My world changed seven years ago when an accident ripped through everything I thought I knew about myself and my life. Chronic pain and depression were daily acquaintances and some days I wasn’t able to get out of bed to care for myself, let alone my daughter. It was during this time that I began to ask: “Why me? Why did this have to happen?” and more profoundly, “What is that nasty voice in my head?”
Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. ~ Eckhart Tolle
Living with chronic pain is like having a full time Ego Sergeant in your head. My emotions were all over the map; I was exhausted from the injuries; and lived with an incessant stream of negativity filling my mind:
“How can you take care of your baby?”
“What will people think?”
“You’re not going to get better.”
And the debilitating – “You’re not a good mother.”
On my good days, I began reading everything I could find on the Ego, shame, our belief structures, and living vulnerably. I dug deep inside myself with much support from the people in my life, including health practitioners. I looked into my ‘whys’ and ‘what the hells’, and I began to notice my world change. My relationships began to take on a deeper meaning: my marriage welcomed more intimacy and connection; my parenting became more relaxed, and dare I say, spontaneous and fun. I started to just sit and BE with Emma without my eye on the clock, looking at my computer, or reading a magazine; I would simply sit with her and remind myself that she is a little girl, and sees the world from a totally different perspective than I do. I gave myself permission to be silly, laugh about farts and try to catch butterflies with her in the backyard. I would even let her see me upset on my off days and accepted her offer to help me feel better and wipe the tears away with a hug. I have a drawer full of cards and pictures she has made over the years. My favourite is the one where we are NOT crying because we are so happy. I gave myself permission to just BE and realized that all she really wanted was for me to hang-out with her and spend time with her.
I was learning to love a baby girl and myself at the same time. Every day I would repeat the following mantra: I surrender and release Ego control and ask for my God-self to merge with me and assist me with my highest good. After working with this daily mantra, I began to understand that I was not the critical condescending voice in my head and that I could change my thoughts and tap into my intuition and Higher-Self more easily.
The teachings from Brene Brown were, and continue to be, an undeniable guidepost for my quest to learn more and be the best version of myself for me, my family and my life.
The first time I read her piece called “The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto”, I cried. I slid down to the floor and cried. Some of the tears were for the years I felt I missed with Emma because of the accident. Some were for me and how hard I had been on myself by judging myself as an ineffective parent based on my Ego’s rantings and my upbringing. And finally, some helped wash away the old to make room for the new.
The first few statements of the manifesto ignited my Ego and the small hurts inside my heart:
“Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and loveable. You will learn this from my words and actions – the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.”
“I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.”
“We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honouring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.”
What a refreshing and timely viewpoint on life, parenting, and happiness. I desperately want my daughter to KNOW she is loved and loveable – that there is nothing wrong with her. I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me and this is NOT a belief I want my daughter to have, nor something I want her Ego to feast on!
I was astounded, and relieved, to learn that by “embracing my own imperfections” I would assist Emma with her own practice of self-compassion and worthiness.
The last line of “The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto” is what I wish for every child to experience and know in their heart:
“I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply seeing you.”
The greatest ego lessons I have learned are that the ego wants to keep us from living in the now and believing that we are all separate when nothing could be further from the truth. We are all connected in this beautiful mosaic we call life and surrounded by love; if only we open our hearts to the callings and the true magic of our lives found in every moment.
This work hangs in my office as a reminder that I do not have to be perfect all the time, and to stop judging myself and trying to live-up to a crazy and unattainable idea of the perfect mother. Thankfully, my Ego is learning along with me.
Shauna Marie Chandler
Reiki Master/Teacher, Angel Readings, Sacred Geometry