by Laura Lee
The parallels I’m witnessing between this time in history -- what it is asking of you and bringing up in you -- is not very different, perhaps, from what you already know and have experienced as a mother of a child with exceptional needs.
Most recently, I’ve seen this time of living through a global pandemic as a giant magnifying glass. It’s magnifying all the challenges, joys and pain. It even feels as though it’s multiplying them, adding on an extra layer to all we’re experiencing.
Perhaps this feels deeply kindred to how it felt when you became a mother, or a mother of a child with exceptional needs. I define exceptional needs as “anything above and beyond the typical emotional, spiritual or physical needs, or the requiring of an extra layer of care, time, emotional support or resources.”
This pandemic has also presented us with an extra layer of sorts. An extra layer of fear and pain. We’ve felt the sorrow, the anger. But we’ve also been offered beautiful moments of creativity, ingenuity, determination and found gratitude.
When life hands you a challenge outside of your comfort zone or beyond what you ever expected or thought you could handle, you are given a choice. Rarely do you ask for these things to happen or plan for them. Yet here they are. They bring great challenges and if you decide to meet those challenges, it is also an opportunity for massive growth and transformation.
You may enter these challenging new soul assignments with great sorrow, shock, dismay, or even anger. You might scream and rail against the "too muchness" of it all. There is no judgement in that process. However, after a time, you realize you can no longer go on this way. You must find peace in yourself and in this new life experience you have been given.
As a mother, there are important truths that I’ve come to know deeply and intimately in my own life and the lives of countless mothers I’ve coached on their own healing journeys.
I share these today in hopes they will guide you back to your truth when staying at home another day during quarantine feels like it will break you. I share these for those of us who are done struggling with the same sadness, grief and anger that keeps us stuck. There is so much freedom to be found here.
I once had a client that opened up about her experience with her exceptional needs child. After a bit, I mentioned the idea that if her child had exceptional needs, that meant that she now had exceptional needs. Not that she was “needy,” but in fact, the “guardian of her needs.”
She stopped and took this in. She realized that underneath it all, she believed that since her child had exceptional needs this meant that she had to sacrifice more. She was stunned by this realization. She had felt it but had not let it be consciously known.
To sacrifice more of herself -- to fully focus on keeping her child safe, healthy and cared for -- wasn’t actually serving the family in the way she believed. Did her child though, not need less of her, but all of her? While she shared, she began to realize her precious child needed was her whole self. That child needed her feelings felt, her body rested, her mind clear of damaging guilt and judgement, her joy, her dreams and passions realized and acknowledged.
You may be thinking, how in the world is this possible? I don’t have the time or resources to give myself these things. I would say, if God has given you the needs and desires, you do have within you what you need, you just need to be willing to journey through the uncovering process.
This is where the inner work comes in. You can’t skip it. It’s worth every uncomfortable moment of feeling and letting go. The alternative is half-living, or living to sacrifice. That will always leave you vacant and depleted. Spirit desires for you to be fully realized, fully awake and fully alive!
There is a caveat here. You have to be willing to ask for help, for support and then actively receive it. You must be willing to step into acceptance. This is what allows the creative parts of you to mobilize.
This mama and client unearthed a pattern and several untruths of limiting beliefs around her experience with her son, where she felt drained and left with no energy. Because she believed she had to sacrifice more of herself, she kept finding proof that this was true. She was in a pattern of relinquishing her own self-care in times of distress. She would become sick, and only then would she get back to taking care of herself.
This had become an exhausting cycle. It wasn’t healthy for she or her child. This mama finally became aware of the pattern and began to do the inner work to transform. She became aware that it was at odds with her core values of Connection, Stillness and Acceptance. Then we created a roadmap that would lead her back to those values. She put in place practices for preventative emotional, physical and spiritual care.
When she took on the new awareness -- yes, she had a son with exceptional needs, therefore she also had exceptional needs -- she was able to create time and space for healing herself, holding her desires as sacred.
This was the greatest gift she could ever give herself, as well as her son.
This became her prayer and truth:
It is safe and holy to hold my needs as sacred, as I hold space for the needs of my child and all those that I nurture.
Dear mama, you are precious and worthy of your own healing. Whatever is coming up for you now is coming up to be healed. Will you answer that call for healing? You are so very worth it.
Here is a simple process for you to dig into as you begin this in your own life. To stop sacrificing yourself and start nourishing yourself for your highest good and the good of all.
What am I struggling with most?
What do I desire most to be experiencing instead?
What am I believing about myself amidst the struggle? What am I believing about the world? About others?
What would I need to let go of to allow a new way of being and experiencing my life? A way through the struggle to the transformation on the other side?
What new belief would I need to take on in order to move towards this new way?
What is one action I can take to set this new belief in motion?
What support and accountability do I have in place to help me set this sacred new boundary?
A Plan of Loving Action:
When I feel weary, I will:
When I want to give up, I will:
When I feel shame, I will:
When I go into blame, I will:
When I want to rage, I will:
What would your life be like if you begin to write a new story? Not a story devoid of struggle, but a story of beauty and of transformation within and alongside the struggles. A story that includes ALL of you, your heart’s desires, courage, vulnerability, imperfection, joy, bravery and all of your exceptional beautiful needs?
Join me here @lifewithlauralee