When I first booked the interview with Cathy and Todd for their Zen Parenting Radio Podcast, it seemed like a really good idea. I’ve been an admirer of their work and their mission ever since I discovered their podcast 2 years ago, and I was thrilled and honored when they invited me to share my story with their listeners.
In the months between the booking and the interview, though, my anxiety level skyrocketed. Of all the feelings I have felt these last few months, not one of them could be labeled as “zen,” or even in the neighborhood of “zen.” I’m in the middle of a divorce, I’m learning to navigate my new life as a halftime, single mom, I’m in a new same-sex relationship, and I have a new focus at Threads that is pushing me way outside my comfort zone. So basically, I’m feeling pretty un-zen nearly all the time.
The night before my flight to Chicago was not a particularly restful one, as I mentally rehearsed every possible excuse I could invent for getting out of this interview. My flight was cancelled! I have food poisoning! Ooh, ooh, I’ve got it. One of my kids is sick and I couldn’t possibly leave her. That’s definitely something a Zen Parent would do.
“You promised yourself you wouldn’t wait until every lesson and experience could be tied up with a pretty little bow before you share yourself with others.”
And then, my stupid conscience spoke up: “Do it. Do it afraid if you have to, but do it. You promised yourself you wouldn’t wait until every lesson and experience could be tied up with a pretty little bow before you share yourself with others. So you take your fear and your anxiety and you get on that plane.”
So I got on the plane.
Cathy greeted me upon my arrival at the studio. “How are you?” she asked.
I answered, “I’m good. Well, pretty good. Sometimes I’m good? And a decent amount of the time, I’m a freaking mess.” Thank goodness Cathy is a soul sister. She laughed, shook her head knowingly, and we dove right in together.
Cathy and Todd began the podcast by sharing their motto: “the best predictor of a child’s well-being is a parent’s self understanding.” I took a deep breath as I let this statement wash over me. I am not here to pretend that I’m “zen” or prove that I’m a certain way as a parent or a partner or a human. I’m here for one reason: to share what’s true for me. The truth may not feel pretty or eloquent or earth shattering or wise, but it is true and raw and real. And it’s mine.
One of our Threads Family Values is to create safe and nurturing communities as we “celebrate courage, vulnerability, and authenticity over perfection.” Although easy to offer to others, I struggle every day to give that level of grace to myself. I would so much rather be perfect! But that’s not the way we do things at Threads. We show up. We show up scared and anxious if we have to, but we keep showing up.
I’m so grateful I showed up in Chicago to spend an hour with Cathy and Todd and their Zen Parenting listeners. In sharing my story with them, I began to feel a true appreciation for where I am today, in this place of discovery, possibility, and creation. I found a way to release my anger and blame (at myself!) for not having everything figured out, and discovered a newfound excitement for what lies ahead.
To hear my conversation with the masters of Zen Parenting, go to: http://zenparentingradio.com/podcasts/446