Mother’s Day Musings

Yesterday I felt like I broke down some walls about motherhood. It was another big victory. I can see now that for a long time- years- there has been a lot of fear in regards to motherhood and music. And in both, I started functioning with not my full self. It wasn’t intentional. I think I got scared of my desires with music and was afraid that I couldn’t be a good mom and pursue this growing passion in me. I thought they threatened each other- and yet I wasn’t willing to give up either one. Well that’s not totally true: I knew that if one thing had to get the short end of the stick, it was music. I was in a “pleaser/don’t screw it up” mode often, and I was afraid that I was failing at it all. It turned out that being MYSELF is where the joy and peace were waiting all along. I was trying to mother the way I was supposed to (and music too) and couldn’t figure out why it was feeling like motherhood was literally going to kill me. I resented the cost- to my body and spirit- and knew something needed to change, but I didn’t know how.

I love these little people deeply, but I through the last several years, I have struggled to enjoy much of my mothering. Part of it has to do with poor health for a long time, but it’s not just that. Yesterday I tried to access more of my excitement about being a mom. I asked a lot of “what matters”? as my mind sifted through laundry and dishes and kisses, and bandaids. I have known for a while that I’ve been doing too much with too much stress, but as I have been looking for a new normal, I’ve been baffled as I tried to sort out what matters. As I journaled, I started having big ideas about how to change the way things are currently running in our home, and got very excited about a new program I wanted to establish. It was big, fresh, and dynamic, and I felt excited in a way I hadn’t in a while. But as I stepped back and looked at it, I wondered if perhaps I was missing something. I asked myself “Could the regular things be just as special if I am present and open? Maybe no sweeping changes are needed. Maybe I just need to uncover my love for mothering that has been buried in fear, and find the joy in the normal, everyday things. It was simple, it was pivotal, and most of all, it was peaceful. It was the heaven-sent message I have kept getting for about two years- “Slow Down.” The peace, the joy- it’s there and available in each moment.

You know what I discovered? As I continued to ask myself what mattered, I realized that every little thing I choose to do from my mother heart matters! A kiss, here, a note there, a bed made there…it matters because it’s an act of love from me to them. Big things, small things- all of them matter. They don’t have more value if I rush around and do more of them, and then I’m burnt out and frustrated. They matter as I give what I have to offer that only I can give- because it is coming from my mother heart.

Here’s my 3 takeaways about motherhood that I have learned through my thoughts this week:

1- Bring all of me to mothering. I will feel settled and peaceful mothering when I do it Laura’s way, and with all my quirks, passions, personality and love. MY love is what they need- and that is enough.

2- Each small and simple thing matters- not just to get it done, but because it is a holy offering from my mother heart. Often only God will know, and that is enough. It changes my heart more than anyone else’s.

3- My work, like the big cathedrals in Europe, will not be finished in my lifetime, so pacing is important. Each day I have some to give and also need to nurture and refill myself. Both are important. (Have you read, “The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees”? A great read for Mother’s Day if you haven’t read it. The cathedral reference is an idea I got from that book).

Happy Mother’s Day!




You are a Child of God

Today I’m working on sorting through my digital clutter.  I’m making progress!  I love the feeling of cleaning out and getting rid of things I don’t need- especially at the beginning of a fresh, new year.  As I was looking through files in my google drive, I came across this beautiful piece of writing again and reading it was an enjoyable break.  Maybe you’ll enjoy it too!


Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Tell Me a Story...

Something to Munch On

My little 5 year old has brought up several times how nervous he is for his first gymnastics lesson tomorrow.  Yesterday I sat him on my lap and we talked about it.  “That’s a normal feeling,” I told him.  “Everyone feels nervous when they try new things!”  We talked about how many new things he’s tried that he felt nervous about, and how glad we both are that he didn’t let fear stop him.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes says, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid.  Courage means you don’t let fear stop you!”  (Unfortunately, I don’t know who to credit the quote to!)

Fear is such a funny thing, isn’t it?  There was one day this year that should have been the scariest: the one where we thought my husband was having a heart attack.  But the crazy thing is that I functioned in a very peaceful place as we did what had to be done (get a barf bowl in case he threw up in the car, called a friend to watch the kids, and ran to the hospital where they could assess the chest pains).  I felt comforted, knowing that a loving Father in Heaven was watching over us and it would be okay, no matter what.

You want to know something really silly?  The scariest moments this year were the ones where there was no real imminent danger, like sitting down at the piano and wondering (cue the fear) if I could make up anything original.  What a 1st world problem!  It feels so trivial, and yet telling myself doesn’t make the emotion any less real.

Last week my husband and I enjoyed a wonderful getaway (more on that another day!), and while we were gone I discovered a really interesting book by Kenny Werner entitled “Effortless Mastery.”  His overall discussion centered on the idea that when we focus on playing an instrument really well, we freeze up and usually perform poorly.  When we let go of expectation (which he said is driven by fear) and allow ourselves to embrace whatever it is that we are playing, we free ourselves up to create something really beautiful.

Here is an interesting quote from his book: “Nothing is so inhibiting as needing to write something brilliant. Once a good friend of mine was writing an opera and really experiencing a block. He was duly tormented, believing that ‘composing is a painful process.’ He talked wistfully about a certain opera as being considered ‘the greatest opera since World War Two.’ I told him, ‘It sounds to me like you are trying to write the greatest opera since Desert Storm! I have an idea. Why don’t you just write a bad opera? That should be easy.’

My friend laughed uncomfortably with me, but I could sympathize with his dilemma. You always want to do well, but the recurring paradox is that you have a much better chance of doing well if you let go of the anxiety and just get on with it. Try writing three bad pieces a day. I bet you can’t do it. Your talent will sabotage you and cause some great music to come out! Another composer-friend of mine told me, ‘Kenny, I know that that just doesn’t work. I’ve written a ton of bad pieces over the last thirty years, and it hasn’t done anything for me.’ I said to him, ‘Ah yes, but did you ever try to write a bad piece? That is the liberation that I’m talking about!'”

Ha!  Such a simple idea and yet brilliant because it allows me to “get out of my own way.”  I find that two questions can also help me bypass that anxious feeling when I sit down to compose.  I can ask myself, “What am I afraid of?” This can provide the same reassurance that a child receives when he is afraid of the the dark at bedtime: a parent flips on the light to show the child that the shadows were only an illusion and there is really nothing to be afraid of.

The second question is, “What do I love about composing?”  There is a verse in the Bible (1 John 4:18) that states, “Perfect love casteth out fear.”  I have always figured that verse had to do with relationships, or at least that is the only way I have ever applied it.  But the funny thing that I’m learning is that love and fear can’t really coexist in myself- there is not really room for both!  When I flip the switch to what I love, it seems to push out the fear and redirect my mind to focus on the good.  Hmmm.  A good thought to keep in my back pocket!

So I guess the question isn’t so much “who feels fear”, but “what do you do so that fear doesn’t stop you?”

What do you think?