We moved into our new place about a month ago, and getting my daughter's room set up was at the top of my priority list.
This is partly because I'm such an amaaaazing mom and everyone knows kids need stability and consistency and nesting and lots of strawberries.
But if I'm being honest, there was some other stuff twisted into there too.
This is true for most of us, and it doesn't mean we're horrible evil flawed people, it means that we're wonderful delightful flawed people.
I really, really wanted her room to be perfect.
I would have hotly denied this. No no, I just want it to be pretty, and nice, and give her a sense of safety and stability.
I wanted it to be perfect.
I wanted to be that mom.
The one who could finally give her daughter the most dreamy little-girl room EVER.
It took on all this symbolism, where the room represented all the ways I want to love her and protect her and nurture her and help her be brave and smart and free and um-- see how it could get a little bit fraught?
And so, not surprisingly, the putting-together of her room was filled with all KINDS of crazy drama. I'm not even going to go into it, it's all so ridiculous. From the canopy that didn't fit but she didn't want tightened, to the bed that came with broken pieces, to the weirdness of American bed frames (seriously, no one else in the world still uses box springs, people!) to the part where we were GOING to paint the walls but she didn't WANT to and then I convinced her how GREAT it would be and then it turned out we WEREN'T painting and okay I guess I went into it.
And please don't even bring up the hideous brown 70s shag rug she originally fell in love with.
Or that when she finally settled on this lovely white and silver beauty, thank all that is holy, there was an issue with the floors and we couldn't put it down for three weeks.
You would think that this room was a rocket ship we were trying to put together.
And so I have been laughing and crying and listening and pulling my hair out and trying to give her room to make decisions while also remembering that she is only eight and it's a lot of pressure, and here is the whole point of why I am telling you this story.
It has to do with something we're talking about in Secret Mystics, which is how to stretch big enough to let all our Big Feelings move through us. All of this was okay as long as I could remember to just let it be messy and uncomfortable and even kind of awful. The only problem was when I would clamp down and try to make it better than it actually was.
This is counter-intuitive, but bear with me here.
Whatever Big Feelings you have, just get bigger around them.
Whatever uncomfortable emotions or physical sensations are present in your body right now, imagine that you can open up around them. Let there be lots of air and open space so that there is plenty of room and permission for whatever is there. Don't meditate it away, and don't coach yourself out of it, or try to be more enlightened than you are, just open up and get so big that you can contain all of it with lots of spaciousness. And then-- I know, this part is crazy-- tell those sensations that they can just be there. That you're going to give them lots of room and space. And then see what happens. 9.999 times out of ten, the simple act of giving them permission will bring you enormous relief. And then? When they're being witnessed? Well then the job of those emotions is done, and they will start to shift and move.
It's the most powerful magic I know.
I kept forgetting, and I would get all furious at the metal part that wouldn't FIT and then I'd get mad at Miss Adventure because she would start wailing about the fact that IT WOULDN'T FIT AND NOW SHE'D NEVER HAVE A BED and I'd get all tight and mean inside and try to be zen and calm, which is the WORST-- and then eventually I'd remember how insane that was and finally I'd say, "Wow, I'm SO STRESSED OUT right now," and she'd sniffle and say "Yeah, me too," and then we'd both take a breath and something inside us would ease up a bit.
And eventually we'd wipe away our gallons of snot and tears and pick up our wrenches (really! we used wrenches!!) and have another whack at it.
And now? It looks like this. And she plays and plays.
Try it. You'd be surprised how big you can get. You can be a damn cathedral.
P.S. My mentor, Dr. Martha Beck, is teaming up with Deepak Chopra for something pretty special. Check it out here.
P.P.S. Also? We are THIS CLOSE to being done with February. See you in March! The Queen Sweep is coming soon.....eeek! SO excited. Stay tuned.