Change is never easy. It’s never a fun thing to venture into the unknown, especially when we’ve been conditioned or trained to feel/react/behave a certain way. It’s never easy to break any kind of comfort zone. Comfort has been equated to safety. We all love the illusion of control. We plan and plan and do all the things, the running, the swearing, the circles, the crying/begging/arguing, the winning and losing. And then we do it again in some other arena because…I have no idea why. The thing with change is it comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s direct and we shift from one way to another. Sometimes it’s sneaky and we don’t realize that suddenly we have a new habit or a new belief or that we can suddenly do without what we desperately needed. Sometimes it’s forced and unanticipated. No matter the form, it will come.
I was holding my son the other day and I really started thinking about where we are in life. Thinking about all of the goals I have and how far I feel from so many of them. Thinking how lofty they seem and that I really am not the person who will achieve those goals. As I held my boy and looked at him, the thought hit me: I am a mother. Yes, in the biological sense I have been very well aware of this, don’t misunderstand. But in the emotional sense I’ve grappled over the years with what identity this puts on me. Not just in the typical mother or career type argument, but in the identification of who I am. I’ve always wanted to be a million things and I thought I had to do them all at once or I would never get to experience them. Motherhood has been a beautiful choice for me, but I’ve always treated it like another hat to wear. I never allowed it to shape me, I never allowed myself to enjoy it. I put way too much pressure on it.
So as I held my boy, the thought came to me that sometimes letting go of who we think we are shows us who we really are. I was reminded of when he was still a baby and how I would kiss his head as I fed him to get him back to sleep and I became acutely aware of how much time has passed since then. I’ve been fighting this circular fight, trying to wear all the hats and be all the things at the same time and it has been a lifetime of never reaching the goal. It doesn’t work because there is no clarity. In those early hours of the day watching my boy sleep, I realized I can let go of my plan, of who I think I am and honor that it is safe to go with what is planned for me. I can wear that new plan like a cloak. Allow it to surround me and guide me. I can allow myself to take some direction.
I fear not achieving my goals but the push is too much. I’m tired. I’m tired of being tired. It’s time to try something different. I’m scared of ending up where I don’t want to be because I’m already so far on this path, I feel like I’m giving up. At the same time, I feel this sense of peace that I don’t always have to know the way. I just have to follow the path. Let go of the how and focus on the why, right? I can give over the idea of what I had to do to get where I wanted to be and just do what is being asked of me. There is healing there. There is healing in surrender and allowing yourself to be shaped into who you are meant to be. I can trust that there is time and many ways for all of this to come together.
Change is death. We’ve talked about that before. Whether gradual or all at once, change is the release of what you knew. It’s giving up the pretense that any of us are in control and acknowledging that some things don’t stay the same—and that we don’t always know why. If we really think about it, so much of what we do in our days is rote and it’s that way because we are protecting ourselves. We create these lives to avoid pain when all we have to do find who we are. The best way to avoid pain is to steer toward who we are rather than who we think we need to be. Everything else is madness. Accept the identity we are given and accept all that comes with that identity regardless of how you feel about it. Just embrace it. Embrace all you are and go the path that may not always feel comfortable. Relinquish what you thought you were and allow the new life to be reborn.