What a year.
A year we learned to live with (love) and without (much money).
A year my babies turned two and four.
A year my husband took on a new venture that he is completely passionate about, footloose and fancy-free, proud to be immersed in.
A year Indigo began to potty-train herself.
A year Kaia learned the concepts of Math and Reading and Anatomy and has blossomed with sweet curiosity.
A year I caught my very first baby, born smoothly right into my open hands.
A year a heartbeat began, like the tiny tick of a watch, inside my belly.
A year, measured not by the amount of dollar signs in our bank account, but by the number of messy and creative art projects taped lovingly on the wall, and by the squeals that echo through the park down the block, and by the faint outline of four bodies smashed into the egg-crate of our bed, and the “I Love You” and “I’m Sorry” cards stashed in drawers and the renewal of so much Life and Possibility and deep, searing gratitude.
Oh, yes, indeed a tough year in many regards too. Two and Four years old has brought on many parenting challenges (which can quickly turn to marital challenges): screaming matches, times of being locked in rooms until we cooled off (both us and them!), sugar and play-doh and poop and makeup crushed into the fibers of the carpet, laundry piles that grew exponentially, spontaneous hair cutting (them), and innumerable refusals to eat meals and adhere to the loosest of all bedtimes. 2009 also brought on speeding tickets and bill collectors and payment arrangements and food stamps and the honing of asking for help and the belief that “just enough” would come (it always did), and exhausted late nights just trying to survive.
What I know: “Give in to love, or life is yours to miss. No day but today”. – from “Rent”.
Choose to live withOUT so that you can feel what it’s like to live withIN.
It can be desolate and hard and cold, fraught with shadows and the unknown. But the fire remains lit deep in your heart, always flickering, smoldering to the sound of your breath. It will sustain you. Promise.
Money helps. Sure. I’m not that naive. We’ve been luckier than lucky that we at least aren’t in jeopardy of losing our home. We are only one step ahead of so many, a chasm that is but a tiny crack in the ground. Money can equal security. Or it can chain you down. Money can be a conduit for more freedom. But money can also inhibit freedom. Money can be a kick-ass pair of knee high boots or the smile on a kid’s face when you bust out new glitter and markers or a long past due oil change on a diesel truck or tangy, ripe tomatoes for the bruschetta.
Underneath it all, money is paper, an energy exchange, an idea conjured up by humans to keep score. How do you treat that energy, as you hold it in your hands and extend it to another’s hands: a stranger’s, a loved one’s, a friend’s, a child’s? I’ve had to ask myself this over the course of the last year or two. Money has become a privilege to me, something to be honored. Sometimes I stick my fingers in my ears all “la la la la laaaaa” and put the last dollar into a chocolate lava cake from Jack-in-the-Box instead of in a travel-savings jar (or a fresh, tasty salad). Sometimes, I give it away, in the form of a hand-made thank you card or hot cup of coffee for a friend.
I got more intimately acquainted with money last year, knowing the serious weight of a coin dropping into a plastic cash drawer. Sometimes I tenderly hold a thin, floppy check that a client has sent me and think “They PAY me to do this? To witness birth? To hold space and whisper words and press on backs and hold hair while she heaves and kneel humbled before powerful and fragile humanity and kiss just-born heads?”. It’s as if that check could both disappear with the whisk of a wind or sink heavily into my heart. It’s like holding a choice.
This year, I vow to see how far I can stretch money, turn it, twist it, roll it, bury it, let it free. How can I alchemize it into the purest vibration of all?
2009 was also a year of births for me; 34 to be exact.
On Christmas Eve, I had to leave a powerful birth in order to catch a flight. She welcomed her son four hours later, under the care of my amazing doula partner.
On vacation, I spent the last day of 2009 missing a sweet client’s birth, whose waters released two weeks prior to her expected due date and sent her into labor. I was selfishly heartbroken. She birthed on New Year’s Eve while I sat up with my girls until midnight and waited for my client’s phone call.
I’m working on a post that will detail, in a few brief sentences each, highlights from those 34 powerful births. Why? Because I love to remember and feel the surge of adrenaline once again. Because I want you to meet these women, these mothers, these babies. Because their journey’s matter, just as yours does. And because I believe that the breath of life – both the inhale of the first and the exhale of the last – holds something sacred. And I see that sacredness in everyone I meet and in all your words that I read. And there, right there in the catch between inhale and exhale, is a connectedness that keeps me going.
May 2010 bring you magic in the most unexpected places. May it leave love notes and messages scrawled on your heart, waiting for you to decode. May it heal. May it leave you giddy with laughter and renewed with the saline of your tears. May it let you look deeply into one more person and simply Listen. May it gently urge you say YES in all the ways that are healthy for you.