A symbol of change and transformation

Within Hinduism and Buddhism the lotus flower has become a symbol for awakening to the spiritual reality of life.

Could you change an entire life in a year?  The answer is almost certainly yes.  My whole life changed in a day once. Actually, it changed in a moment. It changed in the hallway of the Orleans Convention Center in Las Vegas on a payphone when I said “Yes.”  Yes to the idea of having a baby (or three) with a family friend through IVF. It changed that fast – Forever.

It changed again in one night during a moment of intimacy. And it changed again one morning when my mother answered an email. And then it changed one final time during another moment of intimacy between two people set on a course of decisions that I knew nothing about at the time they were being made.  Those are the moments that I can trace back to the beginnings of the 6 children I call mine, and nothing is ever more life changing than children. It’s a lesson that changes that big can come from seemingly mundane decisions.

My journey into motherhood began on a steep curve from the beginning. First, triplets, then a miracle 4th baby and then another child through family tragedy and then one more through the same. From infertility to 6 kids in about 8 years – is it any wonder then that I have long felt that I am more managing my life than I am inhabiting it?  I want to spend 12 months exploring how to be more present in my life and feel less like I’m clinging wide-eyed to the back of a wild, runaway horse.

So, I need to change my life again. And if it can happen in an instant, then one supposes it can happen in a year.  I’ve never, ever been one to go in for resolutions and such. I am not a creature of regiment or structure, and such make-or-break resolutions have always seemed like a recipe for failure to me. But this year, a decade after my life made the most significant evolution of all by beginning the journey of motherhood, I find myself kind of racing towards the idea of a new year, a fresh beginning, the chance to recreate…to create a life that I feel much more in touch with.  The strong desire to grow skin I can feel comfortable in.

A dearly loved cousin recently helped to put it into perspective for me when he reminded me of the John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. “  I feel as if I am always making other plans while my life rushes by. Enough. I don’t want to miss the most important things in my life because of its frantic, often disorganized pace.  I want less.  A lot less. Less stuff, less stress, just less.

The first steps to take are to make some admissions to myself. To admit that our circumstances are special and that 6 kids and blended families aren’t easy. That triplets aren’t easy. That neither is autism or attachment disorder or open adoption.  To admit finally that what I’m doing here isn’t commonplace. It’s huge and hard and wide. It requires me to be able to live in ambiguity in a way many, many people can’t. It involves skills and flexibility and a refusal to fail. And it is being done with less than optimal support or recognition, even from myself. I want to say out loud that it’s hard so that I can stop sabotaging myself by expecting to be just like the families with 2.5 carefully tended and organized children. So that I can stop focusing on the idea that I’m never getting this right. I do that a lot. The real truth is that I am getting this more right than I realize. I have 6 examples of it in front of me every day. Refocus!

The second step I’m going to take is to write down the shortest possible list of what I want my life to look like. I’m going to try and distill the essence of what I want my life to be about down to as few words as possible.

Simplify – Children, Health, Create, De-Clutter, Breathe More Deeply.

And after that, I want to start by the simplest possible steps to achieve that.  Simplify? How about saying “no” to a lot more stuff? No to cheap plastic toys. No to too many clothes. No to other people’s expectations. Health? Maybe I’ll drink a little more green tea and remember to take my vitamins. I can do things like this. Small things. Manageable things. Mindful things. And I can remind myself to stop and breathe, deeply and often.

That’s it, just 2 steps on the road to being kinder to myself by not saying yes to all the things that clutter up my house, my life, my time – time that I would rather be spending with my kids and good friends. So that’s my intention for the New Year…just being kinder to myself in general. That’s my gift to my children and to myself for the coming year and I’m giving myself the whole 12 months to get it right

I hope you do the same…


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5 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Colonial Boy

    A grand start… just to FRAME what you’re after; that it isn’t quantity that may be missing from your life, but quality! Thanks, China; You’ve shown us that we can indeed, have it ALL… the trouble is that the ubiquitous Chinese “ALL” comes almost invariably bearing the caveat “Made in China”, and unless it’s a 500 year old carved ivory “ball-in-a-ball”, a Ming dynasty vase or a meticulously embriodered silk fan, it’s mostly useless junk- without which we can’t imagine our lives being functional or purposeful- with a lifespan measurable in mealtimes, not a life-long attainment.
    I wish you good fortune, and congratulate you on your new journey- a journey of a metophorical thousand miles which, coincidentally outlined by an outstanding Chinese gentleman from the dim and distant but possibly much more enlightened past, starts with a single step.
    A single step caused me some grief recently, when an unexpected slip altered what I had immediately planned at the time, and has left me a little scarred and slightly sore, but I will NOT stop taking such steps because something untoward may happen- I will take MORE steps because, while they may ordinarily complete my initial plans, they will also sometimes take me to places where I never otherwise dreamed I might go.
    This New Year will be many things- but “ordinary” will not be one of them. For every day, I wish you a day of ordinary miracles- that the lights are green when you need them to be; that your green tea is just how you like it and that you remember the people who matter to you, and those who make a difference- often not necessarily the same thing. Happy 2011, Summerstones!

    January 1st, 2011

  2. Lys

    Lana – you are just amazing. Even one is a handful, and he’s an easy one. I can’t imagine managing your six. And can’t wait to meet them all one day too.
    I’ve loved reading all your posts. :)

    January 1st, 2011

  3. Katie

    As always…I love this. I think you have a very well laid-out plan and it’s not over-the-top, it’s doable and I will cheer you on, any way that I can!!!

    January 1st, 2011

  4. admin

    Lys – We can’t wait to see you…whenever it is. The kind words are always appreciated! I love how Facebook allows us to keep in touch and watch your family begin it’s journey. xxoo

    January 1st, 2011

  5. admin

    Katie – Thank you again. Your support for the writing helps more than you can imagine! Happy New Year to you and yours.

    January 1st, 2011

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