I was just driving home from a marvelous morning at the lake with the kids, where sweet, old Dr. Wilson invited the kids to help pick and count flowers with him, and where we were greeted by a family of Canada geese, almost unrecognizable since the last time we were there since the babies had outgrown their fuzz and began to look more like grown-ups. On the way home, I saw something in the middle of the road. I was prepared to pull over and rescue a turtle…. but as I got closer to it, I realized it was a giant bullfrog…. I mean, this guy was humungous! I slowed down just long enough for it to hop on out of the line of traffic and into some nearby grasses…. but I couldn’t help by think it was some sort of magical omen, so looked up frog as a power animal as soon as I walked in the door.
According to the animal medicine cards, frog is all about reminding us to take time to cleanse and replenish our energy, calling upon the rain and thunder to wash away our exhaustion, our woes, our frustration, our fear. Unbelievably serendipitous at the moment, after recently coming off of a two-week retreat of sorts, and moving into a summer where I am committed to savoring time’s passing slowly with my kids. I also just saw a nutritionist yesterday for some stomach troubles I’ve been having, and among the many tools and insights she gave me throughout our time together, one clear message sticks with me the most….
It’s time to focus on me.
It’s funny. This is one of those critical messages I share with all of my clients, friends, and loved ones on a daily basis… yet, when it came to me, well, I guess I just figured that it would somehow take care of itself.
There’s something about being given permission from an outside source that makes it so much easier to listen. Of course, ideally, I’d love to get to a point when I can honor my gut in such a profound way that I act on my own advice, consistently walk my own talk, and steer away from other people’s expectations of me. And once again, my nutritionist reminded me about baby steps, letting go of the need to be perfect, and the importance of honoring the humanness and wisdom and vulnerability of exactly where I am in this moment.
In regards to food, she gave me permission to focus on my body and cook myself healthy extravagant meals, even if it means feeding the kiddos a high-quality frozen something or a veggie dog. She gave me permission to not struggle so much with trying to get them to eat their broccoli, and instead just enjoy my own broccoli and let them choose a vegetable they want to eat. I have to tell you, at first this notion seemed kind of radical to me… even cruel. I envisioned my kids eating so many baby carrots they turned orange, and never ever again picking up another pea.
But then it dawned on me… I’m leading by example. But even more than that, I’m living the way I want to live, eating the way I want to eat (with the exception of less chocolate!), and thereby showing myself and my kids what it means to be living in congruence with one’s own unique values and desires.
(I figure that eventually they’ll get sick of carrots and frozen pizza and want to try something new, right?)
So this morning, the kids each made themselves a bowl of cereal while I diced some tomatos and garlic and fresh basil and took the time to make myself a frittata (fancy word for omelette!). No one keeled over from lack of nutrition. We all survived. Actually, more than that. We all thrived.
So in the spirit of cleansing and focusing on self, and flower-picking and bullfrogs….
I feel called to offer permission to anyone that reads this to focus on yourself. Only because I know how powerful it is when we can support one another in this way. Only because I hope that it will eventually draw you closer to listening to your own still voice that is wise and knowing and cares about what it is you might need.
Your kids won’t wind up in juvenile detention, your work won’t fall apart, your partner will still love you, and complete strangers will get over their seemingly haughty opinions that you’ve lost your marbles. And the thing is, if you don’t happen to think you’re worthy of your own attention, your body will find all sorts of nasty ways to let you know it’s time… take it from me…. I know this.
So I hereby give you permission to leave the dirty dishes in the sink and the laundry untouched for an entire day. I give you permission to call in well, and spend some time lying in the hammock or in a long, lingering bubble bath, open up all the curtains and let the sun shine in. I give you permission to pick up a paintbrush and dab some color onto a blank piece of paper and see what happens, without worrying whether or not you’re doing anything right. I give you permission to cook up a yummy lunch that’s just right for your belly in this moment, no matter how long it takes or how many little people (or big people for that matter) pinch their noses at your creation. I give you permission to separate yourself from all of the worry and concern, even if only for one gloriously lazy summer afternoon. I give you permission to procrastinate on your to-do list, and surrender to your to-be list…. I give you permission to do whatever it is that you love, and to be unabashedly you.