January 4, 2009

My wish

I guess it’s time to put in writing my new year’s resolutions. Obviously, “stop procrastinating” should be at the top of my list! That aside, I have the usual that most everyone else has: eat more healthy foods, drink more water (Tom and Savannah have dictated that one to me), get in better shape, become a better mom, wife, etc…

This year I am taking concrete steps to achieve at least some of these goals. I have enrolled in a walking/jogging class at the university so not only do I have a financial stake, but I will be graded on my attendance and participation. For someone on the 20-year track to a degree, every credit counts! My ongoing battle with Meniere’s is forcing me to do better with the healthy foods (although I still have to overcome my fiendish craving for salsa and chips), and I really will try to drink more water, much as I’d like it to be flavored with a teabag or two… I am also resolving to read more books with an inspirational theme to them or books that deal specifically with dealing (sanely) with children . I am also resolving to write more frequently on this blog.

More than anything , though, I want the theme of my life this year to be BALANCE. I don’t know why, but the past few years it seems like my life has been completely off-center and I’m always trying to catch up or just stay on top of things, both at home and at work. I’m sure part of it has been the health challenges that life has thrown at me. Other parts have to do with the craziness that comes with having two teenage boys in the home. And of course husbands, though you love them to death, bring their own brand of fun to life.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself this past year is that I have allowed myself to become somewhat of a doormat again, and I don’t like that. It took me many years and some hard lessons to discover my backbone, and the fact that I had a right to stand up for myself. For some reason, this year I rolled out that old welcome mat that says “Walk on me.” That has to stop, and much to my immediate family’s chagrin, I have already started taking steps to correct this. I have to say, it feels good to stand up and call B.S. when I see/hear it!

For Christmas, one of the gifts I received was a book called “Gift from the Sea,” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I’d heard of this book before but had never actually read it or even knew what it was about. I started reading it several days ago, and so far I love it. However, I’m not getting very far because I can’t seem to get past the second chapter; I keep returning to it again and again. It seems to summarize beautifully exactly what I’ve been searching for.

Each chapter in the book (at least so far) deals with a different shell found on the beach as the author spends a solitary week on an island. Here from the chapter on “Channelled Whelk” are some thoughts that spoke especially to me as she looks at the empty shell:

“…his shell – it is simple; it is bare, it is beautiful… My shell is not like this, I think. How untidy it has become! Blurred with moss, knobby with barnacles, it shape is hardly recognizable any more. Surely, it had a shape once. It has a shape still in my mind. What is the shape of my life?

“The shape of my life today starts with a family… I have also a craft… The shape of my life is, of course, determined by many other things; my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires…

“But I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints – to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible… By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.”

That is exactly my desire! I only wish I had the talent to describe it half as beautifully as Ms. Morrow-Lindbergh did. She continues on:

“…For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mother-core, like spokes from the hub of a wheel. The pattern of our lives is essentially circular. We must be open to all points of the compass; husband, children, friends, home, community; stretched out, exposed, sensitive like a spider’s web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us, then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions, and yet how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives…”

The bottom line is that there are no easy answers, but I feel better knowing that I’m not alone in my search to find them!

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