Thursday, May. 19, 2005 | 10:49 a.m.

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New Truths

Between Tuesday's counseling session and a conversation with a friend last night, I face a new truth. I am self-sabotaging by taking on too much -- trying to do too many things at the same time so that I can't really do any of them well. But I have a great excuse for failure, right? I was doing too much and that's waaaay better than "slacking," right? I am really afraid of being perceived as lazy, as not doing enough. Partially this comes from a very real desire to actually do all of these things, but the reality is, I can't do them all now. I am only 34 years old. The majority of the new millennium has been spent trying to do everything at once, as if tomorrow won't come. Subconsciously, I live as if tomorrow will never come, as if everything has to be crammed into today, until it bulges at the seams and explodes.

One factor is that most of Jasmine's life felt that way. I always knew I would outlive her, so I often made decisions to throw caution to the wind and do things now, rather than when I should. We spent a lot of time and money doing things with and for our children that could easily have been spaced out over a lifetime. But I knew Jasmine's lifetime would be short. So we did it when we did it. Several "concerned" family members stepped in at various times to tell us we were being too short-sighted, that we were wasting money and/or time doing things with Jasmine. Particularly in the last two years of her life. But you know? This attitude of here and now served us well then. Because I have no regrets -- I don't find myself thinking, "if only I had done this," or "I wish I had spent more time with Jasmine." Because I did do things with her and I did put my family before my career so that I could have more time with her. And I happily take the consequences of that now.

I wondered recently what is standing in my way of writing -- moreover, what stands in between me and success in any of the things that matter to me. Why is it, I pondered, I can make all the plans in the world, but when it comes to actually doing it, I balk? Remember that? And remember the huge list of things I posted that I really want to do? And some people suggested that maybe it was that I don't really want those things I plan for -- that if I did, I would just do it. I'm finding it's much more insidious than that. I do really want those things -- to be a paid writer, to have a healthy body, to travel -- but there is a deep shadow side that doesn't think I really deserve those things. The roots of that shadow are in my childhood -- random things that people said to me about being "high and mighty" or about reaching too far. Beyond my station, as it were. And the messages that if I didn't get up at the crack of dawn every day and cram my day full of tasks, then I was "wasting time" and "being lazy." And while the grown-up in me knows that is utter bullshit, there is still a little girl in there who believes it and lives it. And like most children, she doesn't see the big picture, doesn't realize she's driving us into the ground and making it impossible to be fulfilled. Because nothing is "enough."

So now I face the task of finding out what the priorities really are, right now, in this moment. And then I have to stop burying those priorities in other things that I want to do "right now," I have to let go of the insane process of creating goals for my goals, of creating schedules so I can "do it all," of searching frantically for some new way of stretching time and space so that I can have it all, and have it all right now. I don't mean to imply that there is no value in setting goals and creating schedules. Far from it. But for me, doing this things can lead to me creating a web of reasons why I can't do the things that really are important to me, like writing and working on a healthy body, being a effective and loving wife and mother, and having a strong spiritual community. And if I bring it back home, to these things that matter at this moment, and then take some time to really define what success in those areas are -- to do it simply and without jumping ahead of myself to figure out what all the steps have to be and when it must be done, then I've done something new and helpful. Then I've taken these things which really are a priority to me and cleared away the debris.

Whew. I feel a little sick. But also a little enlightened -- both in the sense of seeing things I didn't see before and in the sense of having a load lifted.

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Recent Entries ...
Go Here - Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006
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