Quote of Inspiration
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Atilla and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Friday, June 20, 2014
I have been actively working on my kindness for 7 days plan.
It is hard. I can't explain why it's hard. I guess it's hard because it takes focus, in-the-moment focus. I am not so good with in-the-moment focus. I am always thinking ahead, planning, dreaming, wondering. This means that I miss a lot of right now. Frankly, I'm okay with that. I know. I'm not supposed to be okay with that, but I love my dreaming and thinking and planning.
The focus on kindness, however, brings me to the here-and-now. Because I am now thinking about what I can do today, in this moment, to be kinder and gentler to the people I love.
Some of the things I've done:
Turned off the radio in the car and let my kids ask me all of their questions….which normally overwhelms me. As an introvert/highly sensitive person, a lot of information coming at me at once time overwhelms me. I literally have to think about driving. Maybe some people don't, but I do. So, when I get ten questions thrown at me in a 5-minute span, I get anxious. But yesterday, as I drove my son to school, I turned off the radio and just kept the window open for questions, comments, etc. It was lovely. I learned that if the radio isn't full blast, the questions aren't so overwhelming after all. It helped that I only had one child with me, too. I learned about a new friend at camp my son likes. I learned about his idea of how the day might go. I learned about a certain snack I've been packing in his lunch that is not very much appreciated. I hope he felt heard. I hope it was a better way to start his morning.
* I have been setting the coffee each night instead of waiting for my husband to do it. This is his last week of work before we move, so I know he's stressed and has a lot on his mind. This is just that last thing he does at night, and when the clock hits 9:30, and we're getting ready for bed, it's been nice to say: oh….I set the coffee already.
* My husband was late for dinner last night. He let me know ahead of time. Instead of holding dinner, I fed the kids and myself at our normal time, cleaned the kitchen up nicely and ordered his favorite Thai food. When he got home, he had a hot meal, a clean house and kids in a good mood because they weren't waiting for dinner.
* I have taken my daughter to the library several times this week. I was tempted to say no because we'd already been, but I thought: I have the time. Let her go explore. She has read about 10 books this week so far, which thrills me. Instead of trying to watch TV or get on the iPad, she has been reading. A book. In her hands. Turning pages.
* Saying yes. I've been trying to do this more. I don't mean that I'm permissive and letting it all hang out, but when my kids ask me for things, my usual response is NO. It's just become a habit, really. These past few days, in a gesture of kindness and thoughtfulness, I've stopped, considered the question and often said yes. I said yes to ice cream yesterday afternoon. Then, when they wanted to walk to the train station to eat it, and while I was already comfortably enthroned on a bench, I said yes and we walked to the train station. These aren't big things. It's not a grand gesture. But those little 'yes' moments give kids a feeling that the world, in that moment, is sort of going their way. The yes moments also help balance out the no moments.
* I have a friend going through a hard time, and I read a book that I think will really help her. I suggested the book, but I know how hard it is when you're feeling down to do something like remember a book, go online, order it and all that jazz. So, I ordered the book today, off Amazon, and it should be here in a few days and I'll drop it by her house. Even if she doesn't read it, I'm hoping the gesture will let her know I'm thinking of her and sending kindness her way.
I have already learned a lot through this process. It is harder in some ways than I thought it would be, and in some ways it's easier. Some of the hardness is just thinking of ways to be nice that aren't contrived or unnecessary. But all the thinking has been the best part of all.
Happy Friday. The weekend is nearly upon us.