Monday, October 31, 2011

Beginning Where I Am

I'm an all or nothing kind of gal.

If I'm running really late for an event, often I'll end up not going. I tell myself I'm so late, why bother. Never mind that I might have enjoyed the second half of the event...or had fun connecting with the people there once I arrived. 

Or I'll stubbornly tell myself I need at least a whole week off from work to clean out and declutter my walk-up attic, even though the Flylady tells me I can accomplish the same thing in 15 minutes a day. Of course, I have yet to prove to myself that this 15 minutes a day thing works because I have yet to DO a 15 minute boogie with a trashbag.

My latest ridiculousness is around my writing. I'm convinced I need several hours in a day to devote to my writing -- I can't write in any less amount of time. Since I don't have several hours to devote to my writing (who the heck has several hours to devote to anything?), I don't write.

And another day goes by without my having added any new scenes or pages to my story.

And another day of not working toward my dream slips by.

So I've decided I'm going to try something new. I'm going to Begin Where I Am. I forgive myself for all those days of not writing. In fact, I'll forgive and FORGET about them. I'll just put those days out of my mind and focus on now. Where I am. And put pen to paper. All I need is one new thought. One new sentence. Maybe even one new paragraph. And tomorrow, same thing. Until hopefully one day I'll look up and find myself at the end of my story...and ready to start another one.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This, Too, Shall Pass

It's already mid-October, and I dressed my son in shorts for school yesterday. I know that soon enough we'll be bundled in winter coats and shoveling snow and ice from our porch and driveway. But right at this moment, with the sun shining warmly down, it's hard to believe we'll be doing that.

I'm reminded of a sermon I once heard by a priest at the University of South Dakota about 20 years ago. It was the year after I graduated from college, when I traveled for my sorority as a leadership consultant, developing and advising our college women. The priest was a bit theatrical, and he started his sermon by standing right in front of us and pouring salt into his hand. His theme: This too shall pass.
The priest's salt pile has grown in dimensions in my mind,
or at least in importance!

It was a sermon about how everything that happens to you in life, both good and bad, will pass. It was his interpretation of "to every thing there is a season." And he ended it by reading various scenarios, and after each one, we repeated, "This too shall pass." He had us giggling when he'd read a sentence about becoming president or acing an exam, and we'd have to say, "This, too, shall pass." And he had us thinking when he'd talk about a loved one dying or experiencing a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

I struggle with how to share this important lesson with my eight-year old. Especially when he's sobbing and says he wants to die after events such as the Phillies losing in the first round of the playoffs, or when we can't find the book that was advertised at the end of one of his Captain Underpants books because it looks like the author never wrote it.

I worry that if he's feeling that way about relatively trivial things, how will he handle something truly tragic? And later, will he be able to survive his teenage years when life is so narrowly defined by a small high school peer group?

How do I honor his very real feelings of despair and disappointment, while also helping him understand that while it seems like dark times now, this too shall pass?