Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bitchings and Blessings

I'm hot, frustrated, and overwhelmed. In other words, pretty much an ordinary day. Haha, wish I was joking. Okay, I am, a teensy bit. It's just been one of those days, mainly having to do with computer issues. My computer is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and keeping up with it's quirky behavior is a exercise in futility.

For example - my mail program keeps popping up this window telling me I'm experiencing something called a "compaction error". I have a choice of clicking "OK" or "continue". I'm not sure why, it's not like I am "OK" with having the error, nor do I want to "continue" to have them. No matter though, since regardless of which button I click, the next window that pops up always says the same thing - it will help me out by restoring my mail program to it's settings previous to the error. What this means is everything I try to delete COMES BACK. And I can't delete it because it can't COMPACT it. And I can't get more room so it CAN compact it because it keeps RESTORING itself to it's previous settings. ARGHHHHHH!!!!! I can't find any info on how to stop this crazy circle in my "Help" program either. I have to tell you, as much as I love my mac in almost every other way, their "Help" program is a piece of dog doo doo and about as useful.

So, there's that. Along with other things like icons disappearing, formats changing themselves, my CD burner being a prima donna, sometimes working, usually not. And then I have three, count them three, photo programs and I'm ready to line all of them up in front of a firing squad. That is, if I could find them, since they all disappeared this afternoon for no explicable reason!

Moving along, there's the rest of my life. The piles of things that continued to accumulate even though I haven't really been here to accumulate them, my non-existent gardens, my long undone but promised art and craft projects, mold in assorted window sills and shower corners, wild bands of roving dust bunnies, and most recently, sixteen layers of "things toddlers play with" strewn across my livingroom floor.

I have so many things screaming for me to attend to them that I'm paralyzed between them all. This morning I finally forced myself to pick something to do, trying not to worry about whether it's important or not, under the assumption that accomplishing anything was preferable over accomplishing nothing.

I picked the garden. Threw on a straw hat and big leather gloves and went mano y mano with the tallest, prickiest of the weeds in the vegetable gardens and back landscaping. I worked up a sweat and managed to get a lot of weeds pulled. When I surveyed the resulting carnage, it seemed like there wasn't much green left in the gardens at all. And what was green appeared to simply be smaller pricky weeds or useful-plants-that-had-already-gone-to-seed. Sigh.

Okay, I think I've worked through most of my need to bitch. I'll switch to the blessings bit of the subject title.

I haven't really gotten anything done in the last three days because I've had my daughter and her family visiting. I was thrilled she had come up since I haven't seen the grandkids for over two months, the longest I've ever had to go between visits if memory serves. I hadn't seen Garret walk yet, Joshua had really started talking since I'd seen him last, and I hadn't seen Anastasia since she was born.

The visit was lovely although exhausting. Not as exhausting as in past visits though, even with three kids instead of two (all under the age of TWO, mind you!) - maybe I'm finally getting back in shape for small kids, gaining a useful collection of grandmothering skills. Maybe I'm just more prepared for being overrun by the small creatures. Yesterday afternoon I even found an hour to throw together a blog entry and check out a few friends' blogs. And that's when I stumbled upon Daramusing's latest post titled "Stillness". Go ahead, read it. I'll wait. Hmmm....hmm..hmhmhm....hmmmmm.....

You back? Good. So....

Her point, that we are so busy in our lives and in our minds that we don't regularly allow ourselves the all-too-important experience of stillness, of meditation, was something that was nibbling at the edge of my thinking all the time the grandkids had been visiting. Because here's how it usually goes:

1. I'm excited but stressed that they are coming to visit.
2. I run around at the last minute trying to make the house presentable or at least clear away the worst of the mess.
3. I'm happy to see everyone when they arrive.
4. I start to feel exhausted and overwhelmed and wonder how much longer they're gonna stay.
5. I start to shift my consciousness from doing to being....
6. It gets more enjoyable again and I start to feel less tired, less frazzled.
7. I'm in the zen of grandmothering.
8. They leave and I'm sad.
9. I get back to my regular routine and am content.
10. WHAT regular routine?
11. I try to be more productive.
12. I feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and frazzled.

You see where the best part of the process shows up on that list is? Right there in the middle where I've let go and simply live life in the moment.

When my children were young, I managed to stay in that balanced center a very great degree of the time. There certainly wasn't physical quiet or peacefulness, but there was usually mental and emotional peacefulness. And oddly I still somehow managed to do a better job of things then I do now without five children circling me hungry, tired, and in need of a hug/bath/guidance/reminder. And yet even though I was far busier then I am now, I didn't FEEL busy. I managed to get things done without all the waily waily that is so often going on in my head nowadays!

That ability to "be in the moment" and yet be productive at the same time is what I somehow find and tap into when my grandkids come and visit. I assume it's because the stakes are higher, the noise, the busyness, the needs are suddenly amplifed and so it's "do or die". What I want to know is, how do I get myself to that place when I'm not forced by an onslaught of family members? How can I use that zen space to help me personally with the stress of my ordinary days? I hate how often a perfectly good day gets wasted, chopped into useless pieces, or gunked up with my procrastination or self doubt.

For all my problems today, and despite not having made much progress (I can't say I actually finished anything or checked a single to-do off my to-do list) I have to admit that I'm feeling pretty calm about it. I don't know if I can honestly say I was "there", in that center, but I at least pretended to be and just that helped a lot. Maybe it's something one needs to practice - like yoga or chop sticks or free motion quilting. The more you do it and the more consistently you practice, the easier it becomes and the greater the rewards. For all my problems today, I have ended the day feeling like it was mainly full of blessings and that is a blessing in itself.


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