The Creative aspect deals with all types of imaginative explorations that are waiting for you to play with. Have you always wanted to describe yourself as “creative”?
We never want to be stuck in the past, but the narratives and memories of our personal history provide a great deal of insight into who we were and who we can evolve into.
To continue my Inspired Ramblings project for October, I chose an excerpt from the book, A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson.
This morning while sitting outside with my dog, I read these passages about parenting while my baby boy kicked up a happy dance inside my belly.
Williamson writes, “A key to mothering is to visualize our children as the adults we would love them to become: strong, happy, serious, loving. Now imagine what kind of mothering they must have had to grow into such fabulous grown-ups. And whatever that is, becoming it is the task that lies before us.”
This is no easy task to parent with the ideal characteristics of our child in mind. I have stumbled and fumbled around this task with my first-born son. With all my good intentions and plans, I know that my son in college has become the wonderful person he is through mostly his own heart-guided decisions. He is such a complex and unique young man: a confident introvert, focused on his passions, humble in his approach and always willing to look at his own weaknesses and grow beyond them.
We have a close relationship, and I am so grateful for that. I witness him and see the way he has navigated through life. I have learned so much from his steady, quiet sense of seeing and interacting with his world. If I met my older son now, maybe I would not see all the effects of my imperfect parenting. However, I know they are there underneath the surface: his fear of commitment from all my failed relationships and issues around intimacy from all the times I moved him around the country.
But he has learned to see his current issues as being his own to work with and work through instead of blaming them on me. He has reminded me of an important perspective.
At some point in our lives, as children of parents who were flawed, we must take responsibility for who we are and who we are becoming regardless of our past and our upbringing. Then later, as we become parents, we must take responsibility for the issues we impress upon our children through our example. We cannot avoid seeing who we have become if we want to improve how we want to relate to the people in our lives right now.
We all have memory movies, the rewinding and replaying of cherished events from our past. Here are some of mine. My son is climbing the scaffolding along Brooklyn brownstone rehabs like he is Spiderman. He was always a natural climber, and he would scamper so high on the pine tree in the park that he was almost swaying. I defended his right to climb against indignant parents who screamed for him to come down because their own child was not listening to their pleas. My son jumping down multiple steps with sunglasses and his raincoat flying behind him, pretending to be Neo from the Matrix. With a confident smile on his face, he is sliding down the dunes on his skateboard deck at White Sands, New Mexico. From a couple summers ago, I recall biking next to my son in a downpour of summer rain as we howled with laughter all the way home.
Then there are the scenes replayed from his childhood that I wish I could delete or at least redo so that they never happened. The first time he looked me in the eye and said, “I hate you.” My son is jumping up and down screaming because I am shoving his Lego Star Wars sets into a clean trash bag because I could not control his tantrums. The time we just moved to Colorado from New York City, and he is stamping the carpet floor shouting, “Take me back to Brooklyn!” Witnessing the sad quiet that followed him like a shadow during his preteens when we moved from Colorado to Baltimore City.
But we don’t get to do things over from the past. We only get the chance to stop repeating them in the future and apologize for what has been done. Our past mistakes don’t necessarily make us feel regret. Regret usually comes from repeating our mistakes in the current moment and not taking the chance to right them.
I am currently pregnant with my second child in my forties. As an older mom, I hope to bring more awareness of myself into parenting.
The baby boy growing inside me has just begun to hear because his ears are developed enough to catch wind of sounds, voices and music outside of the womb. My husband and I have been playing more classical music and soothing tunes. His ears, his life reminds me to be a witness to myself and how I am interacting with those around me.
Every time I see him through an ultrasound, I am reminded of the miracle of his life, of becoming pregnant naturally at this age and to have found a loving husband to share it with. We met and fell in love in our 40’s and never would have thought we would get the chance to love and create a family together now. Life is full of unexpected blessings.
I have no movies to play of this baby boy except those I have seen of him playing inside my belly, of the imagined birthing and breastfeeding, of my husband and I holding his hands between us and him playing with his big brother.
But I can conjure up what I would need to do more of for my own well being. More swimming in cold lakes while my husband is cupping his privates, his sacrifice to swim with his crazy wife. Writing outside while the pine trees dance around me, dropping pinecones and dry needles. I need more dancing with my love as I learn to shake my butt with a huge belly. My son, husband and I laughing around a feast of rich polish pastries in Toronto.
Here is what I need to edit out of my life and replace with healthier methods of expression. The raging that happens in my life when I am so disconsolate that I need to get out of the car to just scream and cry. The fog of anxiety that slips into my body when I am taking risks that I know are so necessary like moving in mid-pregnancy to a place that feels like home. Fears that keep me in a loop of negative stories in my own head that become almost believable because they have been played so often.
No matter who we are and whether or not we choose to parent someone else, I believe we need to take responsibility for who we have become and be fully cognizant of the messages we send out to the world. We can do this by imagining the future of who we would like to become and working backwards to see what current habits we can change.
Personal evolution can also happen by sifting through the past and scrolling through the memory movies of your life. Revel in the joy and nostalgia of happy memories but also see what stories and perspectives you may want to alter and let go of moving forward.
Along the way, we may learn to parent ourselves in all the ways we felt were missing from our childhood. Providing care and compassion to our own being can only foster our ability to connect and empathize with others.
To take an insightful Challenge on this topic, click here.