I came home last night after a long day of teaching and writing. I am so exhausted that I barely walk or keep my eyes open. My only thought is that now is “me time” and I need to rest, and nothing else matters. I came home last night after a long day of teaching and writing. I am so exhausted that I barely walk or keep my eyes open. My only thought is that now is “me time” and I need to rest, and nothing else matters.
And then one of my boys tells me: “Daddy, I have a monster under my bed, and I’m scared. Can you help me build a fort around my bed so that it won’t be able to touch me?”
And just like that, as if someone touched me with a magical wand, it’s all gone: my exhaustion, the heaviness, the need for time by myself – and I find myself spending the next hour building a fort that even King Arthur would have appreciated. And I do it with love and joy in my heart. My tired heart.
As part of my parenthood experience, I enjoy letting go of my own needs and priorities – so I can be there for my kids as much as possible.
After years of being numero uno, and being able to do whatever I wanted, I now have something in my life that is bigger than my personal “self”.
And that’s why parenthood is a powerful piece in my spiritual journey.
Spirituality, in a nutshell, is the process of shedding my personal ego while feeling a deeper connection to life in all of its forms and shapes. Realizing that I am part of all.
In my entire life, I haven’t found anything that made me so naturally let go of my own ego, my expectations and needs, as the love I feel for my kids.
Under normal circumstances, each piece of the ego is a huge struggle – I want this, I need that, I fear this, I claim that – and letting go of each component is enormous, challenging, hard work.
But when my kids are involved, there is minimal effort in letting go of what I want or need or fear – perhaps because it is infused with such deep meaning and purpose – and so much love – that the ego components and their demands, in comparison, feel tiny.
When we buy food at the restaurant, and we are all hungry, I make sure my kids get their food first. When the kids want the window seat on the plane to watch the beauty of the world below them – they get it, even if I also love the view.
Two points to clarify:
1. What I share does not mean that my kids get whatever they want. There are moments in which I prioritize myself over their needs – and it is perfectly fine. All I’m saying is that in my interaction with them I have the option, the choice, the opportunity, to let go of my ego and its demands.
2. I am not saying that parenthood is easy (it is anything but…) – I’m saying that it’s a part of my life where I find it easy to move my “self” to the back seat.
It’s a relief to find this space where spiritual practice is not hard work. It feels natural and simple.
Where do you find your own spiritual practice flowing naturally and easily?
Dr. Itai Ivtzan