But last weekend, it was glorious.
The Husband tackled our many rose bushes pruning away last year's growth. It amazes me that so much is cut back and yet by season's end the bushes will again look wild and unruly as they bust out of their beds. For me, pruning is difficult; I tend to hang on, not believing new growth is always so inevitable. But then I look at my girl and see how she keeps pushing past boundaries and growing in ways I find I shake my head to perceive.
For example, our morning routine has been for me to read the "silly stories" (the comics) to her during breakfast. One morning she grabbed the page and started reading out loud to me and the Husband the strips with less text. Just this past week, she read the page to herself and passed it over to me when she was finished. New growth and goodbye morning ritual!
This past weekend, Cowgirl spent the entire time outdoors searching for birds. I first noticed her sitting quietly on the patio. Just sitting. Very still. Behavior unusual for a child born in the year of the Monkey. She had her disposable camera in hand and was waiting patiently for a bird to appear at the feeder. I couldn't resist: I grabbed my camera and we sat together, back to back, in the warm sunshine listening to the chatter of the robins, a distant chirp of some cardinals and the twittering of many juncos. They flew back and forth past us, heading from feeder to feeder, never pausing long enough for a good picture - which didn't deter Cowgirl from taking lots of pictures!
Later, I watched my girl streaking across the lawn, heading for the neighbor's yard in search of the cardinal couple. It seemed like she flew like a chickadee herself - pigtails streaming out behind her, camera clutched in her hands, barefoot and free. She was a girl with a mission, diving into her world and all the treasures it has to offer. She seemed so independent of me and her father and I had glimpse of our future when adventures would entice her even further afield and away from our watchful gaze.
I see my girl and I my heart swells with admiration and wonder for this gift we have been given. I know she is what inspires me to dig deep and recover my wild, free, expansive self. I like to believe I am brave because of her; my love for her and my hopes and wishes for her propel me into action, push me to step out of my comfort zone and lean into the fear that mask dreams and ambitions. It is a thin veil and increasingly I am daring to grab a corner and tug.
My daughter has inspired me to take control of my life, reconnecting with the aspirations I held as a girl. I see her and I remember who I was and who I was excited to become. But that isn't the full story. As I move through a deepening relationship with myself, I am wondering which girl inspires me more: My daughter? Or the girl I still carry deep within memory and heart?
This month I've been participating in Liz Lamoreux's Water Your Soul offering which centers around the practice of daily meditation before a mirror. It is a humbling, frightening, and powerful practice. Many days it is all I can do to be kind towards the face that meets me. Those lines that echo my father's stir up some pretty negative dialogue. The tired eyes reproach me for neglecting myself but they also stir up compassion for all that they have witnessed and survived. Softening towards ourselves is something Liz repeatedly reminds us to practice. Welcoming the me that I am involves remembering the little girl me I once was.
Today I looked in the mirror and I saw the young girl I was/still am peeking out from these older eyes. I felt great love and compassion for that girl, a tenderness for the fears she too quickly embodied and in that moment, I offered her acknowledgment, comfort and gratitude. And then something rather marvelous happened: as I reached out to her, I understood she has been quietly exhorting me to be brave and dare to grab hold of my dreams. I realize she has held onto the whispered truths of my heart and she has guarded my hopes and desires. She is with me always, reminding me I am the one to carry us forward and into light, into action.
While I have been holding back out of fear, she has been the one holding tight to hope and possibility.
Isn't that amazing? I have two girls reminding me to run wild and free, to run with arms wide open into a future that I co-create with this crazy partner called life.
I've been planting many seeds for future projects in my community and online, pushing to put myself out there as a teacher, as an artist, as a space-holder for others to reconnect with their inner guide to their heart's dreams. It is both daunting and exhilarating to see signs of growth sprouting. Still too early to say what will flourish ... so for now, I am playing the gardener, tending my home soil. ♥