Growing up my mom was that parent who always had a quote for every occasion.
This is a small sampling of the things I heard through my childhood:
- "You always have a choice."
- "Patience is a virtue."
- You'll never be happy until you're happy with what you have now."
- "Don't worry about the things you can't control."
- "Be content what what you have."
And there were a lot of less-than philosophical ones, plus a few that she didn't exactly know but said anyway. Wise words that felt like punishments at the time.
Most of the quotes were about contentment and patience, in my case. My brother heard other ones about engagement and participation, being the lone wolf that he was. He really was pretty close to a wolf for a while there too, spending most of his days in the woods with trees and animals as his companions.
I, on the other hand, was the restless spirit, always looking for what came next and wondering about everything. Questions and their answers flowed like water. Contentment and patience were unknowns. Why wait for something to happen when I could make it happen? Or better yet, make someone else make it happen?
Over the last decade I have spent a fair amount of time waiting. Waiting to finish a degree, to get married, divorced, and waiting to see if I would find love again.
In the last few years it has been waiting for the arduous IVF process to begin, again and again. Then now waiting for it to begin again. Waiting for motherhood, waiting for the grief to pass, and waiting for my heart to stop breaking. And finally, waiting to come to terms with the fact that my heart may always have a broken piece in the "mother" place, the place where I am now a mother (through marriage, choice, and the act of the thing itself) but the place that longs to cradle a burgeoning belly and feel the life growing inside of me.
The process of waiting sucks. I am still learning how to live in the waiting place but also live in my life. Learning to make peace with what is. I didn't understand my mom's urging about patience and contentment until now. I couldn't understand why it is so important to have those tools in my toolset until I experienced the pain of not having them.
And while being patient and content won't erase the pain or anxiety that can come with the waiting, it can lighten the load just a little bit.
So what have I done to get to this place? The standard list of therapy, self-love, yoga, meditation, friendship, community, and time.
Especially time. Unfortunately there's no magic pill for healing yet, just time, effort, and patience.
As my current coach/therapist would say, this process takes endless kindness, gentleness and curiosity.
It takes us being the wisest, kindest version of ourselves to look in the mirror with radical self-acceptance and say, "I see you and I love you, just as you are."
In our society there's very little room for this kind of self-acceptance and contentment. We are in a culture of MORE, NOW, and BETTER, flying in the face of just being with what is.
As the leader of a company that sells products, I too feel the push and pull of these things, the desire to add more items and always been on top of trends. It's hard to take a stance for contentment when you need people to buy things in order to keep going but that's why I want to do this whole thing differently. I want people to support our company not because they feel a lack of something but because they feel a connection to it instead.
Where there is community, there is connection, and where connection lives, so too does contentment.
Good luck out there, Happy Rebels!