Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Journey to the center of Me... - Part 1


You can buy this book here!
This is the first part in a series of posts that will take you on a imaginary journey to the center of "me". About two years ago, I took a journey of self-exploration by reading a book titled – "Seven Days in UTOPIA, Golf's Sacred Journey" written by David L. Cook, PhD. This book is about an old man who lived in a simple place but had extraordinary insight and who invested himself in the life of another, a golfer who was lost on his journey. Though I'm no professional golfer, only a mother, I too was lost on my journey and this book was just simply perfect for me! I hope the lessons I took from it will be valuable for you too!

I read the book shortly after what I would call a "total burnout" as a mom, which culminated in a breast cancer diagnosis. Today I am healed in more than one way (physically and emotionally), but I would like to take you back into the midst of the aftermath of my crisis, when I came across Dr Cook's book. At the time I was so confused! I thought I had to be the perfect mom, but somehow, just like the golfer in the book, I had lost my "game". I felt exhausted, inadequate and defeated, when those around me all seemed to be so perfect. Though the book is entirely about a golfer, his burnout and how he overcame it, I managed to draw some really helpful lessons from it about motherhood, all of which became a firm part of my own healing journey. In the next few weeks I would like to share them with you, right here, on my blog.

When I finished the book, I tried to summarize it all into a mission statement for moms and though maybe this belongs at the end of my series of blog posts, I would like to share it with you right at the start of it all. Here's what I concluded from the lessons I learnt from this marvelous book:

Mom, be assured that there is no specific model of success in motherhood, no "right way" of doing it. Each mom must develop her own blueprint for her family and her own style of mothering them. We must have such a conviction for the manner in which we "mother" our kids that there are no cracks in her armor when facing the toughest foe on our journey. I find that the toughest challenge we will face as moms, is not necessarily the many and often repeated problems we will encounter while raising our kids or even the fact that other mothers seem to be doing better than us. Our toughest enemy will be the casual comment offered up by a fellow mother or relative about how we SHOULD be doing it. I don't know how you feel about your mothering style, but I encourage you to find a solid stance and conviction that you ARE A GOOD MOM in your very own way. If you don't believe that already, then I recommend that you take a regular "quiet time" during which you write about it in a diary until you do. Unseen wisdom seems to rise when we write things down and I hope that you will come to learn that you are a good mom. That is not to say that we cannot improve, but you will find out during those quiet times as to when and how. My posts are not here to improve your mothering skills, I wouldn't be qualified to even try. My intention and purpose is only to share what I learnt so that you can also find your "game" - your personal mothering style - and that this will help you cope with anything that is coming your way!

So, let's get started with Day 1 of a 7-day journey to the inside of me...

(The main characters of the book are an old farmer and a professional golfer and their names are not relevant for my blog so I will just refer to them as "the farmer" and "the golfer".)

One of the first chapters of the book is titled "Conviction" and it is all about finding answers in the right places and stripping off excess baggage first. In other words, leaving the many interferences of life behind. Oh yes! Quiet time!! A key ingredient to my own healing! The thing, I thought was impossible to do, more of a luxury, since quiet time seems to be a luxury for every mom, had now become a key element to my own survival. After all I was sick and I needed to heal. Quiet time is definitely what I needed most when I started reading this book and in order to be able to get it, I also needed to strip off excess baggage first. I needed to get rid of "unnecessary commitments" and replace them with little quiet times.

Courtesy of www.morguefile.com
For years I had been looking for someone to give me the answer on how I could be the best mother I so wanted to be. The golfer in the book often felt that in moments where it mattered most, he usually failed. I felt that way too. Usually moments where patience was required. Moments where I had everything but time. The golfer was apparently "overthinking the game" and because of it, he usually lost. Sound familiar? It certainly sounded familiar to me. I am definitely an "over-thinker"! With the result, that in those really busy moments, where multi-tasking was at its highest peak, the first thing I usually lost was - fun. Motherhood should be a journey and we ought to be enjoying the journey, but for me, at that time, it had become nothing but a list of chores. (I wish I knew if you can relate to this!)

The golfer learns, that in order to swing a golf club perfectly, he needs to stop thinking and just enjoy the game. Most players overthink the game, but in order to be really successful he needs to learn to let go of control. He is missing rhythm and balance, because he tries too hard to stay in control. Check, check, check! Yup, that's me! Control freak no. 1 at home. (I might as well be honest here, if I am writing about this!) I always knew that motherhood should be more enjoyable, even or especially in those very tense moments. But I was missing something in order to enjoy myself and now, reading this book, I finally knew - I was missing rhythm and balance. Something that you don't easily gain when you are too busy trying to stay in control. Learning to give up control is what I also had to do on Day 1...but how??

Too much stress?

Giving up control over my "to do list" in favor of time-out or a "quiet time" is something I never dared doing before. It is pretty clear to me that my kids often won't stop fighting or having a go at each other until I give them a "time out". But it was never clear to me that I needed such a "time out" too! How often did I struggle with my chores rather than taking a rest?!?

On this metaphorical Day 1 on the journey to the inside of me, I learnt from a fictitious professional golfer, that rhythm and balance would be key words in correcting my mothering skills. In the past, I had been listening to far too many people and tried to copy them far too many times. I have restricted myself in so many ways by trying to do things the way they do. I believe that rhythm can maybe be learnt from someone else, but real balance can only be gained by listening to one's own voice. The key to hearing one's own voice will, however, and can only be - quiet times! In those first few quiet times I have discovered a different voice, a new voice with a new angle. A new coach, teaching me my very own "swing". 

At the end of the chapter, the farmer asked the golfer if he ever slowed down to just think and I would like to ask you the same question now. Do you ever slow down...? Do you ever just think...? Feel free to leave me a comment below! I would love to hear from my readers about how you experience the "speed of life" and whether or not you are coping with it!

In conclusion, the farmer suggests that true healing takes time. Time to contemplate, time to listen to the learning, so that change can take place. I have taken a lot of time and I have learnt that I must clear my mind of other women's mothering styles. Just like the golfer, I must stop trying to copy someone else's game and find my own.

I have begun my journey to the center of me...if you can relate to my journey, then stay with me! If you liked this post, please leave me a comment and I hope you will check back in a couple of weeks when I continue the journey with the help of - "Seven Days in Utopia, Golf's Sacred Journey"!  
HAVE A GREAT GOLFING AND MOTHERING WEEK!

Courtesy of www.morguefile.com

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Sue, although my active "mothering days" are behind me, I often need to journey to the inside of me!

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    1. Thanks for your comment Shirl! I appreciate. I have revised and shortened the post quite a bit and hope that it will be an even better "read" now. ;)

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  2. Very challenging, Sue. Looking forward to more.

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    1. Thank you Val! The next post will be out this week. I appreciate your comments!

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