I have always taken a pragmatic approach to life. Driven by blinding ambition, my daily routine has consisted of a well-thought out list to be accomplished. Success has been marked and recorded by the perfect completion of a series of tasks that were designed to make me shine. And that I did…I accomplished, a whole lot. Like the doctoral dissertation I just finished the final edits on this morning. Play big or go home.
In fact, given that the big check mark can soon be placed next to the PhD, I already have a whole list of things to do next. Find a job, get my business going, fix up my house, get my life in order….
But I also want desperately to find peace in my mind, slow the hamster wheel down, stop the endless lists that run through my head… the 5 billion rpms that rev. The workaholic has served me well, but she needs balance, she needs help shutting off the screens…smelling the roses, sitting in the sun (with spf 50 on of course).
Just two weeks ago I started an “Exploration of Self” program guided by my good friend Marcus Padulchick, to examine my inner core. The prospect of doing some psychological digging with Marcus was intriguing so I jumped in.
During a recent session, Marcus encouraged our group to “get out of your head and into your heart.” I’ve heard this one before, always sounded like a good idea to me. So I immediately thought “I got this…I work like a maniac until 6pm each night then shut down and find some peace.” I could use a little less organizing and a little more guidance from my ticker in the evening. At this point I was delusional thinking Marcus was talking about making some peace in my life after a day of craziness.
I quickly realized Marcus was encouraging us to let our hearts guide our way, all the time….clearly he is insane. How the heck could that happen? No intellectual over analyzation of each and every decision? Let’s see how Marcus plans for me to get this done. As the call progressed I waited, and waited for Marcus to give me the plan. What is step 1, what do I do first, how does this process unfold of moving from head to heart? When was he going to impart me the instructions – the list that I could print out, and tick off as I accomplished?
And then I realized the list wasn’t coming (ok, truth be told, he called me out that I was sitting there waiting for it and then dropped the bomb that it wasn’t coming). Because, as it turns out this process of letting go of the intellectual and instead letting your heart sing cannot be planned, or scripted, or stepped into. I sat, over-analyzed the lack of plan and thought, “Crapola – now I am lost.”
You may remember me mentioning that I am spending some time with a dear friend when I am not with my children . I had the opportunity to talk to her right after the call. We discussed that it is def-com 5 critical importance for me to get out of my head and into my heart. The intellectual side of me is fabulous as are my stunning outgoing personality and confidence. While they have served me well I am most definitely missing the heartfelt side of life. I explained my struggle with the process of knowing how to…and then it hit us at the same time, I do have a model, a blueprint, a guide to follow…the way that I parent.
The very next day I had the good fortune of visiting with Michele Engoran at the Center for Relaxation and Healing . She is my Rock of Gibraltar in times of change and coincidentally I already had the meeting scheduled. Michele has helped me battle demons in these last three months and I was ready to move on. I shared the "out of head into heart" commitment I had made. She ecstatically encouraged me to examine the way I dip into my heart when I parent, and look to explore that and use it in other areas of my life. Operating without fear…and with my heart singing.
And so began “Jen get out of your head and into your heart tour, 2013.” I had blueprint…no clue what to do with it, but it was certainly something I could hang my hat and my mediation blanket on.
That afternoon was the first day of beautiful weather and I had the good fortune of some alone time sitting in my friend’s garden, among the first signs of spring as her dog psychotically barked scaring the crap out of the defenseless mothers walking by pushing their strollers.
I thought about parenting, the way I dip into my heart, and how that could lead me in other areas of my life. The excitement of this blueprint, tied to my children was so overwhelming I noticed unexplained tears in my eyes. And then it hit me, like a wonderous ton of bricks, each smacking me in the face to wake up me up and see a bigger picture…that is wasn’t just my parenting style that would show me the way, it was the very existence of my three daughters. My children were not only sent for me to raise, nurture and guide, but they were the ones who coaxed my heart to authentically sing. Yes, they have taught plenty throughout the years, including the limits of my patience and how to stretch a dollar. But all jokes aside, this probably was their biggest undertaking to date and all they had to do was be their fabulous selves.
When each of them was born, I was given a gift to be my authentic self, to operate from unconditional love. Simply by their existence I had naturally operated from my heart. And now, as I look for the guidance I crave to stir my heart to lead in all areas, I look to the way that I parent them as stunning individuals charting their own amazing paths in life. They are more than just the gift of wonder, they are now my greatest teachers, to inspire me to be the real me. Not just as a mom, but in all areas of my life. This was one of those classic “oh young grasshopper you have become the greatest teacher.”
Parenting has come naturally to me. Sure, I’ve read a fair share of books, websites, blogs and even took a class or two. But the fundamental core of who I am as a mom is not an intellectual exercise – when I parent, it is straight from the heart with guiding love for the individual souls of my children. I operate without fear, knowing I will make mistakes, apologizing to them when I do. I give loving guidance (sometimes masked as aberrant screaming) and encourage them to be their truest authentic selves.
Now, I explore how to dip into my heart to guide me through other areas of my life. What resonates, what does not. What do I truly want in a career?. What will make my heart sing? What will bring me joy, who should I let in? What space do I need to remain independent yet who gets the privilege of the inner circle? Who will cherish all of me, help me in my journey, and be given the golden prize as my partner? Could he already be here? These questions are no longer to be dissected and planned, but rather let go from my heart like whispers in the wind to unfold and find their way. In fact, I let them go in the breeze of the garden.
Why did this great breakthrough, happen there in the garden? Could it be my friend’s unconditional love and support she has provided to me and the safety I feel in her home? Did I feel the support and kick in the ass from Marcus, the confirmation of Michele, the knowing I had a blueprint? Did the tears flow because I had figured it out? Did I realize a deeper understanding of parenthood, was it that my children suddenly had an even higher place of importance in my life as my teachers, the enablers of this flow of energy of my heart? Yes, yes, yes….and you got it, yes.