Category — blogging
I’ve written this post a dozen times and a dozen ways. The admission never gets easier: I can’t come here and bleed anymore.
The tagline for this blog has never changed. The crazy stops here is a play off my determination to avoid some of the mistakes my parents made, to give my children a better life than I had. They transcended the skill of loving they were raised with, and my aspiration is no different. Every fifteen minutes is still an accurate description of how often I need to remind myself.
What has changed is how I find my way.
For six years, writing here has been my therapy, my release. I came here when I couldn’t let something go and gave it life on the page, an ecstatic bloodletting that always left me spent, exhilarated, centered. I needed that, and I needed you. You were here for me during some of the best and hardest moments of my life, and the encouragement and support you’ve given me has halved my pain and doubled my joy.
Equanimity has always been my greatest challenge. One of my favorite managers and most valuable mentors told me that my reactive nature was hurting me professionally. “It ruins your focus. You’re brilliant, but you get distracted by petty bullshit. You need to cultivate mind like water. People throw pebbles in your ocean, and you react as if someone threw a meteor in a fish pond. When you start to get worked up, remind yourself: mind like water.” He was talking about office politics and difficult personnel, but the stakes are higher these days.
I knew that having a child meant becoming a living example, but I couldn’t understand the depth of it before. We sat on our first plane, making faces and looking out the window when I noticed the propeller. A seed of anxiety germinated behind my navel. I don’t care for dual prop flights. The planes are old and loud, and the sensation of weightlessness, if even for a moment, can start my adrenaline flowing. When they started the engines, Jay’s face froze solid and he locked eyes with me. I took a deep breath, smiled, and put his face near the window so he could watch the propeller spin. We hit that first air pocket, and again, he froze and looked at me. I took a very deep breath in and let it out with a “whee!”. He smiled and bounced on my knee, waiting for the next one.
My emotional responses are as intense as they ever were, but the way I deal with them has changed entirely. When my son is in my care, I am called to deliberateness. It really isn’t possible to be present with an infant and freak out about anything, and for the first time in my entire life, my biochemistry is actually, finally on my side. Motherhood brings me a deep sense of fulfillment, a potent antidote to the raw ache of uncertainty I suffered all those years. This favorable climate makes it much easier for my perspective to get a running start before intensity of emotion can overtake it, and reason is winning most of the races these days.
It is said that meditation begins where therapy ends, and well, here we are. I need this space for meditation; writing about how I can cultivate more mindfulness, compassion, understanding and equanimity. I rely heavily on Buddhist concepts and principals, but that’s less a religious declaration than a spiritual one. My aspirations aren’t to become a monk, or a teacher, or a guru or anything other than a calmer person and a better writer.
There’s a minor makeover in progress for the site that includes removing comments. I’m writing the posts for myself, but I’m publishing them as an offering. I don’t want to make that offering expecting anything in return, nor do I wish to give anyone the opportunity to level criticism here. If something inspires you to discussion, I would love to do that via email or social media or over coffee or via text message. Flowers are nice, too.
Speaking of fauna, cattails are a symbol of peace and prosperity. I’ve spent the last six years searching for those very things. I intend to spend the next six years creating them. I hope you’ll stay with me.
May 12, 2013 No Comments