July into August has felt all about time. Sun-lit time decreasing here in the Midwest. Summertime dwindling and already speckled with glimpses of autumn. Time-sensitive deadlines. Timely occurrences. But with my vacation last week and today’s re-entry, hopefully my focus on time dwindles, so that I am able to focus on self care, reflect on time spent with one of my closest friends and time with new friends, and I am able to embrace moments rather than time itself.
Let’s sit down. Let’s take a breath. Let’s think about our purpose in coming together today and sharing this time. What brought you to read this reflection? What brought us to share this together? What would bring you to not only read but experience, not only skim but absorb, not only ponder but progress?
With a hot chai in my hand, I would share that I have been feeling an incredible sense of peace and love toward my work. I am humbled to work as a midwife in this global community, to have the honor to bear witness to each individual’s process, and to have the patience to acknowledge my own. I had a few months when the work was tougher, when I grew frustrated with my patients and their needs, when I became angry with myself for my impatience and limited kindness. I cannot recognize when I turned that corner, but I have found myself emotionally and mentally embraced by women, by midwifery, and by my intentions. Thankful, but seeking to identify roots of each experience to better understand and grow.
Drumming my hands on my mug in contemplation, I’d reflect that the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of understanding. I have been purposefully taking a step back and assessing what is truly going on – what it is people are really trying to say, trying to do, and seeing the bigger picture. A classmate in midwifery school regularly brought this insight to our conversations: she seemed to naturally take a step back and evaluate the broader perspective. I find this intention has greatly benefitted my practice, though it is something I am continuing to balance.
With honest tears in my eyes and chai warming me from within, I’d share what an incredible vacation I experienced. I entered the space with much to release, to recognize, and to name, and am fulfilled in walking away with answers that lead to more questions. Sitting and writing on the last night, before spending a fantastic evening getting to know a beautiful stranger who was patient with my focus and distraction and process, I wrote these questions: What is safety? What is community? What is intention? What is being? What is stability? What is belief? What is work? What is peace? Writing made my process in understanding them visible, and present in my life outside of a fleeting mind. Writing made them real, as they are, but writing them and then spending time with someone talking about life and work and care, made many things more real to me than they have been in a long time.
I worry that the moment I walk back into my life at home, these questions will be pushed aside, mentally and physically. Focus on the care of others amidst busy days leaves little time for self-patience and self-reflection, but I return home with this intention. It was freeing to be away from life, from complications that don’t involve the questions and answers and truth but rather complications and stress and distraction. Writing, and thinking, and connecting with myself and others: these are central to my self care, and I will be finding them again.
Sad to see so little left in our mugs, and wanting to share a final reflection on order. I find myself with so much movement forward without much thought about why, and this past week I was incredibly reflective on the order of life: what happens first and last, who enters our lives and when, as we move quickly ahead. What if the order of events in our lives were shuffled? Disordered? Would we have been stronger if a moment that we weren’t ready for early on, occurred later? What paths would be different? And how has this order contributed to our personhood and personality and perspective? And how much time do we take to recognize another’s order, to realize that their life’s order may have been jumbled and is still in phases of ordaining?
Finishing our time together, and already thankful to have the spice and intensity of chai back in my life, I’ll share that radical listening and intentional giving are the mantras pushing me forward from my time away. I look forward to understanding what those mean for me, today, tomorrow, and in each moment.
What are your intentions in this moment, and for the next moments to come? Is there something you are struggling to understand, that would be helped with patient perspective? What mantras resonate in your thoughts today? How has order played a role in your life, and could you start to know someone by asking about their order and their reflections on its role in life’s outcomes? Are there corners you’ve turned in focus on work or life? Have you reached any new levels of understanding that are sweeping you into a whirlwind or settling the dust? What moments or conversations have moved you to change and now pervade your thoughts?
See you next month,