Sunday, October 29, 2017

Begin again

I am sitting crosslegged on the tiled floor of my bathroom, earbuds in ears, meditation app opened on my phone. BG has been in bed for 30 minutes and has come to see me 3 times already in that time. She didn't like the book she was reading. She missed me. She wanted to help with the laundry.

LS is asleep, moments after I put her down probably given the fact that we were at loopiness level 10 by bedtime. DH is in the basement working on a woodworking project.

I am on the bathroom floor. The door has a lock. I haven't meditated in months. I'm ready to begin again.

And then BG starts to wail from the top of the steps. I take off my earbuds. I climb the stairs.

"Mommy, I'm scared. Because I lost that bracelet when we went on the trip."

"You're sad? Sometimes I feel sad when I lose things too."

I lie down with her. I listen. I snuggle. I shut off her light.

I go back to the bathroom floor. Begin again.

I haven't written in too long. This morning, I opened my journal, and filled two entire pages with iterations of "It's been too long, too long, too long."

Begin again. And again. And again. It's all I can do.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I am.

One week, a few years ago, my kids and I watched Mary Poppins followed immediately by Sound of Music. For about a month, they both had moments when they sounded like Julie Andrews.

I'm not going to lie, I didn't hate it.

For the past week, I've been listening to and reading a lot of Liz Gilbert's, Glennon Doyle, and Jen Louden. So forgive me if I have moments when I sound like a wise woman.

This morning, I sat in a coffee shop and wrote while my daughter was at Lego class. Fifteen minutes on the prompt "I am" and ten minutes on "I want."

It was hard. I don't know anymore who I am or what I want. I haven't listened to myself in a long time. But that's why I need to do the work.

I am a healer. I am a teacher. I am a writer. I want to put good out into the world, to share love and peace, to create, and I want to be less attached to that happens to it after.

I want quiet. I want kindness. I want presence.

And a funny thing happened. My timer went off, and I closed my journal and picked up my littlest. She looked up and said "Mommy!" And ran to the door with a smile. And I ran to her with the same smile. And when she wanted to dance outside the door before going to the car, I watched and clapped. And when she said it was my turn, I danced. Then we went to the car, listened to Moana, and both sang at the top of our lungs. 

One of my favorite poems is "Poetry" by Nikki Giovanni. It contains the lines

It only says
I am
And therefore
I concede that you are too.

That's what I need. That's what my kids need. That's what the world needs. I am. You are too.

Friday, September 22, 2017

I want to save the world.

I want to save the world.

I can't remember the first time I had this thought. I remember it was before high school. I remember that when I moved in eighth grade, whenever my friends at my old school were sniping at each other, they charged each other to be nice in my name. "Be nice" was my catch phrase. "Mom" was my nickname.

Around my senior year, someone asked me what I wanted to save the world from. "Nuclear war. Environmental destruction. Global warming. Hate. Anger. Sickness. Pain. You know. All that."

"So you really want to heal the world."


There's an episode of West Wing when the President (Bartlett for Pres 2020) wants to include in his State of the Union that he wants to cure cancer. His pollster, Joey Lucas, one of my favorite characters, says through her signing interpreter, "If he called us here to tell us he'd cured cancer, that would be nice. But he says he wants to cure cancer. I say, Is this the first time he's had that thought?"

I say this to myself all the time.

I want to save the world. Yeah, is this the first  time you've had this thought?

I also have the image in my head of a story I heard as a child about a man walking down the beach throwing beached clams back into the ocean. His companion says, "Look how many there are. Do you really believe you can make a difference." He replies, "I made a difference to that one."

Sometimes I think that's all I can do. And sometimes I think it's enough. And sometimes I don't.

I want to do big work. In my heart and in my soul, I feel called to do something important, something that matters. The kind of work that heals the world. I don't know what it is. I don't know if I'm avoiding it because I'm afraid or if I'm not seeing that what I'm already doing is enough.

I don't know.

I just want to save the world. No, it's not the first time I've had this thought.

Hold me to it, okay?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Stop happening to me

Today I am trying my best to do everything right. My little one had Lego class this morning and instead of running errands, I drove to the mall that has a Starbucks and a big open courtyard of tables to get a coffee and then sit and write. I had my notebook. I parked my car. I walked up the turned off escalator.

There was buzzing everywhere. I looked around and there were tables for a health fair. The downstairs was packed. A band made entirely of senior citizens was playing Eidelweiss on a stage in the middle of the courtyard. There was a line out the door of Starbucks.

This wasn't how I'd planned it.

Of course, I thought to myself, of course it's not going to work. Of course there's no quiet alone time for me. I don't get to sit and write for an hour. Clearly I'm not meant to do this. Clearly I'm doing something wrong. This proves it. This writing thing is never  happening for me and I'm a failure at life and I should be ashamed that I even thought I could ever do anything other than go scan the grocery store for coupon deals.

I'm so tired of thinking like a victim.

I'm so tired of seeing things happening to me. I'm so tired of believing that I don't have any power or control in my own life.

This health fair wasn't happening to me. It was just happening. I was the one choosing to blow everything out of proportion and project meaning about myself and  my goals onto it.

So I got my coffee. I found a table upstairs. I set the timer on my phone for fifteen minutes and I put pen to notebook for the entire time. Because I can. Because I have a choice. Because it doesn't matter if it's the exact, right perfect thing, if I'm meant to do it, if the universe is on my side. Because I want to write and I can write and it's all for the good. 

My small girl has taken to giving herself pep talks. She'll be all by herself in a room putting her shoes on and I'll hear her saying "I can DO this. I believe in me."

Maybe I need to follow her example.

I can do this.

I can create my life. It isn't just happening to me.

I believe in me.

Monday, September 18, 2017

If I'm being honest

1. If I'm being honest, back to school has been really hard. BG is struggling with the transition to full day, with not having enough time to play, with having to do busy work that often isn't challenging enough. She's tired, she's anxious, she's crying a lot. So I'm tired, I'm anxious, I'm crying a lot. Because, sponge.

2. I thought by now I'd be writing more. I thought that once little sister was in preschool at the same time as BG was in school and I had two hour blocks to myself three times a week, I'd be deep in this work. I'd be showing up. I'd be the person I'm meant to be and I'd be out in the world and everything would be perfect. I'm not.

3. My other blog, the one where I share teaching stuff I've found useful, is fun to write, but I have all kinds of FEELINGS about it. I wonder if it's what I'm doing to avoid doing my real work, I wonder if I look silly and useless and people are shaking their heads at me for thinking I'm an expert when I'm really not, if I have nothing new or different to contribute to the world and the discussion, if investing myself and my time and energy in it is really just throwing stuff at a bad idea.

4. Sometimes I still feel that way about this blog too.

5. I feel lonely, but at the same time I feel completely peopled out. I long to feel fulfilled and affirmed and seen and heard without ever actually having to see or talk to people. Or risk anything if possible.

6. I just fell asleep on the couch for an hour and a half while Little watched PBS, and she's still watching it now. And part of me absolutely hates that, thinks that I'm the worst mother in the world and that I am proving why I don't deserve to be here on the planet, and part of me is relieved and thinking how my house has stayed clean and it's so quiet and I  haven't felt this rested in a while.

7. I'm pretty sure I'm going to regret publishing this brain dump almost as soon as I do, and I'm pretty sure I need to do it anyway.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This is parenting

I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing the sticky part of my kitchen floor with a yellow microfiber cloth because I can't remember where I put my mop, and I remember the stories of how my grandmother cleaned her entire house top to bottom every weekend, scrubbing the kitchen floor with a brush every week of her adult life. I look up at the pile of dishes in my sink. One of my daughters, then the other, both of whom I have put to bed at least twice yells from the top of the stairs that they need me RIGHT NOW. This is parenting. I am sitting on my couch with my four year old snuggled into my chest telling me about the strange dream she had ("My sister stole my sandals and I was really mad!") I echo her, affirming it, and laughing with her at how strange it was, then press my nose into the warm top of her knotted hair. "You're the best mom a kid could have," she tells me. This is parenting. My little one is asleep on the couch with fifteen minutes left before her sister gets off the bus from first grade, and I am sitting alone in a quiet house with the windows open, spinning a little in my desk chair, as my fingers glide across the keyboard, smarter than I am, catching at all these truths before they fly away into nothingness. This is parenting too.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Getting still

BG is at her second day of first grade (I KNOW), and LS just fell asleep on the couch at 11:30 in the morning. It is quiet in my house. I feel like I've been waiting for this quiet for a long time. But even so, I find that I am searching for ways to fill the quiet, ways to keep busy, things to do. I have books to read, audio classes to listen to, facebook lives to watch. I have to clean my house, I have to write, I have to get everything done because I don't know when I'm going to have this space and this stillness again and if I don't do it all now I don't know if I'll ever do it. I don't know when I'll have this space and this stillness again. A few days ago, my kids were playing with their Little People quietly together without me (oh miracle of miracles) and I asked some friends on FB which of the things on my massive self care and personal development checklist would be the best use of my time. One of my friends asked me what my gut said. The truth was, my gut said to do nothing, and surely that couldn't be the right answer. Maybe it is. Maybe I just need to get still for a little while, to stop doing, to be here now alone in the quiet. Maybe that's the most productive use of my time after all.