“Was it hard for you to go?” She asked me standing in the aisle at the Giant grocery store. I am just 4 days back from a two-week trip to Bali and bordering islands in Indonesia. It’s the farthest away I’ve ever been. It is also the longest time I’ve been away from my children. She is a mother too. She wants to know if it was hard to leave them. She needs to know. I am glad that she asked this question.
The truth. No. It wasn’t hard for me to go.
I needed to go. I wanted to go. I had to go. This is how I explained it to my daughters in the journals I created for them to stay connected with me while I was traveling. I wanted to them to feel me even if they couldn’t see me. I wanted them to experience the depth of our connection no matter where I was. I knew that phone and text messages would be limited, so I created a space to stay connected.
To my 10 year old I wrote this….
I am leaving on a journey today. It’s not a vacation. It’s different. I am going to Bali to learn something. Something about myself. About God and Spirit. About Sisterhood and Friendship and about LOVE.
This is my work right now, going places and learning and writing about them. I know it feels uncomfortable when I am gone away from you, but I also know that you are strong and independent and most of all LOVED by many. When you feel lonely seek others. Ask for company. Lots of love is around you. You can count on Dad, Charlotte and your friends to be there with you, plus Mommy’s friends. They want to care for you too. And if you start to miss me too much, just tell Charlotte how you feel and hug each other.
The best part about love is that there is lots of it and lots of people to give it. Be a loving sister to Charlotte too. She’s going to need the strength of your love sometimes too. Before you know it, I will be right back and we will be dressing up for a birthday party and then heading to Jamestown for your field trip. Write to me in this journal, that way we can connect everyday and share stories when I get back. I love you honey bunny! –Mom
And to my 14 year old
Today I am going on a journey. It’s not a vacation. I am not running away from my life but instead I am running towards it. Bali is a place of ritual, ceremony, beauty, love, honor and spirituality.
The culture is peaceful, spiritual, kind. I am going to experience divinity in a way it is not practiced here. I am also going for myself. To have an experience of heart healing that I may share with you, with other women, with people. I will learn things about myself, test my limits and hopefully deepen. Deepen my relationship with God. My relationship with my friend and “sister” and with myself.
This trip is about sisterhood and spirit. Sisters aren’t just your blood sisters, they are also your female friends, family members and older women. It’s a relationship that is just as important as your romantic relationship/partnership. Your sisters will help you grown, support you and love in a very profound way. I already see you are a blossoming sister. Your value of friendship is exactly where it should be. I am proud of how you carry yourself in friendship and in relationship to other girls.
While I am gone your friends will feed you, love you and care for you. Your sisters, my sisters. It will go by fast.
I’ve left you some notes. Write to me, the things you want to remember to tell me when I get back. Your stories. We will both have stories to tell each other.
I love you – Mom
P.S. Remember to hold Ella’s hand.
Beyond the moment where we hugged and exchanged our love, that goodbye moment, it wasn’t hard to go and it wasn’t hard to be away because I knew.
I knew that their Dad and my community of women would hold my children in love. I knew that my other mother friends and family would feed them, hug them and give them the female energy and mother love that they would need to endure two weeks without their mother. This is what women do, what they have done throughout time. Care for the children. All the children of the village. Not just their own. I knew I could depend on that. After that teary, huggy, goodbye moment I knew that the fear and the emotion would ease and they would get into their routine and the days would pass and soon I would be right back where I started, hugging them hello with big smiles, a heart full of joy and relief to be breathing each other in again.
I told my friend in the grocery store how I felt called to take this trip. That it was for me. I showed her with my hands how we need three kinds of time. Family time, Couple time and Me time. We need to honor and participate in all of those kinds of time. Starving one off doesn’t serve the highest good of the others.
We serve our children, our people, our work, ourselves best when we honor our heart calls. When we care for ourselves well. When we do those things that light up our own lives we in turn light up the lives of others.
The pages that my daughter’s filled while I was gone equal the compassion, gratitude, love, joy and depth I experienced while in Bali. People caring for each other and the appreciation of one another is a most beautiful thing to witness. We all had our “moments” where things didn’t go our way. The truth of that though was that they were just that, just moments in an otherwise graceful journey.
Follow your heart calls and your children, your people, they will be inspired to follow their own.
And while you are away. We promise to care for the children with love.
Stay tuned, I have more of Bali to share.
Family Recovery Advocate
I serve women seeking healing and transformation.
I serve people who have been impacted by addiction recover their lives.