For My Birthday: Love, Acceptance and a Little Cloudy Bay

yogaDear Friends-

Sometimes coincidences are not so coincidental.

Just as I was walking into my morning yoga class today, a fellow special needs mom/warrior friend forwarded a blog post instructing, “YOU MUST READ THIS!” So I did, and in a matter of minutes, I had tears streaming down my face.

In this post, a beautiful, courageous woman named Prima wrote of her experiences as the mother of an eleven-year-old autistic son. Her words struck me and this passage inspired me:

We have difficult days, sometimes weeks. I purposely choose not to talk about the difficult moments, because I am a “glass half full” kind of gal. I try my best to remain focused on the positive things in life; however, difficult moments do manage to come my way. All the time. Usually after a long and difficult week, my faith in everything I do is put to the test. Every time I am faced with one of life’s many obstacles, I can’t help but wonder if everything we do is worth it, if all the sacrifices will lead to the ultimate goal. And then I reflect; I think about the bigger picture and realize that, when things fall apart, it is simply part of the healing process.

After reading it, I quickly scooted into my yoga class, the instructor glancing as I wiped tears from my face. Crap, she knows I’m not at peace right now.

Now, I like to act like I have my shit together at yoga with my ‘I can be Buddha too’ mindset. But then karma pays a visit and you find yourself walking into yoga class crying. I know the whole point is acceptance, even if you aren’t sitting under a Bodhi tree, but we westerners just can’t help ourselves with our perfectionism. You know it’s bad when you’re practicing perfection at yoga — I’ve got real issues, don’t I?

After the warm up poses, the teacher said, “Okay, I want to set an intention for our class today. I want you all to think about acceptance, releasing all expectations and self-love.” I could have sworn she gave me a quick nod. She’s onto me!

Well, after this second coincidence, I began to rethink by birthday message, and rather than offer you some high and mighty advice in a listicle about what I think I know and have learned over the past year, I thought: what if I just told the truth?

And the truth is, I’ve been feeling like shit lately. (THAT felt good!) And, instead of pretending to have it all together, I reasoned, I need to love and accept where I am right now and have faith that my pain is all a part of the process of growing, healing and becoming stronger.

This advice has been extremely hard to follow because I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of emotions, and I’m struggling to figure out exactly why. For many of us the long, lazy, easy days of summer are a welcome, long overdue break, but for some of us, the change in scheduling proves more challenging.

The summer season is always harder for my daughter, Marlie. She becomes more anxious and frustrated, and her challenges become more evident. Somehow when you throw out the disciplined daily routines, her everyday vulnerabilities come to light. I see, feel and hear her frustrations and fears and they absorb into every molecule of my being. All I want to do is help my baby, but at times, there is nothing I can do.

I feel helpless, scared and quite frankly, exhausted. I often find myself emotionally stuck in that dangerous place between what it is and what I wish it could be. I’m desperately crawling my way back towards the present and doing all I can to find acceptance, love and peace there.

Every single day is a test for me to stay in the now — embracing her right where she is, not wishing or thinking it could be different, but knowing that this is her miraculous journey, her one of a kind story and to celebrate it for its truth, authenticity, and hope.

Like Prima, I consider myself a “glass half full type of gal.” But lately I’ve let my emotions get the best of me. On one hand, you want to trust them because it they feel so real, so raw, so true, but on the other hand, a deeper, more knowing part senses they are visiting acquaintances that do not have any real, sustained interest in my long term well being.

There is an old quote which states, “Feel what you feel and do not deny your truth.” But if I feel like shit, what then?

Inevitably, the cesspool of negative emotion leads to a feeling of guilt that I am even feeling what I am feeling in the first place. Oh the joys of being a woman — guilt mixed in with anger can be a lethal combination. Cue Maleficent. If I show up for work wearing a pair of black leather horns, its official – I’m a goner.

Put simply, I’m just not sure there are clear answers to experiencing pain and complex, difficult emotions. I do know that a certain amount of self-love and acceptance about where you are is a good thing. I guess I just keep telling myself that there are no skipped steps and I need to feel what I feel, to roll around in it, so to speak, to get to higher ground.

But now I sense a need to lay down my sword in search for peace, solitude and healing. Perhaps this is my soul’s way of communicating to me. Maybe it’s a primal message sent to ensure my survival that I am to stop, listen and just be.

I have come to the conclusion that I am going to pledge to love and accept myself on this 11th day of August celebrating my 46th year of life on Earth. (Forty-six, meh…I’m still trying to get on board with this one.) I accept this temporary dip in emotional health as just another step toward becoming a better, stronger version of myself. And as Prima states,

For the healing to happen, you need to leave room for all of it: for the grief, the pain, the tears, the anger.

Well, I can safely say I’ve left room for all of the above to fully manifest, and I do feel the healing has begun. Thanks to Prima for her brave, heartfelt post, to my yoga teacher for her encouraging intention, and to Cloudy Bay, my favorite Sauvignon Blanc for its soothing powers. I am now in a much better place 😉

marlieI’ll leave you with this picture of Marlie at Space Center Houston. She loved being there and when I asked why she said, “Because I want to be an astronaut and go far, far away and visit aliens.”

Maybe that’s not such a bad idea. If healing, self-love and acceptance aren’t your thing, then escaping to another planet can always be an option. You gotta’ love her.

Happy Birthday to Me!

XOXO, Elaine


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4 thoughts on “For My Birthday: Love, Acceptance and a Little Cloudy Bay

  1. I so relate to this, Elaine! I’m right in the middle of similar emotions…feeling like shit lately too. I love this quote: ” And then I reflect; I think about the bigger picture and realize that, when things fall apart, it is simply part of the healing process.” Thanks for the reminder to be gentle and compassionate with myself!

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  2. Thanks for sharing Elaine. Your message is so real and helps me to remember I’m not alone! I count the days when school starts and the emotional roller coaster of dealing with bad behavior due to a lack of structure can end, and I don’t like myself for it! Thanks for the reminder to just love what we do get with our kids/life and to love myself too.

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