Slacking ~ Sacred Work

This is the month of Elul, the sacred time in which we prepare ourselves for the new year and for the holiest of days – Yom Kippur.  Although it is called the day of atonement, its meaning I think is much more interesting.

We are called on, in this time of preparation, to look at our year, our lives, our internal and external selves.  We are supposed to see what we could have done better, what we can do to be our better selves, to improve.  What we have to apologize for, to make amends for so that each new year begins as a clean slate, lunar calendar that is.

And I admit, I have been slacking.  Life intrudes as always and makes it hard to make quiet space for the reflection we are asked to  do.  And even more important, I think it should be done with pen and paper, not just in my head.  So this confession is to inspire me to make that space.  To do the work.  It is never easy if you do it right, it requires serious internal digging, but the rewards can be remarkable.

Looking at my physical self, I know I can do better, food, weight, exercise, meditation.  The list is self evident and requires a bit of a deeper look.  My communal relationships, of course I can do better, again. Reaching out to people, feeding my friendships, building relationships. I can always do more. My emotional self, I can always work on not living in feelings.  As I know feelings aren’t facts.  I can always work on gratitude as an antidote to the hard feelings and enjoying the good ones in the moments they happen. My spiritual self, we are back to meditation, prayer and the internal work of this most wonderful time of year.

So, not really slacking, just a little slow in putting pen to paper and doing the digging. The pen is the most effective shovel I know of, just have to pick it up. This is the start.  [tweetshare tweet=”Hopefully by Yom Kippur I will be ready, a clean slate once more for the year to come, or at least having cleared some of the detritus away.  L’shanah tovah umetekah. A sweet and wonderful new year, just a snitch early.” username=”@trienahm”]

Things I Want My Son To Know #18 ~ Life Gets In The Way

As is obvious by the inconsistency in the time between these posts, life sometimes interferes with the things we would like to do. When you are young you believe there is all the time in the world. In middle age you are too busy to realize that time is precious. As you reach the back side of middle age you realize that you have less time left than you thought.

I wish I had spent less time working and more time going to the park; that’s a mistake you don’t have to make with your kids. Supporting your family, paying your bills is important, but you can never get time with your kids back. I wish I could have let go of the tidy house thing a little so we could have played Quiddler more; that’s a mistake you don’t have to make with your kids. The chores are important, but you can never get the time back.

When you find yoursellf saying “but I have things to do”, “but I have to finish this work, project, laundry, whatever”, put it down and go outside, play ball, sing. It is hard to find the balance between getting things done that help make your life better, more productive or financially stable, and the things that bring you happiness. To find a place between work and play, drudgery and joy, that is the trick in life! If you are lucky, you will find work you love and that will help, but you have to remember to put the work down and dance with your wife, laugh with your kids and enjoy a sunny day.

Life has a way of getting in the way of life. Don’t just forge ahead, choose. Don’t just put one foot in the front of the other, dance. You are given one life, don’t let life’s challenges and chores get so in the way that you forget to live it.

Things I Want My Son To Know #15 ~ Work For What You Get

So, I was standing in line at a store and I saw a t-shirt. As a matter of pure digression, its amazing that everybody in the world seems to be wearing a t-shirt with a message of some kind. And some of the messages are really amazing, as in things that I would think people really would not want to advertise, but that’s what makes America great. Anyway, I was standing in line and on the back of a t-shirt in front of me it said … “you get what you work for, not what you hope for”. What a true and wonderful thing.

This world is just filled with “get rich quick” and schemes to do this or that. Many of them say that you don’t have to do much of anything, you don’t have to work; things like that. Anybody or anything that tells you you can get something for nothing is almost certainly lying to you. Everything takes work, everything takes practice. Even winning the lottery costs a dollar to buy the ticket; and you know the odds are millions to one against you.

It is a wonderful thing to have a dream, to have hopes, to have a vision of what you want your life to be. But understand that you will have to work to get there. Nobody will just hand you the life you want. And most of us had to work at many things we didn’t enjoy before we found the thing we wanted to do , or the life we wanted to have.

When you work at jobs you don’t love you learn about what a dollar is worth. When you are sweaty, hot, tired, over people and your feet hurt, your paycheck means a lot. And in the beginning, when your paycheck is pretty small, maybe you will learn how to budget your money, how to pay your bills and make it last. As you work harder and make more, you will have more of the things you want, but you still need to budget your money, pay your bills and make it last.

Work isn’t always fun and it certainly isn’t for sissies. But it is the only real means to an end. This is an old fashioned idea, it seems; everyone seems to think they are entitled to “things” without work these days. The world just doesn’t work that way and getting stuck in that kind of thinking will just keep you stuck. You should be open to all kinds of ideas for “work” and try whatever feels right to you but in the end…you need to keep your dreams and visions and hopes for your future in front of you. If you work hard, and keep your hopes alive, you will get the life you want.

Things I Want My Son To Know #5 ~ Find Your Passion

Do something you love. You will be going to work, in some way or another, for the better part of your life. Find something you are passionate about and do it as well as you can. Most of us don’t become famous, or celebrated, or publicly acknowledged. There is a deep satisfaction in doing something you truly enjoy and doing your very best. We joke about my career, that I could have made lots of money; but I didn’t. Most of my working life was dedicated to public service. We always had what we needed. But I know that I made a difference in the lives of many and did something I believed in passionately. That gives me a comforting feeling that my life had purpose, meaning. While there are many other things that will give your life purpose and meaning, raising your children for instance, your work will be a big part of your life. Too many people settle for just “going to work” and suffering through the days and weeks. Do something that makes you never want to quit, that makes you glad to go to work. Do something you would do even if you could stay home.That’s what education gives you, the option to do what you love, to find what you love. Cherish that chance and be grateful for it; follow your dreams and don’t allow fear of lacking things stop you from it. Things will come later.

Boys! Are….

So, my son has been gone for a month. Doing what is a story for another day. Suffice it to say he has been away learning how to work and growing some confidence, figuring out how to make his way, a little more, without our help. I am incredibly proud of him, but it is so hard to see him growing away. I want my boy to stay with me, but I want him to find his wings and be happy. It was a good summer I think. Now he has to come home and look for a job here, boring after what he was doing. But first, the point of today’s rant. He flew home from New York, getting in late Sunday night. One of his friends picked him up (that’s a first!) and he stopped home, well after I was asleep (working today), and went off to sleep at a friend’s house. God knows he hasn’t seen them in a whole month! Of course he hasn’t seen us either but we have become anchors, secondary but necessary, rather than his primary focus. This is as it should be, but I think as the mom I have a right to actually see my kid, hear about his trip, etc. etc. etc. But no, here it is about 9 p.m. on monday and I have yet to see his face! Good grief. I’m just the mom after all. But so much of parenting is knowing when and how to let go, when to open your hand and let them fly. I know he still needs us, quite a bit, but he would never say so and we won’t acknowledge it. We will always be there for him, and I think he knows that, we won’t yet acknowledge that either, maybe later. Every time I loosen my hand a piece of my heart takes wing with him.