A friend recently gave me Katrina Kenison's "The Gift Of An Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir" with the comment, "This book changed my life". Many of you have probably seen Kenison reading from her book on a YouTube video; but if you are like me, holding the actual book in your hand and following her page by page as she struggles to accept her journey through life, is even more pleasurable. My day with my sticky-faced, lollipop eating children over, I sat down to read and opened up the book to this passage:
This year my children got to Trick Or Treat for the first time. I think it blew their little minds to simply knock on strangers' doors and be greeted with candy. Candy! Our kids don't eat candy and rarely have chocolate so this was indeed a treat. I've allowed them a couple of pieces each day since Halloween even though I cringe as they gnaw away on Crunch bars or 3 Musketeers. Today, as they sat in the back of my car after I picked them up from school I handed them two Tootsie Pops. After a minute or two I explained to them that inside the hard candy was a surprise: a chocolate tootsie roll center!
That was it, the questions began. "How long will it take to get to the surprise?", "Can I bite it?", "Why is it taking so loooong?" and so on. After explaining many times that you must lick the hard candy until it all goes away I heard myself saying "Don't be in such a rush; just enjoy getting to the surprise".
Then it hit me: we spend so much time rushing through life, rushing through the time we have with our children, all to get...where? What if we could remember to slow down and savor each lick? What if we were able to remember that it is the journey and how we travel it that matters most? Would the Tootsie Pop center be more delicious when we get there? Or perhaps would we, like my children did today, be uninterested when we finally reach the goal because we had simply enjoyed the process of getting there and that was enough?
"Joseph Campell suggested that there is a unique track, a particular life adventure, waiting for each one of us, and when we step forward to embrace our adventure, doors begin to open that we never saw before, doors that could not open for anyone else.
It was Campbell's belief that our real work in this world is to achieve integrity between what we believe and how we live. 'The privilege of a lifetime,' he wrote, 'is being who you are.' But Campbell also warns that the journey is difficult, that a thousand distractions, and countless obstacles, stand between us and our own truth.
I would add that the journey is ongoing. Not a day goes by that I don't still need to remind myself that my life is not just what's handed to me, nor is it my list of obligations, my accomplishments or failures, or what my family is up to, but rather it is what I choose, day in and day out, to make of it all. When I am able to simply be with things as they are, able to accept the day's challenges without judging, reaching, or wishing for something else, I feel as if I am receiving the privilege, coming a step closer to being myself."And so I sit with two Tootsie Pop sticks in my hand, both amused and amazed that Halloween candy opened up this particular door for me. Every day I struggle with my distractions, my longings and the thousands of obstacles I set in my own way; if my goal is to be the best mother I can be, I have to slow down and savor each delicious moment. Otherwise, in my rush to reach my goal I will, like the owl in that old commercial ("A one, ta-whoo, thrrrree"), miss out on so much.
Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach
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