On the Spiritual Practice of Step Parenthood

Looking around my life this morning: kitchen cleaned up by husband whose towering veggie sandwich made par moi awaits him, two gorgeous dogs mildly whining for the backyard and who will get 42 acres of forest in two weeks, soccer on the Google, salmon and lox as my breakfast… the sun is out, the day feels fresh, I feel different.

I think it is important to understand the concept of letting new things, like mornings and years, be new.

In my yoga classes, I often cue to let the pose or the breath or the twist or the practice “be as meaningful as you need it to be”.

A major part of “drawing energy up” is believing you are drawing energy up.

A major part of “letting go” is allowing yourself to let go of the need to identify what to let go of and instead, let go.

Breathe in, let no words in, hover in the moment, exhale. Look around. Do it again.

I have been going back and forth for awhile on writing more candidly on Frozen Spaghetti, my personal blog, on some of the growth I have undergone related to step-parenting. In the past, a major part of my growth related to my divorce in 2011 and my unfolding as a young mother of two little girls was writing. I would feel something, open a blog post, find it – let it ramble, (attempt to) button it up and get on with it.

But, you know, a major part of writing as part of the growth process is sharing what you are learning about yourself.

In the wake of divorce and in the vitality of young motherhood – I was sharing what I learned about my own sturdiness, abilities and resourcefulness.

And though the theme of resourcefulness remains huge, sharing on the growth process relative to step parenthood requires sharing what I have learned about my inner cry baby and what I know from childhood on how to manipulate to get the attention of somebody whose attention other people also want… those other people being actual children. Hence, very quickly one can digress.

Being a step parent in the way I have chosen to take on the role (honestly, humbly and messily) has meant stepping into a vat of emotional pain from my early days of cry babyhood and competing for parental love and attention as the middle child of five kids.

Said another way, I have been in a state of active healing healing healing over the past two years since my life changed as a pandemic bride.

But now, it’s a new year. And like I mentioned early on – the day feels fresh and I feel different. Things have become steady. I have found ease.

See, I have been missing Frozen Spaghetti for the writing process but I know the growth process I am in does not need writing like what benefited the evolution of my 2011 mental game or learning to be a mother.

Growth in step parenthood, rather, has required mid-morning showers when everybody has gone off to school, early bedtimes and lots of sleep, good lotion, walks, breathing, and feeling like myself: a super creative yoga chick who sings and writes songs and has good bangs that landed the dad to begin with…

And because I have allowed the healing (it’s been messy), I feel like maybe I can more easily write on what I have learned from becoming a stepmom bc – most importantly – it has helped me as a friend, a sister, a wife, a yoga teacher, a writer, a “mom mom” and as an individual.

It is my belief, any tendencies of co-dependency you have will be evident in your challenges as a step parent.

It is my supporting belief overcoming co-dependency requires a self trust provided only by a foundation of knowledge and understanding, the gift of wisdom / intuitive voice.

And it is my unwavering belief uncovering such knowledge, understanding and openness to wisdom (as required to overcome codependent impulses to explain, defend, advise or justify incessantly) is a spiritual practice.

As such, unless your spirituality is truly pure and non prescriptive, unless your version of God embraces the full idea of being made in God’s image making you both the wrath & redemption or unless your version of Christianity recognizes Jesus’ Buddhist yogi tendencies; your spiritual life needs to shift. Your spirituality must usher you into an understanding of how your beliefs are the root of your suffering, how relationships work as mirrors and how the power of your own breath, the sanctity of your own mind body connection, the priority of your own physical self care (and acceptance, ladies) are what actually helps you step into alignment with your life.

And, with that, you can see how my process of using these spiritual and emotional resources in becoming a happy step mom (NOT that it is easy!!!!!) leaks out and creates happiness and purpose in all of these other roles in life. You can see how it creeps into my yoga teaching. And, if you read my books, you’ll even see a constant commitment to creating a safe “either way” situation. My creative work seeks truth and allows interpretation where all truth is God’s truth. If it doesn’t feel safe and life-giving, I don’t publish it.

My point: becoming a step parent has by far challenged me more than any other role assigned to me in this life and, for that reason, I believe it is responsible for evolving me as a woman across the board. So, I might as well write more about it because, if you have a step child – you have a doorway, a portal and outlet to become the next amazing version of you. And, if you don’t, the principles will still apply.

That is the Frozen Spaghetti way… it’s what makes it Apple Tree Magic.

Ok. Bye for now,

Little Red Zen.

Thoughts?

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