Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A blessing for one who is exhausted

This is not my work, but that of John O'Donohue. I read it on the InnerNet Weekly email I get through Charityfocus.net.

"A blessing for one who is exhausted" by John O'Donohue

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The ride you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

--John O'Donohue, from "To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grocery shopping like my daddy did

My mom, in my experience, places high value on efficiency - in shopping, planning and home making. She has literally hundreds of bars of bath soap stored on the stairs to her attic - all different brands based on what has been on sale, and all faithfully unwrapped - exposing the soap to the air which allegedly hardens it and makes it last longer. Buying up lots of soap when it is on sale and storing it in such a way to maximize the longevity of the soap would earn high marks in her book. Daily shopping, in my mother's opinion, wastes time, wastes gas, and wastes money by not maximizing sales and succumbing to impulse.

I have memories of my mom disparaging my dad, from whom she was separated and then divorced very early in my childhood, because he appeared to go to the grocery store every day as part of his household management strategy. He apparently was not organized enough to know his 5 mostly estranged kids would be visiting on the weekend and therefore he'd need to buy Cheerios and milk for our breakfast. He couldn't do advance menu planning to determine that when we'd visit we'd eat hot dogs with mac and cheese on Friday night and meatloaf with instant mashed potatoes and frozen peas on Saturday night.

I write this as I prepare to head to the grocery store for the second time today - this time to buy ingredients for dinner tonight. I went earlier to run a favor for a friend. I, in fact, was not organized enough to know what I would want to cook for dinner at 8:30 this morning, when I was off to buy newborn-sized diapers and People magazine to give to GPA, who had her first daughter on Friday (congrats). So now I plan what is, in fact, my third trip to the grocery store in less than 24 hours.

I'm okay with this. I love the grocery store. When I'm feeling uncentered I know that visiting a beautiful grocery store perks me up again. I love visiting markets in foreign countries, to experience grocery shopping as a cultural exchange. I'm also at peace with being a little unorganized. I have the resources to buy what I want to buy - which is usually the store brand which is cheaper than the brand brand even if it is on sale. I'd rather carry three bags into the house once a day that carry 10 bags into the house once a week. I believe it is reasonable to want - even need - to compartmentalize my life in order to manage it (e.g. separating the gift shopping trip from the food shopping trip). I like being whimsical and instinctive in my meal planning. The daily shopping has a European flair to it, where I am driven by what looks or sounds good to me on any given day - rather than having to make do with what I have in the fridge. Today is a chilly, cloudy spring day and I'm inspired to roast a chicken. The trip to the market is to buy fresh poultry and the ingredients I need to complete the recipe from my cookbook.

I have no idea why my dad shopped daily. I know that I do and, it often reminds me of one small way in which I am more like my daddy than I am like my mom.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fist for punching

"The Office: Scott's Tots (#6.11)" (2009)
Dwight Schrute: In an ideal world I would have all ten fingers on my left hand so my right hand could just be a fist for punching.


I've experienced work as very stressful lately. During supervision with my boss, a fantastic boss, today he commented on how fried everyone in the office is.

In my traditionally female, empathic way, I said, "Yeah, I'm so exhausted that I've been on the verge of tears for about a week."

My traditionally male boss stopped, turned, narrowed his eyes, and looked closely at me. "Don't cry. If you cry my respect for you will go down by a significant percent."

"What about punching? Is punching allowed?"

"Yes, punching is allowed."