With the current life that I lead, it is often chaotic and extremely fast paced. This is not a personal choice, it is just life with 4 young children in the home and 4 adults all enjoying varying relationships with myself and one another. Often, just getting a moment of qui is damned near impossible. Tonight, I was not only granted quiet, but also a chance to converse with a new mind and to read the works of that mind while also having the leisure to truly contemplate them.
That’s when I came to realize that I have gotten off of my path a little. In the general craziness of life, I had forgotten how to live as well as how to engage my own mental abilities of creativity and the power of my will. This perhaps at first sounds pretty serious, but it’s not as bad as it might sound. My self-discovery can perhaps be set into these categories:
Self and Time Management:
This is perhaps my biggest stumbling block, hence, being listed here first. Far too often, I find myself mired in obligation, facing a day with far too much to get completed and not enough time or energy. I had been lumping this together with “tough cookies, you’re a mother and a student and on dialysis” however, now I see the issue with this.
Tonight, I was given an opportunity to actually just be. To get things done, yes but there was none of the usual sense of urgency and of being harried. Looking back, I learned that this has a lot to do with my attitude towards those tasks as well as the fact that I planned them in such a fashion that I did not wait until the last moment. I managed my time and myself in a way that allowed for the completion of tasks and duties in a graceful manner and still left time for relaxation as well as time with friends and family that was not spent dealing with anything stressful.
The closer I look at it, I realize that I allowed myself to step into a current that was already there, allowing it to take me where it would, subtly directing it but not again against it, like I so often have in the past. There was the error I believe, trying to go against the current so strongly that I was forcing things, and in doing so expending far more energy than necessary.
Taking time out for Contemplation:
This takes a close second to the above listed category. Tonight is honestly the first time in recent memory that I have sat down and allowed my mind to read something, and to really think it through and to think about if and how it applies in my situation. This also had a secondary bonus of unblocking my personal writer’s block, the inability to write in depth about myself and what’s going on in my mind. So often, I write for others. It could be for publication, for a presentation, for school or even for my loved ones but never is it really a careful examination of what’s inside my own head. I am beginning to see that this habit of mine of “oh, I’ll take personal time when the stars are right, or when the kids are quiet, or when I‘m not dead tired is something that has actually damaged me and in some reversible ways, blunted my mind and awareness.
New ideas take time to assimilate when you are presented with them. Without taking this time for contemplation they remain in that fragile world of gathered but not processed information. In time, they are forgotten or discarded as “not enough time to think about that” or something similar and this, in the end is a waste. New ideas are what keep this world and especially this community running, breathing and evolving. Without them, there is no growth or change.
What feels like a lifetime ago, I had wound my spirituality into my service in such a fashion that it was inseparable. I had small rituals and ways of going about things that constantly brought to mind a sense of the Divine. Over the last 3 or so years, the rituals dissipated and the sense of connection also went, like incense smoke on the wind. It is enough to say that a lot of my positive outlook also went, and I became far more cynical and jaded. I would be surprised when someone did something nice, or good just for the sake of it and even more surprised when that nice or good thing was directed at me. I lost my belief in humanity.
This damaged me in more ways that I can even begin to count, however I also don’t see a reason to count them. Not anymore. I am blessed with many very inherently good people in my life and have seen time and again the miracles that kindness can bring. Knowing this, seeing this in action over the last few weeks has reminded me that the Divine is there and working, with or without my acknowledgement and that perhaps, it is time to rebuild that connection and give thanks for the many blessings on my life and family.
Joy found in my Calling:
Sadly, this is also something that I had lost. I lost sight of the point of service for the sake of it. Sure, I could talk about it and even relate many, many experiences from when I had not lost sight of it however; none of it was in the recent past. Sure, there were flashes of it now and again…enough to make me want it more. Somehow though it never followed that desire and I learned that I had lost my headspace. I’m not speaking of “sub-space” but a deliberate self-positioning where mind, body, spirit and action fuse into a deliberate whole that is entirely greater than the sum of its parts. Call it mindfulness, call it Zen, call it whatever you like however, and do not say that it is something that you can only reach now and again. When you put yourself into a position to receive that kind of wholeness, it will come.
Purity of Intent:
I cannot say that my intent is impure, not entirely. However, it is not pure either. Lately, I have had a focus on those things I was missing, had received but not experienced again from the hand of another. Things that, because of my illness were now lost to me and the frustration of trying to push myself into a direction that perhaps I do not need to go and would indeed be counter to many things that I am at the core of myself. Again, this echoes my earlier statement of going against the current, and in a lot of ways is similar. I have spent a lot of my life being told that I should or should not do or be certain things and that anything outside of that stated norm was unacceptable. I had thought I broke free of that in college, but now I realize that such ingrained expectations are often far deeper set than one realizes when they do not take the time to examine things closely. Now that I have, I see some of the errors I have made, perhaps and certainly not all but I know where to begin.
What it all comes down to for me right now is this: Introspection is not a bad word. Humans don’t generally as a rule suck and the universe is a far friendlier place than I gave it credit for. Service is a beautiful thing, and must be approached correctly for there to be joy in it instead of just acceptance and life is too short to gripe about everything. Not every problem needs an answer yesterday and sometimes, sitting back and smelling the roses is good for you.
Shalom, my friends.