5 Ways We Keep Our Central Fire Burning
Warning: to any parental units who don’t want to know about our fire, how we stoke it or any other such things, move along. This is for others who are in the same boat as us, because I know now, the struggle is real and there is no shame in admitting as such. In fact, I think that’s half the battle (or overcoming it). In owning that the early years of parenting can be hella tough on any marriage, regardless of your beliefs and/or pre-existing relationship challenges.
I’m not sure when it happened, I think, because, it’s happened in waves. Slowly, over time, like the coming of maple syrup just before those dark green shards of tulip leaves burst through thawing ground come spring.
If I were a tulip, oh the feels I would have. Awakening, bursting with such a fierce desire to be re-born again. To pierce moist rich soil, yearning for the warm, soothing rays of the sun, to nestle amongst dew kissed mounds of moss, fern and grass.
I would finally feel at home again, those first few days of my awakening.
And everyone around me, especially those humans who planted me with hope and dreaming of a fresh start, a new season, all those months ago. They would rejoice around me, just by the mere sight of me. Me! Just a common old flower.
If I were a tulip.
But I’m not. I’m a woman who resembles those tulip feels.
When I was younger, I loved sex. I enjoyed it, fully, completely. Savoured and revelled in it, felt like I could let go of all my emotional and physical burdens and connect to my own sacred fire. My own divine essence, that of being a woman.
There were lovers before my husband, of course, yet none that loved me as fiercely, completely or with such acceptance as he. This kind of love, of course, only deepened our fire, how we made love and the connection we felt when together.
And then, we had children.
Children I had always so desperately wanted (but didn’t think I would ever have), who from the moment that I birthed them have rocked me to my very core. I’ve lost count, in fact, how many times I’ve felt lost and yet intensely found over the past 5+ years in mothering them.
Exhaustion and the shift of focus from loving myself and my (now) husband took it’s toll in ways that one would expect for humans such as we. With histories that delve deep into the dark, yet somehow, continually finding the light … can be a tricky existence to mire through on a good day. On a good day when you have all of your wits about you and no babies to feed, toddlers to toilet train and meltdowns to breathe through. No humans to nurture and teach and be an example for. No mortage, new roof, daycare, summer camp and soccer shoes to pay for.
The sheer exhaustion and wavering stamina over such realities almost became our demise. Such responsibilities, such tests of our resolve and kindness and resilience … man it all wore me down.
The last thing I felt like doing, for a long time … was to get it on with my man. With my man who after some years of making it out on the other side with me, found his way back to me and I him. Oh, there were moments in between, but nothing was like it ever was.
Nothing will ever be like it was. This isn’t a depressing thought to me anymore. When I stopped mourning the loss of my self, the self that I knew and celebrated as sensual and care-free, with only myself to answer to, a slow sense of calm started to wash over me.
Very, very, slowly. In part, due to my husbands faith and genuine attraction and desire to be with me.
Me, who felt like the least sexy person on the earth (even though I knew many other women struggled with these feels), who got turned off like the flick of a switch. Everything seemed to annoy me, all of the things that seemed to get in my way, all of the mess and the laundry and the lack of energy or time stopped being the focus. I suppose if I analyzed it, I might be able to come up with an exact way that I stopped letting the negative be the focus, or when I stopped internalizing all of these things as not, perhaps, being all that negative.
So how? How did I (we) do it? How did we get our sexy back? I don’t know in fact, if we really have it back. It’s just different and better in many ways, than it ever was before.
1. Actualization: I Deserve This, I CAN Do This
I just did it. I took responsibility for my own shit. As we have become more confident and our kids are a little bit older now and we’re out of the newborn/baby/toddler haze that is having babies very close together; the organic hands of time are partially responsible for this new rousing of suggestive sensibilities. I tapped into that. Melted into it. Recognized it and owned it. This is the life I wanted, that I dreamed about. Just because I was naive to the challenges that I would face, doesn’t mean that I can’t still have it or deserve it.
When I stopped focusing on how much I was struggling and sank into the delicious reality that I was truly loved and accepted for who I am, flaws and all, by not only my husband, but my children too … I knew I would make it. I knew I would find parts of myself that I took pleasure in before and I’ve started to discover new ways of being a sexual woman. Confidant and connecting to passion, fire and light.
2. We’ve Gotta Work For It
When I realized it wasn’t going to come as naturally anymore, all of this sexy business, and that it’s OKAY that it doesn’t always come galloping in like a surge of wanton abandon, intrigue and desire … when I let go of such guilt and expectation, something clicked. It’s been familiar, supportive, comforting and soothing to my very core, this click. Ours is a love that is fierce, (in equally argumentative and kind ways) simple and loyal, built on a foundation of WORK. We schedule in time together. Even when exhausted, even if it’s as simple as making the kids a separate, earlier dinner and dining together in our pyjamas by candlelight after the kids are in bed. It does’t always lead to sex, but re-establishing our connection bit by bit, has gone a long way in re-establishing our friendship.
3. Toys + Healing Touch = Game Changers
One tub of coconut oil is a much honoured thing in our house. And I’m not just talking about edible, gliding good tides here. One of the things we enjoy doing most these days is administering some healing touch on one another. Massage and connection through touch (again, doesn’t always lead to sex), goes a long way in ramping up the fires again after a drought. I let it seep in, without making sex as the outcome or expectation and discovered new ways to give and please, that I was comfortable with and into, without giving of myself completely when I just wasn’t into it. The toy part? Well, if you’re into that sort of thing, listen up. I’m talking the use of aids, in whatever form that may be, reading erotica together, practicing some hot tantra moves, visiting the Stag Shop, whatever. It’s good. Do that. Have fun with it. Get playful, adventurous. We did. I received a most fantastic present for Christmas that for those of you who are fans of such things, will definitely rejoice in the discovery of. You’re welcome.
4. Bust Out Those Sacred Medicines
My husband, the sweetheart that he is, has gotten into the habit of lighting a candle, a mini fire during the long, cold and snowy winter months when we’re not much into lighting the fire-pit in the back-yard to have a talk and a smudge. We use sweetgrass or sage depending on the mood and cleanse away the day (or the week’s) toils, little spats that may have occurred. We simply hold hands and reconnect through talk. We say the hard stuff instead of keeping it squashed down. It takes more work, more focus this way – instead of turning on Netflix and letting all of those annoyances build up to spontaneously combust into an epic battle down the road, but it’s worth it. I promise. The work is always worth it.
5. Nourish + Develop
I hear so many women, so many mothers who talk about just not having the time for self-care. Or, that as young mothers, we’re not supposed to be taking time for self-care, that’s not what we signed up for in becoming mothers and that we’re selfish if we claim our alone time in whatever ways we want. I’m a firm believer that the latter is complete bull-shit and that self-care, development and focus on our own selves can only make us better mothers and partners. My husband deserves time for his own self-care to. When we’re nourishing our brains, our bodies, our souls in this way; I find that we both come back to each-other more often, more refreshed and with a geniune desire to be together. It’s less about operating on auto-pilot and more about taking time away to hit that reset button.