On Grace

I’ve never really considered myself to be a religious person. “Spiritual” certainly, whatever that means, but I haven’t ever really subscribed to any one doctrine of faith. I think religion is wonderful and faith is a beautiful thing to be sure, but no one religion has ever completely fit my beliefs completely. Let me preface the rest of this post by also mentioning that I am fairly well-rounded in the realm of religious study, as I spent my four years in college delving into every religious tradition I could – both mainstream and not so well-known (Jainism, anyone?). While four years of study isn’t nearly enough to make me an expert on religion in general, I think I have exposed myself to enough religious diversity to be able to confidently say that I am not one thing. I love all religions, and I think they are all beautiful and perfect at their core.

Now that I’ve established myself as a neutral party (and no I won’t discuss religion with you at a party, it makes me uncomfortable), I wanted to touch on my newly found openness to G-d or qi or loving energy during my second trimester of pregnancy. I was having my nightly phone call with my mom, and I was telling her just how happy I feel, and how blessed and just how…humbled I am with this whole experience.

I know this is the typical experience for the second trimester (I feel FANTASTIC and have so much energy!) but I also feel so much deeper. I feel like my whole body has been opened up to the universe; like my insides are too big to fit inside my physical self anymore (I’m not talking about that baby busting out of mom’s abdominal wall, either). It’s like the life and love inside of me is just so expansive and large, that it reaches out into the universe infinitely, touching every single thing ever… It reminds me of a Ted talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who experienced a massive stroke, and was able to work her way back to speech and a healthy brain. She said that while certain parts of her brain slowly ceased functioning, she stopped being able to perceive where she ended, and the rest of the universe began. She described her body as no longer existing, and said she just became this limitless energy pouring out into everything.

THAT’S how I feel. Like becoming the carrier of this little human life has just split my body in two and allowed everything in, and simultaneously allows all my life energy to flow out into the world.

This is deep, I know. I had to write it down so I could remember feeling this way later, when I am wiping poo off the walls.

The negative side to this experience is that I also feel more exposed to negative energy. I have experienced more anxiety in these months than ever before too, I’m sure due to hormones, but also because my soul or heart or whatever is just out there for the world to imprint on. I feel very, very sensitive to hearing or seeing anything sad. I feel completely overstimulated by the news, and hearing about the attacks in Paris put me over the edge for a few days. My heart aches for every terrible thing that has happened or is happening, and I feel like a silly little white girl who just can’t even. But I really can’t, it hurts me on a very deep level right now.

But my sensitivity to the bad things brings me back to Grace. The Grace I feel like I am able to find in so many things every day now. Like meeting the exact right person at the right time. Or having everything seem to just start falling into place. To feel finally like you have everything you need  in each moment. To be able to find so very many things to be grateful for every single day, and to just feel that everything is going to be so much better than just okay.

I see that Grace, and I am overwhelmed by it.

 

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On Minimalism and Fat Pants

Photo By Mathieu Nicolet

 
 
I have long wanted to be a minimalist. When I see pictures of other peoples’ zen-like homes, free from clutter and unnecessary possessions, it makes me weak in the knees. Sometimes I think, “Well, yeah, if a professional photographer was coming to my house to take pictures for a magazine, I might somehow make all my clutter disappear too”. While I’m sure those homes in magazines hardly ever actually look totally clean like that, I think reaching that level of minimalism is totally doable.

 

If we had less things, there would be less mess to be made, and I could spend more mornings sitting on the couch and watching DIY Network. I mean, I do this in the morning anyway, but if we had less stuff and less mess, I wouldn’t feel so guilty about it. That’s the problem with stuff and messes—they create this background noise in ones’ mind: knowing you need to organize and clean, knowing you should probably get rid of the rust old mason jar lids, thinking about how you should clean up now before the day gets going and you’re too busy and hot to care… all of this mind clutter could go away if only I could let go of more stuff.

 

In light of this goal and since we are moving in the next few weeks, I have started going through drawers, cupboards and boxes, and practicing letting go of unnecessary things. I still hold on to some things that I know will likely never be touched again, but practice makes perfect right? It’s silly that I have to convince myself that we don’t need to keep all eight of the toothbrushes we’ve accumulated from dentist visits. What if someone stays at our house and forgets their toothbrush? What if I am doing some type of delicate cleaning that requires a baby-soft toothbrush bristle? For stuff like this, I have been saving one (maybe two) extra, and putting the rest in the Goodwill box.

 

My biggest challenge will be clothes, since I tend to fluctuate so much in size throughout the year. I would love to never own fat pants again, but I’ve gotten rid of bigger stuff before and gotten super mad at myself when I have to trudge to the store to buy more pants. And the whole “well getting too big for your clothes is motivation to keep in shape” argument doesn’t work on me, so let’s just let it go.

 

What do you have the hardest time letting go of?