Life has been feeling EPIC lately.
I mean EPIC. Feels like my chest is swelling and my chin raised is raised. Like I am right on the cusp of something completely Earth shattering. Like life is about to never be the same again, or at least I am going to be so changed that I'll never be able to see it that way again. Like I'm cloaked in courage with a cloud of fear swirling around while huge, seminal things are being shattered and destroyed. Apprehension, Anticipation, fear in the pit of my stomach, driven to jump out of my skin and act heroically. Like I am about to burst from all of this pressure leading up to this huge thing and its intensity is more than I can bear. Like my stomach is in knots almost to the point of being sick. Like there is something huge caught in my throat both wanting to jump free and be swallowed and buried. Like I desperately need to use my muscles in strong, forceful, desperate ways. Like whatever is going on is so huge I can't just sit by and watch, I have to do something, have to take part. Like every bit of me that can be tested is being tested. All I need is a ring or a sword or a wand or an arch nemesis. Something to focus this feeling on, to explain its existence.
I have many friends who are going through epic things in their lives- huge family and marital challenges, cancer, death, moving cross country, babies coming too early. On a larger scale there is the possibility of making war more widespread than it already is. I'm sure I'm picking up on quite a bit of that. But in my own personal life. . . I don't know. I'm having some health challenges that have necessitated setting aside our homeschool groups for a few weeks at least. Life has slowed down, and I have been challenged to see what is the MOST important in my life and make specific time for that. Which has been a challenge. Also learning to actually really and truly take care of myself. I'm slowly making progress with that one (which is a positive way of saying that I kinda suck at it. But I'm not saying that. ;) ) I have realized, I can ALWAYS make myself busy and come up with more things to stress out about having to do even when I'm staying home and not going anywhere. I only have the energy for a few things, though, so I have to really decide (UGH! I want to do it ALL!) That laundry list of things I've always thought I need to do but didn't have the time because I wasn't home constantly. Yeah, had to toss that after I noticed that I was making myself worse and was ADDING things to my days that were sucking up my energy but really didn't matter that much right here at this moment. I have been learning to be slower, to reduce my time multi-tasking, to eliminate things that aren't either true necessities or bring us a crazy amount of joy. (Most of those things on my list were not happiness-inducing. They were there because I thought I needed to be doing them to be doing "enough". Which is a whole other post on its own!) Still, though, there's been this feeling inside of me calling me to step out beyond fear, to march forward bravely, to be heroic. To stand on a mountain with my hands on my hips, taking a deep breath with the golden sun shining on me just so, butterflies trying to burst out of my stomach and about to leap off into the perilous unknown. How on earth could my current life be epic?
I responded to the feeling by making a John Williams Pandora station. Because if my body isn't doing something epic, at least I can give my feelings a place to play, to wind and dart and stab and swirl and puff up their chests and wield a sword. The station has been amazing, and I highly recommend making one of your own. Even if John Williams isn't your thing- grab some of your favorite movies and make a station for the composers. FEELING the stories in that way, without involving the mind in the plot, has been so incredibly helpful to me.
This epicness has been going on for close to a month now. At times I feel so close to victory. At times I feel that all is lost and there is no possible way to win. Intense, intense, intense. And again I've wondered, how could my life possibly be epic? How could what I'm feeling actually apply to my life right here, right now?
Merriam-Webster lists these as part of the definition of epic:
~telling a story about a hero or about exciting events or adventures
~very great or large and usually difficult or impressive
~extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope
I got to thinking, what about the people who are the subject of Hallmark films or documentaries or biographies? I wonder if they realized right at the start that they were destined for big things or if it just happened as they set one foot in front of the other? I wonder if they looked at the choices they made one day and realized they were changing the entire course of their lives; lives that would go on to inspire others? I wonder if they thought of themselves or their choices as unimportant just to look back in 30, 40, 50 years to realize that they had played a really important part in one life or many lives or the history of the world.
So, could my life be epic right now because the choices that are in front of me, needing to be made will shape my life in a way I couldn't have imagined? Are they going to redirect my life, put me on a completely different trajectory? Will I look back on my life and see that this moment in time was pivotal even though I couldn't see why at the time? And if so, maybe it would be helpful to take the choices before me a bit more seriously? Instead of brushing them off like I have for many, many years and continuing to ignore them; what if right now I took a stand for what is REALLY important in my life, what I feel deeply called to do, what I pray I don't die before doing?
A sidestep here to my goats. We have to tie them up because they like to rub up against the fence in the bird yard and if they keep at it they're going to destroy it in short order, among other reasons like not having a proper fence to keep them in. (If it won't hold water it won't hold a goat!) As long as we put them and their house in an area with lots of good stuff to munch they're happy. Or so I thought. We've had them near the ducks and their pond to deter foxes. But they've pretty much eaten everything there is to eat.
|Silly the goat without much to eat.|
I have an area on the other side of the yard where I want to plant lots of fruit trees but right now it's a mess of brambles and poison ivy and saplings dotted with random stumps that makes it too hard to use equipment to clear. But goats LOVE to eat all of those things! So recently I unhooked both goats and walked them over to the other area. They were quite happy and excited to walk with me. They were unsure but interested in all of the tasty things when I hooked them up. And then I walked away. And all of a sudden they were DYING, just DYING. If you've never heard a goat who is sure she is dying I'll paint you a picture: her tongue sticks out the side of her mouth like she's choking, her eyes bug out and she makes the most pathetic, urgent MAAAAAAAAA you can imagine. Heartbreaking and comical at the same time. They were miserable in the center of what should have been goat paradise!
|Nilly with lots of yummy food in a place she doesn't want to be.|
I tried this a few times, in a few different locations even, and it all ended up the same. They weren't on the right side of the yard, they couldn't see the bird house, the view was too different, and so they were going to DIE, DIE I tell you! I was getting really frustrated, and then a little voice said "look for the message" and so I did. Here they were, surrounded by what they love and what nourishes them, but because they were in an unfamiliar place they were miserable. And I understood- there are all of these things that I want in my life, but I want them in my life the way my life is right now. I want things to change without changing. If I were picked up and dropped into the middle of what I wanted but in a completely foreign place, I would be freaking out and begging to be put back where I was before too.
So with that in mind, in the middle of all of these epic feelings, I've been checking in- am I getting what I want here? Am I upset because things have changed too much but really I have more of what I want? And what DO I want anyway? (Kind of important to know if I'm trying to recognize if I'm getting it!) Hmm. I want the time and space to do what I feel directed to do for ME (write and paint), while still being able to take care of my health (no more "either write and paint OR sleep"), and supporting my family and enjoying life with them while still meeting their needs and helping them get what they want. Is that happening right now? Heck no. CAN in happen in the way we've been living our lives? I don't see how. It's been hard enough fitting in actually taking care of me without adding time to create, and things had to change to get us to the place where I could do that. Tonight I'm sacrificing sleep again because I absolutely had to get this out so I can move on.
If this is indeed an epic time, then epic changes are likely on the way. I'm not a big fan of change, but I am ready to stand firm with courage to change my little part of the world into a place where we all, even the mama, can thrive. And maybe I'll look back and realize it was the most important thing I could have done. It's taking a whole lot of fear conquering, a lot of walking down dark and uncomfortable streets, a lot of letting go of the things I thought I needed with me. It's taking the courage to walk into the completely unknown, following the light of my heart that says it's time to let it shine and that all the world will be better for it even though voices scream to the contrary. It's taking getting up and moving forward again after I've been knocked down and feel like giving up. It's taking trusting that this is big and is important enough to strive for, even though on the surface it may seem petty and pathetic. I haven't placed much worth on myself for most of my life, but it's time to now. It's vital now. It really, truly matters. *I* really, truly matter.
And step forward once again.
How about you? Has life been feeling epic for you lately? Is it time to allow yourself to have worth? To stand firm in the bright and strong knowledge that YOU really, truly matter? What do YOU really want in your life? Are are you ready to let things change so you can have it? It's an epic life, because it's the only one we each have to live. Let's treat it that way, if only for a bit. Let these be the soundtrack to our lives right now! (Or something similar, if this music doesn't do it for you. ;) )