Priorities I'm free to be me and like it or not I'm boss of myself whether I have a boss or not And when my life's all said and done I hope my family will know the one they call "wife" and "mom" loved them more than all the rest. I hope they'll know I gave them my very best. At work or church there are others that might do just as well but nobody else my stories can tell No one else sings with my voice lullabies or holds them close to look at them with my eyes No one else can be me for them Though they have a new wife, a new mother, or new friends. DSH 12/06
God made me free to be me from my own unique face to my taking up this space. It's true, another could take my job or my spot but be another me? Of course not! Irreplaceable is what I am. I'm one of a kind and so like a snowflake, I have a beauty all my own. Though I may quit or fail or die, no other you can take my I.
And so, I’d better do my best to be
all the best I have in me.
the silent accompaniment of faith
the shadow of a humble heart
a product of patience
is knowing He is there
What are the longings of your soul?
Last night at book club, we were discussing a book by Sue Monk Kidd, The Book of Longings. This book seems to polarize people. You either really love it or hate it. How wonderful to be with a group that can handle openly such diverse opinions and reactions and emotion without taking it personally or disagreeing. It leaves you free to be real–to see and be seen. To explore deep places. To challenge your own thinking in ways that are interesting and potentially helpful.
“It isn’t the largeness in you that matters most. It is the passion to bring it forth.”
–Sue Monk Kidd
What do you think matters most? What is within you pressing outward with consistent, pulsing desire–your art, your voice that is waiting to be born, develop, or fruit?
Our frustrations that last for years are nearly just as telling.
Our constant attractions and interests.
Our personal quests.
One of my personal quests is to understand myself so that I can choose well. I am absolutely passionate about living my life well as an expression of gratitude for the greatest gift God has given me. Does the best way to live include spending years researching the best way to live? It makes me laugh that in the very pursuit of this, I may be doing it “wrong.” But, I can not help it. I love these deep questions about life–the core of life–the questions of philosophers and believers throughout millennia of ages past. This is one of my endless attractions.
What I find in reality, rather than having some great knowledge of what is wise and best, is that I do what seems best to me and then retroactively learn from it and see what my feelings and beliefs are that reveal themselves in my actions. In some way I believe our choices reveal those beliefs that we are not aware of. This type of personal exploration and mining is also fascinating to me. So yes, by golly, I like to chase my own tail.
Today I am chasing the nuanced truth of what I choose socially and why. I explained that I am a “foul weather friend” and I am. I want to be there for my friends at their deepest, darkest night so that they are not alone. I want to be there so I can actually do something that would be helpful and meaningful. I said, “If life is good, send me a text. I will cheer for you.” It didn’t sit right with me. I also love to cheer for people. I love to be there for the top moments as well–the victories, celebrations, milestones, etc. of life.
So, what is the truth? Trying to narrow this down, I thought, well, I just don’t like the middle. The chit chat in the middle. The mundane and repetitive and surface talk is tiring to me. But, then I realized that that is also not the case. I do like talking about nothings and the normal, routine, frustrations and joys of life in certain circumstances. I love to do that while I’m doing something else. I like to work together while talking, fold clothes while talking, walk and get exercise while talking, supervise children playing while talking, etc. I multi-purpose while talking about things that are not emotionally intense and require my whole focus. This is a very strong preference to the point that I do not like sitting still and talking about surface level things. They do not take my full attention, and my attention is my scarcest, most coveted commodity. For this reason large, long parties are not my thing. Can you imagine if I showed up at a party with my mending? On the other hand, maybe that is a great idea. I might love it.
Ironically, I have historically been terrible at guarding my personal attention. I think that is because someone is in crisis at any moment, and I want to be there. I am interested in people and feel their needs are more pressing than personal time alone with my book or pen.
Imagine loving being the Good Samaritan in your heart and never getting to your destination. Maybe even losing or never finding your destination because you are so busy stopping to carry someone to the inn, and there isn’t just one person on your way who needs to get there, but rather an endless supply of real people with real needs. Plus, your destination is to be that person who takes them to the inn– so in a way, you are already there.
My destination is not a location, it is expressed in who I am. This is interesting and incredibly risky. What if, like the two who passed by, I need to limit my involvement in the humanity around me so that I can get somewhere and do something else of my own? What if I do have a personal destination or magnum opus or swan song that only I can give the world? How in the world can or should I choose who and what to ignore to make that space for me–just me? And, that doesn’t even work because even when I am alone or studying or writing, I don’t do it in a vacuum just for myself. I hope it will be useful to myself and others in some way.
I ran my life much like an ER room for many years. I kept my schedule flexible so I was available to show love. I would prioritize the most urgent needs. The needs of a stranger might trump the needs of my family in urgency. This matches my values that each person is a child of God and equally valuable. But, in practice, I would often rush about taking a meal to someone and come home to my family without one or run in to other time management problems because with my imaginative thinking I really thought I could get everything done in a day because I wanted to–hopelessly optimistic until I would collapse at the end of the day and cry about whatever was at the end and mattered but didn’t get done.
I am much less reactive now. I realize that there are other, less frenetic ways to show love and that of necessity, duty, and love, my family and my health have to be prioritized so I can do the other.
So, then maybe Nanny McPhee’s philosophy is more accurate for me. “When you don’t want me but need me, I will be there. When you don’t need me but want me, I will go away.” This is not a direct quote, but rather, how I remember it. This is absolutely true for me in many ways. I am most fully there when needed. This is one reason I am leaving my job. I love “being with” my student, but she no longer needs me. She can fly now, and I need time to fly, too. My son’s needs are pressing, and I must be there for him in these last critical years at home–my last months of mothering (not that it ever stops, but the duty changes).
How do you judge where your time and attention are best spent?
How do you choose which interests to pursue and which to sacrifice so the few can flourish?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, necessarily, but they fascinate me.
There is a time limit on this life. There is urgency to the matter–what to choose, what to sacrifice or ignore. I love this, and it is so frustrating. I might be in my cave trying to crack this conundrum until the day I die. So, go ahead and invite me to your parties. I do love to celebrate. However, I might not come, or perhaps worse, I’ll bring my laundry.
PS: I really disliked the book and did not finish it. However, I may read some of her other books to see what I think. I did enjoy her style of writing and some of the questions and thoughts it ignited.
How can I write a book?
A friend told me about NaNoWriMo, an online non-profit that helps you set a goal and gives you a deadline, a way to chart your progress, pep talks from other writers and a certificate when you complete your rough draft with a goal of 50,000 words.
So, I tried it. It was a lot of fun to know that you are in the company of a lot of other crazy people all over the country trying to type yourself into oblivion, or get that novel out.
I type tested myself and I could meet the daily goal of 2,000 words per day in less than 2 hours, maybe even 1 if I knew exactly what to say and could continuously just say it.
The first week went okay. The second week I hit several bouts of writer’s block and it seemed like every night I was going to bed with a question I couldn’t answer that would keep the ball from rolling.
Finally I was getting so behind on my count I made myself stay in my chair and type for an entire day. I didn’t catch up, in fact, I made less progress than I hoped, but I was moving forward again.
I learned to keep pushing through writer’s block and not let it stop me.
By the end of the second week I was getting near the midpoint, 25,000 words.
Quite a fun thing to get to half way through the book, but half my story wasn’t out!
I kept going and the next week I could smell the end. When I could smell the end I lost all balance. Who needs to shower, exercise, or cook meals? Well, at least it was only 3 days and I did fit in that shower–finally but the last 3 days that is all I wanted to do every second I had–mostly ’cause I didn’t want to be doing it again next week.
So, here I am in the fourth week–DONE! and a Winner with a certificate from NaNoWriMo to prove it. I know I can write a novel length in 3 weeks–something of a miracle.
And, I have confidence that if you want to and it is the right time for you, you can do it, too.
November turned out to be a good month for me because the calendar actually was calmer than usual.
I think the hardest thing for me was giving myself permission to be that lazy (not so busy helping others) while I accomplished it. I was worried I’d ignore my children (but my youngest is 8, so I figured, I could give it a try).
As it turned out, my family was fairly supportive, I could usually do it when they didn’t notice or care (minus those last 3 days) and maybe because it was fiction, I didn’t take it too seriously and was able to keep balance and perspective most of the time.
So, if you want to write a book, I highly recommend it. Happy Writing…
My life has been a circus tent.
I’m learning how to juggle.
I set up a great big show.
No crowd could burst my bubble.
I’d spin a plate. I’d throw a ball.
I’d run about, AMAZE!
I had the happy crowd abuzz
with each new feat
But, it got harder
and harder to impress.
So many balls and plates
an inevitable mess.
Until balance seemed an impossible circus trick,
and I needed a real-life balancing act.
So, I asked the Ring-leader how it could all be done
and He a-light and full of fun
“just spin one plate.”
© 2007 DarEll S. Hoskisson
Too rigid I break.
Stretched too thin, I break.
Unstretched I die.
Stretched and strong,
© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson
“Life is the real sport” –Annia Reyes
It is not getting everything done first,
or winning a big race.
It is not comparing yourself
or beating another’s pace.
It is not killing yourself
to keep a spotless house,
overscheduled and overwhelmed,
putting pressure on your spouse.
Working too hard is just as bad
as lazy, lethargic waste.
Keeping the big picture firmly in my mind,
the truth must be faced
That life IS now,
and so if I constantly
overshedule and hurry,
I will lose in life along the way.
Others will not feel I care
or take the time to talk.
I may not even be there
for the ones that need me most
for intimate, quiet times
for simple, homemade meals together
for lullabies and nursery rhymes.
© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson
The quote above I attribute to my most awesome first pilates teacher, Annia Reyes. It is quite possible that others have said it before her and if you know of another the quote originally came from, you can please let me know.
I quote it here because to me it is such a perfect reminder of what we are trying to WIN at, and that often it is not what I think will make me happy that does.
Today I find myself overscheduled. Yet, I still try to fit everything in, including writing my poem today. In the big picture, I should have let it go, it is overstressing my life. But, I find, even knowing better I can not resist the temptation to try to get 100% of my goal to write a poem each day this month.
And so, I have determined in the future to write my goals more specifically and with a range of success that leaves room for honestly living my priorities and not over-stressing my self or my family. See my post Consistent for more thoughts on how it might be done. –dsh
Treadmill, frightful, boredom
demanding, intimidating, impossible
slow, tedious, mind-numbing
impersonal, task-oriented, bossy
successful trade offs and juggling,
realistic planning and pacing
In control, efficient
© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)
Done for now
time for rest
past the stress
nothing to do
but do not do
for now at least
© 2013 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)