I recently read Elif Shafak's "The Forty Rules of Love". At the risk of sounding clichéd, it felt like every instinct and question I had about faith had been answered in a bestselling work of fiction. Well, sort of - Rumi and Shams are not fictional characters, nor is the Mathnavi and Rumi's philosophy. Reading Shafak's novel, though, is merely to scratch the surface of Sufism. A mere whiff.
When I gave myself the nickname "Angry Mom" a few years back on some of my writing, it was not a joke. Since my second pregnancy, I have had rage issues. The difference in me was so stark, and I still can't explain what happened or why, simply that I would feel it welling up inside me, and I had no control over it. Small things set me off, things that don't make any real difference in life, and I could just ignore. It's a choice. At the same time, I feel the responsibility lies on me to shape my kids into human beings worth sending out into the world. Finding the balance between discipline and love is a daily struggle for me.
On Sunday, we met some amazing people, and one lady said, "I feel like I have woken up from a 10 year amnesia". I knew exactly what she meant. She had rediscovered her art after ten years, and was slowly remembering who she was, what music she used to listen to, her likes and dislikes, who she was as an individual. We give ourselves completely to our children when they are small, and it's wonderful and necessary; but soon they don't need us all the time, and we are left staring at the mirror, not recognizing the person staring back at us.
It was important for me and my husband to hear it from someone else, that I have not been going crazy, that others go through this as well. I don't pretend to understand exactly what I'm going through, and that's what this journey is about.
I have started doing certain things to bring some balance back in my life. I love the 40 Rules, and I feel that in my quest to rid myself of my rage and try and understand myself better, it might just be a good starting point. Others have tried the "40 Rules in 40 days" thing, so why not give it a try? I know that the actual crux of it is in addition to reading scripture and getting to the fourth level, and maybe that is my next step. Right now, though, I need to put "Angry Mom" to rest. I need to bring peace and sanity back in my home.
So, welcome to my crazy journey! Let's see what the next 40 days bring...
Disclaimer: If you're looking for a serious analysis of the 40 rules, you will want to go back to my best friend Google, and keep searching. If you're incapable of taking anything in life too seriously, then you're right where you need to be.
“How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.”
As George Takei would say, "Ohhhh Myyyyyyy". Talk about a loaded gun. My immediate thoughts go out to all the darling people I see preaching brimstone and fire, hell and punishment, rewards only if you recite abc xyz number of times, reducing religion to formula. I have never been able to see God that way, and hearing of Him that way has made me uneasy since I was a child.
But hey, c'mon, T, that's not the point. WWSS - What Would Shams Say? He'd say, stop worrying about what the others are up to. Worry about yourself.
I made the decision to make today Day 1, well, today. I was in yoga class (I've only completed my first month, but I do enjoy it a lot), and our teacher was making us breathe all kinds of crazy breaths. In that lovely, light-headed state, I decided, that's it. No more yelling, T, no more. Be zen. When you feel like ripping someone's head off, look at it like it's an angry red ball in front of you, and let it float away.
Ah yes, yoga breathing makes you light-headed and happy in that very moment, and you feel like you can do just about anything. But my favorite part of yoga class is the nap-time at the end. I mean, um, the relaxation / meditation part. Pfft, of course I don't nap or sometimes wake myself up by accidentally snoring or anything. Moving on.
So, how did day one go? I made behavior charts for the girls AND myself. If we yell or behave badly, we get a sad face. If we are nice, we get a happy face. Yes, I get a chart, too, because I am trying to keep myself in check, and I guess move from a totalitarian regime to a democratic household. Hey, if Pakistan can do it, so can I!
I've had a few spells of scolding today, but no actual yelling. So, ok. Not a bad start. That said, we still have the bedtime routine to go, so... wish me luck!