How do you create something strong and true?
How do you live deeply, and authentically?
How do you weave together moment after moment, heart with heart, into a life fabric that is authentic and bold and true? A life that ignores the standard platitudes of (what the world considers) "success", and is in tune with that quiet voice that whispers to you, calling you home to yourself?
How do you honor the calling of your heart-- by plowing forward, or standing still? Do you go inward and deep, or do you test your resolve and constitution out in the world, choosing breadth over depth?
I think we all know it is a bit of both,
a delicate balance of push/pull,
a jumping into the unknown, a scurry of activity, a period of calm…
waiting and listening…
for sometimes the truest voice is the softest.
When I was pregnant with my third child, that voice was became very clear: narrow my breadth. intensify my depth. I felt a stirring in my soul that I should stop working. I didn’t want to stop working—I loved my work. I just felt that I should. I knew in my heart that, despite having worked with my first two kids, I needed to shift gears.
It took 6 months of turning down photoshoots before I stopped getting that sinking feeling in my stomach. As much as I looked forward to more time to being a Mom and all that entails, it still felt like a retreat in terms of career. It was turning from a place of expansion & pushing forward, to a more narrowly focused space. It’s hard letting go of work you love, of having that “thing for yourself” outside of being a Mom. And when I would look at my working friends-- many of them mothers themselves-- in that state of success, making waves, moving and shaking, making, creating, achieving, doing, doing, doing, becoming a "Somebody”…. it was hard to walk away from that.
Still, no matter how conflicted I was, I garnered my faith and trust, and said “no.” Because that’s the way the voice is: it doesn’t always tell you The Easy Things. Sometimes it tells you Things for Your Own Good.
It’s time to stand still.
Depth over breadth.
I wondered, is this how we hear the voice of God (if one is of that persuasion)? Is it in the quiet corners of our heart, calling us toward paths we may not have chosen on our own, but are potentially more divine and authentic?
Your children's faces are planets,
their hearts, each of them, a universe.
There is richness here.
Your full attention is required.
You have some edges to soften.
Your heart must grow. Your faith must expand.
Depth over breadth.
For the last two and half years, I've been solely in the beautiful trenches of motherhood. I’ve traveled merely inches wide but a thousand miles deep, entrenched in the messy, beautiful, act of people-shaping and family-making. The five of us, sharing our hearts and souls with one another. Joys, sorrows, strengths, and flaws, all on display, each of us learning how to love more wholly and calling me into a better version of myself. Some days are smooth sailing; others, one micro-fail after the other. But we are committed to one another, and ultimately, I trust that commitment and love will triumph all our mistakes.
I have morphed-- from Mother... to Mother... to Mother....
each new child scraping away at what is not needed, exposing what is, pushing boundaries, desires, hopes. Its been a spiritual journey, a mirror reflecting my strengths and weaknesses, a culling out of new identities and callings. Motherhood—and my faith—has brought a surrender to the process and timing of things, knowing that it's ok to put Things I Want Now into the Things Shelved For Later bucket, when the timing is better.
But within that, you must grapple with the loss-- for there is a loss: of “status,” money, career momentum -- and trust that it will be made up for in other ways, more important ways. That what you gain will trump what you lose. Things will unfold as they should. There is a higher order of things. What is meant for me, what is good for me, what is necessary for me, will all be available on the other side of this, when I go back to work.
But it’s not always so easy. Nobody’s getting rich being a SAHM, and to say it’s been a financial strain is a gross understatement. There have been lots of sacrifices and humilities of my own ego. From the outside, and on my bad days, the inner critic may see only the one inch wide. But the heart, and the hearts of your babes – they see the thousand miles deep.
And now… now, I lean on that trust again, as I feel a new stirring…. to inch back to work… that the timing is right.
Step off the platform.
Breadth is ok now.
When my mind goes to fear (Can I do it? Will my family suffer for it? Will I be up working till 3am again? Can I handle the stress? Am I any good? Will my artistic voice find a home?), I gently try to refocus back into trust.
Reshift, reshift, reshift.
So with the turn of the new year, I hope to step forward in courage. To create something bold and strong and true – with my family, with my work, with my friends, with my life. “Breadth WITH Depth” I like to think of it… we will see what the year brings, but I am open to the shift.
What soft voice is calling you?
What dreams are calling you to your most authentic, strong and true self?
Do you find yourself in a period of depth? Or Breadth? Expansion or Drawing In?
Whatever it is, cheers to you, cheers to me, and cheers to creating Something Strong and True.*
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*hence the name change on the blog, which originated as a personal blog, morphed
into a professional blog to collect my photography work, then back to personal blog.
to follow along with my photography life, check out my charleystar blog.
this one will remain as a personal blog. thanks!