While out for a hike with my family this afternoon a realization hit. It wasn’t sudden, more like a wave that crested about two kilometers in. I’ve lost my way. I’m no longer connected to my herb teachers. The sounds of my plant allies has become lost in the muddle of my life. It may sound melodramatic, but in the last two years, the song my soul sings is becoming quieter and quieter. Barely a whisper, I have recently begun to fear that it is gone for good. That who I was is lost. As I walked with my son in the still of Nature I knew the plants were still there. They hadn’t abandoned me and I still desperately wanted their guidance. The whisper became a hum.
I told my husband that I missed my old life, but that statement wasn’t complete. Nor did it do the feeling I was having justice at all. My old life is gone. I know that. Three years ago I decided to embark on the journey of parenthood. For me it hasn’t always been easy. That first year was a blur of tears, sleepless nights, battles with depression, diapers, spit up and a constant feeling in inadequacy and fear. The second year felt like I was playing catch up. I had lost a year of life trying to figure out how to survive as a mother and now I had to run! I look into the eyes of my son and I wouldn’t change a moment of it. I know in my heart that it was my plant guides that lead me to him. A three year journey of self discovery with the help of a little Ash tree in the Beaver Valley (I’m not kidding). He is supposed to be in my life and I am supposed to be in his. So if this is truth, than why do I feel so lost?
Being a stay at home mother in our society is not an easy path. We live in a world where a person is often defined by their profession and while it is not the case for all, many people feel a stay at home mom isn’t a true profession. For a brief time I started doing surveys online in order to make some additional money. I hated marking “unemployeed” or “homemaker” in the employment category. It made me feel like nothing. Unemployed. In a society where we are defined by our profession that makes me close to worthless. And homemaker! Peg Bundy was a homemaker and all she did was eat bonbons and watch soaps. My head and logical brain knows this isn’t true in my case, but the battle between heart and head is a long one and I never know who is winning.
In an effort to feel like a contributing member of my family I’ve taken on too much. I’m a full time mother to a busy, smart and adventurous two year old. I make all of our food and his food from scratch. I do all the cleaning and all the laundry (which includes two years of cloth diapering). I have a mostly thriving vegetable garden. I have preserved and canned litres and litres of food so we can eat local in the dead of winter. I run a small custom crocheting business, which thanks to word of mouth is doing quite well for itself (winter is my busiest season). I blog and post weekly about my adventures as an aspiring homesteader, herbalist and natural parent. I make handmade herbal products and medicines for my local community. I’ve begun preparations to start homeschooling my son (preschool) in January including homemade flash cards, a morning board and other educational activities/games. And all of this without a single full night’s sleep in over two years (yes he still doesn’t sleep through the night). I’ve filled my life with so many tasks in an effort to feel productive and valued. I never say no to anyone (except myself) and I don’t have single thing I do that is purely for myself.
Please don’t take this as complaining or an effort to make others feel sorry for me. I know I’ve done this to myself. While trying to prove something to the world I’ve forgotten the most important person to prove something to, myself. I don’t meditate with plants, workout, do yoga or write in my journal anymore. I don’t read books, use my tarot cards, draw or dance anymore. I don’t study plants, press tinctures or harvest anymore. All of these things seemed selfish when there was just ‘so much to do’. But as I walked in the chilled dusk with my family I realized that there was so much to do because I made it that way. The wave crested and slapped me in the face. Hard.
I sit here typing this with tears in my eyes. Most lessons are not easy to learn. This one is no exception. Plants are patient teachers. While they have not abandoned me (as I did them) they will demand something in return for their wisdom. An openness to learning, truly listening to their guidance and following my path. Sounds easy? Not at all. It is much easier to ignore your true path than it is to walk it. Your truth path brings fulfillment and it makes your soul sing, but often the greatest journeys and rewards come with the hardest work and sacrifice. Growing and learning as a person is not easy! It means accepting the truth that there are things you need to learn and mistakes that you are making.
I know that I must let some things go in order to foster the relationships that mean so much to me. But with this discovery comes hard work. Deeply ingrained habits to break. Old patterns to change. Perhaps I’ve taken my first steps sharing my journey with you. I certainly hope so.
In good health,