We Are a Culmination of Our Lives Right Now (and other random thoughts)
January 21, 2011
Wilde Roast Cafe
4 degrees outside
I think we’re trapped in a snowglobe, Truman-show style.
I am thrown off my usual Friday routine. Normally I teach my class at South and then go to some coffee shop to eat some breakfast and write this blog. A heavenly reprieve from the blessed chaos of growing two small children. But Oliver was up all night wheezing and getting riled up on nebulizer meds, while I was getting all riled up by that primordial Mother Fear that turns a simple cold into a life-threatening illness.
We got into the doctor right away this morning, jacked up poor Oliver on more asthma vapors, and sent him off to school for two hours. I promised Oliver and Lucy that I would take them to the Arc to get a toy (and drop off some stuff) after school. Oliver got two stuffed animals for $.99 each–a fat hedgehog and a pleathery alligator–and Lucy got a dirty Rescue Pet that takes four AA batteries to fall on its face and yip incessantly. We also got “Trouble” (the game) for $1.99 and an almost-new lava lamp that we’re giving Oliver’s friend Vincent for his 6th birthday for $7.99. An older gentleman came up to me and remarked that Oliver and Lucy, “sounded like a lot of fun.” It was one of those mothering moments when I get all puffed up with pride and gratitude.
Then we came home for lunch, which was mac and cheese (surprise, surprise!). Lucy ordered me around for a while in the kitchen without saying “please” until I turned blue in the face trying to remind her. She sounded like this: “MAMA! KEFIR! IN MY FAVORITE PURPLE BOWL! MORE CRACKERS! WHERE’S MY TOMATO SOUP?” Literally. If I would have seen her before I had kids, I would have thought, “What a little brat!” I did think that, but it was tempered by my insane love for the little soily-faced sprite. If only that man at the Arc could have seen what a lot of fun she was at lunch.
As I was saying, I was thrown off my routine, and by this afternoon, I felt too tired and lazy to write this blog. But I knew it would feel good to reconnect with my work, so I took myself out on a date to the Wilde Roast, bought myself a three-shot americano, and here I sit. Night is wrapping itself around the day, and the sky has turned from white to indigo.
This is a great example of how writing unfolds in my journals. Entries begin with a couple of words, like “right now,” or “I am,” or “This morning,” or whatever. And then the unfolding begins. Thoughts unfurl before me, and I seem to be standing outside of my life looking at my life. It is, like my Friday mornings, a blessed reprieve. A breath. A time of reflection and honoring. A time when I step back and look again.
Before I sign off, I will tell you the story behind the title, “We are a culmination of our lives right now:” A few days ago I was skiiing across Wirth Lake. The snow sparkled beneath a robin-egg blue sky. Oliver and Lucy were snug in their beds for a nap. Paul had waxed my skis earlier, so I felt like I was gliding on air. The words, “I am a culmination of my life right now,” sprang into my head.
In that moment, under that sky, I felt a very rare sense of pride in myself. I am so used to being judged and beaten up by myself about what I am not doing that I rarely sit in a moment and accept that I have had a hand in creating this life that has brought me to this very moment. I have loved and respected myself enough to get myself here, to this place where I am happy.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become. -Buddha
We are a culmination of our lives right now. We are responsible for where we stand, in this moment, right now. Whatever the condition–of our bodies, our relationships, our careers, of our well being—we have responsibility and we have power. We do not have power over every thing that happens to us, but we have power over every response.
Writing Exercise: When you stand outside of yourself and look at your life right now, in other words, the culmination of your life, what do you see? What do you love about your life right now? What do you need?
Remember, writing is taking responsibility for our lives. When we take responsibility, we empower ourselves. When we wield the pen, we will our hearts to look within and listen to ourselves and our lives.