Friday, November 25, 2011

Dear Holiday Season

Dear Holiday Season,

What's that sound you hear? It's me, humming a tune, skipping down the street through the fall leaves, whistling while I work. And you know why? Because this year, I'm going to win.

I'm going to enjoy myself. I'm going to take in the sights and sounds of the season. I am not going to rush, I am not going to worry, and I am not going to take on anything that I do not have to take on.

I am going to enjoy my family. I am going to avoid Walmart and the big box stores not out of any sort of ethical superiority but because I hate going to them. They are crowded and poorly organized, and they do not know me as a person, like the local business owners do. If I am dropping money somewhere, why not let it be somewhere I like to be? After all, if I pay Walmart money for what they do, doesn't that tell them to keep doing exactly what they are doing? Keep not cleaning the bathrooms, keep building 52 checkout lanes and only opening 3 of them, keep treating me like part of the herd of cattle? In one door, pay your money, out the other, keep it moving, please.

This year I am going to sing carols until my children plug their ears. I am going to post nostalgic status updates on Facebook until all my friends hide me from their news feeds. I am going to look at Christmas light displays while sipping cocoa, and I am going to take my time. I am going to shop off the beaten path, and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it if it's the last thing I do.

Because life is short, but life is good, and I want to take all the goodness I can from you, and leave the rest of it behind.

Fa la la la la la la HA HA.


Monday, November 21, 2011


A strange side effect of getting well and bringing balance into my life is an unexpected increase in emotions. I have a wider range of them, and they pop up at unexpected times, and much more frequently.

Insert metaphor here: It's like yesterday, I had three crayons: red, yellow, and green. Today I have the 48 pack, and then whenever I open something, more of them fall out -- the glove box, the cabinet, the cereal box.

It's weird, it's unexpected, and I'm not sure what to do with all these crayons. I'm used to being a little flat, emotionally, but now that I'm turning 3D again I have to deal with the complexities of it.

Lately I've been feeling the pokiness of life a little more directly than I have in a while. I used to feel the angst of life -- things like parking tickets, slow computers, fading friendships, inflation, missing shoes -- as a sort of general dull ache, but now I feel them like personal stabs. I wish I could turn off this new sensitivity. The smallest rejection feels huge. Logically I know I'm being ridiculous, but sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball and have somebody be nice to me for a few hours without criticizing me. It's the criticism that chips away at me. The students who always need something -- and it's a good thing they do, because that's my job, and I do like it, but sometimes... -- the kids who need things, the constant complaints about who doesn't like dinner and who can't find their shirt and the million other things that I try to control for but can't, just can't, but even if I go all zen and embrace my failure on the mountaintop or whatever the heck it is you are supposed to do, the complaints still roll in like clockwork.

I am frustrated when I see other people living organized lives, and just as I've tamed some of it mine keeps trying to speed up and get more chaotic, but I have to hold it back, hold it back, quit running from the mad dog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adrenal Budgets and Desert Walkabouts

Went back to the doctor for a follow-up appointment and discovered that I am making good progress, and that I have a measurable spike in cortisol in the evening hours. This can interfere with sleep and with weight loss, and I have a supplement that I am taking now to address this.

Overall I can say that since I began taking medication for adrenal fatigue and slow thyroid, the overall effect has been positive. The past few weeks has taught me once again how important it is to pay attention to my stress level and take care of myself by keeping it as low as I can. I had some very stressful -- good, yet stressful -- events in the past few weeks and my health definitely dipped down to correspond with that stress.

At times it is so hard to keep up with it, because there are certain things that I can't "opt out" of -- for example, if my kids need something in the middle of the night, I just have to do it -- no way to "take care of my sleep" when that is going on. What I am finding is that steady and constant effort and awareness of what I am expecting from myself and the resources that I have available to me are the keys to staying healthy.

I never really thought I did too much, because to me I feel like I only do about 2% of what I should be doing, but sometimes I hear things my friends say -- things like "I have a really busy day. I have to go to the store AND I have to go out to dinner," and I think, that is something I would do in the space of an hour, not a day. And where is all of this rushing getting me, anyway?

So the whole process is being aware of the ways in which I expect too much of myself and other people, and getting real with myself about my energy and adrenal "budgets" -- what I have to spend, what I have in savings, and what will happen if I go "into debt." It's a challenge because I did not learn these things growing up, and now must teach them to myself, and there is so much at stake.

In other news I am teaching a bit more this term, which is good, and tutoring the same hours as last term, which is good as well. I enjoy working and I like the order that it brings to my days and of course I also like contributing to the family economy with some real live dollars.

Of course I have the novel-writing bug again, but I find the actual writing to be very challenging, because I do not have a workshop group and also sometimes I end up with days or weeks where I have no time to touch my writing projects. I try not to get into writing novels because I get obsessed with them and they are all I can think about, when I have so much other work. But if I ignore it, then every 2 or 3 months I feel compelled, and I end up writing against my will, late into the night. It's like denying yourself ice cream for weeks and then cracking and eating a whole carton at once. If only there were some middle way.

My spiritual studies are continuing, and lately I have been able to relax and enjoy them rather than worrying about whether I am doing everything exactly right and in the right order. I am enjoying the "uncluttered" nature of my new practices, and the way that this lack of clutter allows me to hear the spirit more clearly. And I am experiencing something I never have before, a hunger for scripture. This might sound cheesy or weird but I literally just want to read every word that is written in the Bible to glean the knowledge of the people that came before. I have read Acts through and am working on it again. Something about it is so fresh that even in the King James formality, I feel like the events are happening right now. I had doubted at first whether I was headed in the right direction with my studies but there is a kind of quiet, calm order to my days now that I have to recognize the hand of God in it. I have always been motivated by peace and now I feel as if I am following that peace to a new destination. The road is not without its weird twists and turns and bumps, but it seems like the more I practice listening to the spirit within the din of everyday life, the louder I can hear it speaking now, whenever I stop to listen.

I could go on and on with lots of self-indulgent annoying metaphysical rambling, but I will just stop here by just saying that I found myself in a spiritual "desert," and when I stopped trying to run out of the desert, I found that God was there too, and that he brought me to the desert not to torture me and make me thirsty and sunburned, but so that I could have a little peace and quiet and he and I could converse.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)