September 3rd - Enough Is Enough

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"At work, you think of the children you have left at home.
At home, you think of the work you've left unfinished.
Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. 
Your heart is rent."

Today Sarah talks about something that 
no one ever talks about...
but it's something that we should. 

Today is a long one, and it's heartbreaking to read, 
but you should pay attention, 
because we all have a breaking point.

Start Quote
More women than you realize have a secret fantasy
that has absolutely nothing to do with erotica.

But in its own way, it focuses on the forbidden.
I call this fantasy, "Scrambled or Fried?"

One more perfectly normal day 
of incessant demands, neglected children, and unfinished work
and you feel you can't take it anymore. 

An overwhelming impulse 
to disappear without a trace 
comes over you.

Methodically, you withdraw all the cash you can 
from your bank account 
([because] credit cards can be traced),
pack a small suitcase, head for the bus terminal 
and begin life all over again 
as a waitress in a diner somewhere out West.

In this fantasy some women take their children with them, 
especially if the kids are small;
other women don't, but usually their kids are teenagers.

Of course, you're not going to do it, 
but contemplating a plan of escape is an 
imaginary mechanism to let off steam...

No more overdue bills, arguments over cooking, cleaning,
carrying out the garbage, charge accounts, or custody;
no more clashes between children and career,
no more exhausting care taking of an elderly parent, 
no more responsibility than you can handle 
in any twenty-four-hour period.

When you think you can't take it anymore, 
a life that revolves around asking customers
 if they want their eggs scrambled or fried 
holds a certain appeal. 

Recently, a thirty-nine-year-old woman, 
the mother of five children between the ages of eight and sixteen,
vanished off the face of the earth not far from where we live.

Earlier in the day she had been a chaperone 
on an elementary school field trip. 
After the class returned to school, 
she put her daughter on a bus for a basketball game 
and told her that she would walk the short distance home 
since it was such a beautiful day. 

She never arrived.

Around dinnertime, her frantic family called the police 
and a massive search began, complete with prayer vigils.

Of course, everyone feared the worst,
because for this particular woman 
to disappear without a trace was completely out of character. 

She had everything: 
a Wellesley education,
a beautiful family, a lovely home, 
an extremely comfortable lifestyle, 
and a perfect marriage to a diplomat.

Three days later the woman who had everything, 
but obviously not enough of what she really needed, 
turned up unharmed (thank heavens), 
confused by her own conduct, and dazed by all the commotion.

Here's what happened.
As she started for home, 
she sought a solitary spot to sort some things out.

On the spur of the moment 
she walked a few miles to her favorite place,
Washington's National Cathedral,
an exquisite sanctuary.

In the silence she could hear herself think.

After a few hours she could not bring herself 
to leave its peace to return to the chaos engulfing her at home, 
so she slept for two days in a small chapel. 

As of this writing, she's still not returned home 
and no one really knows when or if she will.

This much we do know:
for whatever reason, her heart was rent.

Her center could not hold.

Her life was not, after all, as perfect as it appeared.

Real lives seldom are,
even if the surface has a pretty sheen.

I only wish I'd been able to say to her,
"Disappear if you must, but phone home 
and let the children know that you're okay."

When I heard on the radio that she hadn't been abducted
 but had voluntarily vanished, 
I felt a tremendous sense of relief and said as much to my husband. 

His response was that this woman was obviously mentally unstable.
There was no other explanation for her bizarre behavior. 

I agree that the weight of her life was too heavy to carry alone, 
but as I had a meditation to write (on coping with stress),
I chose not to challenge his interpretation.

A long conversational detour would have been necessary to point out 
that under her particular circumstances, 
which of course we did not know, 
her disappearing act might have been extremely sane. 

Desperate, no doubt.

Heartrending, no question.

But not necessarily crazy.

When our waitress fantasy surfaces, we're physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually exhausted by the struggle within and without that pulls us in a hundred different directions. We're seriously wounded by the ancient enmity between daily life and the Great Work. 

Band-Aids don't work anymore.

Actually, the fantasy of running away can be very therapeutic
because it waves a psychic red flag that tells us
 real life has become unmanageable. 

Changes need to occur, creative choices need to be made, 
conversations need to be started and finished. 

If the fantasy persists to the point of action,
asking for help is much better 
than buying a one-way bus ticket.

"If you knew how often I say to myself:
to hell with everything, to hell with everybody, 
I've done my share, let the others do theirs now, 
enough, enough, enough," 
Golda Meir, the only woman prime minister of Israel, 
once confessed candidly. 

You don't have to run away if you can learn to just say:
enough, enough, enough.

And mean it.
End Quote

I know at least one woman who up and left. 
I don't know the story.
I just know that when I was a kid I remember her little family, 
and then 15 years later I come across the family again, 
and she was no where around. 
Her picture was no where to be found, it was just him and the kids,
and so like a callous fool I asked my mom where she was...
My mom told me that she just up and left one day,
divorced him and never came back.

I know of very good friends, 
whose life seemed perfect all through my childhood, 
and now it's just completely falling apart.
It wasn't perfect, and the loss, sorrow, and hate 
is absolutely heartbreaking.

I hit a breaking point in my life.
I can't share the details, it's just too personal,
but let me assure you that I was broken.
I had to make a choice, and I chose to say
enough is enough.

Please don't reach your breaking point. 
Take care of yourself.
Learn to say no.
Learn to say

Gratitude Journal

1) Robbie catching mosquitos like a pro is quite a site. I'm grateful he got them so I don't get bit up in the night!

2) This is the last blog I have to do for a few days, doing six at once was a little overwhelming, but it had to be done, because gosh darn it I'm going to finish it. I'm going to reach my goal of 365 days. 

3) Jewelry, it's pretty.

4) Good doctors. I love my new doctor.

5) Insurance and easy access to the medicine I need. Insurance saved me $300 something dollars for 90 days of my anti-depressant. I mean it's absolutely crazy! I firmly believe that our health system is jacked up, but I'm grateful to have what we have, because a lot of other people have it so much worse around the world.

September 2nd - Understanding

Today, Sarah starts with Adam and Eve

Which is one of my favorite topics
because it's so misunderstood.

Start Quote
Many of us believe that if 
Adam and Eve hadn't blown it in Paradise, 
we wouldn't have had to work for a living
and we'd be on easy street in Eden.

Unfortunately, that biblical interpretation is fanciful.

For if you read Adam and Eve's story more carefully, 
you'll discover that God always intended 
for human beings to work and for work to be a joy.

Consider Adam's soulful occupations:
to name all living things after studying them 
and to tend a beautiful garden.

[In A Wind in the Door, Meg has been called to be a Namer. 
She has to Name things. At first she is confused, 
what the heck does that even mean?
 Her companion helps her understand that 
to Name someone or something is to love them. 
Interesting, don't you think?]

In the beginning, work was meant as a gift...

But then came the Fall...

Consider the daughters of Eve's daily round.

There are private works: 
nurturing children, home caring, preparing meals, 
chauffeuring, financial management, horticulture, 
tending animals, and for some of us, husbandry. 

Then there are public works:
employment, school and church activities,
youth groups, community and charitable volunteering.

[Back in 1995 Sarah gave these statistics.]

58 million American women have the 
responsibilities of worldly employment;

almost half [29 million] of all employed women 
have children under the age of 18.

70% of mothers with little ones 3 and under
aren't able to care for them during the day,
because they're taking care of the business of reality. 

In real life we must take care of reality,
so that we can afford to take care of what's Real.

If you're employed outside of your home, 
you're paid money for your efforts.

But the greatest portion of a woman's work
 is gratis and largely unsung. 

Because we spend so much of our earthly span working, 
one way or another,
this deserves profound contemplation 

and I'm not just referring to coping with the hassles of 
commutes, day care, sick children, snow days, 
teacher conferences, and deadlines. 
Juggling swords, flaming torches, 
and conflicting commitments 
deserves its own meditation.

But so does the numinous nature of work.

Each of us was created to give 
through our personal gifts

Sharing our gifts with the world is our Great Work, 
no matter what our job description might be 
or how our resume reads...

"To live well is to work well."...

We need to acknowledge aloud the ancient enmity 
between Real Life and work.

It exists.

It tears us to pieces every day. 

We need to help each other understand it, 
because we will never understand it on our own. 

We can start by holding one another's hands, 
by listening to one another's concerns, 
by reassuring one another, today, 

Somehow, together, we will figure it out. 
End Quote

Modern day feminists have really torn women apart. 

You can do anything you want, 
except become a wife and mother. 

Men are awful, lazy, inferior, and out to get you. 

You can be any kind of woman you want, 
but accepting your divine nature makes you anti woman.

You can't breastfeed in public, 
(it is legal, I'm talking about discrimination)
but you can't give your baby formula or you're a bad mother.

If you're a stay at home mom 
you don't do anything.
You don't work. 
Raising your kids is not a worthwhile endeavor.

Women can and should do everything a man does...
so some women now don't get married, have casual sex
and are completely un feminine. 

But there is a new wave coming.

Try to be Christlike. 
Try to stop judging.
Try to realize that everyone is different, 
and try to appreciate those differences.

Try to understand each other. 

Lets end not just the mommy wars, 
but the war on women,
the war that we fight against each other. 

Why do we fight so much?
Why is there so much hate? 

The only way to get rid of that hate
and that judgment and misunderstanding
is by replacing it with love and understanding. 

It starts with you. 
And all you can do is change YOU.
But when you love someone, 
they usually pay it forward and 
it's easier for them to then love others...

You can do it. 

Love is so much easier than hate.

Gratitude Journal

1) Love. 

2) The love that my children have for me, how they forgive me so easily when I make mistakes...and don't we all make quite a few mistakes.

3) The love Jesus and God have for me, and for all of us. Sometimes it's completely unfathomable how after all I've done or after all others have done, they still love us. It's unconditional. Something I won't understand fully in this time, but I sure do appreciate.

4) Understanding. My patriarchal blessing tells me that I have the gift of understanding, so I guess I have a little bit of an easier time of it than others. But I'm grateful for all the trials that I've been given that have increased my understanding of others, especially mental illness and motherhood. 

5) I'm almost done! I thought writing one blog post a day was hard, but man, writing three a day has been rough. I'm exhausted, and I still need to pack! I wonder how hard it will be when I come back after a few days of not doing it to do it again. 

September 1st - September Resolutions

Finally! It's September!

We're finally moving on from Harmony,
and on to Beauty.

Start Quote
Beauty - beckons us to partake in her bounty.
Begin to reap the rich harvest that Love hath shown...

Since ancient times, September has been viewed
 as the beginning of the new year...

Change in the natural world is subtle
but relentless;
seasons seem to give way gently to one another,
even if the monthly motion is so swift 
we don't realize we're moving.
[Isn't this year just flying by?]

But when the leaves start turning colors,
it's time for turning over a personal new leaf 
so that our lives might be restored...

[Begin] a new tradition...
[create] personal and positive resolutions in September...

It seems to me that January resolutions are about will;
September resolutions are about authentic wants.

What do you want more or less of in your life,
so that you can love the life you're leading?

It could be as simple as seeing friends more often, 
setting aside time to have adventures with your children 
while they still want your companionship,
rekindling romance in your daily round,
calling a solitary hour a day your own,
or just taking more walks in the dazzling sunshine.

The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that 
no one else knows we're making them.

Autumnal resolutions don't require horns, confetti, and champagne.

September resolutions ask only that we be open 
to positive change.

I can try do that.
So can you.
End Quote

My September Resolution?

Call my best friend in who lives 
on the opposite side of the country more often. 
I miss her in my life, I want to make the time 
to hear her voice and talk about life. 

How about you?
Do you feel like sharing?

Gratitude Journal

1) The things Jacob says. Today he had a mini notebook and was telling me how he was going to read the Book of Mormons to me, and then kept saying something that sounded like "the Book of Mormon is the word of God"...maybe a primary song? It just made me really really happy. He knows that we're reading scriptures and that it's important! It's one of the best feelings in the world.

2) Growing up. Jacob has been a regular 4 year old, he stomps his feet and cries and yells at me when I ask him to do something, saying "I don't want to" no matter what I ask him to do. I've been trying to patiently teach him that when I ask him to do something, or his dad asks him to do something, or grandparents, or teachers, and it's a reasonable request, you say "yes mom" or "yes dad" even if you don't want to. Today he did it. I asked him to go to the bathroom, and he looked at me, smiled, and said "yes". I about cried. I kissed him and told him how proud I was of him. He smiled and laughed, and went to the bathroom. 

3) Strollers. I took my huge triple seat tandem stroller in and out of the car twice because the twins have not been very cooperative when walking Jacob to school, and it was driving me nuts. Jacob wants to ride his scooter, so now it's just two kids, now I want a double stroller...but I'd only need it for a year! Anyways, I'm grateful for my beast of a stroller.

4) Canned peaches from my Uncle's tree.

5) I dusted the living room. It took me just about 2 was really dirty. It feels so good to be clean!

August 31st - Give Yourself A Break

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"One must also accept that one has "uncreative" moments.
The more honestly one can accept that, 
the quicker these moments will pass.
One must have the courage to call a halt,
to feel empty and discouraged."

Start Quote
It might seem disconcerting to end this month...on a downbeat, 
but accepting uncreative days as part of the creative cycle 
is crucial to your serenity.  

Uncreative days are real life.  

Every artist knows them,
although few of us care to acknowledge this 
except in confidential whispers. 
[Pintrest, Etsy, blogs, social media, a lot of it isn't real,
and people go to a lot of effort to not let it show
that they aren't perfect and that they have dry spells.]

But as you make authenticity your art 
you will know them, too.

Uncreative days are the part of the yin/yang of artistic yearning...

[She tells us about a dry spell she had, for months she couldn't]
fantasize, visualize, or even make a wish...

[She asked a friend]
"What do I do?"

"You don't do anything," she told me.

Zilch. Nada. Zip.

Accept the fallow period as graciously as you can, 
and get ready for a quantum leap in creativity or consciousness.

It is so difficult to come to a halt, 
especially when we want to get on with
 our careers, relationships, health, creativity.

But when you're too parched to pray, beyond tears, 
or too drained to give a damn, 
it's time to cease and desist...

No, this does not mean you can quit
You still have to go through the motions...

In the meantime, defer making any life-altering creative decisions
 until you receive operating instructions. 

Your only assignment is to replenish the well.

Search for the underground spring through creative excursions.  

Keep in touch with your authentic self with the daily dialogue.

Resurrect any old creative projects that might have fallen 
into the sinkhole of second thoughts or back of the closet. 
Give them another glance...

When I'm discouraged, I retreat to my illustrated discovery journal 
searching for visual clues to indicate the next turn in the path.

Often the derailment of too many dreams 
can bring on a drought,
but whenever there's a dry period, 
there's still plenty of Light

We're just blinded by dark dust storms. 

Arid despair can often result from nurturance deprivation:
not eating well, not sleeping enough,
working too hard and too long 
without anything to look forward to.

If you're creatively barren, give yourself a break...

Four months after I stopped trying so hard 
[to get out of my creative rut]
the creative incarnation of Simple Abundance occurred.

The hardest thing we'll ever do 
as artists of the everyday 
is learn to call an occasional halt.

Today, if you're feeling uncreative,
don't despair. 

Start getting excited and save your strength...

In the natural world, droughts depart 
as suddenly and as mysteriously as they arrive.
End Quote

The very first thing I learned in therapy was that
everything is going to be okay. 

I have been saying it to myself over and over and over. 

And I think that this is especially good for the bad days,
that no matter how bad the day is, 
it is going to be okay...

Even when it's not okay.

I also learned that being a mom is really hard! 
And it's okay to struggle, it's okay to have bad days,
it's okay to freak out at the kids because 
I've reached my breaking point!

I've also learned that in order to be okay,
you have to take care of yourself.

Like get enough sleep, 
and do something that makes you happy every day. 

Give yourself a break. 
You deserve it.

And when you're all better,
get to work.

Gratitude Journal

1) Shelby. I miss her so, but I'm grateful for the time we had, and her memory. 

2) Therapy. Emotions are so crazy, and people much smarter than I have learned so much about how to handle them and how to live life well.

3) Vacation! I'm so ready for a break.

4) My family. You see some crazy families on Hoarders, and my family has it's crazy, but I'm grateful for my crazy family. 

5) Honesty. Being honest makes life so simple. 

August 30th - If Not Now, When?

"Life, a it is called,
is for most of us
one long postponement..."

What pleasure are you postponing?

Sarah, I honestly don't know. 

I think over the last 7 years I've actually tried really hard 
to stop procrastinating. 

Oh wait! I thought of one.
My doctor gave me a order to get blood drawn on Friday. 
It's now Tuesday...

I really like the 2 Minute Rule
I also like the 5 Second Rule

If there's one thing I've learned from Hoarders,
it's don't procrastinate.

Will you help me out?
Please share with me what you've been procrastinating,
and how you plan to stop.

Gratitude Journal

1) Good books.

2) Little kids, they're so gorgeous. If I acted like a toddler, people would think I was crazy.

3) Pretty nails.

4) School. The past week and two days have been absolutely amazing. School has given us such a schedule, and the twins are so cute together. 

5) Twin speak. Their little language is so cute to watch.