Who Am I?

I became a mom. And then – somehow, somewhere – I lost my mojo. Yup – this was my Austin Powers moment – like waking up in a new decade to new music and not knowing any of the moves on this dance floor.  But, of course, the beat goes on. The story does not end there. This is where it begins: the journey back to me, to the real deal, to my authentic Self. The upper case ‘s’, Self. Not that little ego-reflection of my-self, the one that is consumed with the roles that it plays, with this being a mom deal. Sure, I embrace being a parent. I feel pretty jazzed about all of the roles that I play – most days anyways. But, there came a moment after having kids – or rather a number of little moments that make up THE moment – when simply playing a part just stopped cutting it. I was losing myself in this drama. It occurred to me, if these roles that I play were to disappear then who would be left? Who really is this person that I am? Who am I?

Who. Am. I. Three little words loaded with bang when you ask them together. And I started asking them. Who am I? And, in the asking, I have embarked on a journey back to myself. Along the way I’m reclaiming my mojo – my personal power, my charisma, my influence over the circumstances of my life, the kind of magic that motivates us to leap our asses out of bed in the morning.

Who am I? Who AM I? Some moments I’ve hardly recognized the voice I hear speaking. That nastiness, nagging, whining – is that really me? I hear the words that have worked their way through my vocal chords, yet I don’t recognize myself in them. And I wonder, when did I disappear?

Who am I? There have been days when, going through the motions, I feel a smile on my face. I’m laughing at a joke my kid made. But, my laughter sounds hollow to me – like an echo of some distant joy. But, it’s laughter: check. Pleasant tone of voice: check. Successful multi-tasking of dinner on the stovetop, returning voicemails, helping with homework, wiping up another toddler accident: check. Going through the motions: check.

Check. Who AM I? There was a time when I avoided glancing towards the mirror as I passed it in the foyer on my way out the door. I told myself this was because I’m not that shallow. C’mon – there are bigger things to preoccupy myself with than my looks. I reasoned, “life is busy and I’m busy with important ‘busy-ness’ and I’m taking it all very seriously, so there is no time to waste with vanity.“ I almost had myself convinced. But, truth is a relentless nag: I avoided the reflection because I didn’t recognize it and that scared the hell out of me.

Who am I? Where did “I” go? At times I have felt desperate: desperate to reclaim my joy. Painfully aware that there was more to me beyond these roles I play. I knew this because I asked the question. And something deep within me whispered a reply. A glimpse, that’s all it takes to inspire change, a glimpse of a deeper aspect of our selves.

So, I made a new choice. I made the choice to sit every day – not just some days but every day – to connect with that aspect of myself that is beyond the roles that I play. I sit in silence. It’s a rare moment in my day, silence. I’ve had to get up before the kids and before the sun in order to find this space. But, surprisingly, it was easy to do because I have ached for this. Breathing in this silence, I simply sit. I follow my breath effortlessly, my attention on the rhythm of each inhale and exhale, lingering on each pause between one breath and the next, savoring those briefest of moments when all that exists is the silence and the potential for my next breath. And I know – the way that sometimes you just know – that it is this potential that is the source of all that I am, all that I ever have been, all that I ever will be.

This stills me. My thoughts come and go; I see them, release them gently, and return to my breath. The tightness in my chest begins to ease, and I am reminded of my grandmother’s 1970s window sheers that hung in every room of her home – flimsy, synthetic sheers. It is as though my heart has been shrouded in layer upon layer of these tacky accessories – cocooned, encapsulated. But, each time, as I sit with this stillness, my breath loosens a layer of this suffocation and one of those filmy, synthetic layers just up and floats off and is carried away… and, I feel myself again.

Who am I? I am many. I am mother. I am wife. I am daughter. I am sister. I am friend. I am teacher. I am student. I am lover. I am writer. I am creator. I am believer. I am artist. I am seeker. I am meditator. I am all of these, yes, but so much more. Giving myself this space to be, accessing this silence within me, the pause between my breaths, between my moments, I am pregnant with possibility. I am pure potential.

When I do this day after day, accessing the deepest aspects of my Self, glimpsing my soul, I begin to see with greater clarity. My reflection is transformed, the picture before me whole.  I am whole. I am complete.

I remember me. I remember Who I Am.

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Miriam Desjardins is a Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor and the creator of Mindful Mamas, a series of mindfulness and meditation workshops. Coming from a background of graduate work in International Conflict Management, she is committed to bringing peace to the global community by promoting a shift in consciousness; a shift that she believes must begin at the level of the individual with the world’s moms, dads, and children.

Follow on twitter @mojo_mamas

Healing

As a parent, I ache to protect my children. It pains me to imagine their distress, to see them in fear, or to wonder what harsh realities have yet to rock their worlds. I would do anything to shield them from the horrible disconnect of fear. Naturally, I want them to be safe and happy, to be fulfilled and inspired. And yet…

Life happens. Sometimes, in the face of tragedy and unspeakable horror, I wonder, as we all must, just what is this game we are playing at of being human? In the shadows of pain and suffering, what is the point of this all? What does our human consciousness mean in this time and space, as we hang out precariously on planet Earth? I am no quantum physicist, nor do I hold any impressive knowledge of astronomy or a doctorate of philosophy… but it is pretty clear to me that the odds seem stacked against us being here at all. Yet here we are. And it does not matter what letters precede or succeed your name, or what angle you approach this life from – as a dear friend of mine recently pointed out, “something very special and unique is happening here on Earth, and that’s cool!!”

We can teach our children that when words elude us, and our hearts are breaking, this is our moment of salvation – if only we can recognize it as such. It is the paradox to which these words of the beloved Sufi poet, Rumi, speak: “the wound,” they remind us, “is the place where the Light enters you.”

The horrible, senseless acts that break our hearts apart, unite us in our mourning, bring us together through our compassion, and enliven us as a community as we seek answers and attempt to move through. We embrace our children tightly and are reminded to cherish every moment. We pause in our comings and goings to take notice of the abundance of blessings we enjoy. We get clear; we get intentional on what it is we do not want. And we turn towards that which we do.

When this occurs, indeed, something very special and unique is happening here on Earth. If in our pain, we can embrace the paradox, then maybe we open up space for our grievance to be replaced with a miracle. Our constricted hearts expand just a little; and a shift takes place in our consciousness. Where there was darkness, the light shines. And we look to our present as an opportunity to make new choices, refined by our shared experience.

God only knows what this life means. Together we can teach our children to embrace the uncertainty. We can get comfortable with being at a loss for words, and allowing every moment to surprise us with new perspective. We can urge our children to participate fearlessly in making new choices for this planet. And we can remind them to pay attention as something very special and unique happens here on Earth.

And that – that is profoundly cool.