As the song “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac played on my ipod, its soulful words filled my heart with a dull ache – a misery that I could not recognize immediately but it did not seem a stranger to me either. I heard it once with moist eyes; the second time with a big lump in my throat; the third time around I just needed to connect with myself and figure out what was going on. And that’s when I opened the word document and started writing…
I request you to listen to this song even if you’ve heard before. Thank ya, friends :-) Sorry, I don’t intend to make you feel pensive but then this song is one of those that speak to our saddest thoughts and hence so sweet (“our sweetest songs are those that speak of our saddest thoughts”).
Here are the lyrics to the song if you’d like to save…
My Personal Interpretation of the Song
These words, like all works of art and poetry, may carry different interpretations for different people.
To me, these words sounded so close to life as they immediately made me think of my mom and all that she went through her life — as a girl child in this male-child-obsessed Indian society; as a woman trying hard to please, serve, meet expectations and prove herself at every turn; and as a mother – fighting to provide – material and emotional security – for her children.
The words from this song portray her life as though written for her. She “climbed a mountain” that life was – rocked by adversities that never knew a fullstop; reaching the peak (of life) when she “turned around” she “saw her reflection” that showed an emotionally drained, physically battered and fatigued person. And then the disastrous “landslide” in the form of her drastic heart surgery that “brought her down”. Down, yes, but not out.
She realizes that she “built her entire life around her kids” and now “the children are older”. They have their own lives, families, dreams and goals. She feels lonely, companion-less and worst of all – purpose less.
She often tells me she yearns to seek her identity and wants to know that “time makes one bolder”. I want her to know this, too, and want her to live a life afresh for her own sake – not for anyone else. I want her to invest in HER happiness and not get trapped in the rigmarole of OUR lives.
This is one story that I have been a part of – indirectly and often – directly. But, there are many more ailing mom-hearts waiting to be healed. There are millions of such stories of mothers and women (well, men, too!) who go on living for others – without knowing their own desires, motivation or aspiration.
They have never known what caring for their own selves may mean.
You might find it strange that I, of all people, should say all these…
…when I probably am living my life incredibly centered around my child! I’m homeschooling my daughter, my blog is focused on my journey with her as a parent; even some of the trips that I take are to learn more about unschooling, conscious parenting etc. Whoa!
Yes, all of that is true. My life is centered around my kid. But, I haven’t chosen this life without deliberation. I mean, it’s not any societal norm I’m following; it’s not any mommy responsibility that I’m ought to fulfill; it’s not any guilt that I’m succumbing to; it’s not an attempt to look good as a mom.
It’s a calling from my heart that I couldn’t have ignored for long. It’s what makes me complete with my heart and soul intact.
And, in reality, this has opened up so many facets of my own persona that nothing else could have. I’ve discovered my earnest love for art, nature, photography, writing and so much more – due to my keen desire to create a loving, creative learning environment for Pari. It’s been good for Pari but it’s been even more fulfilling for me.
No matter which corner of the world we live – we mothers – our lives will centre around our children.
But, we often forget that we are humans, too – with our own ambition, hobbies, passions, goals and hey – health! We don’t have to become ‘messiahs’! (Although, even as I write this, it feels as though we mothers ARE – after all – messengers of God….)
Even then, I’m sure God did sprinkle some glittery-dreams in the dough that he shaped our hearts with!
And those glitters travel up to our eyes and make them dream and sparkle every now and then reminding us of what we are meant to be – other than the mothers we are striving to become…
Yes, our children are a big part of those glitter-dreams. But, if we pause to stare long and hard – some of the glitters sparkle differently – and longingly – at us – imploring us to explore our heart.
For if we explore, we may stumble upon an artist, a singer, a dancer, a photographer, a writer, an activist, an entrepreneur, an environmentalist, a healer, a naturalist, a chef!
Should we not muster up the courage to strike a conversation with these talented people within us?
I can’t say for all, but I know for myself and for so many of you – that we can’t be happy just being mothers; even awesome moms. We need to be good to ouselves, too, to feel truly happy in our skin.
And, truth be told – I neglect myself way too much (my health, especially) to claim that I’m doing what I’m recommending.
Are we taking care of ourselves – our mind, heart and body; our purpose and dreams? In one word – our happiness!
Let’s face it : a happy – and healthy – mom is the best gift to her child. While, a drained out, irritable, sulking, depressed mother leaves the worst effect on her child.
Hence this article is applicable to me as much as it may be applicable to some (or many) mothers around the world.
Sheena Iyengar, in her book ‘The Art of Choosing’, writes –
“The ability to choose well seems to depend in no small part upon our knowing our own minds.”
I’ve phrased 18 questions which, if you choose to answer (to yourself), will help you understand yourself better and come face-to-face with your innermost thoughts.
I request that when answering these questions, you be absolutely true to yourself. I encourage you to write down the answers so you can go back to them later. Here are the questions:
- Do you feel you can’t clearly and firmly spell out what your talents and abilities are?
- Do you often find yourself impatient, irritable and stressed out?
- Do you feel in your heart of hearts that you are “sacrificing” or compromising your happiness/interests/passions for your children or family or any other reason?
- Do you think you and your partner do not spend quality time with each other?
- Do you drag your feet to work (as in your job/business) every Monday?
- Do you think you are working primarily for money and that enjoying work is secondary and may happen later in life?
- Are your talents and abilities under-utilized in your job?
- Do you tend to bottle up your feelings?
- Do you often let others make your own choices? Are they thrust upon you by people or situations?
- Do you think (for mothers, primarily) you have let go of a thriving career because of child rearing?
- If yes, are you resentful that you decided to let go of your career due to kids?
- Do you think you should have sought an alternative career that better suited your changed priorities (keeping child in mind)?
- Do you think you are often escaping from your innermost feelings?
- Do you think you are “putting up” a happy and perfect front even when your heart feels otherwise?
- Do you feel sadness and regret for yourself when you see others pursue their interests and passions feverishly?
- Do you refrain from acknowledging and praising somebody’s talents and achievements because it makes you feel insecure?
- Do you think you are capable of more and better things than you are currently doing?
- Are you of the mindset that you will follow your dreams (devoting time to hobbies, starting a blog, writing a book, starting a business) when the kids grow up?
Having gone through this introspection, I hope you had more no’s than yes-es. But, if you had many yes-es, I recommend that you take the time to introspect. May be have a heart-to-heart talk with someone you really really trust and someone who understands you instinctively – and figure out what’s not in tune with your true self.
What is it that’s draining your spirits and inhibiting you from taking charge of your life and happiness.
Now, take these eight scenarios and questions to dig deeper into yourself. I’m quite sure these questions will lead you magically to the core of your heart.
- If you could get one full day to yourself and everything else (your work, home, kids, To Dos) was taken care of, what would you do?
- What help, suggestions, expertise do friends/family/colleagues come to you for?
- If you could change one habit/trait/aspect of yourself, what would that be?
- If you could undo one event/decision/action in your life, what would that be?
- What are those beliefs and values that you will never part with come what may?
- If you could choose someone as your life mentor/coach/guide, who would that person be?
- Which relationship in your life gives you unmeasured happiness?
- What’s the one desire (hobby/passion/skill/learning/cause) that you would regret not pursuing to your heart’s content?
Connect those answers and what you will get is a portrayal of your true self – reflecting your innermost thoughts, longings, sadness and joys.
Your kids will make you proud, for the mother that you are – no doubt about that. A mother who’s there to play, hug, cuddle, listen, advice, laugh – and – create beautiful memories with her children.
But, you have every right to be proud for being the person that you are – to YOURSELF – worthy of your care, respect, time and commitment. Commitment to your own health, fitness, goals, dreams and not to forget – FUN.
Now, your turn!
I want you to share one answer from the questions above :-)
And the question is –