There is really nothing I can think of that you can force in this world. To force something implies that you are bending it against its will, and if something occurs outside its true form, its not really what you intended it to be after all. Along the way, forcing and fighting leaves much pain in its path.
Even when we all know this, we spend so much of our time molding, demanding, planning, bending, breaking… our physical image, loved ones, strangers, situations… all in the name of desire or how we think things ought to be. To be clear, there are important fights to fight. There are battles we will engage in and lose again and again and again, and these are worthy and important efforts. Feminism. Human Rights. Water Rights. Fighting for our children. And those pesky assholes who sold you a bogus car warranty (I’m talking to you Jim Falk Valley Isle Motors). But sometimes we can catch ourselves blind in battle, eyes tightly shut, just swinging back at some invisible fear.
In 2018, I found myself forcing a lot of things. And this was perhaps the biggest lesson Before me. I found myself fighting battles that have ended a long time ago, or starting new ones because things don’t feel right. A lot of bad habits re-emerge. One’s I thought I had packed away with my self-ritious, belligerent early 20’s. In my defense, I think I’m stuck in the residual fight or flight of 2017 disappointments and traumas. I’ve engaged in more arguments than necessary. I’ve been petty, persistent, defensive, pushy. I’ve started fires just to put them out. And around every turn, harm and let downs exist. And in an attempt to be strong against it, I’ve had to be a real bitch at times.
As a mother, attempting to force things is part of the job. These little ones have to eat, bathe, learn, sleep and we all have to get out of the house in time for school and work. It’s almost humorous to think of all the demands we put on them, and ourselves along the way. I think what has made me the most weary lately, is how much I struggle with these things. The homework, the set backs and even the basics like why it takes young boys 30 minutes and 21 reminders to brush their teeth. To be honest this process can make me so frustrated and so angry. Why? Because it is completely out of my control and no matter how much kicking and screaming I do, I simply cannot force their pace going into the world. There has to be a better way and they certainly deserve better. But there is no alternative to my responsibility to show them the way, and part of that responsibility is showing them to be peaceful and loving no matter what perceived power I may have over them.
Amidst the struggle, we forget that in-between fight or flight is the sweet spot of strength. The patient softness that encourages instead of critiques, the one thats woos the world to its whim, and the one thats still content when it does not go its way. But even this way of being; even this, you cannot force.
You can pry a flower open only to have its petals fall apart. Or you can plant, water, sing to, love on and shine upon a bud and just wait for that glorious bloom. That is true strength, after all, the patience in one’s breath, the willingness to nurture and permit, the allowance of time.
So this is where I desire the most growth. I know there is a way. Because I have been in this place before. At some point I decided my heart could not take it. The woesome and worthless battles. I decided I had nothing to prove, that I could spare the pride and instead maintain a positive, productive attitude. At the risk of coming off as a pushover, I would be blissful, content and happy. And I swear to you, it worked.
I want to find that flexibility again. I want to remain forthcoming but find a way to gently release whatever pain I’ve packed up and find a softness against the prickly skin of living. I deserve kindness, from myself first, and I also want to deliver it to the world in every way possible, starting within my home and most sacred relationships.
I don’t usually make New Years this resolutions. But when I do they stick. Perhaps this intention is not a resolution at all, but rather, a reminder. To return to my strongest self which is in the softness of my soul.