We don’t birth great things, we raise them
— Zoë K.M. Foster
If you’ve ever created something – especially to the point of finished (finally!), edited/reviewed and released to the world for use/ consumption – then you know what it takes.
I’ll bet you know what it takes multiple times over, and I’ll also bet you have at least twice as many projects neglected or shelved as you have actually ‘birthed’ and fully released.
Am I right?
I was reflecting on this last Sunday morning as I squirrelled down under the covers, enjoying every ounce of my lie-in. Quarantine has intensified my feelings about mornings: on the one hand I’m crazy happy not to be at the mercy of the school run, but on the other hand my cortisol levels are just waiting for the sibling riots to begin my day, and I don’t relish those one iota…
Know what I mean? Who else has been found hiding from their kids at every possible opportunity during lockdown?
But in that selfsame moment last Sunday as my cortisol started to rise and I found myself edging into High Alert – ears pricked for the telltale signs – I suddenly found my whole being flood with love.
Those damn kids are the light of my life. They fill my heart and soul to the brim, and I would literally die for them.
But MY EFFING GOD they are hard work. The hardest work of all. And there are times when I really do want to give up and run away (I’ve got it on pretty good authority I’m not alone in this, so please don’t call social services). And there are also times when I wonder why we put ourselves through this and HOW in the universe does the human race actually keep expanding?
Birth is commonly referred to as – let’s say – tricky. Epic even. Traumatic for some (too many sadly), and incredibly challenging for the rest. From my own experiences – each very different – I can assuredly say that giving birth is an alchemical portal which demands change on every level. It requires equal quantities of surrender and trust in our own abilities.
This is why it’s so very apt for the writer to say they are birthing the book, the entrepreneur to be birthing that project, and for the activist to be birthing a movement. These things take bottomless vats of persistence, faith, courage, self-belief, resilience and the ability to surrender to the process – whatever that entails.
But with kids the work doesn’t stop after the birth! In fact it mutates, grows and creates new challenges every-single-day – and there are NO HOLIDAYS when it comes to parenting! On sleepovers and date nights, we’re still discussing and worrying about them. The energetic ties are strong.
As all of these musings flooded my being last Sunday morning, I suddenly felt great shame for giving up on my soul’s work so readily. All those projects I’ve shelved, procrastinated on, never finished or never even started – all because it seemed ‘too hard’…
Yet we’d never give up on our kids – you and I – would we?
As much sleep as we lose, as much time as we give (and give and give), as much emotional Twister that we play over and over and over – we never give up on our kids. Because the payoff costs too much for our souls to bear.
Yet we are so ready to give up on ourselves, and the payoff is every time another little piece of us dies inside.
And I realised, within that love-flooded bubble I found myself in (still in the first few moments of waking), that we don’t “birth” our soul’s work. That’s just the hump right at the beginning – and sure, sometimes we don’t even reach that part, right?
But those projects we believe fiercely in? Those projects that ignite our core selves and make us feel fully alive when we’re in the thick of them? Those projects which aren’t mere ego experiments but real, energetic expressions of our guiding light?
Those projects deserve to be raised. Day after day, week after week – for years, decades, whatever it takes! There will be times for sure when you feel like you “Can’t do it anymore” and when you feel like the worst soul-project parent in the world. There will be times when you are judged harshly, criticised, and maybe even have the police round for a concerned chat. These are all rites of passage, not reasons to give up.
We have such a skewed view of failure and success right now. It’s either-or in our minds (“Oh SHE is so successful!” and “Geez, he failed majorly at that”) and when we think about it for ourselves, we often never actually let ourselves feel the successes. Which automatically, in this polarised view, makes us failures.
WOW!! Read that one again because it’s incredibly powerful. Stick it on your wall folks, because here’s the truth:
We are all failing and succeeding every day.
— Zoë K.M. Foster
Let’s not allow our bipolar view of success to get in the way of raising our dreams. Our soul-projects need us just as much as our kids (non-parents: insert fur-babies, elderly or ill dependents, and long-term partners here instead).
Let’s not give up at birthing our creative masterpieces; let’s RAISE them every damn day.
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