for another post. I just can’t help but get the odd feeling that they are NOT often conspiring in my favor unlike the rest of the Universe. In fact, I sometimes think they plan their moves just to play mind tricks on me. All-in-all, I wouldn’t change much about the week other than to have started it with low expectations so as not to feel bad about the laundry and organizing that did not happen as planned.

Needless to say, Monday came around at just the right time and everyone was kinda ready for a bit of a change back to a routine in which you were required to get out of your pajamas and brush your teeth prior to noon. By the end of Tuesday and two relentless days, I was left feeling exhausted and grateful for the time I had had with the family just being around each other. Thinking about these simple joys reminded of a conversation with a chica mama recently. She was telling me that, lately, she’s been thinking a lot about the joys in her life and wondering why her? Why is it that she feels like one of the lucky ones who has beautiful healthy children living in a pretty safe world with a pretty (well….handsome) wonderful man in a country that allows her most of her human freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Why her? Why does she get all this while so many others just don’t? Why her? When so many mamas in Iraq are carrying babies in their wombs, looking forward to their miracles and then giving birth to babies with severe medical conditions resulting from warfare. You can read about it here. It’s quite horrifying and heart-wrenching to read about. The birth defects are considered even worse than what happened in Hiroshima.

My chica mama and I sat there together with this thought that hurts both our hearts deeply. We talked about how we could imagine and almost feel the pain of the Iraqi mamas who were going through this terrible experience with their babies. What could possibly be the reason that we get to live in our privileged environments while they have to live in theirs. Just as they had done nothing to deserve theirs, we had done nothing to deserve ours. Where was the method to this madness? And it seemed ironic that we were talking about these scary experiences almost in tandem with talking about the joys in our lives. It was almost ironic, but then I remembered Brené (Brown, but I like to think we’re on a first name basis because I think of her as one of my chicas) saying,

“If you ask me what’s the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans, I would say joy.” 

Think about it. Every time we feel joy, we also can’t help but feel the fear of the possibility of losing whatever it is that is bringing us joy. I shared this with my friend and her next logical question was, “Well, what did she say to do about it?” Of course that’s the hard part. There really isn’t anything you can do about it. That’s just a feeling you have to acknowledge as part of your joy. You know yin-yang, dark-light, good-evil. Both are part of a whole. One can’t exist without the other. One, when it reaches its peak, transforms into the other. One actually TRANSFORMS into the other. So the thing to do with that fear that is joy, at its peak, transformed, is to lean into it. To allow yourself to be vulnerable. And when we do this, then we do great things. That’s Brené’s message. That to ‘dare greatly’ we must be vulnerable. And it is in our daring greatly that we do great things. So really, what feels like the weakest, most naked, vulnerable part of ourselves is exactly the point at which that same part can begin to TRANSFORM into the bravest, most beautiful, most daring part of us.

It’s beautiful, really. But then, I am left still feeling a little antsy. Because – what do I DO now? How must I be daring? What’s the dare? It just doesn’t feel like enough to think these thoughts and talk and teach and write about them and sign petitions daily and then carry on with my privileged life. There are mamas (yes, papas too) who are in the center of the most horrific circumstances and it just doesn’t feel right for me to carry on. To shop and take my kids to the park and sleep in and go out for sushi. Just doesn’t feel right. This is a truth for me. I struggle with what to DO in my comfortable little world to make some kind of a difference where it matters. I don’t have a satisfying answer to this struggle. So I suppose I must sit with it and keep leaning into the discomfort until the opportunities  to dare become impossibly visible and I can do nothing but dare greatly because I can no longer sit in my discomfort. I suppose I must learn in until I get to the peak of my discomfort and then am left with no choice but to transform into whatever is on the other side. In the meantime, I have a tightness in my chest and a sense of desperation that does not seem to be serving me or anyone else well. Of this I am sure, those mamas and papas in Iraq are just like me and feel love and sadness and fear and disappointment just like me. Their pain over their children is no different from mine. And this is why it feels so wrong to be here in my life waiting for my fear to transform. And this remains on my mind.

King quote

Truthfully yours,



2 responses to “The Yin and The Yang of It

  1. Wow…i am awe struck yet again by your words, your passion, your prolificness…you have captured the very essence of where my mind and thoughts have been journeying lately…You are a powerful Womyn my Rhina…and you do dare greatly in the truth of who you are!

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