November 14, 2018
This is part 2 of Wendy Huff-McRobb's guest blog. Read part 1 here.
Three things I know after three months ....
I do not know how to be still.
So much of my life has been in busy mode. Stress, work, kid, chaos, to-do lists. Always thinking about what needs to be done next. So often not “present.” Going to sleep at night rolling over in my head the order of events for the next day. I know to a degree that this is probably a normal part of life and being organized but I am extreme. I mean, I get anxious if I have an item to return to a store. I must get it there ASAP! Seeing it sitting by the door stresses me! Dishes all over the counter stresses me. I run around doing individual errands when I could have waited a day, combined them and had a little time to, I don’t know, read? Play the piano? So much of my “busy” and my “chaos” is just me and my own head. Pointless. Waste of time.
Twenty-five-plus years as an O.R. nurse has trained me well. If you are not a step ahead of the surgeon, you are two steps behind. You must be absolutely “on” in the moment but preparing for what’s next. Working on one case but already getting the next one ready. I thrived on that. Being super organized. Knowing what to do at each step of the surgery. Anticipating the surgeon's needs (and wants) with as much perfection as possible. Quick efficient room turnovers. Yup, I was in the zone when I was there. As I write about it I can feel it. Maybe that’s where my needing “busy” and “chaos” comes from. I lived it day after day for so many years.
I am not working right now. We are three months into our move to NY and life has settled down. We don’t have a house yet so no house projects. School is well underway, so my son is pretty much settled and doing better than I ever could have imagined. (Note to self: Worst case scenarios don’t always come to fruition!) The time-consuming but necessary stuff you have to do when you move is basically done. I even have our winter clothes all organized. So now... it’s quiet.
I don’t know how to live in quiet. I live in busy! Chores, errands, commitments, to-do lists. I don’t know how to live with the quietness I have longed for! It’s time to learn to be still (isn’t that a song by the Eagles?).
I have read all about allowing yourself to “be still.” I have read all about self-awareness and hearing our inner voice. The health benefits are huge. Knowing yourself and being able to find your path. Contentment … yes, sounds great! But how do you DO it?
I don’t know yet. I guess I am going to learn. I am taking a serious approach to this. I have started doing yoga. With all of its amazing physical benefits, there is a stillness, awareness, and quietness that is supposed to come with it. I have not experienced that yet! It is way harder than it looks! I am restless! It is SO hard for me to sit in that quiet room and slowly go through the movements and be totally present! I am thinking of a dozen other things while I am there! Thirty minutes takes forever! Baby steps.
I am taking time every day to read something. Not just books about parenting or random Facebook posts (I read John’s blog of course!), but other things. I am taking time to sit in my car when I pick up my son and breathe. I am trying to stay off my phone and computer, especially when my son is around. I am making a conscious choice to be “present” with him and in everything else I am doing. Making a conscious choice NOT to think about what I should do next or tomorrow. I am choosing and meditating on positive thoughts. I have a deep faith and belief in God. My positive affirmations come from the Bible. Trying to truly embrace who God says I am in him (that is a lot of writing for another time). Yes, I am writing! I am trying to be aware of other people. Can I show kindness? Meet a need?
I have identified a second thing. I already knew this, but it has kicked in for me on a new level. What is right for my life, my family, and my journey is not right for everyone else. The choices I am making are not what someone else would make (clearly). That’s okay! The look on people’s faces when I would tell them we were moving from Denver to Buffalo. Hahaha! Colorado is special. It’s beautiful. It’s a well-kept secret how lovely it is there nearly all year. The sun is always out. There is so much to do and see. I barely scratched the surface. Buffalo, NY? Remember winter? Yet there was this pull in both of us to come home.
We each had our reasons. I felt I had to give the reasons so people would understand and validate me! I didn’t have to! Where I need to be to live my life, care for my family, and fulfill my purpose is not up for evaluation by other people. That’s where knowing and being comfortable with yourself comes in handy I think! How we made this decision, the agony of it, the previous attempts to make the move, the fear about moving our son … no one truly knows about it, and it’s all a subject for another blog. The point is we are each on our own path. No one else is on our path. By the same token, we don’t have the right to judge the decisions others are making as they navigate their own course. I am pretty judgmental, I realize. I have no right to be. I need to change that.
This brings me to the third thing I have identified. I need to be content “not knowing” what’s next or what’s going to happen or how it’s all going to work out. That is tough!
So, what to do then?
My brother always says to think about what stirs up emotion and resonates with you and then take steps toward it. Whatever those steps look like for you, be disciplined and prepared so when an opportunity presents itself you are ready.
That’s what I am doing.
I am looking out through a big, clean window. The leaves on the trees have changed. I have noticed the sun is never out (I had kind of forgotten what that feels like). I don’t even know what I am looking at yet. I am learning to be still in all the ways I mentioned earlier. Taking care of myself physically with regular exercise. I’m starting to figure out what I enjoy and what resonates with me and then I will try to take steps toward it. I’m trying to stop judging other people for their choices. Learning to be aware of inner peace. Trust it. Consciously work toward being a better mom, wife, daughter, friend, sibling, human. Not sure what all that looks like yet.
Clarity? Guarantees? No. But the bugs have been cleaned off the windshield. I live in Hamburg, NY. Wow, I still can’t believe that sometimes. Fear, doubt, regret. I still try to bring them in because on some level I think they should be there. They should not. There have been small surges of each one but they never overwhelm me. I live five minutes from beautiful Lake Erie. Remember me and water? Every time I catch a glimpse of the blue water with the waves rolling in, I am at peace. Every time I see a sign that says “Bridge to Canada” I am at peace. When I do allow myself to picture my house on Oneida Ct in Centennial, Colorado, it’s not my home anymore. When I see my son come out of school with a big smile on his face and read the notes his teacher sends home, I am at peace. I hear bands like Honeymoon Suite, April Wine, and Glass Tiger on the radio! I laugh every time. Then I sing all the words at the top of my lungs!
Peace. Hmm… I really do feel it. Maybe there is something here. That peace I feel … maybe I can trust it and use what I am experiencing now as my guide going forward. Maybe this was the right decision even if I don’t ultimately know why yet. I can be content not knowing. I can be grateful for each day and the opportunity to find out. Do the work. Get ready. Let the opportunities roll in.