I am so honored that Linda asked me to be a contributor for the “Walking Through Life As Women” blog. During the time that she asked me I was decompressing from my full teaching load and transitioning into my summer life as a mom while still performing as a pianist. My husband, who is also a musician, was out of town on tour for two weeks. And my two young boys (6 years and 8 years old, one of which has special needs) were driving me nuts! It seems as I’ve grown older, life transitions are harder for me as I adjust to my different life roles. Perhaps this is due to more responsibilities, my lack of patience, or my changing body as I am perimenopausal. Maybe it’s all of these reasons. As the weeks went by, my stress level only increased until I finally took some time out for some self-care and went on my first “Mommy’s Overnight Spa/Staycation”. This was a big deal for me as it was the first time I had allowed myself to do something so self-indulgent.
While lounging and drinking in the pool with my mommy friend, I recalled the story of my first time snorkeling. I cannot swim and get very anxious in the water if I cannot touch the bottom. Long story short….in order for me to calm down and be able to snorkel I had to literally think to myself, “Ok, you’re just gonna die! Accept it! You’ve lived a good life! You’re here in beautiful Hawaii with this amazing guy (my husband now), so just let go and be still!” After ten minutes of thinking these thoughts, I was able to relax my body, calmly breathe through the snorkel, float, and actually enjoy the water moving me around.
As I told my friend this story, I was reminded of what a visceral experience it was for me. Never had I been in a situation where so much stress and anxiety put me into the fight or flight survival mode. But more importantly, I realized how unyielding and fearful I can be, and the level of overdramatic thoughts it took for me to calm down and just let go. While I realize the idea of “letting go” and “you’re enough” are not new concepts in the struggles that women deal with, I was never able to comprehend these concepts and how it specifically applied to me and my self-expectations. Perhaps, I wasn’t ready to hear it. Or, I didn’t even know how to start.
It has been 17 years since that snorkeling trip and probably the same amount of time since I thought about that experience. Throw in career, marriage, difficult pregnancies, premature births and parenting, that important life lesson was quickly forgotten. I wish I remembered this gem during our four-month stay in the NICU. But, I did remember it nonetheless. I am certain that life will afford me many opportunities to reinforce this lesson, in addition to all that I have yet to learn. Cheers to my first snorkeling trip! That moment of truly “letting go” was magical. Though stressful, it was illuminating. It forced me to see more of my true inner self and enabled me to learn that I am capable of yielding control and being still.
By Melonie G