Saturday, February 27, 2010

02.27.2010 -- Passionfruit, Lovefruit

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
who am I to be brilliant,
and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God
that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

The above speech by Nelson Mandela was originally written by Marianne Williamson who is the author of other similar material.

This blog entry is written in the spirit of the quote above. I try to avoid writing a lot about this kind of thing, but I'm embracing it today:

A long time ago in high school, I wrote a lot of notes. There was one class in particular where a lot of notes were written. I got a terrible grade in that class. The teacher made it clear from the beginning that he didn't care if people paid attention or not. "But," he said. "I don't want you to talk in class. Write notes." A friend and I took this direction to heart and spent a lot of our time ignoring the teacher, passing notes back and forth. There is one thing from our note-passing that has stuck with me for 14 years: the difference between Love and Passion. My friend argued that Love was better, I argued for Passion. He was a lot more mature than I was.

*Before I go further, let me state right out that "I don't know jack" about philosophy. All these ideas are home grown.*

I've been thinking about this lately because one of my dearest friends is enduring the first month of a divorce. It happened unbelievably fast. She was the initiator. She is on a roller coaster of emotion and she's trying to figure out what's most important to her going forward. We've been talking about what goes into a relationship: There is love. With love comes friendship, respect, patience, and peace. There is passion. With passion comes excitement, powerful emotion and yearning.

Love and passion don't have to be mutually exclusive. One would hope that they're not. But in some relationships, they are. Before I understood what I understand now, I was in love with the idea of passion. I argued that Passion is responsible for much of what happens in the world. Art, Music, heroism. My argument wasn't very deep, but I was sincere.

To my more-experienced heart and head, Love is much, much more. (Understate much?)

It's hard for me not to get drawn into big events or ideas that I find myself close to. When I read a well-written, well-conceived book, I'm engrossed. I find myself thinking in terms of the book for a while. When someone close to me is impacted so strongly by an event, like divorce, I find myself thinking in terms of the event for a while. So this divorce, this considering of relationships (specifically and in general) with my sweet, beautiful friend--it has me remembering what led up to me getting married and how Brian and I have grown together.

I remember high school--friends, boyfriends and late nights. I had a lot of fun in high school. I remember college--independence, adventures, friends, boyfriends and late nights. I had more fun in college. There are people I will never forget. People I will always love. People I've met since college who have influenced my life.


I don't think I've ever loved and appreciated my husband as much as I do these days. I love him dearly. He is much more to me than others who have space in my heart. I feel so incredibly lucky to be with him and to parent children with him. He's a good man who understands Love.

Remember the quote at the top? I said that this post would be in the spirit of that quote. I sometimes feel very self-conscious talking about what's going right in my life. I find myself thinking, who am I to be happy and satisfied when there are people in the world who seem to be unhappy and dissatisfied? But "[our] playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you....We are all meant to shine." I think this is true.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

02.18.2010 -- Lucky

Lucky or.... not lucky today?

Some people have a very narrow view of luck. Events that bring less work or pain into a situation, they call lucky.

Isn't it true, though, that the most difficult times--the most painful--they can really bless us the most?

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate my ease and abundance. I just can't forget what has come to me through heartache and torment. I wouldn't want to change those things or give them back.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

02.17.2010 -- What's New Pussycat?

What I get when I try to keep Gabe awake by sitting him on the rug to watch me while I vacuum.

When people ask me what's new in my life, I don't know what to say.

Is there nothing new in my life?

Well, it's all relative, I guess: How recent does a change have to be to be considered new? How big an alteration in routine is considered a change? I have a hard time avoiding a mental rehearsal of these questions when I find myself trying to answer this question. (Even though I am aware that 99% of askers don't really care what I answer.)

Honestly, I feel like my life is stalled right now. Like my car metaphor? I am going to go ahead and call it apt for this reason: I don't know much about cars. Wouldn't know much at all about getting a car to stop stalling.

I started feeling this way around the end of the calendar year. Didn't help things that I was sicker than I've been in a while. (Ever? Wait--no. Not sicker than I've been ever.) I'm pretty much back to normal, which is still pretty much flailing around while continuing to hit a (surprising) number of benchmarks.

These days, most of my energy is going to decisions. Not decisions that need to be made in two minutes. Long, drawn-out, tortuously-delayed decisions. Here is an incomplete and randomly ordered list of my concerns:

  • Lucy turning five 11 days before the kindergarten cut-off. She is not exceptionally driven to spend much time writing or coloring. She knows most of her capital letters and very few in the lower-case. Socially, she's sort of good to go, but it's still not all that unusual for her to throw a fit. Her motor skills are average or below average for her age, from what I think I've observed. (They probably haven't been helped by her two shunt operations.) I just don't know if I want to slip her into school knowing that she'll be playing catch-up for four years. (Yes, I've done my homework. Third grade is where it tends to even out.) I know that September is a long way off and that Lucy will do fine whatever we decide. I just can't stop weighing these factors. I think I've made a decision (Brian has said that he will go with my decision), but I will still be officially undeclared until late summer.

  • Next: Gabe still sleeps in our bed. Gasp! Horror! One part of me is very comfortable with this. One part of me is ashamed (that I am too big a wimp to get him to sleep in his own crib.) My description of this 'problem' could get a lot more involved, but in the end, it's not that complicated.

  • Mmmmn hmm. Neeext: Brian has found a good deal for a time share on a Lake Powell houseboat. He thinks it can't last, what with the boat show whetting Utahns' appetite for reservoirs and petroleum-based recreation, and all.
  • Last on this list: I still have lots of house projects that I need to "finish." Lots. Inside and out. I need to prioritize.

When confronted with this seriousness, I am easily drawn to reading fiction or "researching" random things on the web. Books I've read lately include: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, These is my Words, The Undaunted, The Help, and some truly obscure non-fiction genealogical texts on my own personal relatives. Reading is a guilty pleasure for me, so I try to keep it to a minimum. I am happier when I use my time keeping household entropy at bay, parenting the kids or recharging myself by "getting out."

What's new?

*Lucy made our family dinner last night. Open-faced broiled cold-cut and cheese sandwiches. Her idea. Everyone enjoyed them. It's pretty amusing to watch her tote Gabe around because she's not much bigger than he is, but they like it. Lucy is now in Kinder II gymnastics classes. She's working on cartwheels--seems to be internalizing the idea that practice will help her improve! She's got a major crush on her gymnastics teacher, Ryun, and is "in love" with a boy named Davis in her preschool class. The girl loves to play with friends, and is the "pinkest tomboy" our friend Sarah has ever met.
*Gabe and I just signed up for a mommy and me class at Lucy's gym. We've been twice. First time was good. Second time was better...and worse. Gabe didn't wander so much, but kept toddling off toward the other end of the gym to watch his sister. That seems contradictory, but it's not. :) Gabe is eager to play where the big kids play and makes funny sputtering noises (with his mouth) when he's exerting himself hard. He's strong, brave and enthusiastic.

*Brian has taken up basketball again. He plays some at night and on Saturday mornings. We've been to a few of his Saturday games: Surprisingly fun, although a bit long for the kids' attention spans. Brian hasn't done a lot of skiing this winter, but has gotten himself involved with rehabilitating a ski cat with friends.
-My yoga practice has all but disappeared. I plan to find it again on Saturday. In the meantime, I have a small track-record of showing up to get myself 'trained' to a pulp once a week. It only takes me 4-5 days to recover. A good bit of my free time is spent working on projects for church. (I am (capital) Primary (capital) Secretary. This means that I do lots of secretarial-type stuff for the primary program, which includes all kids in the congregation between the ages of 3 and 11: around 100 in all.) Good stuff.

I guess that's what's new.