Social Jogi
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Social Jogi

Finding Peace in Life’s Poo

Transforming parenthood into spiritual practice

“Swole: The Pregnancy Type” by author

It’s about time for me to check out. At 39 weeks pregnant (swollen from head to toe, waddling in lieu of walking and cuddling my pregnancy pillow by 8 pm), I’ve reached my limit. It is a physical struggle to even type. Every chair presents its own unique challenge for my abnormally formed body: for my limbs and ligaments, no seat is safe.

Since week 36, I’ve been journaling daily about the experience of the “final days” before the baby. It’s a unique time that is rarely written about through firsthand experience, likely because, at this point, women are challenged enough by putting on their shoes and wiping their own butts. Forget about reflection, writing, and publishing for the world.

But, in all of the discomfort, exhaustion, and excitement of these final days, I discovered something that needed to be shared: Peace.

Make mama-life your sadhana

To live our most enlightened, and therefore joyously fulfilling life, we must seek spiritual engagement through our everyday roles in humanity. Fortunately, in the role of “mother,” there is no greater opportunity for this to happen. The selflessness, the patience, the love, the grief — every act as mother is an opportunity to practice your sadhana. Every act as mother is an opportunity to bring you closer to Source; to your true nature; to Peace.

Our sadhana is our ongoing effort to commune with the divine within and around us; it is our daily spiritual practice, which brings us closer to Oneness with the All.

You’re thinking: How could treating my pregnancy-induced hemorrhoids or losing my sh*t with a potty-training toddler serve as spiritual practice???

But it is precisely these moments, when we are so human —consumed by our physical form and ego-induced stress and anxiety — that provide us the greatest opportunity for spiritual engagement and evolution.

Think of your most challenging moments like a foot race. Would you feel more accomplished crossing the finish line of a 5k or a marathon? Or maybe today feels more like an ultramarathon or damn, even an Iron Man. You may come out on the other side bruised and beaten, but you finished the race.

To demonstrate, here are a few of my personal marathons from the last few weeks:

  • An overflowing toilet, complete with toddler (thank God) poo
  • Resentment towards my husband, who needed to sleep in four days in a row, leaving me with a “morning routine” for our daughter
  • My daughter stomping through tar-black rain puddles in the Target parking garage, then jumping all over the back seat of our car with said rain boots
  • Feeling and acting like an a**hole for no reason (as if a reason would justify anything)
  • Overcoming the ego’s repeated commentary to “just give up”

In each of these lovely scenarios, I was able to choose peace over the ego’s identified story, which included frustration, anger, pride, and defeat.

“Your Struggle, Your Race, Your Sadhana” by author

The more challenging the race, the more spiritual energy required.
The longer the race, the more chances for you to access your inner peace.
The greater the struggle, the more you’ve overcome.
If you cross that finish line in peace, you have mastered the struggle: you are elevated to higher states of consciousness.

With every day served as your sadhana, the ability to choose peace and calmness in life gets easier because at our core, beyond the ego, the memories, the stories, and roles we create for ourselves, we are Peace. It is always there for us to access.

Two strategies to spot Peace in the poo

We are all the Universal, Energetic Life Force that is God. To be in tune with that truth allows us to be more peaceful, more joyful, and simply more pleasant to be around: your family (friends, colleagues, etc.) will thank you for your practice.

“Peace in the Poo” by author

One: Meditation

This is the first step in accessing the inner peace that exists within you. If you don’t take time to recognize and feel this energy, you are not likely to be able to turn to it for support in the day’s race.

Length: 5 minutes each day (minimum)
Every day, I aim to meditate for at least 11 minutes. Most days I meditate for 20 minutes, and some days I meditate for up to an hour. That sounds like a lot, right? The days I meditate for more than 20 minutes are the days I need it most.

Trust me, you need it.

On the hardest days, when my mind seems to race the most, I resolve to stick with it. This is often when I have those one-hour meditations. The ego says, “Sitting with incessant thoughts is not meditating. Let’s just give this up for the day.” But my spirit persists, “One more minute. One more minute.”

Like “one more mile,” this is the marathon. These are my most profound meditations, where I come out feeling the most enlightened and spiritually engaged. I reach a bliss state.

Mantra: Surrender, Peace (repeat)
I am not a “master” meditator. I rarely am able to sit in meditation without something running through my mind — I’m a mom, remember? What I have come to recognize, however, is that what runs through my mind usually does not need tending to at that moment.

Ego will start with simple distractors: I need to buy some storage bins. Our house is a disaster. What time is MIL getting in next week?

When those calls are ignored, ego brings in family concerns: Will N get into that preschool? Baby V still needs a middle name!

Responding to the ego that “none of these things needs tending to now,” it will make a final attempt by bringing up the fun things in life: What will my career look like next year? What fun trips are we taking this year? It would be really cool to live in Tahoe.

As you can see, the ego is clever. It will deter you from having a meditative practice by distracting you with the duties and adventures of your humanity, both of which never end!

Keep the ego quieted with this mantra:

(Breathe in) Say aloud or in the mind: Peace
Imagine peace flowing throughout your entire form, both your physical body, your mind and aura. Go beyond the image to feel peace within you — this is God.

(Breathe out) Say aloud or in your mind: Surrender
Peace begins with surrender. With every out breath, release every muscle, every cell, every thought. Sit in that presence and acceptance of right now.

Repeat this mantra as long as you need to get to that felt state. As often as you can, cease the mantra and just feel. It is important to get to know that feeling of peace, because that feeling is what you will turn to throughout your day as challenges arise.

Two: Pause

Picture it:
Your toddler just threw an entire bag of bobby-pins into the toilet. You gather (more like shutdown) your senses and take a seat bowl-side to fish all 30-something said pins out without gagging. You put the last pin into the trash bin, stand up to the sink and begin washing your rubber gloves and hands in an attempt to move on with your day. Then, you hear the weight of metal hitting porcelain. You turn around to see your little devil of a child has just emptied the bin back into the toilet. He stares at you.

Pause.
You likely feel like you are suspended in time. Everything within you wants to scream and react physically. Your mind and spirit are completely disengaged. Pause and do one or all of the following:

1. Breathe. Just one breath.
This one breath allows you to reactivate your mind and your spirit in an attempt at finding that meditative peace. In this one breath, you will instantly feel more aligned and prepared to respond.

2. Check the ego. Why are you so angry?
Are you averse to toilets? Is there something you needed to do besides clean up after your child for a half-hour? Did your child just slaughter your sense of authority?

For me, the answer to all of these questions would be “Yes.” Can I yell now? Whether you do or not, the important thing is that you took pause to check your ego and that matters in your progress as a spiritually-in-tuned parent. With each pause to check the ego, the ability to pause becomes easier.

3. Assess the situation. What is really happening and what is truly needed?
Objectively, your child has just placed (again) items into the toilet that do not belong in the toilet. He is now looking directly into your eyes.

What he is looking for is your reaction. He is in need of your attention. How will you give it to him? How did it come to this? How can you recoup your losses in a more calm and peaceful way?

The pause offers you, in this moment, is a chance to objectively evaluate what you see and hypothesize why you’re seeing it, allowing you to act, rather than react.

Ok, now you can scream. But maybe scream somewhere far away from your toddler. Your child is establishing his ego. He wants to understand his power in this world, and he is testing his abilities against your response. Consider your reaction carefully.

By making every moment of mamahood my sadhana, and using the tools of meditation and pause, I am cultivating increased peace in my body, my mind, and my day. My husband feels this, my daughter feels this, my friends feel this. The result is more joy, more love, and more peace; we grow together in spirit.

As I venture onward in this pregnancy and into parenthood with two little loves, I aim to bring my practiced peace along with me through the struggles and the celebrations. I assume the next four months will be the most challenging days of my life — my marathon (or damn, my Iron Man).

I will come out on the other side this Spring, bruised and beaten. My hope is that I am able to take my own advice and don’t look back on this post to find myself full of sh*t.

Peace out for now fellow poomongers.

If you are a conscious mama (or papa) and would like to connect about spiritual parenthood, I would love to chat with you! Please message me —light & peace.

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Meredith

Meredith

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aspiring Spiritual Warrior writing for my tribe | credentialed in Journalism, Education & Leadership | experienced in Wine, Motherhood & Partnership