I participated in a wonderful Mindfulness Meditation Class this evening led by a dear friend of mine Alicia McLucas who is incredibly gifted in guiding others in really noticing what is going on in our minds, lives and hearts.
I went seeking some clarity on this sense of unrest I have been feeling as of late. My daughter Ariel with whom we worked so hard these past three years at her prior school just finished her second week at her new school, a charter school for academically gifted children. In the past, I have been a very active volunteer at her school. At times putting in so many hours at the price of my own heath and well being.
My previous post was about my mid life musings on how I see myself evolving and yet I find I am in this space where I am leaving one part of my life behind but have not quite yet discovered, uncovered or let arise what is next in some areas of my life.
One thing I am noticing is that I do not feel the same call to volunteer at Ariel’s school to the level I used to do. This awareness has not come without some serious discomfort internally for me. I have gone from an academic environment where it was very difficult to get parents rallied to help to one where they are falling all over one another jockeying for who is on which committee.
Instead of being able to breathe and relax knowing that most of the heavy lifting appears to be covered, I find myself struggling with letting go that part of what used to be a big part of my identity. While at the same time having a deep knowing that there are other things in my life calling for my attention and energy.
So as to the title of this blog post, I find myself in a new “season” in my life. Where I felt for many years I was in what I deemed to be the Summer of life – bright, light and lots of energy. Now I find when I get quiet and check within like tonight at meditation, I am what feels to be the Fall of my life, quieter, more mindful, a bit slower and methodical.
I am not Super Women and I am finding I am very much okay with that. At 53, while I have a very young spirit, my body has let me know it has a finite amount of energy and my days defined amounts of time of activity and free time. As life continues to move on and I see my girl growing up, I want to be very sure I do not get caught up with what can be what I observe a frenetic pace others keep with no time to just be. That is said with no judgment of others as there were times wherein I was keeping that very busy pace.
I plan to choose carefully the activities I want to be a part of this school year. I will be choosing things I am passionate about and those that I also know will create a positive impact for Ariel. I am not in a space to want to head up committees or lead others, good grief as I shared with my younger sister today – it feels like some days it takes all my bandwidth to remember why I moved from one room to another.
When I sat in the stillness tonight I knew that for me, not exhausting myself by over scheduling my days is what I want to do now. Ariel is growing up so fast and I don’t want to turn around one day and wish I had stopped moving so fast so I could be present more. I can see the time already passing by. I want to have energy for her, my husband and what I call my inner circle of friends and family.
I am a caregiver by nature and like the school volunteering, I have at times helped others to the extent that I have gotten lost in the mix. I have been working hard this past year to restore my health after some health challenges and recovery from multiple knee surgeries. Doing things to increase my well being and recharge my energy. I am really challenging myself not to get distracted with putting out so much energy to everyone else going forward that this healthy lifestyle I am creating suffers for it.
So for now, I am learning not to say yes immediately to requests. I am practicing taking a breath and sleeping on requests of my time if they are going to be ongoing. I am asking myself what will I have to give up if I say yes to a request of me. Is it going to be good for me and my family in the long haul if I let it unfold in my mind’s eye?
So there will be more times going forward that I say no and that will be very new for me. As I say no, I am also trying out a new boundary and that is not over explaining the no. Respecting myself and my needs to just be able to be brief and say “thank you for asking but that is not something I can take on right now”.
As Ariel’s academic schedule becomes busier and the work load becomes heavier – I want to be her soft place to land at the end of the day. I want to be her stillness in the noise. I want to not be caught up in juggling other people’s stuff so that my arms, ears and heart are completely open and free to her when she needs me.
Some moments I find it hard not to be able to “do it all” when I am surrounded by what appears from the outside to be a group of other parents who are doing a lot of things. But then I don’t know them well and I do not know what they are having to say no to in order to run from one thing to another.
It will take me many more hours on the meditation cushion to sort out many of the questions in my mind. But I am becoming more clear that I want to do fewer activities and less distractions so that when I do something I can do it with all of my being and spirit.