In the next year, I will…
- Pay off all of the credit cards and medical bills.
- Create a regular writing practice again.
- Go fishing with my daughter.
- Ride my horse regularly.
- Read at least 15 new books.
- Learn to laugh again.
- Create rituals and traditions.
- Hike more.
- Build my greenhouse.
- Eat the way I used to: homegrown produce, fresh eggs, raw goat’s milk.
- Eat twice a day. Off of a plate.
- Make sure that my voice is heard in the current political climate.
- Remember when to turn off, unplug, walk away.
- Ski more.
- Remember to play.
- Complete all of the small-ish house projects which remain.
- Simplify and streamline our home.
- Donate to causes I care about.
- Get enough sleep.
- Spend more time with Audrey, one on one.
- Call old friends more often.
- Finish at least three major knitting projects.
- Go on at least three local-ish road trips with the family.
- Spend more time looking at the stars.
- Keep a reasonable/normal schedule.
- Say yes more.
- Go to bed calm… No more stressing out, or binge-reading news.
- Find gratitude daily.
- Get back into a regular yoga practice.
- Forgive more.
- Organize a neighborhood “cleanup day”.
- Make art. At least a bit.
- Reboot my clothing, and pay attention to what I’m wearing.
- Take time to do my hair and/or throw on some makeup, at least sometimes.
- Rebuild our savings.
- Play piano/dulcimer/guitar.
- Take a class or start an academic group.
- Take Audrey to a play or ballet.
- Find space for tiny meditations.
I realize this space has been quiet for literally, months. I do apologize. I have been pulled in a dozen different directions; big projects and big scary things. A literal broken heart as opposed to a figurative one. Creating a tiny legacy in this cute little town where I’m living. Wondering how long I’ll live here. Thinking a lot about mothers and daughters; from both perspectives. Writing when I can. Completely shaken and glued to NPR during the last week of Boston madness. Trying to remember what stillness feels like, and trying to personify hope. A few essays scribbled into pages, the backs of napkins from the coffee shop while I sit in the car and she sleeps in the backseat. (the upside of growth spurts -> naps!) Life is chaotic and messy right now; all beginnings and the dust and mud and clutter that entails. I’m still trying to tease the threads apart, weave them into something tangible and strong; a rope I can hold on to. I’ll let you know when I sort it out. It may take a little while so bear with me, but know that I’m here in the corner, listening, taking notes when I can, and trying to memorize everything.
What keeps you going when the world feels stretched too thin?
I have been quiet online the past few months, and quiet off line as well. I haven’t been writing or painting much at all. I am ready for this year, and for the changes it will likely bring for me.
This next year, with any luck and determination, will be a year of healing for me. Healing of body and spirit, which for me seem to be so interlinked. I’m not totally sure how it happened, but I got a bit derailed the last few years, and I have been gradually in the process of getting back to where I should be. I spent over a year and a half without sleeping, and am finally getting somewhat regular sleep again — thanks to the help of modern chemistry and better habits. It is a victory which really began in September of 2011. I am now sleeping several hours a day, thankfully with only the occasional help of Ambien. Since September of 2011, I have lost around 45lbs. I still need to lose about 20lbs to be back at the weight I was when I was running, climbing, kayaking, and lifting before I was pregnant. In the last three months, I have been running more regularly; usually at least 4 times per week. It’s a far cry from where I was three years ago, but it will do for now. Thanks to a recently discovered heart issue I am no longer drinking coffee, which I fueled myself on for a solid two years; drinking 5 or more cups per day. I still sometimes really miss the caffeine in the morning, but I know I am much better without it.
I have learned a lot about myself in the last few years, which I suppose is normal any time you have major life changes. I have learned that as much as I love my daughter, I need an hour or two alone every other day or so. I have remembered how important it is for me to be outside and moving, preferably every day but failing that, as often as possible. I have learned that I have a pretty strong and pretty harsh habit of editing and critiquing my work before I’ve even begun, which can be crippling. I have learned I am my own limiting factor in many endeavors and relationships.
This year, I plan to focus on getting outside more. Running more. Finally reaching the point where I can honestly say my body is healthy and strong again. I plan to paint more. I will write without reading or thinking about what is written until I have finished. I will focus on healing some much-neglected relationships. This year, I will focus on becoming healthy — and not in the traditional new year’s resolution way of saying I will lose weight, though that is a small part of it. 2012 was all about tying up loose ends and taking big risks for the sake of my family. 2013 will be all about healing.
- Run with my dog.
- Finish writing Bountiful Life.
- Build a greenhouse.
- Spend time with my family.
- Knit more.
- Read more.
- Learn to play guitar again.
- Make dresses.
- Give more handmade gifts.
- (Re)instate some holiday traditions.
- Count stars.
- Ban excuses.
- Streamline my time.
- Stop second guessing my work.
I have been slowly taking care of the big dumb scary things on my lists. I have been doing research. I have been making plans. I have been coming up with crazy ideas. And some not so crazy. And some so crazy they’re almost sane. It feels as though I am standing on the bank of a river, with a pile of rocks and a pile of sticks, trying to find a way to cross. And because I’m me, I’m weighing every possible option. Getting a bit tangled in the details. Getting ahead of myself. And scared shitless.
I’m writing again. Two projects, now becoming three. Or, maybe just two. I guess I work that way? Or maybe I don’t. I’ll have to let you know when I figure it out. And I’m realizing that if I really want to tell these stories, and offer this help, I must find a realistic way to have a voice. I’m looking at small publishers. I’m looking at POD options. I’m wondering how on earth one does this.
So, that will be the project for this year, I suppose. I have started another blog the other day to try to help me organize (and test) writings from the second/third project. All DIY and cooking and making stuff and fixing an old, old house when it breaks. So… Mother Earth News meets Martha Stewart Living meets This Old House? Something like that. You can visit the blog here. I’ll let you know when I start posting to it in the next few weeks. And when I do, would you do me a favor and let EVERYONE know? Thanks.
I am still here; stumbling rag-tag and bewildered after a never-ending list of menial tasks, piecemeal dreams tumbling over each other like bubbles, little breaks of sunshine, and laughter from family which both shocks and thrills me.
Lately, I am a thousand pieces glued haphazardly together: a snatch of melody from a lullaby I have sung every day for seven months, the smell of fresh sourdough, pullets pecking in the strawberry patch, a dream of the next big thing, thoughts of suits and heels, the persistent rhythm of my running shoes on pavement, a glimpse of acceptance and forgiveness.
This month, a road trip, an anniversary, a new best friend for the three of us. I need to put this all together into something tangible, to find the words to describe it all, gather the fragments into a shape without gaps or holes. Soon. Maybe, soon.
The last several months around here have felt very raw and awkward. There is a fragility which hangs in the air of my house, and surrounds each of us in it’s own way. He retreats from it. I try to fight it. I have always been that way; prone to clawing back when I am hurt, like an injured animal. Just as he has always responded by running to a quiet place and waiting things out. When the two of us are both in this space, the result is cyclical and terrible.
I have always been fairly organized with my time, and always overly ambitious. I have had a great deal of trouble adjusting to the fact that I now have so little control over my time, and it seems I never, never finish things in the time frame I would like to, if at all. My solution to this, of course, is to work harder. To do more. To be even less forgiving with myself and everyone around me. It is a terrible habit of impatience.
And so, I am trying to remind myself to cultivate gentleness. To be kinder with myself, and especially with him. To remind myself to carry his heart like a bird, rather than a stone. To remind myself to carry my own heart the same way. To be accepting of the imperfections of this life. It’s surprising to me how difficult this can sometimes be. How much tending this gentleness requires. How tender it is, and how fragile.
My hope is that in time, we will see this collection of misplaced words and grudges against ourselves as something which adds a richness to our lives. That someday we will feel less ragged and threadbare, and more like an old weathered chair whose velvet seat has long ago worn bare in spots, but whose softness is unmatched, and whose worn wooden arms have a warm smoothness to them which aligns perfectly with your hand.
I am trying to do little things to get us there. Extra reminders, small kindnesses. Daily tending of us to keep away the frost, provide just enough warmth and light, and strengthen our roots.
What little everyday things do you do to care your family or yourself on those days when everything feels tenuous and frail?