This post is the second in a series of posts about my experience working through Charity Craig’s Manifest Abundance 60 Day Challenge. This particular post is about setting my intention for the 60 days. The first post is here.
As I mentioned in my last post, I signed up for Charity’s 60 day challenge assuming I’d clean out a few closets and think about some long-term plans based on whether or not we’d be having another baby. During the first week of the challenge, I realized I had actually signed up for something that would require much deeper work, work I’d need to do on myself rather than my surroundings.
Throughout the 60 days, Charity uses a metaphor of building a cathedral for the idea of building a life. A cathedral has to have a blueprint to be built, of course, but it also has to have a greater intention; it’s a place for the divine to dwell and for people to connect with the divine. Our lives? Not that different. We need blueprints–anything from the roofs over our heads to the families we create–but we need an intention, something that grounds us and reminds us why we are here and what lasting effect we hope to have when our time on Earth is done.
In my initial notes in my 60 day journal, my intention focuses on peace and enjoyment in my family and in my home, and my vision was to clean out our stuff as we welcomed the next chapter of our lives.
See, my husband and I have spent the last six years or so living in liminal space. We knew we wanted kids and were ready to have them, but we didn’t have a set idea of how many we wanted or how we wanted their ages to be spaced . . . thankfully, because any plans we would’ve attempted would’ve been quickly thwarted by the fact that I am not a very fertile person. After about a year and a half, a span of time speckled with various tests and treatments but no real answers, we got very lucky and found out we’d be having a baby, due in September of 2016.
Hooray! New chapter! We were officially in the parenthood stage of the game.
About a year later, we kept hovering in that liminal space, the baby-having years. We didn’t know how many or when; in my head, I would’ve guessed three, each roughly two years apart, but I’d learned the only thing I could count on was ovulation tests regularly arriving on my doorstep via subscribe and save.
As it became clear that there was a good chance our baby-having days were done, I found myself frustrated not only by the fertility situation but by the fact that my life was on hold as I waited to know what was next. Do I hang on to this bin of maternity clothes I might never wear again? Do I move my sweet child, whose legs are getting so long that his days in the crib-converted-to-toddler-bed are clearly numbered, into a bigger bedroom and keep the nursery, or do I make my peace with letting go of the crib and decorate a home office?
And those were just the immediate questions. So much loomed in the distance. How soon will I be going back to full-time work? Do I want to teach again or do something else? Should I get started on figuring out what the something else is since now there’s an actual back-to-work date in sight, or should I stop thinking about it and hold on to the hope that there will be another baby to be home with for the next few years?
And the thought that haunts the back of every infertile person’s mind because they’ve heard it from well-meaning people so many times: Stop thinking about all this and relax so you’ll get pregnant.
Not an actual diagnosis, by the way. Complete nonsense, according to my reproductive endocrinologist.
But we lived in that space, right up to and including October of 2019, when we learned that I was damn near out of eggs and we needed to do IVF to have a chance at having any more babies, and we were still living in it in March of 2020, when they transferred our lone, lucky embryo and we waited to see if it would result in a pregnancy and if that pregnancy would last.
By the time May 1 rolled around and our 60 day challenge started, I was still holding my breath but was also tentatively comfortable setting an intention that encompassed what I (almost) knew about the rest of my life, that it would consist of two kids four years apart in age, and that this was it. This was my family of four. Many of our hypothetical conversations became real, conversations about schools and graduation years, future trips and activities, little elements of family life that we’d talk about very generally but could now talk about in a more concrete way. And that bin of maternity clothes now had a clear expiration date on it, something I thought I might mourn but ended up feeling very peaceful about instead.
So I stepped into the 60 day challenge with what I thought were clear intentions about the life I wanted to create for these four people under my roof and a vision of working my way through closets and cabinets full of what-ifs, getting our house down to the bare bones of what we needed and creating space for us to grow as our future became clearer.
And I guess I should stop here and say that I did clean out the closets and deal with the stuff. The physical stuff, I mean. But I did so not in a surface-y, create a checklist and complete it kind of way. Charity had us get so honest with ourselves about our intention for our lives, the actual cathedrals we wanted to build, that my initial goal of clutter-clearing almost seemed a bit laughable to me. We went much deeper than that, so very much deeper.