As I was running recently, I was thinking about how we achieve a sense of peace, balance, and spirituality in many different ways. Not just via religion in the traditional sense but via other avenues. For example, my friend Becca and I strive for these three things and approach them in COMPLETELY different ways.
Becca and I are moms of 6 year old kiddos. She with twin boys, me with Aida. We were pregnant at the same time, have worked together for many years and have known each other for 11. I met Becca in 2002 and learned at that point meditation, retreats, and Buddhism are all a very big part of her life. For me, hiking, mountains, and being outdoors at any possible second is my religion. There came a pretty long break in the participation of our "religions" when our children became a part of our lives. The instant halting of brakes that having a baby does to your life is something you can't even explain to someone who does not have children. It was very hard to adjust to this new life, even though we were blessed to have our children, and know that the outlet of our "religions" was definitely not there or at the top of the list any longer.
Now that our kids are 6 years old, Becca and I have worked hard to incorporate the things we love and that bring us peace back into our lives. For me, the past year was a year of healing from the loss of my daughter who died 8 years ago. I put my focus into extreme endurance events, to push my limits and to prove to myself that I really am strong and that I can move on. People have called me crazy for participating in two Death Races this year (I will be doing THREE next year!). I don't see it as crazy. I see it as a religion. A place where you meet amazing people in the mountains of Vermont, where you are pushed to extreme limits to see what you are made of, to cry, to laugh, to fall in love with the new friends you meet. That is what has given me peace this past year.
For Becca, she was able to go on three retreats, something she has not done since before her children were born. She went to Arizona to a sealed retreat for 10 days, in which no one could speak, use phones, etc. That is certainly a challenge when you are a parent....not checking in with your family and your little ones. Just recently, Becca flew to Russia to attend a retreat, to see her beloved teacher. She never knows when she will be able to see him again. I am so proud of her to have taken that leap to fly across the globe, to nurture her spirit. I see both her trip and My Year of the Death Races to both be epic in our paths for following our "religions." Letting go, temporarily, of the beautiful yet demanding grip of parenthood and letting yourself actually be the one to be nurtured instead of always being the nurturer is not as easy as it seems...especially for mothers.
|AMAZING pictures from Becca's retreat in Russia|
|Summer 2013 Death Race|
|Becca and her boys, Leo and Dylan, at a retreat|
|Sweetness! Becca at peace and so is Dylan :)|
|my sweet, Aida, and I in Pittsfield, where my races occur|
What I really love about this connection is that we both know EXACTLY what we got out of our individual experiences without even going into detail with each other. I find that truly amazing.
Here's to healing, being moms and loving every minute of it....and for finding our own Zen.