So here's authentic for you:
The truth is...I am not a yoga teacher, although I might be, someday.
I'm not into Reiki. Although I might be, someday.
I'm not a spiritual teacher, or guru, or divine priestess of sacred wisdom. I don't think. Although...I might be. Who knows.
Here's what I am, though:
A great, loving Mom, who is always learning. (As it should be, I think.)
Today, I had a day off and got to spend the whole day with my toddler, as opposed to working while he was at daycare. We had a yummy breakfast, scrambled eggs, some fruit later, some milk. I had a latte. Or two. We went to Target, bought fun craft supplies, rode the kiddie cars, and had lunch at Panera. Out in the parking lot, a giant SUV backed in to the spot next to me, in a crooked fashion. The driver left me with a narrow, awkward triangle within which to contort my body, in order to put my son safely into his car seat. All went well, until I contorted myself back out, and OUCH. Pulled a muscle in my lower back. Fantastic. I sucked it up, walked slowly, applying the counter pressure I learned painstakingly through the end of my pregnancy. (I'm not just whining, I promise there is a point). The point is? We got to the house and we painted, we stamped, we laughed, we smiled. I took some anti-inflammatories and slathered some Biofreeze all over my back. My son and I got covered in the colors of the rainbow down to our fingernails. When I would slow down, I'd think that the pain meds weren't doing a thing. But then, on to the next thing... We sang, we danced, we raced, we napped, we ate, we played basketball (indoor, plastic hoop). And on and on, as it goes. A full day of activities and reading and repeating new words. While rocking and singing him to sleep, with the energetic part of the day behind us, I remembered how much pain I was in earlier, and how it seemed to dissipate. And I observed that, for a minute.
Here's is something simple to know: when you are wrapped up in pain, negative thoughts, worry, confusion...you will continue to perpetuate the cycle of your own misery, if you sit there and think about it. Call it Law of Attraction, call it common sense, call it Elvis for all I care. It's the truth. The takeaway? When you are hurting...physically, mentally, emotionally...give out. Give and share what you can. You time, your love, your guidance. Why? Because you stop focusing on yourself and your complaints, and you give the chance for them to leave you. My son, the two year old, taught me a lesson today. What a blessing to have him to focus on, to love, to care for. My stupid back pain became nonexistent.
I am a writer.
I wrote a novel, once. I finished it in 2005. I was a different person when I wrote it, to be sure. But here's the kicker, it got stuck in my old laptop as the fan died, and I never repaired it. So it's been in there, sleeping, all 360+ words. They never saw the light of day. And I'm okay with that. Because the story I told then would bore me today.
I went to library school and I got to dig into my love for history and ephemera. While working at a historical society, I researched a school teacher who lived through times that were much tougher on women than they are today. I was able to locate and name an old nineteenth-century school in my hometown, previously unknown. I wrote all about it. It was too long, repetitive, had no flow, and was cluttered...but I loved researching and writing it. And my writing skills grew as did my passion for it.
I tried again, as the muse flew back around, a few years ago. I got about five chapters into a novel about inter-family dynamics and relationships. It wasn't bad, it had some great characterization, some funny scenes, some poignant ones, but I got bored with it, and put it away. That one lives in "the cloud," and on my hard drive. But I have grown, I have evolved, I am in so many ways different. And I wouldn't know how to approach those old words if I resurrected them. So I let them go. When the fire was reborn in me, earlier this year, as so many other things changed, I began to write again. Writing is the one thing that has continuously returned to me, over and over, waiting for it to be the right time, for me to dig in and really commit myself to it. This new work, the story of Ana, started as a lusty romance novel powered by a silly frustration. I wanted to write some bestselling smut. Make a million dollars. Get a movie option. But in the beginning drafts, this book was powered by the external, by the ego, and that too...started to bore me. Every time I sat down to write, I felt there was more. There was something else, something deeper. Inside? Out there? I didn't know, but I kept writing through it, waiting for something to break through, to touch me, to shake me up. To wake me up. And one day, one serendipitous day, something did. The walls of pretense and superficiality fell, at a very inopportune moment. It was a literal, physical and spiritual experience, jolting me from my old ways of seeing, thinking, and understanding the world I live in. And nothing has been the same since. I touch on the experience in the book I'm writing. What that means? I don't know, except to say that I am awake. Alive. Connected to my passion in a way that I never have been before. The more I learn, the less I will admit that I know. Because I am constantly learning and growing, as all of us are.
And so I embarked on this journey of the Self, And I found my writing changed completely. Instead of staring at the ceiling, searching for ideas, trying to craft a story out of thin air, I learned to listen. To the story that is all around me and inside of me. It's in the people I meet, the dramas I get caught up in, the experiences I have, the lessons I learn. It's also in the silence. Somehow, and I am so grateful for this, I can tune out all the noise and busy-ness of life and just listen...and the words pour out. Like they've been in there all along, waiting. Or like they're just flowing through me from somewhere else, some place magical, and I'm merely a conductor. That's how it feels, anyway. So, that's what I mean when I say that this is the first book I want to fully give birth to and send out into the world. While it echoes of real life and everyday situations, it is inspired and created within. Something in my normal routine may make a small step toward a vivid imagining that occurs later. I soak up and absorb my life; not the particular people, per se, but the feeling. The essence. Contradictions, surprises, hurt, joy, and questions, always questions. Writing is a medicine, and I have to use it daily. Many writers, once they really start to write, will say the same thing. And on the other side of this project, I get to see how my little creation does out in the world. It's terrifying and exhilarating. And I can't wait to set it free and start a new one.
I am a public servant. I am a great librarian and researcher.
I was reminded recently why I love my field so much. Sometimes I get caught up in the mundane details, the busy-work. The ordering, to to-dos, the nuts and bolts, so to speak. Many people become librarians because they read incessantly. I am not one of those. I write more than I read. I read enough, and know how to suggest titles for people, but I don't pour through novels. So, what I love about it, really? Helping people. Maybe it's not the job I love, maybe it's the people I work with. Maybe it's the community I serve and get to know, and spend my time with to help them find what they're looking for. It's the connections. Those beautiful moments when someone reaches out with a question, with a need, and you can extend your patience, your listening, your time, your skill set, to get them where they're going. It's helping people. It's knowing people. It's fostering a welcoming space, where anyone can walk in the door, find what they're looking for (or something darn close), and with no money spent...they can sit and improve themselves. A library...is community. A supportive environment where its public can leave changed for the better, or more educated, or entertained, if they so choose. The potential is there. There are countless stories of self-made success stories, and many of them started their journeys with a library card. Why would I not be grateful to be a part of that? It's an incredible place to be.
So at this point in my journey, this trip-fantastic inside of myself, into the universe available to me...I find I am at a weigh station, of sorts. It's been fight, regroup, obstacle, learn, fall, get up, regroup, challenge, observe, grow, and on and on. A constant back and forth, learning more about myself with each stumble or step ahead. But I find myself at a place now, where the drama is fading. Some things (ideas, people, self-help books, and so on) I would cling to and strive for feel differently to me now. Like throwing off training wheels. Those things have served me well, and I'm grateful for all of them, but I find myself releasing them. Some things have great significance in our lives, but are significant for a short time. Guideposts. Or at least they should be. No one should seek validation and direction constantly from a source outside of themselves. These things are tools to help us dig in and do the work inside of ourselves, to keep moving forward. The books can sit on the bookshelf, in case I need a refresher. The people aren't dismissed, they just morph as my journey does. Some have their own work to do, some become friends.
So when the noise and drama and excitement and newness wears off, I come to a place where I see a few areas of true value in life, and they are all connected:
Health - an ongoing journey in itself, but one I am committed to, day by day.
Happiness/passion - being honest with yourself and what and how you feel, can lead you to your happiness. Know, love, trust yourself. Decide to be happy, and make the choices to support that, based on what you know and love about yourself. Now, at this place, it seems simple. Although it never seems that way when you're in it. That's why it's a journey that requires faith. Because you can't possibly see through the storm, you have to walk through it, to the other side. Let it change you.
Balance/harmony - Life balance is key. Just as we make time for our passions, we should make time for family and friends. Anyone who holds us up when we fall, can hear us when we're silent, can see us when we're hiding. Make time to laugh, travel, be spontaneous, enjoy each other. Share your blessings and watch them magnify in your own life.
Humility - When I don't intentionally practice humility and grace, I come off like a sarcastic jackass or like a goody-two-shoes trying to impress people. Both versions of me are simply layers I wear, I suppose. Although the jackass is probably closer, in reality. As much as I love to write in sweeping prose and grandiose metaphor, I can be full of wit and banter and sass. I have a bite. I am learning how to balance being spiritual and a philosopher and a lover and student of humanity, with being a smartass who loves to make people laugh, sometimes at themselves, sometimes at me, some times at life, and watch old movies. But I am making a conscious effort now, to remember humility. And it helps to keep me grounded and moving forward. Sometimes. It's a process.
Spirit/everyday magic - Whether you believe in God, the power of the Universe, or just human morality and scruples...believe in something. Let it take an undercurrent in your life, let it whisper in the dark, let it propel you into the light. Tune in to it. Connect with a higher vision of yourself, a more enlightened version of yourself. And notice things. Live in your moments. Pay attention, be aware. Listen to people. Make eye contact. Do things mindfully. Eating, walking, loving, playing, working. Do it on purpose, with purpose, alive in each moment of it, not lost in outer space living in the future or reliving the past. Be here. Participate. It's your life. You're supposed to be paying attention, and learning a few things as you go. We're not meant to trudge through it, or run in a wheel until the time is up. Find your silence; connect to your Self, your spirit, the Universe and let it guide you. Because it IS you.
I am grateful to be awake.
I am grateful to be learning.
I intend to keep learning and to keep growing.
I am blessed with amazing and caring friends and family.
I am a Mommy. I am a writer. I am a public servant.
I am exhausted, but full-up. A day well spent, a day lived fully.
I am an oversharer...but the best writers are. And now, good night. I am...going to sleep very well. :-)