I mentioned Kelli in my blog award post the other day. Hers was the first blog I started reading. I found it by doing a wordpress search of “self-discovery.” She and I have a lot in common, both ex-teachers turned stay-at-home-moms with musician husbands and both spiritual seekers. You will get a glimpse of her talent and inspiring message by reading her story below.
Let the Struggle Cease to Be
Kelli B. Haywood
I had never planned to be a mother. I was one of those people who didn’t want to bring a child into such a corrupt world, and I didn’t feel that I was emotionally equipped to properly care for a child. All those feelings changed after we lost my husband’s aunt to cancer in her early forties. Both my husband and myself came to the realization that we wanted and needed children on the ride home from her funeral.
We now have two children. Becoming a mother changes you in dramatic ways. My husband and I decided that it would be best that I stay home with my children. I view so many things from a different perspective since becoming a mother, including my future goals, nutrition, spirituality, education, and my own responsibilities to my family. What it didn’t change was my emotional capacity to be fully present for my children.
I have been working through some difficult childhood experiences since I started college. I’ve been trying to break down years of insecurities and emotional reactions to situations that are extreme or out of place. I have come a long way – a really long way.
I recently turned thirty-one, and I must say that the passed year has been one of spiritual renewal for me. I am discovering who I am and who I can be in reality. The year began with me being in poor physical health. I had experienced my second unwanted (the first being unnecessary) c-section. I had been mistreated by a doctor and it left my body broken. Not only was my body broken, but so was my heart.
A few months after the birth of our second daughter, we moved back to the land where my husband and I were both born – Appalachia. It was where our families were, our heritage, our children’s legacy, where our dreams resided. It was where we belonged. The relief we felt upon reaching the mountains again was tremendous. We lived in a larger city for several years after undergraduate school. I taught middle school and went to graduate school and my husband finished graduate school, taught college classes, began his art and music career , and became a tattoo artist. However, we never really settled into city life. We went with the flow, but never found our place, and both of us were reluctant to call it home. So, when we settled into our little cabin in the holler, and began our plans for homesteading, it felt like we were free again.
I loved watching the girls grow in this new familiar environment, and I had nothing to be upset about in our current situation, but the past kept creeping in with reminders in both my physical and mental health. It wasn’t long before I was actively seeking a healing. I adopted a traditional foods way of eating for our family based on the information in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon . I lost a lot of weight in the most healthy way. I loved the feeling of control I had, but I still struggled with my dragon – impatience.
In June of 2009, I began a serious practice of yoga and meditation. I mix both Hatha and Kundalini styles, but have since focused more on Kundalini. It has led me to tremendous healing in all areas of my life. I’m becoming the mother I want to be. The wife I want to be. I have even found a place of sincere spirituality.
Leslee recently wrote in her post on Psalm 23 about flashcards sent from God. I believe it. While I was controlling my life with so many things, struggling to find balance and healing, I was still uneasy and impatient. Little things made me angry. I felt anxious about the things that I couldn’t keep from going wrong. I manifested problems that weren’t there. I blamed myself, and in part I deserved the blame. Then, one day during my Kundalini yoga practice I heard my inner guru speak. It said, “Stop fighting. Why are you still fighting?” I had been thinking “let go and let God”. I had been crying out to my soul – “What are you still so troubled about?” I had been trying to meditate through all the chatter thoughts and the planning and fixing that my mind wanted to do. I had been keeping up the guard I had had up since childhood that took so much energy to maintain. Instead of being guided in my yoga practice, I was trying to rush to the result. I was fighting tooth and nail. I was fighting for my life, for normalcy because that had become a habit for me beginning as a pre-teen.
It wasn’t long after that that I bought some Yogi Tea. On the little tea tabs there are quotes from Yogi Bhajan, the guru that brought the ancient technology of Kundalini yoga to the United States. On that particular day, my quote was… “The mind is energy. Regulate it.” Again, stop fighting. Stop planning. Just be present. I was getting the message, but to really bring it home, my pastor’s sermon that night was on Psalm 46. The following is the 10th verse of that Psalm:
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
God wanted me to stop fighting. It was an order. He is in charge and I don’t have to worry about my needs being met, or what happens next. There is a plan for me. There is a plan for all of us, if we stop fighting. It is easier said than done. I continue to do my best day to day to reverse the old habits of constantly trying to plan what is next, and speed up and slow down time. I try to find joy in the present. Whatever is currently going on is exactly what is suppose to be happening to me at that moment, and there is joy there – no matter what the situation. I’m growing to have a servant’s heart, which is what the heart of a mother should be in my opinion. Until you help your child learn the ways of the world and help them find their place in it, you are your child’s teacher – you are their hope, and your patience with them is so very important. You are their Mother. When they are grown, you will wish you had had more moments being present with them as they were youngsters. I know I will.