I was given the nick-name of Mama Shana in high school, by a close friend because she recognized my instinct (and some might add, need) to care for and, to some degree, protect others. An old friend recently called me that again, and I told him, "I love that I've had that name waiting for me for so many years." I love too, the idea that I have probably been preparing myself for this event since I was a little child. I feel grateful now too for the lessons I learned (and have been learning) about helping others. I'm referencing the idea that you can't really help unless what you wish to provide is sought. Helping is as much about stepping back, holding your tongue, and quietly supporting, as it is about getting "in there" to "get your hands dirty."
Before I came to the keyboard this morning I refilled our wood pellet stove and sat for a moment, admiring the view from our ample bedroom windows. Quiet embraced me and I wanted to somehow share it.
Saturday night until yesterday afternoon we had over a family of three for a Thanksgiving Redeaux. Not long after the family left, Hadj and I lay in bed and cataloged all the "problems" we "saw" in the lives of husband and wife. I easily prattled off what I perceived as her hang-ups and roots leading toward her aches, pains, and tensions and made amateur prognoses about what she "should address." It's strange... Before this conversation between Hadj and I took place I had thought, earlier, that I wanted to consciously avoid playing doctor to these peoples' minds and lives because it was like gossip and because I am truly not in the know about these lives which I witness for a short amount of time. I suppose I did not succeed. Perhaps in thinking I wanted to "try avoiding" I had already failed, drawn in as I am into personal dramas and solutions. Gossiping is a terrible pleasure, and it is one I am guilty of.
As I wrapped up said "prognoses" I critiqued myself to Hadj, saying, "wow. I had no trouble just picking that apart, did I?" We both chided ourselves gently. I wondered aloud about myself. Why do I feel so compelled to say, even think, such conclusions? Why do I think I know? Why does it feel so natural and I so sure?
That's one of the struggles: I do feel sure. I feel compelled and totally clear sighted with regard to someone else's issues, even though I know I struggle with myopia of my own; a sometimes stubbornness, and an under developed sight for how hard people are trying or an appreciation that most people are doing their best. That is what matters, after all.
Underneath my tendency to critique is that mothering desire: the extreme urge to help people find their best selves and express it for the universe to sop up like delicious sauce. This innate urge of mine is telling.
The woman who I unceremoniously critiqued yesterday is a really cool lady. She's intelligent, independent, reads tons, is honest about herself, works hard, and has really beautiful green eyes. I enjoyed hanging out with, and beginning to get to know her. We talked some, about jobs and work, yesterday morning over coffee.
Work is some kind of word problem that I've been rolling around in my head all throughout the unemployment portion of my pregnancy. First, it took me months to "be ok with" not working and being supported by my man. Once I thought I had become accustomed to this paradigm shift I became driven to do as much as possible around the house everyday. Then I got frustrated with never leaving the house, then my pendulum swung back and I felt I wasn't doing enough again. Finally, I began to relax. I learned to accept each and every day. I made a really great guiding schedule and built in the idea that it must be flexible to be truly successful. But the question of what I will do to earn money again doesn't go away and I'm trying to organically approach it to find a solution.
I have worried about my post-college time in "the working world" becoming closer to equal of my time being out of it. I have acknowledged that the Cubicle Life I have known is mostly just not for me at all. I have made mental notes of the things I do naturally and really love (cook, organize, chart, write, help, talk, observe and record) and have tried to understand how to translate those loves into fiscally beneficial action. Now, I'm in some kind of waiting phase which has been inspired, in part, by this brief article "on the importance of curiosity" by Elizabeth Gilbert in October's O Magazine.
When passion feels so out of reach [...] curiosity can be a calming diversion. If passion is a tower of flame, then curiosity is a modest spark—and we can almost always summon up a modest spark of interest about something.My aim is to shape my passions into something more cohesive so I can funnel them towards my dream of making money more or less on terms that I have set, rather than as a cog in a larger machine. I am trying to practically dream up the steps I will take to be something of a work at home mom who has outside appointments with clients... It's vague, but the mist of what it looks like is there. Consulting is a word that frequently comes to mind, as do the words life coach, but I don't have much that seems concrete.
To reassure myself through this I'm trying to do one of things I love, observe and record. I'm noting what I'm drawn to and how others seem to respond. More than once I've been offered peoples' paperwork or files when they hear I love to organize and create systems. More than once I've felt shy about realistically pursuing these casual offers because I don't feel qualified and fear I won't be able to create a system that is intuitive and helpful to multiple users.
I'm trying to be curious, to follow whatever sparks I spy. Why do I naturally feel drawn to the roots of peoples' suffering? What learning can I do to enhance this into a useful set of knowledge or training? What healing qualities do I have that I can hone and offer? How can I turn this natural passion into a tool useful to myself and others?
One of the reasons I've been doing more sketching and generally simple creative arts is to tease out more of this curiosity. I'm also doing my best to keep it real in understanding that, for the first few months after giving birth, I won't have much energy or time to do anything but feed and love myself and Salamander, and sleep. So, it's low key. It's my typical low and slow tempo. I'm good with that. Moving at my tempo, with my breath, is how I keep in the flow and in the flow is where the magic tends to happen.