Archive for October, 2008
Sometimes life forces us to slow down. At least mine does. It’s usually my body that tells me it’s time to cut back. My body has a way of overruling my brain (which is quite a task!). I try to think of this as a gift rather than a curse. Although right now, when my third-trimester body is constantly nauseated and my back aching, I still kind of wish I had one of those resilient bodies that can push through anything.
The midwife yesterday confirmed what our midwife suspected in my last pregnancy when things went haywire in my final trimester — apparently I have particular insides that aren’t really structured to make room for this large of a passenger, so as baby grows, my stomach actually gets pushed out of position and pushes itself, and air, up toward my esophagus, causing fairly constant discomfort, nausea and heaving, exacerbated with motion. Not much we can do but ride it out (and, well, not ride much of anywhere). Welcome back to my last three months of pregnancy!
It’s not worrisome; we survived three months of this ugh last time and ended up with a beautiful birth and healthy child. (I actually have written about our last pregnancy experience in the Sept/Oct issue of Mothering Magazine, still on the stands for a fleeting moment.) It’s just not fun. And I can’t run around town and do all the things I might like to do, or even around the house for that matter.
And, so, I simplify. Simplify my schedule, commitments, activities, expectations. Try to turn the focus on my health, baby’s health, getting the family through, letting go of doing it all. Ironically, this has meant not joining a “simplicity group” at my UU fellowship, which is kind of a hilarious choice (join the simplicity group to talk about simplifying or actually simplify by not committing to something new!). But, I would have loved to connect with this wonderful group — and connecting with others is what I miss most when I’m in this particular body-imposed position.
It’s a tug of human needs — to be home with close family, or alone, and focus on one’s own health and peace of mind versus to be part of a community, sharing experiences with others and enjoying our interconnectedness. Ironically, I’ve seen it playing out in my toddler lately, too, as she craves (er, demands loudly) time at home and undivided attention from me, not wanting to venture out with others (or even have them over!), sensing the change ahead, often fighting her own inner battle between wanting to keep things small, the same, and being excited about the expansion of our family and her world with a new sibling ahead.
It’s not an either-or, of course, but a continual balancing act we all perform. How do we prioritize? Sometimes, as now for me, the priority imposes itself on us. Other times, it’s less clear. I’m still pondering how to present “Having Enough” in a talk at my aforementioned fellowship in a month, and in doing so I’ve thought about how I strive to prioritize in the fuzzier times. What do I ask myself, in making decisions, to keep in balance as best as possible?
I’m going to throw out these questions I’ve pinpointed, and I’d love to hear if they work for you (if anyone is still reading, as I know I’ve been an inconsistent blogger at best during this pregnancy!). So, here are the questions that help me choose a path, be it about whether to attend a party or buy an item; I think they apply to most anything, really…
1. What is “enough” here?
2. Who says I need (to do, to buy) this?
3. What do I really want here, deep down?
4. How can I simplify here to make this more meaningful?
Please, if you’re reading, try these out and let me know your thoughts and experiences with them. Do they take you where you want to go (presumably if you’re a reader of this blog, that is striving toward a “having enough” lifestyle and focusing on your deeper priorities)? Is anything missing? I’d love to hear from you, if you’re out there.
In the meantime, I’ll continue my attempts to slow down as the world speeds up, the tug-pull of humanity ever-unfolding, nothing stopping until we stop ourselves. Perhaps this is the heart of Having Enough?
So all evening I’ve been complaining to my husband that my breathing is labored, thinking the baby is just getting bigger and sitting on whatever that vein is that babies in utero sit on that makes us pregnant women get short of breath and dizzy. Then I just learned the real reason. A wildfire, caused by the hot, windy Santa Ana conditions of today, has broken out a few miles up the road. It has burned 1,000 acres already. My asthma warns me before I see the news article, before I look out my window to see that the moon is a beautiful, haunting half-white and half smoky red-orange. Not again, we all think in San Diego. Please, not again. We fled last year. We are more prepared this year, right? Or are we? We know what is important at least. And we know we don’t want raging wildfires again.
All good thoughts, vibes, prayers appreciated that this fire gets contained quickly and more do not begin….
Update: The weather turned in North San Diego’s favor today (Thurs), from scorching yesterday to a chilly fall day today, and the amazing firefighters were able to contain the 1,500 acre blaze by late this afternoon. Air quality is still not great, but we are so grateful, and still hoping this is the worst of it this year. If you’d like to see the crazy photos of the fire, here is the latest. Thanks for all good thoughts! A Having Enough day for sure…
So, I’ve had internet back for the most part for over a week, yet I have not blogged. Why? I think perhaps because I feel that the idea of “Having Enough (in a ‘have-it-all’ world)” is actually so darn relevant right now, I am totally overwhelmed at the thought of tying things together and trying to make some sense of it all. (That, and the fact that I’ve been editing another great book that I can’t wait to share about in time!)
But, seriously, we are in economic crisis and political battle. Times are tense, people are worried. In my little life, we are stretching to pay our bills and plan for a new baby, dealing with the deteriorating health (and lack of long-term care insurance) of family members, and my moms group of two years is becoming embroiled in a heated political debate that threatens to disintegrate the small community we’ve formed. It reminds me of a New York Times article that came out post-9/11, at the beginning of the Iraq War II, which talked about people making ground rules for cocktail parties that no discussion of the war was allowed, as coffee shop and water cooler discussions everywhere had grown so intense that people were desperate for a place of respite, to have a pleasant and lighthearted conversation. I think we’re in these “interesting times” again, where economics and politics are so heavy on everyone’s minds that it is difficult to avoid spatting and stressing in every corner of our communities.
So, where does Having Enough fit into this discussion, at a time when many Americans feel that they do not? Well, perhaps in reminding us that we’ve been by far the most privileged and gluttonous-of-resources nation on Earth for a long time. Perhaps going back to what it is we really need — a roof over our heads (perhaps no longer the dream house, but a roof nonetheless), food on the table (no, not at a restaurant for a while, but enough to sustain us), people who love us… Is my calling here to make a call to others to step back from the stress and get back to basics? Is it to be a support for those who are having to amend their dreams? Or a political viewpoint that pushes for a real change of our collective and individual lifestyle?
I’ve been asked to speak about Having Enough over Thanksgiving weekend at my UU fellowship, and I need to figure out what message I want to send on that day. It will be after the election, a trimester further into my pregnancy; things could (will) look different than they do today. Still, I am thinking hard about how I can use the Having Enough message to be of service, to promote positive change for people, to make what is to me the most important point of my life so far: that we must learn to redefine success in a deeper, more meaningful way than our broader culture has for the past two decades and beyond.
Any suggestions appreciated as to what from Having Enough resonates most with you, and what about this message has or could help you and others right now! And may you all be well in these “interesting times”…