The importance of lighthouse moments.

Me: Okay, gang. I’m going for my run. Be back in about 30 minutes.

G: Ooooh, can I run with you, Mommy?

Me: Ehhhh. No, buddy, I think it would be sort of hard for you to keep up.

G: PUULLEEEEEAAZZE!?

He hadn’t asked me this before so it took me off guard, you guys, and before I thought better of it I felt these words escape over my tongue:

Not tonight, okay?

I didn’t wait to see what happened in the moments that followed, but it is safe to assume that his sweet six-year-old cherub face told a fateful tale of rejection and heartbreak. Meh. Not what I was going for, of course.

But, my evening runs are meditation. They are unplugging. They are wide open spaces. And I look forward to those 1800 seconds for me and my good pal Mother Nature to just hang out and catch up on life. You know what I mean? I pop in earbuds and crank my favorite playlist and offer unreasonable focus to carrying on with nose breathing as though to convince this three-mile stretch that I GOT YOU. And my buddy, Mama N., offers a steadiness and an ease and winds gently animating trees and birds gracefully soaring overhead as reminders to relax and just BE. Some days, especially of late, I’m honestly not sure what I would do without this quiet space. So many people everywhere are deeply hurting and parts of us feel less than and unheard and overlooked. It can make us feel helpless and desperate and afraid for our world, watching in dismay with aching hearts as we break apart at the seams.

On this particular day, the sky was dotted with clouds that shaded my path and the breeze was perfection and when I got back to the house I was feeling really good. Dare I say strong. Focused. Hopeful. Ready. And then I punched the garage code and hit the steps to our mudroom where his note greeted me and all good and strong feelings instantaneously made a mad dash for the exits.

IMG_0442

And as I paused for a long minute and studied his wishes scrolled across that paper in black marker, I realized something. Two somethings, actually.

Although these love notes and kid truths ALWAYS tug at my heart and often make me feel like I’m doing this parenting thing all wrong, I know that I need to protect these small spaces for me, too.

And the guilt that perches on Mom shoulders for taking this *extra* time away from our families is heavy some times. Isn’t it? I have found this to be particularly present for me since returning to a full-time office gig a few years back, which inherently skims a decent layer off of family time. But, you know what:

We need these spaces. All of us do.

Don’t we?

Whether it’s an evening run or morning yoga class or lunchtime kickboxing session or lending a hand to someone in need or sharing stories and a coffee with a dear friend or sinking into a page-turner before bed or knitting socks for your co-worker’s new baby or testing out a recipe in a quiet kitchen or meditating to soft music or rocking out to the hard stuff or listening to an audiobook or watching from the covered porch as a storm rolls in or catching a movie in a dark theater or swimming across the channel or climbing to the summit or admiring our world from under the sea or seriously insert any other thing here.

These spaces, guys.
They are lighthouses.

And when we find ourselves in a rocky tide or surrounded by darkness or just simply lost in the noise of everyday existing, these are moments that can guide us back to awareness. Right? They sense when we are drifting off course and act as a compass that lovingly points us toward the best and most whole versions of ourselves. They say: Hey, you there. I see that you’re struggling a little bit (or, a lot bit). Let me shine this light here to help you navigate safely back to your path. Okay? And regardless of the road we may be on in this moment of our journey, friends, we are all really just trying to make our way to the same place: Peace. Which sits at the corner of Love and Kindness.

We want peace, don’t we? We all want to feel loved and accepted and supported and cherished. We want our voice to matter. We want to feel connected. Inspired. Awake. And these lighthouse moments help us SEE our path and what is important. They remind us that peace is always there beneath whatever has us jostled and unstable and off course. They help steer us home.


^^ For example this spot here, you guys. This was the moment when all the noise in my brain parted and made way for this beautiful awareness: When parts of us are hurting, our silence toward their pain makes us an ally to complicity. We should be diligent and purposeful and kind in using our voices to help others.


^^ And then the second came right about here, as I approached this bend in the road. Each day I have the opportunity to spread love or fuel divide. And I have four sets of young eyes absorbing my choices. I can’t do everything, but I can make sure they see me leading bravely with love.

And these lighthouse moments link hands with my next something

Protecting these spaces for decluttering my mind and centering my thoughts and slooooowing down, even just briefly, arms me with the awareness and needed perspective to then also create room for HIM. Not to be confused with room-that-I-pretend-is-for-him whilst unknowingly remaining distracted by those 793 other *very important* things. Just. For. Him. Or one of my other kids. Or my husband. Or a parent. Sibling. Friend. When we are centered and moving purposefully on our path it allows us to give the best versions of us to others.

You see, when I’m dialed in enough to see it and recognize it, I’m aware that my six-year-old didn’t want to run with me. I mean, he didn’t REALLY want to run with me. He just wanted to be near. He wanted closeness. He wanted my undivided attention. A thing that can be tragically difficult to come by in a house full of siblings. Scratch that: A thing that can be tragically difficult for me to offer when I’m lost in choppy water and drowning in my own thoughts and too far from shore to be fully present.

And this is the ongoing challenge. Making sure we really see our people.

Right?

I stepped into the house after my run that evening and really noticed my kid for the first time all day. And we sat on the porch for a long while and he shared stories about his day and his dreams for what tomorrow could look like and I listened closely to his words and studied his face and his expressions and reminded myself of how grateful I am to be the Mom of this amazing human. 

What are your lighthouse moments, friend? Be sure to make space for one today. Allow it to steer you home.

XO

JJ

 

14 thoughts on “The importance of lighthouse moments.

  1. Top Knots & Sweatpants says:

    Jen – you are such a beautiful writer. Your words are always some of my favorite to read. Extremely honest and authentic.

    I struggle to find this type of time to have a regular lighthouse moment as well as struggle to make time for my husband recently. Sometimes we are able to get a few minutes together just to talk when the baby is asleep and he just gets home from work. Those are nice.

    Erin
    http://www.topknotsandsweatpants.com

    Liked by 2 people

    • choosingkind says:

      Thank you so much for this, Erin! I’m so grateful for your kind words and happy to have the chance to connect with you through this blogger tribe ๐Ÿ™‚ And I know those moments you speak of quite intimately, too. Many a night when my husband and I finally lay out heads on the pillow and midnight and say “Oh, hi. There you are. How was your day, stranger?” Keep finding the moments, my friend. You’re doing great. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • lovelife462 says:

        Hey Jen,
        I love your posts; they are always so relatable! I felt similar emotions when my little girl looks at me with eyes screaming of abandonment! That said, she wants her Dad mostly, not me. I would love for you to visit my site, but don’t know how to add the link? I look forward to your next post! Thanks!

        Kate

        Liked by 1 person

      • lovelife462 says:

        You are so welcome, and I appreciate that you are following my posts! I am doing this hoping to help others in what ever small way I can! Even if my words only help or encourage one person, my time has been well spent! If you have any suggestions to improve my blog, please let me know! I can only improve when others tell me where I need to improve! Thank you very much!

        Kate

        Like

  2. addie north says:

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post! I can relate to the feeling of being lost in a sea of thoughts and not fully present for my fiancรฉ after a long day of work… I need to work on bringing a few more lighthouse moments into my life!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mama Drama says:

    This brought tears to my sleepy eyes. We always feel so pulled in so many directions and so guilty for doing any little thing for ourselves. This was extremely well written, raw, and truthful.. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. particlewoman says:

    Oh I loved this.. You’re so right about taking time for us so we can really be present with the ones we love. And absolutely identify with the 793 other really important things while kids are trying to bond with us. I’ve been there bunches, too. It’s all about coming back to center. I loved this. And I think it’s great that you go running! It’s important for our little ones to see the things we do for ourselves too, so they know they can take care of themselves, and it’s not only good, but necessary. What an excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. momsunlimitedshopping says:

    wow! this was really inspiring! Sometimes as a mom you look around and everyone else seems to be doing great. House in tip top shape hanging out with the kids with endless amount of patients and then they tell you about all the time the invest in themselves andyour like huh? mathmatically it doesnt make any sense. I learned to focus on myself and my family and prioritise, because at the end of theday what ever is good for me an replenishes my energies, is good for my family.

    Liked by 1 person

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