Posts Tagged With: journey

the difference between planning life and living life

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
This quote is from Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) a song by John Lennon. Turns out it was originally from an article written for Reader’s Digest by a guy called Allen Saunders.
Only that’s not really the point I making.

My point is that even the best life plans can become waylaid by simply living your life.

As I get back into the routine of my life after a death, and birthdays and as we anticipate Thing G’s graduation and a house full of people, I know I’ll plan. I know I’ll make lists, and organize time, and tasks, and school assignments.
I’ll create my summer schedule. But I also know I’ll drop everything to go do something fun. Or I’ll spend more porch life time on some days than on others. I know important things will pop up.

All my planning, and list making, and organization will aid me in accomplishing what I set out to do, but I’ll have to be flexible. Because sometimes life is what’s happening all around and in between plans and lists.
As I grow and mature as a human, (refusing to put away laundry notwithstanding) I’m learning to accept that things don’t always go my way. (After my childhood, you’d think I’d already mastered that knowledge, but that’s another whole post.)
Things don’t always go my way. But sometimes they go an even better way. That’s why I have to accept that can only execute a portion of what I plan. Because as mad as my planning skills are, the possibility of being surprised by life can be a lovely experience!

Life happens whether or not you’ve penciled it into your book. And for an uptight control freak list lady like me, that’s not always the most comfortable way to function. (Understatement much?)
I’ll continue to plan. I’ll accept what happens, planned or not.
This is my journey through life, if I’m so busy worrying about planning and not being present for what happens, it’s not going to be any good at all.

You know what Ferris said:

Ferris knows what’s up. He had the best skive day in the history of all skive days!

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the only way out is through

I’ve not been shy about discussing my recent emotional dilemma.
I’ve not been shy about talking about it with my friend and mentor, Sundance, my sister in law, and Nora. I’ve freaked out to them about relationship stuff, but also just my stuff. Girlfriends lend a sympathetic ear when you’re frustrated. They provide a hard look at your own reflection when you’re feeling overwhelmed. I’ve gotten great advice from each of them…I’ve gotten a bit of crap advice from each of them…but mostly, they’ve just loved me through my struggle.
I have the luck to be friends with a man who is an excellent listener without giving unsolicited advice. I’ve talked to him about me. Where I am personally. In my life…in my head.

Where I’ve been emotionally has a great deal to do with perspective. Mine was skewed. It isn’t anymore. I experienced a shift in my perspective and everything became more clear.
It hit me like lightning! And I became a completely different girl…well not really, but I began to think about things in a completely different way.

Sundance fed my OCD cravings for organization by presenting me with the idea of going back to a paper planner. We discussed brands and what she was using and how, for her, it’s like “scrapbooking” with a purpose. I’m enthusiastically embracing this “old” way of keeping myself organized!
My sister in law encouraged me to write down everything as I thought or felt it, which lead to a new and rather visceral way of journaling.
Nora encouraged me to be patient…and I was…sort of…and turns out being patient lead me to this place.
My friend and mentor reminded me to place the anxiety where it belongs.
A conversation with Jack regarding my reservations about my degree plan lead me to an exciting new idea. He suggested I explore this mind mapping as a way of prioritizing all my “stuff”. The more I looked at this mind mapping, the more I realized it’s rather like an integrated curriculum web! Now this is something with which I have quite a bit of knowledge and experience! And a new, but familiar way of sorting my shit was born!

sample mind map:
mm_examrevision
sample curriculum web:
drake2004_fig1.1

The Robynbird stuff is feeling much more settled. I feel grounded. I feel like I’ve got this. “I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me who is on this adventure. This is me breathing.” Dr Oatman ain’t got nothing on this little red haired girl.

I finally feel like I can take big deep breaths and move forward.

The relationship stuff…well I didn’t exactly place the anxiety where it belongs, I was simply able to finally put down the anxiety that isn’t mine. Understanding, patience, love, and time is what will ease that weirdness. It’s journey, right? I’m not on a lone journey…how silly of me not to take that into account.
So, we don’t have a clear vision of the journey. So, we don’t know exactly where we’re headed. So, the path gets tricky. The only way out of the woods is through the woods…if we come across lions or tigers or bears (oh my!) we’ll just figure that out then.
The journey we’re on as a couple might just need to make a pit stop. We can do that. Take a break, take a breath, take a nap. And when we’re ready, when each of us is ready to move forward, we’ll begin to move again.
My personal journey, the journey I’m on as a girl getting along and singing her song, is moving at a full tilt boogie. I’m so enthusiastic about it! I’ve been spinning my wheels in the ick for far too long.

The only way out of the ick is through it.
Alanis knows what’s up.

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the Journey is not a Destination

I’ve been thinking a great deal about The Journey this morning. Which is peculiar as I’m a complete and total Destination Girl and care very little for The Journey. I want to get where I’m going in the quickest time possible. This means no dilly-dallying along the way. I stop quickly for fuel and potty breaks and get right back on the road.
Why is getting there so important? Why isn’t The Journey what’s important?
I don’t know why this is exactly.

I think The Journey feels like wandering to me. It doesn’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. But this morning, I was struck with a thought that had never occurred to me before.
You must have faith to make The Journey.
You have to trust in your own faith without trying to control it. You cant control it. You have to let go and take a leap of faith. You have to believe you’re doing the hard work to get where you belong. Not to get where you’d like to go. You can’t steer the direction at all times, sometimes you have to drift.
That’s hard to do. That’s why it feels as though The Journey is not a Destination.

The Journey is hard because each of us has personal goals, places we’d like to go or be.
I think that’s the hardest thing to remain mindful about. That while we have our own desires, the path is laid out for us and we must go where it leads us. Sometimes it leads us in the direction opposite of our personal goals. We’re so arrogant that it never occurs to us that we may need to wander a bit more before we are ready for whatever that goal is.

The Israelites wandered for 40 years because they lost their faith. God cursed them to wander because of their disobedience and lack of belief. Their wandering forced them to learn from The Journey.

Tolkien wrote:

All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost
From the ashes a fire shall be woken
A light from the shadows shall spring
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken
The crownless again shall be king

Perhaps this Destination Girl is mistook?
Perhaps The Journey is not simply wandering aimlessly.
Perhaps the importance is not in the Destination. Perhaps there is more importance in The Journey.
The Destination may change.
The Journey is constant. It may have detours. It may be slow. But, The Journey is what shapes who we are.
Destination Girl stops and takes a big breath.
I encourage everyone to stop and take a big breath. What we’re meant to know is out there on the path. We learn along The Journey if we have faith and trust.
Peter Pan said, “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
I firmly believe ‘the boy who never grew up’ knew a thing or two about The Journey.

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the name dilemma

I read an interesting Buzz Feed article by Jill Gallagher: After My Husband Left, I Kept His Last Name
It resonated with me as I’ve been in the process of deciding what my name will be after I marry YBW.

I’d always just assumed I’d add YBW’s name to the end of my own name.
Then doubt crept in.
I was caught on the fence between the argument for and against.
Is my last name nothing more than “some man’s” name? Would trading one for another really make a difference?

I feel strongly that I’ve given up so much of my life to be in my relationship with YBW that holding onto that last bit of my “old life” felt important.
But here’s the reality. This name I carry is MY name. It’s my identity. I’ve had it for more than half my life. I’ve often said that if the former husband’s name was Jones I would have taken it just to get rid of Smith.
I have always despised my “maiden” surname. The name of a man who essentially abandoned me when I was just five years old.
I wanted the name of the man who really raised me, Grandaddy. But it wasn’t to be so.
So when I married the former husband at the age of twenty, I was happy to have his name. Not because it was his, but because it was my new name.

I’ve had my name for over twenty four years. I like my name. I identify with it. I don’t know if I’m ready to simply choose a new name and learn to own it. I don’t want to feel like I’ve given up any more of me.

On the other side of the fence is the fact that if I’m going to have “some man’s” name, it should be the man to whom I’m joining my life.

I had conversations with YBW, Sundance, and my friend and mentor about my change from knowing to confusion.

Sundance, in her perfectly direct way was adamant I drop my current name and take YBW’s. She finished her tirade with: Why do want any more to do with the former husband? So, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know where she stands.

YBW looked at it differently. He was very clear to assure me he never expected me to take his name as tradition dictates. He asked how I would do it: would I drop my middle name (which I love) and use my current last name as my middle and his as my last? Would I just have four names? Would I hyphenate? Mostly he assured me that he would support whatever choice I made.

My friend and mentor listened in her typical, patient fashion and really heard my dilemma. She told me she could hear me struggling.
Then she shared her story with me. When she and her husband of twenty-odd years divorced, she had a very similar conversation with her mother. She wanted nothing to do with the name of the man who did her wrong. Her mother reminded her that her sons had that name, that she would always be their mother. That was more powerful than the man.
She sat with that for a while and decided to add in her “maiden” name. The name that she got from her beloved father, the name that shaped her young life and prepared her for the world. She chose to use both her last names because each of them shaped who she had become.

I took all this information, these points of view, and mixed them together with my own and let them settle. I stopped actively thinking about it for a while.
And as I drove home on Tuesday, just as suddenly as I questioned it in the first place, the answer came to me.

Friday I read Ms. Gallagher’s article and immediately sent it to my friend and mentor with the following:
This article came at just the right time.
I’d actually decided a few days ago to hyphenate my name. Because it’s MY name. The name with which I made and raised my babies. Worked at the most wonderful job I’ve ever had. Met people who changed my life just by knowing them.
The name with which I made the scariest decision of my life.
I didn’t consciously know all those reasons until I started writing this to you. I just knew that was my choice.

To which she replied:
Oh my sweet friend! I so dearly and sweetly love you! You have worked hard to think about this decision about what to call yourself as you go forward. It is such a privilege to be with you on this journey. I so adore you and love you!

Her love is something I feel every single day, but this, this got me deep in my gut: privilege to be with you on this journey.
I’m not good at paying attention while on the journey, or even to the journey itself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a destination girl.
I want to get where I’m going…never much matters how.
But this simple sentence gave me pause. Made me stop and take a look around me.
The name I have is the one I chose. The name I share with my girls. For how much longer, I don’t know…Thing 1 has a ring on her finger and will eventually marry N. She’s said in passing she’ll most likely drop her middle name and use our last name as her middle then take N’s name.
Thing 2 has expressed her disinterest in marriage. She thinks she and D will most likely just “shack up” for however long and she’ll always have her name. I wonder if as she grows that’ll change?
Even though they’re girls and may not keep the name we share, we started our lives together with the same name. That’s important to me.
I am me. I’m not “some man’s” version of me. The me I am is a girl who owns her name and doesn’t really care how she got it.

I didn’t really know why it was important, this name dilemma, I just knew it was.
Isn’t it funny that within a few days of making the gut decision I read an article that helped me understand why my gut made that choice?
Perhaps it’s not really all that funny…I believe the universe puts what you need in your path even when you’re not looking.

I don’t think I’ll ever learn to be a “journey” girl, but maybe, just maybe I’ll take Ferris Bueller’s advice: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
With my own name AND YBW’s name.

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becoming my very best self

Taurus horoscope for December 29, 2013
You are evolving, Taurus. You are beginning to blossom into your very best self. You have experienced a lot of lessons recently, and you have learned them well. Now it is time to transcend who you were, and become who you really are. You will be able to forget the past, and to let go of any mistakes or wrongs you still feel guilty about. Don’t fight it. Don’t let guilt drag you down. Let go and move forward. Allow yourself to evolve and to become the best you that you can be.
(Yeah, I’ve been trying to write this for more than a few days.)

After the chaos of 2013 I’m ready to become the best me that I can be.
There are a few circumstantial things in my favor…I’ve found a doctor who is helping make strides to improve my physical and emotional health. I have a safe and loving home and I’m surrounded by good, strong loving people for whom I’m eternally grateful. I have a job that no matter how frustrated and exhausted I feel is ultimately rewarding.
Possibly the most important circumstance is that Thing 2 has come back to me. The ease this brings me is immeasurable. There were several tearful phone conversations which included her saying, ‘not to sound hypocritical, but who wouldn’t want you to be their mommy?’ and ‘I was selfish and stupid.’ and ‘I just need you to help me.’ These conversations also included me saying, ‘I will always help you, baby.’ and ‘that’s why you have a mommy.’ and ‘I love you and will always do my best to keep you safe.’

She’s coming home to us later this week. Sundance and I are over the moon, Girlie Thing is too…YBW seems hesitant. He watched what I went through, but he was also very hurt by her too…I sense he is worried about her but concerned about what it will be like for her to be here. I hate that. I am ready to move on. My forgiveness is vast and all encompassing. This is not to say I have forgotten the way it felt, but I know what’s important, and to me that means healing and moving forward with love and understanding. I believe that’s where he is too, but I can’t seem to shake the fretty feeling.

In addition to these circumstantial things, I’m beginning to feel less as though I’m in survival mode and more as though I’m beginning to be able to govern the events of my life. I’m tired of feeling guilty and angry. I’m ready to let all that go and embrace peace. It’s funny, I’m sensing a “new year’s” sort of theme…I’m not the resolution kind of girl, but I’m feeling inclined to welcome change. Something’s got to give. I can’t keep going the way I was.

I got a brand new do yesterday and the metaphorical weight I lost with that cutting of hair was more freeing than I could have imagined…not to mention it’s pretty adorable.
I am revisiting that Robynbird as phoenix-like feeling…and making big plans as I move into 2014…(But not really resolutions.)
This morning I read an article posted on facebook by a guy I grew up with, about goals vs systems…it made good sense to me…designing and maintaining a system for doing what you want instead of setting goals and holding yourself to an unrealistic standard…it fits nicely into my big plans and I plan to embrace it whole-heartedly.

Though the following are conceptually resolutions, I don’t consider them as such…to me they’re promises I’m making to myself to assist my move from survival mode to my very best self…it feels like less pressure that way…this isn’t something to crow about or to wear like a badge, it runs deeper than that, I am honoring me and don’t really care what it looks like from the outside.

I promise to be more aware of what I put in my body, to be mindful of my physical health and strength.
I promise to get behind my brand new camera once a week.
I promise to write with purpose twice a week.
I promise to give my preschool students the best age appropriate curriculum I can create.
I promise to be truly present with my family.
I promise to devote the time and attention my own school work deserves.
I promise to trust my gut and ignore my logic.
I promise to put myself first without guilt.

No more half-assing my life. I will be the best possible me because it is time. My time. I promise.

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But where are the feels?

Everyone keeps asking if I’m “so excited”. Of course, I say I am but I’m sitting here this morning and I’m feeling pretty much anything but excited.
This morning I’m pouting because (I am not really a grown up) I can’t swing a visit with my friend and mentor before I leave next week.
I’m pouting, but I don’t feel petulant, I’m sad, I’m disappointed. My heart is heavy. But I had to make a responsible choice…a responsible financial choice. (Huh! Maybe I really am a grown up after all.)

I don’t feel excited. I don’t feel anything. (Well, obviously I feel pouty, I just said that.) But I want to feel excited! I want to be jumping up and down “pants peeing” excited!!
Am I so displaced at the moment I just can’t feel anything?
OR (this just occurred to me as I’m writing) is it that I’m suppressing my feelings, good and bad, so as not become overwhelmed by them? This actually seems more like me…so I’m not excited because I’m not feeling grief for the life I’m leaving, sadness at not being with Thing 2, anxiety about having to assimilate into YBW’s life, my new job, and how that might be.
(This is one of those moments I want to “Gibbs-slap” myself.) Instead, I’ll treat myself with kindness and love, and take the time to allow myself to feel all these things so I can begin to feel excited.
OH! WAIT! It’s because I don’t feel safe! I’m not settled! I’m struggling to write, I’m struggling to feel because I’m displaced…to quote Elvis Costello, “a man out of time”. (Except, of course I’m a girl and I’m not really out of time, I’m out of “home”…that song seemed applicable in my head so I went with it.)

And why am I judging how I “should” be feeling? Why don’t I just accept how it is?
I’m going to have to let myself feel or not feel as is natural!
I’m processing. I’m on the journey. I’m going to let go of the wheel for a split second and let it take me…
(Did I mention I’m a destination girl? The journey makes my ass twitch.)
I’m processing…I’ll feel what I feel when I feel it.
I think I’m excited somewhere in there…I know I’m ready for the next week to hurry up and go so I can get in my car with my precious Thing 2 and go home.
Yall get to come with me.

Categories: loss, love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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