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Sacred rest

My husband teases me for falling asleep (or very nearly) during the sermon at church.

I do not see it as disrespectful. I enjoy listening to the sermon and the introspection that accompanies it. This time is the oasis amidst the tensions, anxieties,  work, and other chaos. For however long it lasts, I don’t have to do anything but rest and listen. If I sleep then, it is usually with my husband’s arm around me, where I feel safe and peaceful.

I think that this type of sleep should be called sacred rest, because the refreshment of the mind and body during that short time transcends even the best nap. I am surrounded by people who love me, listening to the gentle words of my Rector. I am only a weary child of God, and the rest is a balm to my soul.

I just hope I don’t snore…

 
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Posted by on 08/30/2015 in Motivation

 

The next stage of the journey has begun

Realizing that I had changed over the winter was a harbinger of my next challenge.

Yesterday, my older daughter and I attended church together and then went to the church’s summer picnic. She noticed that something was slightly off in my behavior, and although I felt a significant amount of anxiety on several levels, I didn’t notice that my behavior was unusual. I’m not entirely sure of the accuracy of her observation, as she is 12 and has already got the teenage hormone-induced drama in full measure. However, I’m not going to dismiss her observations completely, as she has known me for her entire life. And she is not the only person who has reflected that anxiety changes me.

It’s time to stop trying to avoid feeling anxious, as that is impossible for many reasons. It’s time to understand the fear that fuels the anxiety and make peace with it. By making peace with my fear, perhaps my anxiety can also be calmed. Instead of refusing this admittedly uncomfortable part of myself, I need to embrace it as another facet of who I am: imperfect, but nonetheless lovely, smart, and sweet.

So the journey begins. One step at a time. Surrounded by people who love me, how could I fail?

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Posted by on 08/24/2015 in Motivation

 

Musings for a Friday evening

  
I found this quote in my Twitter feed a couple of days ago. As is my usual m.o., I reflected on the last sentence, particularly “how you treat others.” 

Some of the best people I am privileged to know have nearly nothing in common with me, except that we occasionally are in proximity to each other. For example, an acquaintance of mine who lives nearby is a woman whose lifestyle and manner are jarring to me. But this same person graciously shared the bounty of her garden with my family, meaning that we’ll have lovely tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers set aside for this winter. 

Do I agree with her about, well, anything? Not really. By the definition I placed above, she is a good person.

In contrast, how about the person in my life who feels the right to lie, abuse, belittle, manipulate– but then offers money to my family? It is tempting to accept the cash, but it’s never given without strings, usually more of the treatment she deals out. By the above definition, this is not a good person.

I have arrived at a point in my life where I find myself weary of allowing bad people access to myself and those whom I consider to be my family. For definition, “family” includes the people who both have loved me at my best and stood by my side during the worst. Many of those whom I consider family are not related by blood, but by love. Some have known me since before I was born, and some have recently entered or re-joined my life. Time and geography have no bearing on these people. 

So what does this musing mean? It means that I have decided that I no longer tolerate users, narcissists, or sycophants.  Why? Because these little monkeys deserve it. And so do I.

   

 
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Posted by on 08/21/2015 in Motivation

 

Brigadoon, part 2

This time  I caught it with a camera!  The cloud line is about 200 feet from my door. Are we inside Brigadoon?  I think so.

Inside Brigadoon

 
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Posted by on 08/14/2015 in Motivation

 

The epiphany train just arrived

A few days ago, I found out just how close I came to losing my much-beloved job– all because of the trauma my family suffered in the wake of last Christmas’s travel. The only reason I did not, it turns out, was that I sought counseling when Encouraged and did my absolute best to remain professional despite the personal “perfect storm” I was enduring. When it was brought to my attention, I was a bit surprised, to say the least, but buckled on my big-girl pants and handled it like an adult. Internally, I was pretty shaken up. I wanted to deny the nightmarish reality of what was happening. The only things that kept me positive were my family’s unwavering support and the outpouring of warmth from my superiors, who explicitly stated that their intent was for me to succeed.

It’s been several days, and I’ve had time to step back and reflect on the situation. The epiphany train arrived this morning with a memory of the college’s Christmas party last December. I remember how happy I was and the incredible warmth of the atmosphere in the party. I remember how I could hardly wait to see one of my colleagues so I could give her a Christmas present. Fast-forward to April, and I remember how I avoided contact with that same colleague. At the time, I thought it was she who had changed somehow.

I now see it was I who had changed.

I had gone from exuding confidence to being constantly defensive. My smile had gone from being an external mirror of my internal state to being a shield against intrusion. I withdrew from contact when I most needed it. The awful part is that it had come on so gradually that I had no idea I was doing it or how drastically my behavior had been altered..

I had wondered why I had to go through my children’s breakdowns over the winter, and I now see them as blessings in disguise. I was able to put a name to what I was going through, albeit a terrible one. I was forced to find a better work-life balance and to forge a stronger relationship with my children, both of whom are on the edge of becoming teenagers.

As much as I want to say that I am over the PTSD from Christmas, I think I’m not completely healed. I see the situation more clearly for what it is and what must be done to cure it. I’m out of the woods, but not completely back to the me that I was. Perhaps I can’t ever be that person again, but I can certainly continue to work toward health.

I think that finding the map and the “you are here” spot is possibly the best I can do for now.

You Are Here

 
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Posted by on 08/11/2015 in Motivation

 

Brigadoon

As I look to the east this evening, the Connecticut River Valley and the western New Hampshire hills are shrouded in mist. It is as though the area has become like Brigadoon of the legends. It is magical and wondrous, mysterious and ethereal.

It is most wonderful to behold.

 
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Posted by on 08/03/2015 in Motivation

 

It ended so quickly.

I realized yesterday that my last blog had my reflections about seeing the kids arrive for our high school program. I am now on the other end of the experience, and all the kids are home again. I have been trying to find the words to describe the experience, and have been almost at a loss. I am sad in its wake, but learned so much about myself and the way these kids need to be taught. The best I’ve got is a list of random reflections to share.

  • These kids arrived with trepidation, but returned home with confidence in their abilities.
  • I stayed in touch with all aspects of the students’ experience, especially the notes about events in the evenings (which I called “Days of Our Dorms). It was interesting to see the difference in behavior both among their classes, and in academic vs. non-academic settings.
  • I discovered that I am very good at academic administration, but it does not bring me the joy that I find in the classroom.
  • It was interesting to gain the perspective of the administrator as regards classroom needs, and compare those insights to my own practice.

I am exhausted, exhilarated, and vaguely in awe of the experience. It was what helped me gain confidence in my teaching abilities and perspective about some of not-so-wonderful aspects of the previous semester. Although I would love to take a vacation, I feel a renewal of spirit to fuel my fall semester.

The best way I can describe it is a rare occurrence from last evening. I was resting on the couch while the girls got ready for bed. I happened to gaze out our eastern door and watched the moon rise over the New Hampshire hills. No words can describe the experience, and it passed within a few brief minutes. A friend of mine gave me the words of Dr. Seuss that are apropos here:

“Don’t be sad because it is over. Be happy because it happened.”

 
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Posted by on 08/03/2015 in Motivation

 
 
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