Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. ~Etty Hillesum
I’ve been doing that a lot today, breathing in and then exhaling, audibly! In my downstairs office, the one that isn’t fully packed, isn’t fully ready to be moved upstairs, that office, there’s a post-it note on my desktop monitor that says, “breathe.”
I haven’t worked downstairs in that office since January. A lot has happened since January, and it’s possible I haven’t breathed since then. This I am just noticing, for many reasons. It’s probably why I got pneumonia, choking down all the snot and tears the month of March, didn’t help either.
This weekend, as I continued my thought processes, heart processes and paperwork regrouping processes for everything that is up and coming, I found myself Sunday night getting ready to do the same old things, “Set the alarm for some unbeatable time,” and then telling myself I’d make it, whether it was enough sleep or not, because that’s what a person is supposed to do, even though I spent the entire weekend working on my plan to regroup, readjust for what’s next and to slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow down.
I made sure to get sufficient rest. Today, I took enormous, almost dizzyingly deep breaths and then exhaled in almost a clownish fashion, making the dogs look at me as if I was a royal nut ball! I continued to click off the logistics and ballistics on my “to do list,” for the short-term, long-term planning I’ve mentioned of late (last two blogs).
Every time I caught myself reprimanding my “self” for not being done with this yet—since you had the whole weekend to do it, and wasn’t that enough time already, you had the whole weekend “off” except that I didn’t and except that I never really do because since forever and an egg shell I’ve been double-booking my time because that’s all I know how to do—well, every time I caught myself doing that, I’d take another one of those delicious deep breaths and then I’d spit that rot across the room!
That record can skid-skip, and jump off the turntable in my head, fall on the floor and shatter, and if it doesn’t break in that way I intend to frisbee it out over the marsh!
That was then, this is now, and the old way doesn’t work any longer.
There’s no wolf at the door any more. I’m not here all alone, I have backup, and have for a while now, I could actually let my guard down instead of always having my dander up and my underwear all curved up in a bundle.
I can use my multi-tasking skills in a multitude of new ways I’ve probably never thought of because I’ve been applying them in a direction that was up and out of my self for many years.
I forgot, almost, the method to all that madness, the possibilities of where this potentially was leading. I saw where it was taking everyone else, but I forgot I was also along on the trip!
Regrouping this weekend, looking at everything that was going on, that was to continue, that was standing still or petering out, and then gathering up what was left and applying some math to the madness of it, the plan started to re-form for the future.
And, you’d think I’d be all grown up by now too, so wise to this theory ... but did you know that you can put shit on the “warmer” for the night?!?!? Who the fuck knew?!?!? I can be that close to finish and let things simmer, and move to the kitchen to prepare my dinner, and pour a glass of chilled wine (can’t remember the last time I had a glass of chilled wine and didn’t feel like pouring the whole bottle over my head in the last three weeks or so).
I’m realizing that it’s OKAY to be this close to the finish line and “table things for the night.” The taskmaster police aren’t going to come and smash my fingers in the fridge door and say, “Anne, you’re not done yet!” That taskmaster all these years has been me, and the bitch of a supervisor needs to ease up!
I can spend the evening with Mark, since he’s home base one more night this week, which is rare, instead of saying, “I’m sorry, I’m going to keep pushing, I’ll leave a post-it note on the mirror and let you know what time I went to bed, and if you should wake me when you leave.” I can actually be present in the moments that count, get another decent night’s sleep.
If I wake up, I can tell myself, "Go back to sleep, it's not time yet, don't you dare start spinning a single thought process!"
I can be better prepared for what’s up and coming for my clients and my workload and what has been changing and reshaping over the last months, family and otherwise.
I can be ready for Alice’s return home midweek and the much to do to get ready for college “stuff and such” that we have mapped out.
I can be less scared and anxious about Roger and Donna and their needs so I may continue to embrace my relationship with them.
I can spend time with my father this summer.
I can have guilt-free art and writing moments, tall order that one! There's always that critic on my shoulder going, "Shouldn't you be doing something productive, Bitch?" But I'm building up the stronger bitch diva on my other shoulder who says, "Whatever twit-bitch, what do you think the last 25 years of concerted efforts was all about?!!?!? Buzz off!"
I can be ready for the little girls and their new summer schedule (saw them for teensy five minutes today and it had been 10 days!!!! since I had last seen them).
I can be ready for Henry and Walter and their continued manners training and doggy walks.
I can be ready to greet Abigale Lal, healthy and full of wellness, see that all is well in her little family, send Alice off to college after a summer bash, go Southwest with Mark and then finally schedule my first of two STUPID THUMB JOINT SURGERIES!
I can quit now, end of the day, and still be ahead of the game tomorrow, because this is not a game … it’s my life, and for that, I need room to breathe, up under my ribs where I’ve been keeping a ball of stress for something like six weeks, okay maybe longer …