Monday, August 15, 2011

Am I really like that?

Sometimes life holds up a full length mirror and I find myself staring into my own eyes asking, "Am I really like that?"  I am all for introspection.  I try hard to look inward, to really see myself, to recognize when I act out of fear, when I misrepresent the truth, when I am not gracious and a million other things I can't begin to list.  I try to understand the root of those behaviors, what's behind the impatience or the stress, those things are typically symptoms, right? And not the root cause.  For instance, my resentment towards my husband last week really wasn't about what he was or wasn't doing, it was about my own needs not being met and my inability to ask for what it is I need.  It's a vicious cycle sometimes, but when we can find the seed, so to speak, we can typically eradicate the problem.
About six weeks ago, I told my husband I felt like I was drowning in housework.  I feel like with all of us home this summer, I can't begin to keep on top it.  I can do the surface stuff, the laundry, straightening up, dishes, etc.  It's the deeper cleaning that I can never seem to find (or make) the time for.  I could feel it wearing on me.  I was having a hard time relaxing at home, knowing the floors needed mopping, bathroom disinfected.  It's the last thing I want to do after the kids are in bed at night, a girl needs some down time.  Enough of my justifying here, my husband being the man he is, wanted to fix it.  That is what men do, bless their hearts, solve problems.  He called a couple of cleaning services, scheduled appointments for them to come and give us a bid and we picked one.  They cleaned our house that week and have come back every other week to do the same.  Having a cleaner house has been great.  What hasn't been great is my interaction with the company... an incorrect bill, the cleaners showing up unexpected, showing up 2 hours late.  With 3 kids at home, it's definitely easiest on all of us, if we can leave the house when they arrive and be gone for the duration.  I have rearranged my schedule to make that happen and then they don't come when they say they will.  It happened again today and I was really frustrated.  I called the office and as I talked with the office person, I could tell she thought I was nuts.  It struck me as to how inflexible I must appear to her.  After I told her this was not going to work for me, that I was frustrated with the communication, or lack there of, she said, "I'm sorry, but I can't have them there at an exact time.  It's 2 minutes past 11:30 .  I know they were planning to be there around 11:30 and you can either leave the door unlocked or wait if you want them to come. "  I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was over it, me, too.  We got disconnected, the joys of cell phones and I dropped my kids off and headed to yoga.  She called back in the mean time, I didn't answer and made myself spend a few minutes just breathing and letting go of the irritation I felt.  I called her back, we had a much more pleasant conversation and it all worked out, today. 
 I'd like to think I am flexible, that I am able to let things go and am not rigid about how life has to happen.  I've witnessed this quality in others and it isn't one of my favorites.  I'm not sure if it fear of unknown, I think it is more about feeling out of control.  I don't have any answers, I think this is one I need to sit on.  It probably sounds like I am making a bigger deal out of this than need be.  I'm not.  I just got myself all worked up today and wasn't able to clearly articulate my needs, again, and that made me feel stressed out and on edge.  I'm not usually like that, am I?  Just kidding. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Come Together

This morning I went to yoga class, the first one I have been to where I wasn't teaching in many weeks.  I was giddy dropping my children off,  knowing I would get a few hours to myself.  I have loved summer and the freedom I have being home with 3 kids, the time we have to play, the togetherness.  It has also had its challenges - all that togetherness, it seems to lead to bickering, me refereeing and that sometimes exhausts me.
I settled onto my mat to prepare for meditation and my yoga teacher shared a mantra for our practice.  "We are connected to the energy of all things."  I could feel myself softening into my seat, clearing out some space in my mind as I followed my breath in and out, in and out, and recited this seemingly simple mantra to myself.  My teacher spoke of how all of yoga is really about connectedness, the word yoga meaning essentially union, gratitude, awareness of our dependence on others.  It resonated with me and felt easy to let it wash over me, clearing out whatever junk I came in with and creating some space for something easier, a little more free.  There is such freedom in letting go, of relinquishing the idea that I need to do it all.  Realizing that it is not just okay, but it is better when I take time for myself, allow my needs to be met first, and then tend to the other needs in my world. 
I left yoga feeling grateful, whole, and most definitely connected.  I saw a dear student and friend in the parking lot as I walked to the car.  We exchanged hugs and smiles and she headed into the studio as I got into my car.  I could feel myself brimming with joy.  Was it the yoga or the act of doing something for myself?  Probably both, didn't matter.  My in-laws graciously took my children for the morning and I had at least an hour before I needed to get back to pick them up.  I had several errands to run, which are amazingly fast when there aren't 3 little people getting in and out of the car, too.  I pulled up in the parking lot of my son's preschool to deliver his tuition and paperwork and a song on the radio caught my attention.  I turned  off the engine and listened to the lyrics: 
"I got a strong back, steel toes, I'm handy with a wrench.  There is nothing I can't drive, nothing I can't fix.  I work sun-up to sun-down.  Give you 40 and then some.  Three dollars and change at the pump.  Cost of livin's high and goin' up."
It's a song about a family man trying to find a job, selling himself to a potential employer.  My tears were flowing and turned into sobs.  Took 2 tissues to wipe away the tears and pull myself together once the song was over.  Why am I so emotional?  I ask myself.  Am I?  Maybe it's just that I can feel the truth in that story, there are many souls out there looking for work, trying to make a living, trying to feed their families.  Times aren't easy for everyone.  I have much to be grateful for, every gosh darn day.  Sometimes I get caught up in my own world and stop seeing what is around me, stop feeling gracious and giving.  I have to remember to take time for myself, to slow down and reconnect with myself, with that sense of being a small part of something much greater.
I headed off to the grocery store, changed the radio station to Top 40, could feel myself lightening up and by  the time I got to Fred Meyer I was grooving to a new beat, dancing my way down the street (in my car, of course).  "Evacuate the dance floor, I'm infected by the sound...."  Felt like I went from one extreme to the other, not really though.  They are just two sides of the same coin.  Come together...right now...over me