And this is what it looks like when things fall apart. (Ever read that poem? It is here.) I feel like I was stunned to bloggy silence by the level of stuff going on in my life. Personal stuff. Emotional stuff. Family stuff. Travel stuff. Medical stuff. And of course, work stuff. I’m a juggler by nature, and keeping 6 or 8 or 10 balls in the air is what I do (just like all mamas, right? always juggling, balancing, making choices with time and energy), and then without warning, things begin to fall apart. Too many things come due at once, or some set of things conspires against me, and I begin to feel the hail of the balls as they fall all around me and my run-away instinct kicks in. Drop everything. Gather in. Circle wagons. Regroup. Figure stuff. Or just keep running.
This process isn’t new. It’s at least 20 years old, in fact, and honestly one of the great challenges of my life.
It’s been a month of the running, avoiding, emotionally hiding-under-covers, and here in the mountains (it’s spring break and we’re at the cabin for a few days) I feel like I’m ready to find my center again. Ready to begin the process of adding back to the circle of balls spinning above me.
Part of what keeps me centered is telling my stories - in my journals, in my classes, and here at my blog. It reminds me what matters and what doesn’t - forces me to examine my priorities and how my expenditure of time and energy matches up to them. My blog has always been a place of connection, of honesty, of sharing skills and stories, and I intend for it to continue that way. It’s accountability of a different kind, to put things out there, make commitments, to do the work of telling the stories.
I’m ready to stop and breathe deeply, and deeply appreciate my life again, and that’s what my blog gives me the chance to do.
My dad sent me an excerpt from my grandfather’s journal a few days ago - my uncle is typing them up. Here is a part of it:
Saturday, 9 September 1978 – 9:00 Left for another load of wood. It was a beautiful cool, clear day in the woods. I didn’t rush, but worked steady. Neither did the saw rush. When the saw stopped (ran out of gas – I have to fill it about four times to get a truck load of wood) the next to last time, I looked at a knob on the side of the saw and said to myself, “I wonder what this is for.” I screwed it out and the plate which the knob held was cover for the carburetor air filter. I cleaned it and after filling with gas, the saw hardly slowed down a bit. I could have cut the wood in half the time if I had done it a long time ago and each time I went after wood. Two seasons and about 13 cord of wood and I haven’t thought to clean the air filter.
Got home about 7:00. It was almost dark 8:30 when I finished unloading.
First off, my utter love and respect for my grandpa increased as I read - I had no idea that he kept journals until now. And the message in this message was just for me.
I actually remember - so vaguely it is like a dream, taking a trip with my grandpa and my dad to go get wood. I can’t have been more than 5 (this journal entry I was 3, so it wasn’t this particular year), but I clearly remember the crisp air, the smell of clean wood, the sound of the chainsaw, and the two tall men among others, who represent my dad and my grandfather.
But the message - that preparation is crucial for performance, that cleaning your machine helps it run - is just what I needed to hear.
So I have my sweet grandpa to thank (as on so many occasions), for the motivation to overcome the non-bloggy inertia tht had developed over the past couple of months, and just start again.
So here is my small stake in the sand. My flag sunk into the dust of what I hope is a new land. I am here. I am here.