Sometimes I get a crazy dream wedged into the channels of my cracked mom-brain. Most recently I watched a documentary on Netflix about the Ketogenic Diet. I finally got tired of hearing too many people talk about it and me not knowing what it was, so I decided to educate myself a bit. Well, this of course led to the realization that we just had to buy a farm and raise our own livestock and grow our own food. It’s the only way to truly LIVE, I argued with myself. I think at one point I even got mad at my husband without telling him, simply because I knew he would never get on board with my grand vision. Poor guy. I can be a bit much at times.
So since I knew we wouldn’t become farmers anytime soon (or ever), I began thinking about things I could do around my current space to grow a smaller version of this dream. Maybe a chicken coop? I mean, we have a decent-sized yard. A cow could totally fit back there, I bet. Section off a large portion on the side of the deck for three or four raised garden boxes surrounded by gravel walkways and properly fenced to keep out the creatures? Beautiful! Yes!
I currently have one raised garden box. I planted six things in it. So the one wilted tomato plant and solitary thriving cucumber plant may not be the best indicators of future success… unless all I grow are fields of cucumbers. I do like cucumbers.
Final conclusion: maybe I shouldn’t be responsible for an entire farm. Or animals that will depend on me to live.
Ugh. Another dream is dead. MY LIFE IS SO SMALL, I fume. Everyone else can raise cattle, become CEOs, travel the world, get PhD’s, and live these fantastical lives of adventure doing really big, important things. I’m a stay-at-home mom to three small boys. What am I even accomplishing in life? I should be working! Travelling the globe! Going back to school! Volunteering at all the places! Making my mark on the world!
I can’t know the whole of my future or what I will do years down the road, but one thing I do know for certain: I already have made my mark on the world… in the form of three young babes who call me mom. (Well I guess technically the baby doesn’t yet, but I’m bound to hear him screaming it soon, too.) And the reality is that the lives of my sons are creating a ripple effect that will ultimately produce waves throughout forthcoming generations of history. How I raise them matters. What I teach them matters. Because what they go out and do unto others will matter in the future of humanity.
So yes, my life IS big. It IS significant and meaningful. The problem isn’t my life. The problem is the way in which I view my life. Oddly enough, my definition of “big” is actually very small when I take a second to consider it. In essence, I reduce people’s entire lives to an idealistic- most likely completely fictitious- notion about their profession or hobby. Social media is the absolute worst (or should I say best?) at narrowing my field of vision.
I need to remind myself of the truth. Often.
Here is what I am learning: Living a “big life” most often means cultivating a heart brimming with wonder and gratitude; constantly asking yourself how and why and what about the world you are already standing in, and being grateful for all the bits and pieces that form it. It is a life that is moving, learning, and evolving, growing, stretching and becoming. Becoming what? Something new. Or something renewed.
I habitually clutter my heart and mind with tasks and things and negativity. And what become visible to me, then, are only those. I fail to experience the fullness and splendor of the actual life that surrounds me, the one that I am living – the bright eyes of my children, insatiable curiosity, nonsensical laughter, bear hugs and wet baby kisses, bedtime prayers and God questions too big for me to answer. There is wonder in all of it. The little things add up to something much, much larger than me. And I miss so much of the “bigness” in a blur of haste, to-dos, and cynicism.
A heart of gratitude and a childlike sense of wonder. These are what I need to live the biggest kind of life. Not a trip to a hidden beach paradise or an off-the-grid wilderness existence. Although I might still go if the opportunity presented itself… 🙂
Cultivating gratitude and wonder changes everything.
Peace & Love, Amy