Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Worthiness Wednesday #59 You do have another story to tell
After I opened up a dialogue with faith last week, I was rewarded with another insight. A walk in the sunshine, some fruit and veggie shopping, and a lot of clearing up later... it occurred to me: I think I have been focusing on the wrong story.
Many weeks ago, my therapist and I were discussing my creative life. I prattled on about this blog and my dabbling with painting and the manuscript that I'm trying to get published. We talked about what it meant to make space and time for the things that connected me to myself, in the context of self-care. She observed that my creative life seemed to be "on hold" and also acknowledged how much sense that this made in the context of other plans I have for my life, particularly with respect to my family.
This idea of being "on hold" stuck with me, long after our session had concluded.
Actually, no. It needled me.
Out came the beating stick [and stop me if you've heard this one before]. Why was my creative life on hold? Why was I so lazy and unmotivated? Was I just coveting other people's lives/successes/journeys? Did I even want it at all? What did I expect, that someone would knock on my door with a book deal? Why couldn't I hatch a realistic plan then work like crazy to make it happen?
And then I stopped and actually looked at my life. The way I spend my days. The way I spent that particular day.
On that day, I got up, gave my daughter breakfast, got her ready for her creative play session, dropped her off. In the few hours she spent there, I replied to emails, wrote a blog post, caught up on some reading. Then I picked her up, and together we ran some errands, came home and had a late lunch. I did some domestic stuff while she relaxed in front of the television, then we played together.
My daughter is three years old. Since she was born, she has been my priority. I have been very fortunate to have a husband who is willing, and in a position, to support us.
While my daughter was an infant, I found I could reconnect to myself through art and writing. While she cat-napped, I pushed myself to explore mixed media art. I started a blog. I took a whole series of e-courses. I wrote a novel. I played with writing haiku. I submitted the occasional piece for other people's websites, and invited people to guest post or collaborate with me.
While she was awake, we played, ran errands, caught up with family, went on play dates, explored museums and galleries and shops and cafes and a helluva lot of playgrounds.
Today, I saw my story through the logistics, the practical side that I'd usually be given to overlook... and what they represented about the choices I had made without even questioning them.
When my daughter was ten months old, I returned to work two days a week. I negotiated babysitting with my mother and mother-in-law for these days. This felt comfortable, reasonable, right for me and for her (and for them). To date, I have not negotiated babysitting so that I can write or paint or think about what my "core proposition" might be.
What I realised is: I do not feel comfortable doing this. I don't feel comfortable because I am not ready. It doesn't feel right for me, right now. While my daughter is small, I want to put my time with her first.
Let me say right now that I would never EVER judge a woman who did choose to put her child in care to pursue her creative/business goals. (Though I might be a little jealous!) But the point is, this is not what I have chosen for myself right now.
This realisation, the waking up and seeing the bleeding obvious, has been strangely liberating. I see how I've been telling the story about my hampered creative life when, in fact, the real story is the one where I've chosen to take some time out to spend with my daughter while she is small. In this version, there is also room for my longing for a richer and fuller creative life, and some dabbling around the edges to bring me closer to my creative dreams.
In this version, the accusations from my inner critic that I am lazy and unmotivated in relation to my creative life become redundant. (Sadly, the ones that point out that I couldn't be all that attentive a mother if I put my daughter in front of a DVD so I can get something done aren't going anywhere, but I think I shall tackle one thing at a time!)
So this week, will you join me in being exactly where you are? Could it be that you have already made choices that support your deepest, soundest principles in a way that you are not giving yourself credit for? Is it possible that there is still room for your dreams and longings? Can you be open to the idea that your journey is unfolding exactly as it should for you?
Nobody said that faith was easy.
Today is my 38th birthday and it somehow seems fitting that, on the day I move out of the 37 year maelstrom, I am stepping consciously into the space that I am already inhabiting.