Thursday, May 08, 2008


I have a need for order. When it becomes obvious that the disorder around me is overwhelming, I retreat, bury my head in the sand.

The backyard is full of disorder. I stay inside, or in the front yard. Despite not enjoying gardening in Florida (nor anywhere, truthfully), I am so bothered by the chaos out there that even a short photography stroll in the backyard leaves me wanting to roll up in a ball, cursing our inability to create anything nice.

The bedroom (kitchen, living room, Maya's room) is a mess, I flee to the computer.

I'm not living up to my academic standards in freshman chemistry, circa 1988. I stop attending class.

Maya has called me on my escape mechanism a few times in the last few days. "Mom! This is more important!" Ouch. She's 6. Who's being the grown up? Yes, Maya. Yes, Sam. Yes, Erik. You are more important than the computer. I got an email the other day that asked--what is keeping you from the life you want? Ouch.

I need the connections I make online. I need the wisdom. Yet I need to be able to step away and take action here at home. Whether I like it or not, I'm going to have to be the captain of this ship if I ever hope to have even the smallest showing of order around here. Erik doesn't see the piles, the disorder, and chaos. When I'm overwhelmed, it feels like they're swallowing me whole.

I'm scared. What if I do spend less time online, and more time making order out of chaos, and I fail? What if I can't attain the perfection or level of order my brain keeps insisting it needs? What if I become the family leader I want to be, and no one follows?

I've been in the house for the past three days on sick child duty. I had to get out of the house this evening after dinner (oh the incessant talking! the talking all at once, at me, as if I'm the only one who can help them), so I grabbed my camera and walked around the house.

The whole backyard practically gives me hives (how the trees have grown since they were scaled back courtesy Hurricane Charley), and one corner in particular makes me so upset. That's when I started trying to imagine myself out there, doing the work, with work gloves, a hat, and a big pair of clippers. Nope. Not me, not gonna happen. So, then, self, why oh why do you care if it is overgrown? If you're not willing to do something about it?

Because, my mind whines, becauuuuse. Because it should be nice. It should be trim. And the floodgates open up: I should have a clean house. I should be studying for the GRE, I should be applying to graduate school. I should be a better mother, wife, and employee. I should try harder to make friends. I should meditate. I should exercise. I shouldn't overeat. Ad nauseaum, ad infinitum.

Then it is time for me to leave the backyard before some tree spirit snatches me away. I return to the civilized front yard, discovered by my children, outside to play in the last few moments before bed.

This too shall pass. I have taken some baby steps in the house to lessen the chaos enough for me not to feel that it is closing in on all sides. I'm taking a great Pema Chodron e-course. I'm learning from Karen Maezen Miller that the crooked path is ok (just before I finally bought her book I won an autographed copy from her!). And look, even tonight, wandering outside feeling hopeless, there was this:
These gulfs of incomprehension bring the opportunity for spiritual growth and self-acceptance. Momma Zen, p 8, Karen Maezen Miller


BipolarLawyerCook said...

Photos are good. Pema is excellent-- just borrowed her from the library. Lying on the ground and looking at things from a different perspective is good, too. : )

Sarah said...

Did I write this? LOL. I'm reading blogs when I should be cleaning up. Argh.

Janet said...

I totally could relate to aspects of this post. Dad was in the hospital over the weekend and so I had some alone time (which of course I feel guilty about enjoying). And I mean REAL alone time, I cleaned and redecorated and processed my thoughts without interruption. He came home yesterday and loved what I did to the porch (tossed out the couch, cleaned and cleaned and CLEANED, put a table out there, I knew he'd been wanting that). But he wanted to show me what he brought home from the hospital (menus, urinals, cleaning cloths) and all I wanted was to get on the computer and just ...sit.

I'm glad I'm not the only one! Sorry for rambling...