There’s that cute picture of us in London on our Visa Trip again, but with that same pointed question, Does Your Life Matter? If you missed the first post CLICK HERE. The purpose of the juxtaposition of the sweet family image and the question in the background comes from a book I am reading, Undone, by Michele Cushatt. In this book she talks about a family photo she was reflecting on, in which everyone is smiling, but that when she would see the image she knew the pain and the pain behind those smiles, as evidenced by one of her children leaving to live with other relatives around the time of the photograph being taken. This picture was what I thought of. We were exhausted when we took this picture, and Kyrie really was not enjoying the trip very much, and in the back of my mind was this nagging little worm reminding me that the peace I was feeling, that lightness and familial love and joy, was not what I was experiencing on a day-to-day basis back in Lebanon. I came to the conclusion that it had to do with feeling Spent at the end of every day, which is why I ended the first post in this series:
Where am I spending my time, thoughts, and resources?
In London, I was spending all my time, thoughts, and resources on things I know to be my Paragon, my Calling, my Purpose. Anamnesis in going to the World War II sites: Coventry & Bletchley Park; Davy’s joy in going to the zoo; Louis’ fulfillment in getting to take pictures with the amazing camera I bought him; and even Kyrie’s highlight—The Crown Jewels! These were more than just touristy jaunts, they were recognizing pieces of ourselves that meant something more and drew us and breathed life into us in doing them. The trip brought that good kind of tired from learning and doing things loved and important within the fibers of our beings.
So this past week I have been tracking on Excel (you all know how I love spreadsheets! [yes, I am totally being serious]) how exactly I am spending every minute of every day, and taking notes on my thinking and whether or not my talents were being used or if I was stretched to do something that really is beyond my own resources. Time is a quirky thing because it can tie knots around my Paragon and keep me from ever achieving it because there just isn’t time to actually follow my Calling. Using my goals I was able to decide how much time I would like to give to my Ideal Schedule, and track how close I was coming to that goal. The fact is, that I am spending too much time distracted by such little things that I know how to fix or edit out of my life. What I realized is that I have lost control of time, that I need to be the dominant force in the ongoing march of time in my life. I am not a tree with wind whipping by. I am a person who can huff and puff and fuss about losing time or can just Man Up and Get Stronger Thighs. (If you have the need of a good laugh and want a fun British movie, or you just love Simon Pegg, go watch Man Up).
As I reflected on the small moments lost, I knew that a lot of that came from my overthinking and worrying. I found out that a lot of my thoughts through the week are basically, “What should I be doing right now? Should I be doing something else?” This is just distraction. If I can grasp my paragon, my Calling, and hold onto it for dear life, then when I am doing life, progressing in that direction I don’t need to wonder about what I should be doing. I will have the wisdom and knowledge of myself to know that I am in the right place doing the right thing.
This is the piece that has resonated the most with me as I have reflected. The other two, Time and Thoughts, are not complicated, they are just hard. They require Discipline (my word of the year this year). It is easier to sit down and pout about not getting my life to go the way I want. It is hard to take time and thought captive and do what I know to do and slap those distractions and thoughts aside. But resources is another beast altogether.
One of the ways that resources gets in the way is to think it is only money. I don’t make money in the technical sense. I helped gather support from our partners to be here in Lebanon, but Louis is the one who has to file taxes for his income because it is his W-2, and perhaps some of you can relate to the feeling of loss from that. If I believe that money is what defines me and my purpose in life, then I am a loser. And if I allow what other people think to define what I have to offer, I am not able to fulfill my Calling either.
I have resources and a Calling. And I have the resources to accomplish that Calling. To blog. To read. To teach my kids. To cook (or at least I am learning). To lose weight / be healthy (I have already lost 30 pounds this year!). To support my husband in his job. Not everyone around me is going to see the value in what I have to offer. So, I have to choose whose voice I am listening to. Whose expectations am I bending toward? Is it my inner voice, my inner calling?
Are You Spending Wisely or Just Spent?
London gave me insight into what life can look like for me. I am not bound by the Baby Blues or depression. I can be joyful and I can learn new things and smile and talk to people.
When I am running toward my Paragon, my Calling, I gain energy. I am rejuvenated by the journey. I find that joy and peace in fulfilling who I am supposed to be, doing the things I am supposed to do, thinking about the things that raise my spirits as well as the spirits of those around me.
When I am trying to please people, or trying to accomplish the things that do not bring any joy to my life, I just feel exhausted, wasted, and spent. Sure, there are times that are going to be part of that. The electricity is going to go out and I am going to have to run down to flip the breaker. The kids are both going to have a meltdown twenty minutes after they have been tucked in, right after I took a deep sigh and started on my fresh cup of tea, about to head for bed. But those small inconveniences are just boulders on the road, they are not the road I will travel.