In the parlance of babies, lightening is the change in a pregnant woman’s body when the baby’s head engages in the pelvis. The baby “drops” and suddenly the woman is able to breathe but now waddles and tries to not laugh or cough with anything in her bladder. It is the first part of that phenomenon that is my focus right now. (Although after 3 babies, heaven knows that I am very aware of emptying my bladder before doing high impact activities such as jump rope!)
The new year always gets me thinking about less. It must be the logical reaction to putting all those Christmas decorations in their Rubbermade totes and lugging them back up to the attic. But each new year, I feel like I should weigh less, have less, be less.
I crave lessness.
Lightening myself, if you will.
So I’ve been slowly inching my way into a smaller size pair of pants while cleaning out drawers and closets. My pantry is being purged of items with ingredients I cannot pronounce. Those shirts that have collected dust for a year are being culled and put in the “donate” bag. The books my kids read but have no desire in re-reading, are boxed up and taken to a donation center. Less stuff, all around.
I need lightening at this time of the year. The rain clouds are heavy and the days are still too short; the chaos of stuff around me is yet another thing that depresses me. To look around my house and see stuff cluttering the surfaces of nearly everything makes me cringe until I get to a place where I am so overwhelmed that I can’t even pick up the socks my Littlest left on the floor.
So how do I do it? How do I lightening myself? I set an alarm for 15 minutes. I focus on one thing for 15 minutes. And when the timer goes off, I go drink a cup of tea. Then I do it again.
Lightening myself these days is all about finding a way to breathe easier. And like those three pregnancies when my babies lightened as they prepared to make their way into the world, my breathing gets easier as I anticipate a new reality. Sure, it will eventually get cluttered up and make me hold my breath. But I am making peace with this rhythm in my life.