Thursday, December 6, 2012


Here is a quick(-ish) synopsis of my inner stagnation and some enlightenment which has been unfolding for me over the last 2 weeks (Please forgive me if I am re-hashing the same topic. - This is much cheaper than a therapist.):
  • I quit my full time job in June so that I would have time to take care of my family and to work on writing, and creating artsy stuff.
  • My plan was to have a relaxing, fun summer, and then set to work in the fall.  I immensely enjoyed spending the summer with my daughter and husband, and even tackled a few big projects around the house when they were otherwise occupied.  We did have a great summer, but...
  • ...I have been (mostly) unfocused and treading water ever since my daughter went back to school.
  • Last Monday, Michael and I were (FINALLY - gah!) able to decide that: 1.) The basement would be the best place for my studio / office; 2.) We will move our bedroom back to the first floor master suite; 3.) We will move his office and the guest futon to the upstairs bedroom, which we are currently (and have been since our daughter was a baby) sleeping in.  Having made this long-debated decision, I was still feeling overwhelmed with the task at hand, not knowing where to start.
  • The next morning, I saw a quote posted on Facebook by a friend: "Why not just begin? And then figure out step two and three after then first one’s behind you." (This was shared by the lovely and talented Carrie Babcock [of Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Upper Montclair®, NJ and Swingman and the Misfit-Mutts Band , just to name two of her many talents], who is a steady source of inspiration and food for thought.  She shared the quote from the Begin With Yes Facebook page, which has lots of great articles and blurbs.)
  • I set my mind to getting started on the unfinished half of the basement, which is full of stuff that needs to be removed or organized in order to make it a useful space.  Much of it is useless junk.  I will sell what is sell-able, donate what is donate-able, organize the keeps, and toss the rest.  So I did some research and decided on the best course of action for getting rid of the garbage which is not re-usable.  I was taking action, making decisions, moving ahead. Yay!
    Wish me luck.
  •  Immediately after I made the decision to JUST. GET. STARTED!, an article on the Tiny Buddha website caught my eye and attention:  Create Better Days with Empowering Routines and Loving Rituals, by Debra Smouse.  Ms. Smouse's post could have been a page from my journal.  She expresses concerns and situations that are parallel to my own.  She parsed out the tiny, knotted bits of thought that I struggle with.  The article resonated with me so powerfully that 5 pages of notes poured out of me.  (There is a category on the Tiny Buddha website just for posts about Healthy Habits.  These posts are from many different contributing writers, which tells me that I am not alone in my frustration.  *whew* )
Here is a more detailed explanation of the thoughts rambling through my head as I was processing the events listed above:

I have said this before:  I did not LOVE my last full time job.  I took pride in doing a good job, I learned a lot about the business world, my abilities, what I was willing to do, and what I was NOT willing to do.  Upon reflection of my time there, I can also see now that I thrive on routine.  It may be obvious to some people that routine is a good thing.  However, I have struggled with that truth.  I am not a naturally organized person, but I am seeing that in the right environment and with the right motivation, I feel invincible, productive, creative, loving.

For a long time (most of my life, really), I have been flirting with vague, undeveloped thoughts about the importance of routine.  My family has been very fortunate that our daughter is in a stellar school district, and she has had some amazing, influential teachers who run organized, nurturing classrooms.  Their healthy habits have helped my daughter to thrive under their guidance.  I see the direct benefits of those healthy routines in my daughter's work habits and accomplishments.

Knowing the potential beneficial results of routine is one thing, but taking the next step is harder.  I have had chapters in my life during which I was convinced that routine and ritual were dull, stifling, strangling, deadly.  The article on the Tiny Buddha website helped me to realize that *perhaps* my aversion to ritual stems from the fact that many of the rituals I had adopted over the course of my life were destructive.

I am so thankful to have seen this article because, in addition to outlining the importance of ritual and routine, it also lists suggestions and examples of HEALTHY, nurturing, productive rituals that can be adopted into one's daily life.  This was key for me, and I'll tell you why:  While I am very mindful of and grateful for the countless blessings in my life, I just did not have the awareness of the skills needed to just freaking start on a healthy path.  Sadly, I needed a prompt to get me going on the work that needs to be done in order to get me to the place where I can actually be a useful and productive member of my family and society.  I want to be helpful.  Whenever possible.  But I have been so personally disorganized (in mind and action) that I have been wasting time and energy all over the place.  Spinning my wheels, and then kicking myself in the butt for not being more useful and productive. I realize this is a recurring theme for me.  My quest for organization is ongoing.

I repeat myself when I am distressed.
I repeat myself when I am distressed.

I am going to start incorporating some of the rituals suggested by Ms. Smouse, and see where it leads me.  Will I find some of the focus that I crave?  We shall see.  I will quit my belly-aching now.  Thank you for coming along for the ride. :)


"Slow and steady..." says Apprehensive Turtle.