I want to share a story with you that I heard just today. There is an 89 year old man that is always planting seeds of bonsai trees. Bonsai trees grow slowly, and this man is in the sunset of his life. On the surface this seems pointless, since in all likelihood he will never see a single one grow into a mature tree. There is such an investment of time, attention, and energy to planting that some might assume that the only reason to do it would be the future reward of seeing the robust plant in full form. But for this man, the planting itself holds all the satisfaction he needs. Talk about living in the moment!!!
Imagine if we, mothers, could hold the same profound consciousness – investing the energy, time, sweat and love that we already do each and every day raising our children; without waiting for any return on that investment at all. Think about the sense of freedom and peace we would experience, if we let go of expectations, fears and impatience. These are feelings we may have grown accustomed to, but they are not necessary or even useful. What if we could know that our job is only to plant the seeds? What if we knew, in our deepest center, that all we have to do is make sure we do this with love and joy?
I have been a creative problem solver from birth. Puzzles were my favorite things as a child, and I could be occupied for hours on end. So when my children share a problem, my natural reaction it to help them solve it! I put on my problem solving hat and begin untangling the issue. But guess what? They weren’t impressed by my genius solutions, how fast I came up with them, nor how simple the solution was. In most cases they weren’t really looking even for a solution at all – they were just processing life in the best way they know how, communicating about it.
Now when they come to me with an issue, I hold myself back (not an easy task for me). I reflect back to them what I see, rather than offering suggestions. I say things like “It sounds like you are frustrated about that” or “Do you have any ideas about what you could do?”. And guess what?!?! Most of the time they either don’t want to do anything about it, or they had the solution all along – they just needed to process and find it. This is a huge lesson for a ‘fixer’ like me! There is a lot of freedom in noticing what I feel, noticing what they feel, and seeing the situation for what it is. I can often be the greatest supporter to my children by just being there for what they are experiencing – no fixing involved.
Do you ever feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders – both metaphorically and physically? I sure have, especially as a mother! How many times do you take on everybody’s problems and feel it is your job to fix and solve them? Then, when you do so, find yourself feeling underappreciated and taken for granted? Just think of how much those in your life (including you) would benefit, if you could stop fixing and the taking on what’s not yours and make sure you live here and now – with love and joy! What a different experience of life you would have! Right? We do our best for everyone when we are present in the moment and caring first for ourselves.
Like Eckhart Tolle said: The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.
My intention on this mother’s day is to be like this wonderful old man, enjoying, loving, planting tree-seeds – totally unattached from the outcome.
Sending love to all the mothers out there; and happy Mother’s Day!