When I go to open the journal/blog file and it is not in the “most recent” list, I know for sure it has been too long. My fingers ache with my scribbling deficiency but my head is stuffed with Earth Science facts, easy algebra and a lesson on loving myself from James Baraz.
Lately, I have not been happy. A bit overwhelmed and second guessing myself about my big decisions. Dissatisfied and pining for a different life. This morning, life is good!
Last night’s snow was that almost invisible flake falling that offers nothing to those gazing from windows and just piles up on roads and gardens in a sneaky, insidious fashion. Standing in darkened rooms and peering outside, I determined over and over that it was hardly snowing at all, although I did not promise Julia that she would be going to school this morning. (The next town over cancelled by nine last night. No one cancels school in Wisconsin for a dusting!) School was canceled by a 6 a.m. text which is, of course, a half hour, before we usually wake up. Damn! There was no turning over and going back to sleep for me. Fie! And this morning, right after I made my latte (with a sprinkle of Vietnamese cinnamon extravagance), our frigid falling switched to big showy flakes. Grazie molte! I do appreciate the seasonal display as I sip and tap with Julia’s fur throw on my lap!
Julia had about ten minutes of extreme disappointment when she climbed out of bed. She/we spent the entire 3-day weekend studying for today’s Earth Science exam. It was grueling for both of us. By Sunday, I wanted to limit the material, which was perfectly possible under the rubric of a IEP modified curriculum, but she was determined to do exactly what her classmates were doing. (Julia has enjoyed her science classes since middle school, but she is limited to science that is concrete and without tricky explanatory equations and thus, Earth Science will probably be her final science class.) In theory, I admire her pluck and determination, but in practice, we worked with only meal breaks for three days (and church on Sunday, thank all and any goddess!!). Julia doesn’t learn easily, she is used to the grind of working twice as hard for half the result. I felt like crying by Monday night. Have I really taught her this grit and determination, or did she come with that hard wired?
After recovering from exam-disappointment, Julia considered a snow day off and suggested some time dancing to Wii. All lingering regret has disappeared, the house echos with the pop songs of my youth.
After spending some mornings with a friend who is a realtor last week, I’ve once again applied myself to the declutter and that has left me with the overwhelm and second guessing blues. And somehow that led to a few days of general life dissatisfaction and coveting my neighbor’s life. No neighbor in particular, no, not true, maybe those folks of Facebook postings who are traveling in warm climes, or celebrating 40 years of marital bliss or the ivy league acceptances of their offspring, or taking week- or month-long meditation retreats, or publishing almost anything. Amazing how that black hole of despair is always available to slip down—amazing how quickly a maybe-moving-is-not-wise thought morphs into the churning stomach of “I have wasted my life and ruined my children.”
And then, today, I have the privilege of waking up to a birthday and I remind myself that I have had nine more of those than David was given. It is snowing and life is certainly pretty good. Julia has pluck and determination (like any good orphan heroine!) and I want to write. I also want to live closer to Cheshire, live in a big city again, live near an ocean again, and teach Julia how to ride a bus alone. I want her to have more family and me to have the easy joy of Cheshire more often in my line of vision.
Facebook birthday wishes are being posted. I want to engage in conversation with every person who has written! Wishes from Australia where my natal day is already over—old friends, family and new travel friends! Wishes from Europe where most of the day is done—classmates, old friends and a cousin or two. And early morning wishes from this side of the Atlantic—from a community who has kept my heart and soul together. Almost an embarrassment of riches, but not an embarrassment at all! I can only wonder how I came to be the recipient of the outpouring. Have I given as much as I receive? I have some glorious work to do!
This last week, I have been preparing for an Awaking Joy class tonight on the topic of Loving Yourself. I was not comfortable with this chapter when I read it for the first time a few years ago or when I listened to James Baraz teach this concept during his online class. All those kinda’ unworthy, feeling-like-a-fraud feelings came back with physical discomfort as I read the chapter. And I am supposed to teach it now! James’ remedy and teaching involved loving kindness meditation and so I’ve been especially practicing. Trusting in his process. Yes, I remember that I’ve been down this road before. Thankful for the remind of black holes and ways out. And eventually climbing out of the hole (and for those who know Portia Nelson’s poem), going down another street.
Now, Princess Mononoke over avocado toast, and later, a long, hot bath! Happy birthday to me!