GUEST BLOG POST: The Warrior and the Butterfly by Darah Zeledon
I received a most special gift last week from a very insightful reader. All wrapped up in a shimmering gold jewelry box was a chain affixed with the letter W accompanied by a lovely butterfly pin. “Dearest Darah,” the hand-written note began, “You are a warrior, but do not lose the butterfly.”
The hair on my arms stood on end. I knew what that meant.
Anyone who knew me “pre-domestication” would attest to how much I sought—even craved—adventure. I had an insatiable yearning to explore the unknown, remain untethered to anything or anybody and await my next “foreign” fix.
A month after marrying, my husband and I ventured off to his native Costa Rica with $5,000 and a business plan. One year later at age 30, I first became a mother. It happened again at age 32, 33, and with a brain already having turned to oatmeal, twice more at 35 and 37. I’d seen the world, studied and worked hard, and had evolved into a confident woman. I felt ready to embrace this new all-encompassing role of “Mama.”
Yet despite the deeply gratifying moments of motherhood, the butterfly remained repressed.
Fast forward eight years, and circumstances forced us to migrate back to South Florida with five little kids in tow. A litany of hardships befell us, rendering us penniless.
I wrote about our tribulations in my book, Girl with the Crooked Smile – Stuck in a Moment. A story that reveals what it really takes to weather life’s storms, it resonates with anyone who’s ever had to find the faith to press on through adversity.
A new career born from tragedy, it has been most rewarding hearing from inspired readers energized to tackle their own crises with a fresh optic. Admittedly, it is even more fulfilling to pursue a passion outside the scope of motherhood for the first time in a long time.
Remarkably, all the hype nowadays is about time management and finding balance vis-à-vis work, home and social life. But what about inner harmony and balance? What about integrating the many facets of our pre-motherhood selves into the mothers we’ve become today? I say we must honor those other parts of ourselves. We’ve evolved wiser as a result of our life experiences.
This one astute reader snapped me back to my senses, to the reality of who I once was, before my identity became enmeshed with six other people whose clothes I launder daily. She reminded me not to neglect the vibrant butterfly trapped inside—the one that yearns to flutter about freely and blissfully, and the one that developed inside of me during the three decades prior to becoming a mother.
Releasing our inner butterfly isn’t easy. It takes courage, strength and confidence. It requires a willingness to listen to the quiet longings of the heart. Through time spent alone in meditation, yoga, exercise, or via manual activities such as gardening, sewing or painting, inevitably, the mind will wander aimlessly. Be mindful of where it goes, as it usually will settle into alignment with the heart’s purest and truest desires. Your innate intelligence will guide and inform you of where it wants to be—your true north. Once enlightened, it’s up to you to take action, albeit baby steps, toward the rediscovery of your true self before motherhood.
In my case, I’d intentionally clipped my butterfly’s wings, allowing only the spirit of the warrior to carry me through life’s roughest currents.
But no more. Like many of you, I realize to be truly joyful, I must always strive to find a way to make the warrior and butterfly peacefully co-exist. Both creatures are part of who I am—both an expression of my heart’s and soul’s desires.
That’s what inner balance is all about.
Darah Zeledon is a life coach, inspirational speaker, humanitarian and author of the compelling new-release, Girl with the Crooked Smile – Stuck in a Moment. Her book was recently reviewed and recommended by the American Association of Suicidology and she is the recipient of the Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention’s 2014 Humanitarian Award. A powerful speaker, Darah shares her riveting tale of faith and courage with candor, passion and wit, and teaches how you too can emerge stronger, more confident, and more resilient after overcoming hardship. Connect with her on Facebook at Girl with the Crooked Smile, on Twitter @darahzeledon, and her website www.DarahZeledon.com.
Discount Book Offer for Motherhoodlater.com: Darah will personally sign copies of the book for just $16/each including shipping. Enter code by March 14th: lovefest2014 during checkout.