Self Love: Finding The Ocean Within

Why did it take two years to take my first night away for R&R with just me, myself and I? I’ve done getaways with my husband and girl’s weekends, a bachelorette party… but just me? I think this was the first time I knew I not only needed it and deserved it, but that I could also enjoy it. We deal with mom guilt for leaving our kiddos, OCD control issues with how our perfectly capable partners manage the routine, prioritizing our to-do lists over ourselves and simply wanting to be nowhere else than our cozy nests with our tribe… until we are really ready and our mother-in-law comes into town.  

So I went ahead and booked a night at the glorious Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Only 20 minutes from home yet worlds away.

What did I do? In the most beautiful way, NOTHING. I took myself out to sushi, ordered a bottle of unfiltered sake and read my Kindle without an ounce of self-consciousness and no need to hurry. No cooking, no dishes, no problem! Checking into the Ritz was the definition of falling into the lap of luxury. I lit the en-suite fireplace immediately, donned that famous Ritz robe, uncorked the complimentary bottle of wine, enjoyed a little edible and skipped on down to the hot tub. Junk TV was enjoyed and I even slept on the other side of the bed- things got crazy.

8am came with a “where am I?” shock and confusion from waking with the sun high. No morning bottles to deliver, no soggy diaper-bombs to change, no Curious George. After another 15 minutes of between the sheets stretching and a quick family Facetime to set my heart at ease, I skipped my well-intended morning run and hopped straight into a bubble bath, because Why Not?

This wasn’t just a break from mom-life and the relentless demands that I gladly shoulder. This was also solace from myself, meaning the self-work, the shoulds, what-ifs, when, where, and how in hell is everything going to work out? Pause to hyperventilate…. It is so hard to park your dreams for yourself even if it is for the most meaningful cause in the world. I just needed to turn it all off for a moment. It’s like that Meher Baba quote, “A mind that is fast is sick. A mind that is slow is sound. A mind that is still is divine.”

A mind that is fast is sick. A mind that is slow is sound. A mind that is still divine.

Meher Baba

Before hitting the spa, my bestie joined for brunch at the Bistro and we enjoyed the gorgeous ocean view, warm rays of sunshine and benedicts. Then it was off to the womb of relaxation in Ritz style. It was here, foregoing any thoughts of what the future may hold that I thought of the past. I believe that we don’t know where we are going until we know where we’ve been. Maya Angelou says it much more eloquently, “I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. I have respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment. I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place.”

I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. I have respect for the past but I’m a person of the moment. I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place.

Maya Angelou

In my last article, Tribal Inspiration: Finding Your Core Values, I wrote about gleaning inspiration from fellow women I admire. I doubt I am alone when I recognize how freely I shower my admiration on others while unintentionally withholding it from myself. Where I am coming from deserves a moment to be honored, it deserves respect for battles survived for at many times it was sheer survival, and it deserves admiration from most importantly myself.

I AM INSPIRED BY MYSELF. It’s as if I have been pushing through a 4-year Ironman. I have beautiful twin toddlers that are no longer 2-under-2 but they still require a mind-blowing amount of effort. Please don’t be that person who says, “You probably don’t know if it’s harder than just one baby because you don’t know any different.” I’m typically not a violent person but that type of ignorance can inspire me. My sweeties were born very premature at 32 weeks and, yes, there are others that have experienced more difficult situations than mine. My children were 2lbs 4oz and 3lbs 12oz. I spent just under 2 months in the NICU overall and, once home at 4lbs each, still had multiple appointments weekly for holes in my daughter’s heart, hernias for both and high risk follow-ups with the understanding that emergency surgery could be required at any time. We still have follow-ups today for some of this. I remember not being able to take my children home after giving birth, it violates every hormone in a woman’s being to leave her babies and is physically painful. I remember praying that they would survive first 24 then 48 then 72 hours. I remember taking every remedy on the planet to help my breast milk come in and then pumping every 3 hours around the clock to provide for two babies for 8 months. Before they were born I shouldered a brutal pregnancy, emotionally and physically. Although I was huge and feeling it, my daughter continuously measured off the bell curve below the 1st percentile. We had expert advice that the outlook was not good, that they probably would not survive the pregnancy and if they did, would have high, double-digit probabilities of having severe defects. We had expert recommendations to terminate the pregnancy and were up against California law to make the decision. I underwent every test, every poke and prod, got second opinions and was still told that I was in Leap Of Faith territory, medically speaking. Prior to that lovely experience my husband and I experienced a year of unexplained infertility and also proceeded with every test to reach that unfulfilling conclusion.

Was it worth it? Absolutely! Was it hard as F*#k? It was by far the most difficult thing thing I have ever encountered times infinity. This experience tested every fiber in my soul, my marriage and my faith in what this life is about. In considering where I’ve been am I surprised about reevaluating my personal definition of purpose and passion? Not a lick. Am I able to give myself a hall pass from pushing career and simply enjoy a little pure and precious mom-time with my sweet babes before they grow up before my eyes, without worrying about how it looks on my resume? I think I can muster that.

I have a specific memory that reminds me how close to tragedy we came. About a year ago my husband and I went out for a casual date night at our favorite hidden sushi spot. We happened to run into the perinatologist who oversaw my pregnancy. We exchanged small talk until expressing how well the twins were doing in their first year to which he exclaimed with obvious relief, “Oh good. I was afraid to ask.” Even the memory of this conversation, happy ending and all, makes me nauseous.

Am I inspired by the incredible woman who lived this journey and came out wiser, more thankful and more in love with life than ever before? Hell yes! Knowing where I’ve been gives me context to enjoy where I am now without needing to know what tomorrow holds. A little self love goes a long way and is worth it, because we are worth it.

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