I have dreams. Big dreams. Before kiddos, I dreamed of creating the Barefoot Barn. I wanted to build a barn and retreat center in a beautiful spot surrounded by something vast in nature, create a community of like-hearted folks, and offer workshops and retreats to inspire, uplift, and connect us to our own sense of deep delight, each other, and the world. People would come for dance, dreaming, stillness, community, movement, and meditation. Some would live at the Barn and others would come for a visit. We all would be nourished – hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits..and feel encouraged to share it all with the world.
But then I had two tough pregnancies, two c-sections, walked around sleep deprived, traded in my little two-door Honda Civic for a Honda Odyssey, bought nursing bras, replaced our icecube trays with frozen bags of pumped milk, gained some extra “fluff” around my mid section, and now see going to the grocery store as “alone time.” We don’t live in the country. We don’t own a barn or run a retreat center.
And that Barefoot Barn community? Well, our ‘community’ today is not exactly as I had envisioned it! It’s now composed of playdates, quick calls to dear ones, a half-hour chat at a coffee shop with a friend in between seeing clients, online friends, connecting when I can to other healers and practitioners, a women’s group, and pooooosibly seeing my meditation teacher once a month.
A few times a week, Brian and I try to do a little meditation with our kiddos. The other morning it was just my daughter and I. My son was at preschool and Brian was at work. I brought the meditation bowl to the floor and let C. explore it. She quickly reached for the mallet and began to softly tap the bowl. She looked up at me. Something in her eyes spoke right to the depths of me:
“Mom, I am your ‘now’ right now.”
Of course I’ve known that. The immediacy demanded by a newborn, sick child, an overflowing toilet with too much toilet paper in it from a very thorough bum-wiping toddler, hungry kiddos demanding dinner – keep me focused on the present, keep me IN the present.
But sometimes in the present my dreams can feel so far off. I read other women’s blogs and hear stories of others living their dreams NOW. I can get discouraged. I can feel torn. I can jump to thinking that being right here in the present moment with wiping dirty bums and working toward my dreams of building the Barn and publishing books are mutually exclusive.
But I KNOW that they are not. What I am doing every day – from plunging the toilet to calling clients with little C. on my hip babbling away while A. is in the background saying “Mom! Mom! Who’s on the phone? I wanna talk!” – somehow IS the path to my dreams. Though many days I don’t see the connection.
That’s when I have to trust that small, still voice rising up out of my discouragement: “Just keep breathing. Just keep doing the next right thing.”
This runs counter to what we moms often hear in this culture: “NOW! Make it happen now! Embrace your dreams! Life is too short! Have it all! Go for it! NOW is the time!”
No. NOT now.
It is not the time right now for us to build the Barn. My dreams right now are about more sleep, half an hour at night to write a poem or call a friend, nourishing our bodies with healthy meals, getting to the Y or walking with a friend. Sometimes that feels like I am giving up, like I’m not actively following my dreams. Sometimes this “being so present in the present” chews me up and spits me back out – exhausted with little energy to even consider dreaming bigger beyond my bed. And I am left wondering when the last time it was that I actually did my hair, had on a shirt that didn’t have baby snot on it, or talked to someone about my hopes, dreams and aspirations. I can feel scattered and unfocused…and waaaay off my path of creating THE Barefoot Barn.
But the other day when C.’s old-soul eyes spoke to me, I knew that somehow just being present in THIS “now” was a pebble on that path to whatever the future may hold – Barn or no Barn.
The “next right thing” in this moment – this now – is sooooooo about letting go of our culture’s way of planning, plotting, doing, reaching for. And more about embracing the mystical way dreams can land right on my doorstep when the time is right…while wiping those little bums, resting my bones, strengthening my body from my c-sections, and jotting down a line of poetry or two before drifting off to sleep.
One evening a few years ago when I was feeling pretty depressed about not working toward building an actual Barn, Brian said to me, “Lis, the Barefoot Barn is wherever WE are.” He’s right. It’s right here in our “now,” though it looks completely different than I had imagined a long time ago!
I wrote about how my 2011 was going to be about softening, strengthening and forgiving. I’m softening my grip on my “future” dreams, strengthening my ability to discover the essence of the Barefoot Barn in my everyday, and forgiving myself for not making it all happen right now.