The beauty of being tired is that I don’t even know who I am anymore – like a boat being cut loose in a marsh, I strut around the house with a humor fueled by delerium. I am such a mess and I for the first time in my life feel my mess as a gesture of liberation rather than self-demise.
“The wires in my brain aren’t functioning properly,” I tell Chris, all along thinking I am “losing it” and thinking this is a “bad” thing. Instead, No. During a recent yoga practice my teacher asked “feel what part of you is the most open” and like a flash of lightening understanding I answered “the most exhausted part…”
Yes, with certainty, I can now feel that the most tired parts of myself are also the most open and available to transformation. The differentiating factor: having no resistance to the tiredness. The differentiating factor: letting go into the flow of exhaustion as if it were the finest gift of silk. “Losing it” is actually what all spiritual masters have been instructing their pupils in for thousands of years. Losing it equals losing your mind (aha!), losing attachments to egoic structures and habits (aha!) and maybe even losing social personality traits that are like tire skids or fingernails on a chalkboard in their ability to keep you stuck in restless habits that don’t move you where you most want to be.
Exhaustion presents an opportunity to lose the perfectionism and simply abide in what is – albeit even it is only because you’re too tired to do otherwise. Exhaustion invites loosening of long-held karmic holdings in the body – simply by (literally, physically) wearing them out.
At first, I struggle to hold on to what I think I am in the midst of profound disorientation and frustration…And this is where motherhood busts beyond that holding pattern of “I am tired and I am just going to make all my bad habits worse because of it.” Motherhood’s exhaustion is like the straw that breaks the camel’s back so to speak – It crumbles you into a million pieces of oblivion where up and down, 2am or 6pm don’t matter – and where Love is the only force of reality that can truly sustain any semblance of sanity. So when Rowan is wanting milk every 45 minutes at 3am and I jump out of bed screaming “feeding hours are over!” and storm out of the room, rather than trip into a heap on the floor, I can instead take a breath and tap into love that anchors me back to bed. Yes, a chosen practice, but also a background of grace that somehow dissolves my most irrational behaviors.
The gift of all this is that I can’t spin into self-absorption or even extended self-criticism or doubt. After all, there’s no time for habits such as these. Sleep, and the baby, calls.