Friday, December 01, 2006

Life, more abundant

I am not doing very well. I am stuck in a stage of illness (which I used to think was the precursor to recovery, but this is lasting awfully long) in which I am cranky. Cranky, peevish, irritable, difficult to live with, ornery. Like I'm walking around in that "shut up and go to bed" stage ALL the time. The kids drive me crazy. I bark at them. I feel guilty. I cry. I feel worse. I try to rest. The kids bug me. Repeat cycle.

I can't stand myself these days. I'm having a hard time forgiving myself for feeling lousy, and not hiding it very gracefully.

I'm really bad at being sick.

And what is the right way to be sick, anyway? When I coddle myself, I neglect things that I feel shouldn't be neglected. But if I ignore how I feel and work, I have this horrible sense of guilt that I am prolonging my illness by doing so. I can't feel RIGHTEOUS about anything. I don't feel sick enough to be unable to get up and do stuff. So I slog along or lie in bed feeling sloggy.

Blah, blah, blah.

This week I became an official Project in the Ward. They have temporarily released me from my calling. Thus my new, unspoken calling: take care of myself and get better. Sounds good. But it is so hard! I have been taught to act, and not be acted upon. And yet (see earlier post on "Being"), I've been thinking that a major part of what we're here on earth to learn is just that: how to be acted upon.

I've really been trying to work on that more—being present and even passive. Resisting the urge to control, do, influence, move. Sort of the "be still and know that I am God" philosophy. I really think I need to get good at this (here's me setting a goal again; always the actor). And to do it in every aspect of my life.

Like parenting. If I were to make "be still and know that I am God" my mantra, and repeat it when I look at my children, how would it change how I parent them? How would it change how I react when they are naughty, lazy, forgetful or even sinful?

I read an article this week about meditation, and how it helps us increase in spirituality (by, for one thing, teaching us to be present in the moment, and to shut off thoughts that interfere with that). So I've thought about how I can practice it more, and I have to say that there is some fear in me about it. I am afraid of letting go of my thoughts. I am a writer, for goodness sake. How can I let go of seeing things with an eye for how I will write them later? (But then, how can I say I am living my life if I am so worried about recording it? When I do this, I am living my life one step in the future!) What was it Wordsworth said? "Spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion recollected in tranquility?" (Something like that.) So if I don't do some spontaneous overflowing in the moment, my tranquil recollections will rather lack depth, won't they?

So in conjunction with this letting go of thoughts and allowing myself to live, is a letting go of things I'm going to write. I have to become more trusting of the muse, and the future muse.

This concept helped me this month with my "30 poems in 30 days" goal, helped me get over a hump when I felt I had reached the bottom of the bowl as far as creativity goes. I have been trusting more. Results: I have had an overflow of ideas of what to write about (witness the blog-o'-plenty, for example). The muse provideth. My cup runneth over.

Do you think the same could work with life? If I hold very, very still, will my cup run over with life (more abundantly)? I'd like to find out.


Ilove2travel said...

I took a yoga class a few years ago at the U for my PE credit. The last five minutes were for meditation. The instructor even turned out the lights to create a peaceful environment. I found it excruciating. Maybe they weren't the longest five minutes of my life, but it sure seemed like it at the time. I'm sure there is great value in shutting off your thoughts, particularly in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, but I haven't learned to do it. Let me know if you figure out a secret.

Angie said...

Back when I was practicing SW I read a little book called Grace Unfolding. It's geared toward therapists wanting to adopt a more mindful, "be still and know that I am God" sort of approach to ocunseling, but given your current thoughts about parenting and other relationships I think you might like it.

queen serene said...

I have a long history of constantly checking my "righteousness" temperature. Last year when I was in the middle of a huge crisis I felt like there was a right and a wrong way to handle it, and I obsessed over how I "should" be thinking, feeling, and acting.

For me I think this drive comes from a lack of understanding about what righteousness is. I know, but don't always believe, that righteousness is a state of the heart, an openness to God and an affinity for his ways. Our good works grow out of that, but they don't constitute it.

I love David O. McKay's quote: "Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the infinite."

And for me, one of the greatest victories over self comes when I relinquish the need to constantly perform for the Lord.

Doesn't that sound wise? If only I could live it as easily as I say it.