“This much I know. I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness. No matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, that itself creates new potential. I’ve learned from the Bhagavad-Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do. Because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control. But your commitment is yours to make. And you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment from where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world, and you shape your actions and take full responsibility for them but then you have detachment. That combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge. Because I don’t cripple myself. I don’t get myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty. Because I think we owe it to each [other] not to burden one another with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.” – Vandana Shiva
A good friend posted this soliloquy on Instagram. I read it despite the fine and copious print because I knew she shared it for a reason. I re-grammed immediately and continue to re-read it. I even transcribed above in hopes of the wisdom sinking in a little deeper.
I don’t get myself in knots, he says.
I do. Especially when it comes to my family. Giovanna has thrown some tricky curve balls at me lately. Begging for “presents” when we run errands, for sweets when we have them, for a ride in my arms, sitting above the bump for just a little while longer.
I can’t walk, she says. Pick me up, mama. Carry me.
In one month exactly, she turns four. In two months, her little sister is due to make her grand entrance into this dimension. I know Gigi understands more than she lets on. I know everything will change about our family dynamic. She knows it, too.
I dig deep for compassion and empathy and most of all patience. Usually I deal with transgressions and move on. But sometimes, I get myself in knots. Like yesterday after too many spontaneous tantrums and a long afternoon at the Nutcracker followed by hideous traffic.
I suppose I expected too much. The picture says it all. My forced smile, her pouty face. I’m holding her because it’s the only way.
This picture, however, seems to tell a different story. A mother and daughter spending the afternoon at the ballet (courtesy of Trophy Cupcakes, no less). What privilege. What luck.
Things aren’t always as they seem.
Our photo-bombers, the mother and daughter behind us, were having a similar day. Sweetness sprinkled atop something hard to swallow.
As mothers we have a hard time separating our children from ourselves. We were once physically attached, our hearts inextricably overlapped. But we can overlap without being tangled. We don’t need knots. Knots cut off the circulation.
The context is not in your control. But your commitment is yours to make.
I can’t control my daughter’s moods and emotions. I control nothing but myself.
Either I can write, or I can wish I was writing.
Either I can actively grow my business, or I can remain comfortable and stagnant.
That combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge.
I sit down, day after day, to write. Unveiling stories inch by inch. No matter the length or the quality or the numerous distractions to which I succumb, I feel better when I’ve written that day. As if every thought composed helps to make more sense of this existence that I don’t understand. I am hungry to learn about it and from it and for it.
There are things I feel compelled to write about. Truths, both perverse and pure, that I love to share and explore and discuss using the vehicle of fiction.
As for the tea. Why do I run a small business while writing and mothering and living? Because I must. Because these teas create a flow of micronutrients and antioxidants and healing properties into the body. Herbs are magical little plants. I am honored to act as their conduit.
You want it to lead to a better world, and you shape your actions and take full responsibility for them but then you have detachment.
I cannot know which novels will publish or how many tins of tea will sell. I cannot know how any of my dreams are going to turn out. And it’s scary sometimes and sometimes I get stuck.
I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.
This is what we’re here for. Not acclaim. Not wealth. Not perfection. But a celebration of life.