Day 10 - Taking It As It Comes
My beautiful children are asleep. I should be too, but as I said to my mother earlier today, that's a battle I've been losing for over 6 years now. I don't nap - I can't. Some part of me made that decision long ago and I'm stubbornly sticking to it.
Of course I could nap. I could do a lot of things, and some of them would be good for me. But then I'd lose this solitary moment with my keyboard and the sound of the rain. And that seems more precious to me than anything.
I started off with the intention of writing a blog post everyday. Well meaning, but when the anxiety I felt on Saturday, and Sunday, and Monday...Tuesday...Wednesday...starting building into a siege of angst, I realized that I might be missing the "lesson". Things don't go as planned, and the "plan" with this challenge was to get into the flow, anyway. Angst and flow are fundamentally opposed.
10 days have passed and I feel in many ways further behind then when I started. I haven't eaten well, nor have I slept, battling one flu bug after another and dealing with 5 teeth extractions for my sweet little dachshund. Not to mention a full work plate, and a house in disarray, and a garden burgeoning with weeds, and on, and on.
But I have managed a couple of nights of yoga, when every fibrous part of me screamed to let my body splay out on the couch instead. But 5 minutes on the mat reminded me, body and soul, that taking some time to nourish oneself is so vital and rewarding.
I am starting to tell a new story, incrementally, every day, and that story is showing evidence of themes including forgiveness, acceptance, accountability, release, and ease. Letting go - that's what keeps coming up. I am starting a new story of letting myself off the hook.
Life is so very short, and so very precious, and I am realizing more and more in each valuable minute that every possibility is available to me at all times. Anything is possible, truly, but that I don't have to carry the weight of consciously choosing the details of those possibilities moment by moment. My life is causing me to figure out what I'd like as I go, and the more I ease up and trust that those things are working out, the more they seem to. I feel as if I am figuring out how to leverage power beyond my understanding simply by relaxing more. It seems so counterintuitive to a person who was raised to be so diligent and conscientious, and rewarded for effort and hard work.
But I work too hard. I've always acknowledged that in myself as some sort of badge of honour, but I realize now the error in that. Being responsible is not about striving, it is about acknowledging that no one else can create your world, your experience, and owning that means owning every decision, including those decisions to work instead of play, to slave instead of savour.
Another truth that has come out of these few days is that authentically caring brings so much depth to life and value to others. I do truly care about what I contribute to this world. I want every word I write for others to bring value to them, and I want the way I see the world to bring value to me. I often encounter people in my line of profession who explain that they are looking for a career change because what they are currently doing is "just a job". And though I completely understand where they are coming from, I always want to say that nothing is "just a job", it is the attitude about it that makes it so. Every effort is an intricate piece in a larger puzzle, and even if your job isn't "saving lives" or "making millions", it has the potential to influence the world in ways we can never understand.
I used to get coffee at the 711 around the corner from my apartment on Burrard, and every time I went there was a homeless man who held the door for me. He never held out his hand for change (though I frequently bought him breakfast), but he did offer a smile that set my day off on a trajectory for good that otherwise would have been muted and dull. He lit me up, and in turn, I was able to carry that energy around with me and deliver it to others that I encountered. He had more influence than he knew, and he offered that influence simply because it made him feel good to do so.
I want to preach this message to the people behind the counter that grimace as they give me my change, obviously resentful of their obligation to be serving me instead of whatever dream they imagined would have come true for the by now. I want to tell them that the piece they are missing is that the feeling of that dream is accessible anywhere, doing anything, and if you're going to do something why not get the most out of it. Driving a bus. Delivering the mail. Sweeping squished french fries from the children's section at McDonald's (and, by the way, the local fry sweeper at our McD's is one of those that does not need to be preached this lesson - always a smile on his face). Those people are living the dream, because the dream is always joy, and that is always available.
There's no point in holding a white-knuckle grip on plans. Plans fall apart, and dreams come in unexpected shapes and hues. My life is close to perfect. I have the bones of what some may call a dream life - a beautiful family; a picturesque, quaint town to raise my kids in; a history of adventure and exploration; a rewarding career with exceptional colleagues and clients; a warm, bright home to call my own; supportive friends; pleasures. And challenges, too. Contrast to help define the good stuff. And really, its all good stuff. And its all serving me in some way. And so what if it took me 5 days to write this. It felt good to write it now, in the peace and quiet of a rainy afternoon, when it was no longer an arbitrary obligation. Life is not meant to be a series of obligations. It is meant to be a sequence of experience that lead to joy, and joy, and joy.
And a quiet moment in this house is really the definition of something to be savoured.