This year instead of writing a long list of resolutions, I am making one single promise – to my children. I wrote this letter to them on New Year’s Day, although I don’t actually plan on showing it to them any time soon (they are only four). It is more about the promise I am making in my heart…
To my daughters,
Today I have not made any resolutions or determinations, which is unusual for me as I generally write a long list.
Instead today I am making a promise: just one, to you.
I promise to be present, on this earth, for you, for as long as I am humanly able.
Of course this is not a simple promise, and there is a lot that lies behind it, but essentially I will do everything in my power to remain fit, healthy and safe so that I can hold you, and your babies and maybe even your babies’ babies, for a very long time to come.
I know that none of us can predict the future, and tragic things happen to good and careful people, but there is a lot we can do to shift the odds of survival in our favour. How motherhood changes one’s perspective! Today I drove slowly on the motorway and ate lots of raw carrots.
What does this promise mean? Not, I hope, the loss of fun, spontaneity, adventure – not staying in, becoming fearful, never taking risks – I want you to experience the world in all it’s colours, otherwise what’s a life for?
No, mainly this promise is about me taking full responsibility for the care of my own health and yours too, because whatever I do I model for you and you learn, so we will travel this journey together.
Where will this journey take us? I am open to many possibilities. Perhaps we will meet new and fabulous people, and travel to places we would never have thought of before? Perhaps we will run, dance, swim, ride bikes, climb mountains and do yoga together?
I hope you will grow up loving your bodies, knowing how to take care of them and relishing your physicality: the great joy of having bodies that work, effortlessly and without pain.
I do know that this promise will require me to continually seek a clear understanding of what health is and how it can best be achieved: to never knowingly subject my body or yours to foods, chemicals, radiation or activities that I believe to be harmful, and conversely, to never knowingly fail to provide the foods or activities that I believe to be beneficial – necessary even for a long life free from debilitating disease.
For me, because I have lived in the world for a while without such an understanding, this will entail some healing: disentangling the many ways in which we learn to ignore our physical needs and what our bodies are telling us; the many ways in which we harm ourselves in our search for some small relief from suffering. I need to learn to listen, and to acknowledge what I hear.
I apologise if this letter has been rather cryptic, but it has many meanings for me and it is heartfelt. I look forward to exploring those meanings together in 2015 and beyond.
All my love and kisses,