Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

November 20, 2007

the learning from my trip

The girls and I all have lingering colds that we're trying to get over before Thanksgiving. We've gotten some cabin fever to be sure but I think the end is in sight so I won't complain too much.

I've been thinking about what the result of my vacation has been so I can evaluate it and see what it's worth was. I feel a growing sense of confidence from having undertaken such a journey by myself. It's given me more perspective about my life, including the overwhelming feeling that I do a LOT of things. I have a lot of jobs and they all take time and energy and since I've taken them on one at a time I haven't noticed them piling up except that I often feel really busy and tired. I can't get myself to list them all here because I start to feel really self-absorbed and ungrateful for the jobs other people do in my life. OK, scratch that. Lists are good. Here are my jobs, some of which are shared with other people:

1. Mother of three children
2. Homeschool kindergarten teacher
3. Cook for a household of six, all with multiple, varying allergies that requires cooking almost everything from scratch.
4. Grocery shopper- from three stores and a farmer's market to get all the odd things we eat.
5. House cleaner
6. Serving as the Treasurer of our Local Spiritual Assembly
7. Serving as the Treasurer of the Baha'i Center Executive Board
8. Serving as a Cluster Institute Coordinator (this is an organizational job to help Baha'i tutors of study circles be more effective)
9. Serving as a tutor for a Baha'i study circle
10. Teacher of a Baha'i children's class
11. Occasional babysitter for a small baby

I think that's about it, if you count things I spend time on every week. I thought about listing my hobbies but they're more like necessary entertainment. I considered counting 'Wife' but decided it was much more of a benefit and a relationship than a job.

So the point of all that is that since I came back from vacation I have been very conscious about what it feels like to take each of those jobs back on after being away from them. Mostly it's been good, but I really feel how much time and energy each one is taking and can see more clearly which ones give me back enough energy to feel sustaining. Like anyone, I sometimes really like certain aspects of each of these jobs. On really bad days I don't like any of them. Sometimes I really love and am SO joyful about whatever I'm doing.

The thing I'm trying for that has been elusive is the feeling that everything is in balance and makes sense together- something I think Husayn was talking about in the Treasurer's Forum as 'integration'. Where every job informs the others and can benefit from the wisdom gained in the other jobs. I assume there is some multi-tasking involved too. One part of integration that I'm just starting to get a feeling for is something I learned in labor where you get super still, super internal, accepting, and get under the (fill in the blank). In labor it was pain, of course, but here it's more confusion, disjointedness, or even disdain. When I can get to that super-still feeling I can just watch what's going on from a detached perspective so that I can ask the job: What are you really about? What qualities do I need to develop in order to do this job well?

Being far away from all the jobs really helped me make a space for all those questions. Definitely time well spent in that regard.

Also, from a wish-fulfillment perspective, it was a very good trip. Just getting a taste of hiking on the Appalachian Trail was so powerful and beautiful that I feel like I'll always want more of that. But it was also very satisfying because I often have to forego that basic need for hiking in the woods for more important jobs and needs and it's really good to have that experience squirreled away in my memory to take out whenever I feel trapped in the house or too busy to look at the sky.

The confidence I mentioned at the beginning came from doing all that driving by myself. I always thought I was no good at driving long distances. What I discovered is that I'm very good at driving during the day- from dawn to dusk even- without distractions or aggravations, with beautiful scenery too look at, and with good music and books to listen too. I could do that for weeks, at least. What I can't do is drive at night or on a crazy schedule with anxiety-producing time restraints or with children crying and whining and fighting all day. Not so surprising when you think about it.

Posted by Bahiyyih at November 20, 2007 01:31 PM

12. Center of patience for all of the above
13. Aunt who is taking on a whole nother child for 12 days
14. Webble-er
15. Poet ("A parade of impossible creatures, marching with big furry feet")
16. Coordinator and preparer of all celebrations familial

I'm sure if I spent another five minutes, I could add five more . . .

Love, Nana

Posted by: Nana at November 26, 2007 01:18 AM