When in doubt, consult the Oracle

Happy Friday to all and sundry! I’m here to check in about how the week went because wow, what a week. Can we talk about the good, the bad, and the wacky?

The Good

I had some crazy productive days! I’ve continued to use my WHAT and HOW lists (because to-do lists suck and do not work for me)  to bust through large chunks of work. It feels good.

Yoga was awesome again this week — this summer session is turning out to be a VERY small class, only two of us yesterday — we go slow and stretch things and open things up and my whole body goes ahhhhhhhhh afterward.

The dreaded trip to the dragon’s cave birthday dinner for my mom went smoothly after all. There was a lovely summer feast, a full dinner table of guests even though it was a Tuesday, and ice cream cake! There were no bad surprises, no sudden veering from happy to scary, thank goodness.

A positively affirming, your-work-is-awesome conversation with my boss. I am working on the whole need-for-external-verification thing but you know, it is so nice to hear good things about my work. I know my work is good (mostly). Hearing it out loud gave me the warm fuzzies.

The Bad

My husband has only had three days off this month. Three days. We just figured this out yesterday. Uh, no wonder weekends don’t feel that restful, since I’ve been chasing after our 10 month old daughter all by myself for most of the time. Sadly, the two best solutions (a big raise or a new hire) are equally unlikely in the near future. I’m not going to have my partner around very much, and that is sad.

I sprained a tiny muscle in my foot. Totally unfair! I couldn’t go for a walk on one of the nicest evenings we’ve had all summer, and I was limping around for a couple days. I think this tiny ouch was a big signal to SLOW DOWN (it was my driving foot, wouldn’t you know) because I’m still working on finding the happy medium between sloth and flying down the highway. Yikes.

Speaking of flying down the highway, I also found out that when I don’t slow down, I get a little manic. At the end of one intensely productive day, I rushed to my car at the end of the day and apparently channeled my inner Hulk, because I ripped the sun visor off instead of flipping it down. It had a screw loose already, in my defense, but still! But then my reaction was not to slow down and take a deep breath — instead I flung the visor off my lap angrily, swore vociferously, and sped off at a totally unsafe speed. I kept going like this all the way to pick up my daughter from daycare and then nearly collapsed with fatigue when we got home. You know what? When you don’t take time for yourself and only relax when you are nearing a breakdown, it’s not very restful.

The Wacky

Oh man, yesterday was so wacky. It went something like this:

Step 1. Let’s go on a sugar bender! Woo!

Step 2. Sugar crash: navel gaze, hate self, indulge in deep  worrywart dwelling on failures, missed opportunities, assorted reasons why life is crap and it’s all your fault.

Step 3. Consult the Oracle. Cry a little, and remember it’s all okay. To have dreams. To get stuck. To be afraid of big things because they are big.

Let me unpack that one. My oracle lately is the amazing Havi. Amidst my sugar crash, all I knew is that I’d been sitting around being unproductive for most of the afternoon, and where had my energy gone? Aforementioned worrywart dwelling was not making it any easier. But somehow I just knew Havi had covered this before. So I went for a post that looked like it might help: Avoidance! Oh, and getting out of it.

And I read it, and I cried a tiny bit because I felt the release of acknowledging what I was really feeling. I was resisting work after a big burst of productivity, which is totally okay, because this week has been all about learning that getting things done can go too far and leave you in a crashed-out mess with your broken sun visor and your foot hurts. No good. And that’s where all that resistance was coming from: a natural reluctance to fly so fast I didn’t know how to stop or set good restful boundaries.

But Havi’s point also hit home in a big way (hello, tiny tears) here:

Instead of treating your avoidance as a natural sign that this thing is so powerful and so important for you that of course you’re going to run away from it, you give this avoidance the power of truth.

You start to think that if you cared about your dream you’d invest in it, when the truth is that when we really care about our dreams we run away from them in panic and terror.

Hello, yes, I am damn scared of my dreams because they are so freaking important to me! But this doesn’t meant that I am not a writer, not a creative person, not the person I want to be: it means I’m focusing on the fear. If I give that fear space to breathe, I will be able to open up and deal with it, instead of bottling it up.

I have a couple big dreams that I am scared of because they are so damn big. I was thinking about this when Tamera wrote about her amazing Order of the Rising Tide recently. Maybe I also need to connect with other people who are trying to bloom amid the demands and fears of regular life. I’m not alone, and it’s not a crazy dream, maybe.

Within that maybe is a lot of stuff I’m not ready to open up yet. But it’s there. Tiny and dreaming.

What comes next?

For this next week, I want to think about those tiny dreaming seeds of what I want to do, who I want to be.

I want to stretch more so my mind doesn’t forget about my body during that week between Yoga sessions.

I want to find more space for restfulness in my day, and mindful productivity so my life doesn’t come to a screeching crashing halt afterward.

…And I am going to start my weekend with one gift to myself, in advance of my birthday on Monday: I’m going for a massage this afternoon. It’s going to be beautiful.

About jesse k.

Writer. Mama. Spy in the house of self-awareness. Occasional crafter, letterpress geek, and academic snob.
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4 Responses to When in doubt, consult the Oracle

  1. sarra says:

    yes, yes yes yes yes! Steven Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’ – do you know it? It’s about many things, but chiefly the amazing power of Resistance, and why it’s there. Much of it hinges on what you’ve pinned down here – that avoidance happens because there’s the thing that you want so badly, right there, the one that you know you can and should and you’re on the earth to do.

    I’m currently, this week, struggling with two types – one tricky normal avoidance of my work which seems to be connected to middling self-esteem (I keep wanting to do everything right before I start writing – erm, including reading my blog subscriptions – otherwise I won’t be well enough prepared, because I’m not good enough unless I make everything right – whoa, brain, I AM good enough to just sit down and work, you hear me?) and another which I might be just getting to grips with after years – that I really really want to go to the best possible university* so much that it hurts, and what hurts is the idea that I might not and NOT that ‘I can’t’. Hey… both of those are positive! Whoa – I’d not realised it like that before.

    Sorry for the ramble, it’s not proper to have realisations about oneself in other people’s comments! But yes – Pressfield. I’ve started up a site to ramble about these things myself too, as I’ve been thinking about for a while every time I stick a post-it in a book/write huge comments online/have something about myself revealed to me in conversation with my other half. It’s not built quite yet, but I feel happy about laying the groundwork for it.

    *I missed out first time and was kicked out of education at 18; I’ll be a mature student in 2011.

  2. sarra says:

    PS Havi’s post is incredible – I can tell this by the way I can’t yet process it. Can’t wait to do so.

  3. jesse k. says:

    I have not read Pressfield’s book, though it sounds fabulous. Anything that helps encourage awareness of (and gentleness toward) resistance is a good thing!

    So true how perfectionism and self-esteem are so wrapped up together — fear of lack of control which is also fear of loss of self — I can’t even articulate how much is tied up in that whole nexus of ideas. It’s a hard tangle to unravel, but not impossible. And you’re so right on that many of our fears turn out to be positive in the end.

    Enjoy Havi’s post, when you get to it. Much of her writing is like that for me — I scan it and I know instinctually I’m not ready, and then eventually I come back to it and BOOM realizations come thundering down.

  4. Pingback: Not the thing I wanted to write about today | my seed house

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