Life’s Lessons

I feel as though a weight has been lifted lately as I have been so stressed the last few weeks and have been having trouble making any decisions. It is still taking a while to get into a normal family routine again but this past week I have begun to find myself again and get back to ‘normal’. After Serafina was born I was on cloud nine and things seemed perfect until a few weeks later when I realized that my house was a disaster the kids were running wild and we had lost our family mealtime as well as any other rhythms that I had spent establishing during the last few months as well. I was so busy with Serafina I had no time for anything else. Not cooking, cleaning or even for the other members of our family. I forgot how much work it was to have a little one again and this time around it has been especially difficult with my other two girls home as well.

In reality and from an outsiders perspective things really would have seemed fine. Craig always told me not to worry and that everything is fine. The house really wasn’t that messy, my kids weren’t really causing any trouble and we still had food in our bellies. No one was getting hurt and the world wasn’t coming to an end. The problem had just been my own personal battle with perfectionism rearing its hideous head once again. I spent two and a half weeks feeling sorry for myself and all the things that I couldn’t do and that have changed since Serafina arrived. I was so busy thinking on all that was ‘wrong’ in my mind that I was blind to all the blessings that surrounded me.I worried night and day if things would ever be the same again and was clinging to the past refusing to accept change and a new season from entering my life.

Here I was, holding my newborn daughter that I had awaited for so long, listening to the sound of my daughters giggling and I just couldn’t see how beautiful life was. I couldn’t see that although I grieved the past, that these moments too are passing. Top that with the feelings of guilt I carried for not being being grateful and mindful and I felt as if I was going crazy. It has been an emotional month for me to say the least, yet one in that I have learned a lot about myself and the importance of having an attitude of gratitude, an eye for mindfulness and a heart full of love.

Today, I see the lessons that this season of my life have brought me and the  treasures in the trial. Gratitude for all things, not just what I perceive is ‘good’ and ‘right’ but also knowing that what seems ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ is all apart of the beauty of life. The fact that even in the worst of times when things seem  to have fallen apart and you seem to have lost yourself that you are still being breathed and there is a force greater than yourself sustaining not only you but everything in the universe. Appreciation for every moment because NOTHING lasts forever and EVERYTHING happens for a reason. And the most important lesson of all, which constantly presents itself in my life, to let go of perfectionism.

As I look back on my life I see that this struggle with perfectionism has been with me a long time. Through my years in school needing to get great (not just good) grades, to my years with eating struggles and the need to be the skinniest and prettiest that I can be, to now with my need to be the perfect wife and mother, have the cleanest home, prepare the healthiest meals as well as keep my mind, body and spirit healthy. It is a tall order that I put on myself every single day and at the end of a day, it is me who decides if I did enough or not. 99% of the time it is never enough.

Although this perfectionism follows me like a shadow everywhere that I go and at times I have felt as though I was going through hell, I know that it is a gift. Every time things have been at an all time low and I felt like the strength had been sucked out of me I have come back a stronger, smarter and more beautiful person. The battles that I have had with myself have always forced me to learn and grow and have given me the amazing opportunity to share my life’s lessons with people who were going through the exact same things. THAT is what truly matters. At the end of it all, what did we learn? How much did we grow? Did we love? Were we true enough to ourselves that we were able to shine our light of individuality in this world and inspire others to do the same?

So even though circumstances may not always be ideal or what I think that they should be life is still beautiful. In the darkest of times I know that the greatest light is on its way. I am opening my eyes to what is all around me and am realizing how beautiful and necessary each season is and how important it is to hold an attitude of gratitude in all things.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.

~Melody Beattie

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