Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Living MY Life

So as I have been exploring the feeling that I've been fighting life, more feelings have been coming up, more "AHA!"s. The biggest lately is how I have been trying so hard NOT to live my own life. For, like, my whole life.

I love Byron Katie. I especially love listening to her do The Work with other people. I just love her voice, her compassion, her love towards these people as they dig and examine. This is one of my favorites.

Anyway, something that really made an impact on me when I was listening to her book "Loving What Is" was her discussing that, in her eyes, there are three types of business in the world. (And I'm paraphrasing here because it has been a few years since I listened to this part!) My business, Your business, and God's business. And that whenever you are feeling stressed out, ask yourself whose business you're in. Because you can only do anything about your own business. So when you sit there fuming that so-and-so won't do this, or certain that if so-and-so would just take your advice and do x her life would be so much better, you're not in your own business. And when you're not in your own business, you're over there trying to live someone else's life, and there is no one over here living yours! You're giving up living the only life you DO have power over.

This popped into my head while talking to a dear friend recently, and it took awhile before I realized that, more than likely, it was popping into my head more for myself than for her. Because it dawned on me just how much of the day I spend NOT wanting to live my own life! And it isn't really obvious things either, it's things like checking facebook or message boards or blogs or whatever, immersing myself in other people's lives. Or so I think. ;) Checking out of mine for a bit to try out theirs. Not saying there is anything inherently wrong with experiencing bits of other people's lives by what they share. But the days where I feel drawn to KEEP checking, to go do something for a bit and then get online again, to check "one thing" and then get lost, those are the days I'm resisting living my own life. Which happen much less frequently than they used to, but they still do happen!

This finally clicked for me when I was pondering yet again my inability to read fiction since having kids. My problem is that when I read fiction I DIVE into the story, the story becomes my life, and when I get interrupted I get pissed. Mean and nasty and just not a person I want interacting with my kids. I have to finish the story, and even then it lingers within me for days, weeks. I even get a made up soundtrack running through my head. I'd need a weekend to myself before I could even dream of opening a Harry Potter book past the first two that I have already read. So I have just given up on reading fiction. I have plenty of non-fiction how-to type books that I have been enjoying reading, and it's not even like I get the chance to sit and read a ton of that, but I don't mind being interrupted as much then because, in general, there isn't much to get swept away with. But for whatever reason this inability has been tapping me on the shoulder a lot lately, maybe because it held this revelation for me. :)

I know that when I read voraciously as a child it was a way to escape, to go somewhere "more beautiful", or maybe safer, or at least somewhere where I generally knew the problems would be resolved by the time I got to the end of the book. It was a way to run away from my own feelings and fill myself with someone else's. Someone more perfect. Who maybe does what she/he "should". Or who can at least resolve things and move through conflict and on to the other side. Someone whose life I would love to take on instead of my own.

So it was just recently that I saw the parallel between these "safe", "perfect" worlds I used to escape to and the places my mind goes now. And it's not even necessarily those internet worlds, it's the "should" worlds. It's the place I go when I see that the kitchen is a mess and I start to beat myself up about it. Because I suck at cleaning, I can't get on top of it, or whatever. I am in my business but I am in my "perfect" self's business- you know the me in my head who always is on top of things and takes care of everything and everyone that needs to be taken care of. Who is always showered and wears clean clothes all the time and makes sure the socks and underwear make it to her family's drawers instead of sitting in the laundry room in a basket for them to fumble through. The one who makes the amazingly tasty nutrient dense meals three times a day PLUS snacks and always has the surfaces cleaned off for the kids to cook with her. Yeah that one.

So I see the mess but I don't really see it, what I see is that it SHOULDN'T be that way! It's like standing on the edge of a lake screaming about how cars should NOT be in lakes, blaming whoever put mine there, going on and on about how if whoever hadn't done whatever I wouldn't be in this situation that I shouldn't be in! At that point I'm not living my life. I'm trying to live my life the way I think it should be. And I could be there for years! But if I would just stop, take a deep breath (or ten), let the shock sink in, maybe cry a bit, and ACCEPT that this is where I am. My car is in the lake. THEN I have the possibility of actually doing something about it and getting it out!

So lately, when I find myself stuck, wanting to retreat and escape into some other world, be it an internet based one or my own "should" world, and I realize that's what I'm doing, I've been either saying "I don't want to live my life" or asking "Why don't I want to live my life?" and in general it kind of shakes me into reality. And most of the time I chuckle at myself, love myself for trying to "make life more bearable" or whatever, and then affirm that I DO want to live my life! I DO want to participate in what is going on around me. I DO want to experience and be real joy, which is a place I can't be when I'm trying to be somewhere other than where I am. And then I ask "What feels good about this situation? Follow that." Yes, it is my new mantra. And I'm loving it. :)

I am so grateful for my life. I am grateful for the opportunities to grow, to be joy, to be love, to figure out what I want and to follow my heart. I am grateful for my husband and my children and our families and all the wonderful things that have found themselves into our lives both past and present. I am grateful for this past year, both despite and because of the fact that I spent quite a bit of it being conflicted about wanting to live MY life. I was getting to see the glimpses of what living my life actually meant, and it is because of this past year that I am where I am now. I am so grateful for the amazing people in our lives, who stay, who come and go. Who no matter what they say or do, give us the opportunity to see love in the world. If not mirrored in them per se, at least they give us the opportunity to realize where we do feel love by contrast. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience life! And I am grateful for the opportunity to completely open my heart and BE gratefulness. And I am grateful for all of the people out there in the world, being mirrors, letting me see glimpses of you, and in turn see glimpses of me. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog Directions

I've had some conflict recently about this blog, trying to figure out what direction it should take. My original intention was just to have a place where I document things we do. But then the definition of "doing" kind of gets in the way- what qualifies? Big projects? Fun things that other people might want to see? Academic looking things? and why do I want to share all of this with other people? To inspire them? To make myself accountable for getting things down?

And then I remember "What feels good about this? Follow that." And what feels good is sharing what I feel inspired to share! And not having guidelines or a required post count or even a specific direction. I've been feeling lately this struggle between the "out there" me and the "physically here in my body" me, like how can they exist in the same person? And I realized that by limiting my postings to things we are DOing in our life, things I can photograph or time or that resemble an activity, I'm cutting out and pushing away the philosophical, spiritual side once again, the side that reminds me to just BE. That often looks like DOing nothing.

So that's what feels good. Following my inspirations, my intuition, my joy and having them lead me to post or not. So this blog may get kind of chaotic and jumbled, or it may not. Maybe it will help me see how the two sides of me combine. Or maybe it will fizzle and die. Kind of exciting to see. I am looking forward to it. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fighting Life

I've been feeling like I've been fighting life lately- just wanting to resist and stay where I am and push life away. Not suprisingly, there isn't a whole lot that gets done when that happens! Not just physical stuff, even real listening and acknowledging where I am/what is going on both inside and outside of me. I just get to a place where I freeze and want everything to stop.

Yesterday I tried to explore that, to get into the frozen fightingness. I was feeling overwhelmed about this thing that I *want* to do but there is fear about it- part of me wants to jump in and do it and another part of me is very afraid of the unknown and just wants things to stay the same. I wasn't sure where to go. And I heard "What feels good about this? Follow that." And woosh, some of the fear left. As I write this I can feel some of the resistance still, but I plan on following that good feeling and see where we go. Hopefully we'll have pictures to share of what feels good about the situation in the future. :) As long as making the supplies order feels good too!

Monday, October 18, 2010

In an effort to focus on what DOES happen in our home instead of what doesn't (oh, darn, I have a load of laundry that needs to go in the dryer. . .), today we. . .

. . . taught HD how to play Pokemon. And I finally read all those words under "Special Conditions" and realized that there IS a way to recover from them (retreat or evolve)! Fantastic!

. . . took a short walk in the woods to check out a huge tree that lives not far from the house. I'm not sure what it is yet but it has smooth, light gray bark that just begs to be touched. I've heard that the land around here was all clear cut by Mead back in the 40s, so we have a lot of smaller, crowded trees in the forest. Thankfully they didn't cut them all down, and we have some awesome stately giants that live here and there. :)

. . . walked farther and found at least 6 maple trees that are over 10 inches wide! Including another one of those stately giants. I am excited about that discovery because that means I have reason to look more into the logistics of tapping the trees and trying our hand at making some maple syrup. Yum!

. . . I also found some saplings that I'm almost positive are paw-paw! W agreed with me that the leaves we found looked like the ones in the book. I guess we'll keep an eye out for dark red flowers on them next year!

. . . made lots of balloon animals, swords, and belts. L figured out how to hold the balloon on with one hand so it wouldn't fly away and pump with the other. E made a couple balloon dogs. And some of them even had 4 legs, lol! The other ones were ballet dancing. :)

. . . I discovered that I CAN stay calm and not yell in frustration when three people want me to do things with them all at the same time. It can be accomplished by lots of breathing and explaining my feelings to the kids. Also by only moving forward with any of the tasks once I feel at peace again. And I learned that I can make balloon animals and play Pokemon at the same time, by taking breaks and focusing on each thing for a few minutes, then going back to the other thing. This is actually big for me because I really only focus on one thing at a time. It's something I've just finally accepted about myself. I just do not multi-task well- I forget what I'm doing and generally make a mess of all of the things I was trying to do. I do not keep running lists of everything going on at once in my head. I see what's in front of me and do that. Maybe it doesn't seem like much of a distinction, but for me it is. It's the difference between listening to someone talk AND stirring a pot AND hearing the song on the stereo, and knowing exactly what's going on with each (which I know some people can do!) or setting the spoon down, pausing the music, and looking at the person with my full attention to GET what they're saying, THEN stirring the pot, THEN pushing play for another song. The second example just feels so much more peaceful and grounded to me.

And I realize it doesn't have to be an all or nothing type thing. When I had kids I gave up doing lots of things that I used to love- reading fiction, creating in an artistic way. Mostly because I HATED being interrupted, which is inevitable with kids, so I just decided it wasn't worth it. But I've started to see how much I've lost by just NOT doing those things, and I want to bring them back into my life. And it feels like I have figured out the way, the structure of HOW to do it even with the interruptions and the "Mama I need you now!"s. Yay. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The purpose of this blog is to record our lives as we live, learn, start new adventures, and explore that which brings us joy! Come along with us as we explore life and especially our new property as we journey towards homesteading. :) I named this blog Blackberry Acres because one of the first things I got really excited about on our new property were the blackberry bushes that seemed to be growing everywhere! We have already discovered many more things growing and living here, and there will be even more to discover, and plant, and develop, and nurture along the way!