It is mid-summer and weeds have overtaken my garden. Clutter has sprouted up in all of the rooms of my home and the basement is an unrecognizable aftermath of hours and days of boy play on each and every surface. I don’t know how this happened or when this happened.
I used to be in control of my garden and home. My garden was so carefully kept and so perfectly groomed. My home, my sanctuary, was always polished and put together – ready for company at any moment. Looking at its perfection made me feel calm, together, and successful. It made me feel in control, on top of things, and on my game. “See, I can have a successful career and be a wife, a parent, a daughter, and a friend. I can have it all.”
It was not natural.
It is natural for weeds to grow in gardens. It is natural for life and fun to result in messes. It is natural to have to make tradeoffs while balancing it all. What is not natural is to define perfection as anything other than “what is.”
I liken my focus on my perfect home to my teenage years when I would get up extra early in the mornings to put in the effort required to have perfect hair – perfectly straight hair. My hair is naturally curly. No matter how long and hard I tried to make it perfect, the speed at which it returned to its natural state was directly correlated to how important it was to me for it to be perfect on that day. I had made-up that perfect hair was straight hair. I recall the peace, ease, and self-love that came the day I decided to let my hair go natural and I discovered the power of loving “what is.”
So today I sit here choosing to write to you rather than feeling the need to pull weeds or organize my clutter. And in this I am celebrating as I have let go of yet another of my made-up stories. Noticing the weeds and the clutter does not make me feel out of control or at all distraught. Quite the contrary, it’s liberating and even a bit overwhelming to feel how much I love the “what is” of my life – my husband, my son, my father and his Alzheimers, my career, our home and the messes we create together every day.
When I look at the weeds, the clutter, and the messy spots in my life, I smile. When I look at my imperfections, my shortcomings, and my gifts, I am grateful. In loving “what is,” I free all those around me to love who they are as well. Because I can fully love what is me, I can fully love others. My family is free to be who they are and I am free to be me … curly-haired, joyful, and naturally, wonderfully imperfect! For me, having it all is not a question, it is a gift. Having it all requires just one thing – loving it all. Weeds included.
What stories are you making up? What are they costing you?