Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Don't let this happen.

"Oh my God.  What if you wake up some day, and you're 65 or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid?  It's going to break your heart.  
Don't let this happen."  
-Anne Lamott

I was minding my business (well not really, as I was perusing Facebook), when I found this tonight.  In a moment's notice, I was thrust into my elderly age, looking back on my life, and considering  how it would feel to have not accomplished my heart's list of desires--my ultimate life aspirations; my purpose.

And it devastated me. 

So I got out of bed, headed to my desktop where I can actually type at a fluid rate, and sat down with a banana and some peanut butter to contemplate Anne's forewarning.  

I'm a woman of many aspirations.  I struggle with perfectionism.  I struggle with wanting to find the next best thing to challenge myself.  I am consistently overwhelmed by time and the lack of it in 24 hours, yet I rebel against a full calendar, and for the most part, I fly by the seat of my pants (with some slight organization and scheduling).  

And I see it doing me a disservice.

Here's the truth.  I've hardly been writing--beyond the necessary, at least.  I haven't even looked at those chapters that I wrote, in years. And what's that thing I was writing called--a proposal?  I stopped working on that about four years ago, and I'm positive I might cringe at everything I wrote during that time frame.  No, I'm positive I would want to huck it out the window.  But when I finally get up the nerve to plug in that external hard drive, I'll try and remind myself that even Anne Lamott writes shitty first drafts.   

Shitty and near non-existent, I still feel obligated to that piece of writing; the story--as it continues to evolve, the emotions that are tied to those years and the memories that wrecked me for a time, but gave me a reason to have a reason to fight for myself.  And I feel tied to it knowing I'm the only one who can give it life, and that the actual writing is the only way to uncover the pieces and offer them up, no longer as a lingering metaphor of my life, but a soliloquy of redemption. 

The heart of the matter is that there's a nudging inside that never quite lets up.  The force and the frequency may die down, but it never quite lets up, and I can't ignore it away. 

I may not have until I'm 65 or 75.

And the work is far less painful than the regret.  
I'll put my money that.

Image credit

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Word For 2014

The kids and I have been down and out with hacking coughs and congestion since the day before Christmas.  For myself, I wasn't entirely surprised, as I'd felt the stress mounting--up, down and up again.  It was stressful this year, even as much as I used to think Christmas was never a stressful time, I felt the pressure accumulating thick.

The funny thing is, when Christmas morning came, there was a release.  All my ideals came to a thudding halt, the noise turned down and there was a stillness.  And I realized how much of my worry and the pressure I was carrying was because of my choice to entertain it.

Woosh, another Christmas gone.

The cold of winter brings a sense of barrenness.  I've been collecting myself, thinking of ways that I can continue to be in awe this season, to be stimulated and filled up, how I can give thanks all season long.

I'm thinking along the lines of less TV and electronics, and more outdoors.  How I'd love to hike around Jones Creek with Husband, and tromp around the property with my Nikon strapped around my neck, documenting winter in images.  There's something in this season for me, beyond the mothering, writing, reading, studying, long runs, and a few winter bathes.  Whatever it is is waiting for me.

I haven't settled on a resolution(s) this year.  I haven't done that for a couple years, as I've learned like many of you that resolutions can become problematic.  I want to breathe in each day knowing I've given my best and it must be simply so.

Last year, I did choose a word to focus on, and I liked doing that because even though it is just one word, it can be all encompassing.

The word for 2013 was WRITE.

What's funny about me and writing in 2013, is that I did less in a sense, but what I did do, was more.  Without plans to do so, I blogged less.  Then later, I decided that my blog needed some fine-tuning.  I felt the authenticity of SFS slipping between trendy-natured posts and a pressure to write more regularly to "have a successfully read blog" (i.e. increase numbers), than to write hard and meaningful for me, and if it so happens, for others along the road of exchange--however that happens over the interwebs.  I've watched a handful of blogs that I love become so overrun with marketing, links, products to buy, etc. that I've actually quit reading.  I'm making it a point to go and seek beautifully written blogs for their content, alone.   I love a good story.

My word for 2014 is EUCHARISTEO.

In the Greek translation, it means to have joy and to give thanks.  I first learned of this word last year when reading, "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  It's a book that has altered my thinking; it has firmed me up spiritually.  I've found that in giving such thanks there is an exchange that occurs.  I give You my broken pieces and questions, and You give me Your comfort, unending love, Your beauty, and deepen within me a joy for life in its intricate and fragile mess of wonder.   "Thanksgiving always proceeds the miracle."

"The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as graceand gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy."  Ann Voskamp, The High Calling

The thanksgiving is a way of life.  It's a present term; active and free-flowing.  It's words falling off saddened lips of loss.  It's thanks during disappointments that have penetrated deep.  It's the thanks for the blessings which have miraculously arrived after doors have slammed shut.  The thanks keep me in close relation with God, it keeps me joyful, and it keeps me humble, too.

Here's to eucharisteo; here's to the exciting New Year!

Did you do a resolution or do you have a word for this year?

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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