I am wanting to write a post about what we're doing, learning-wise, with resources and such, but it is feeling daunting, and so is just not going to happen today. I am feeling the early darkness and my shifting hormones and it has me out of sorts.
I've had a phrase spinning in my head for the last couple of days, that I heard during a talk on stress at the herbal conference. I didn't remember it exactly, and I'm laughing because when I googled it I got a bazillion different variations, but the gist of it is Take one step towards God and God will take ten steps towards you. You can imagine what came up in my search: it was two steps, ten thousand steps, even ninety-nine steps. Whatever. The idea is that when you make a commitment to open to the divine, through connection to and care of yourself, the earth, and the people around you, the response is strong.
The teacher leading the class emphasized baby steps towards unwinding stress. Most are obvious: get more sleep, get quality sleep, get some exercise, learn to say no. Pay attention to your nutrition: eat nutrient-rich foods, eat organic, non-GMO foods, learn to manage your blood-sugar levels. Find your de-stressors: meditation, yoga, emotional support from the people around you. Actually, looking at the list makes me feel a little anxious about managing my stress, so let's move on.
I woke up ridiculously early this morning, feeling worry filling my belly, tingling in my chest, making my eyes tear. This happens, and I'm assured that it's normal to wake up in the night, that it's my age, that it's a part of menopause, but it never feels normal or ok. There are always thoughts accompanying the feelings, though they aren't always clear or quick to surface. This morning it was about, oh, something small - like my children's education. My mind wandered through the bubbles of doubt and worry - do I have enough perspective to know how my kids are doing? Will I know when they need more? Should I be pushing them in some direction? Are they happy and learning with joy? None of my deep beliefs about how kids learn seemed to matter in this moment, it was all Worry. And then we entered dangerous territory: comparison. I found myself recalling conversations with my beautiful niece, who is such a brilliant sparkle and loves loves loves her school. She is really fortunate to attend an unusual school that gets it about as right as any school can, and she will be able to stay there through eighth grade, which is amazing. Ah, now I'm seeing a bit of what might have been happening for me. Eliza, as you might know, has been attending one class a day at the local middle school. For nine weeks it was art, and she loved it. She loved the teacher, she loved the room, she enjoyed the projects. She was not crazy about her table-mates, but she made the best of it. At the midterm, art ended and health class started. She makes her health teacher sound Lucille-Ball-funny, but last week she told me she hates it. I assumed it was because it is boring to her - they've spent three weeks on bullying and naming feelings (which I was impressed by!), and now they're studying nutrition, reading labels. She said it wasn't so much that. It's the feeling of the building. The attitude that she feels in the halls. A meanness. And - it's the blasted lights! The horrible florescents! Art class is in the nicest room in the building, with huge skylights and high ceilings. Health class is back to reality.
So my mind wandered to having better options for my girl. I don't think school, this school, is a great place for her, but I want her to feel supported and have options. I want her to feel challenged and engaged and have as many friends as she needs to feel a part of the world. So I put that all on me - I lay there trying to figure out how the hell I could be Lucy's private school with its well-read, creative teachers, beautiful rooms and scads of dear friends for my girl. You can guess where this got me.
There is a thriving co-counseling community here and I've been learning a little about it since summer. Saturday I gathered with women who have trained in this method of peer-counseling, and at the end of our time the woman who was leading for the day said something that did not resonate with me at the time but rose to the surface this morning as I lay there in bed: You are good. You. Are. Good.
It felt like an honoring of the struggling times and the fact that even when things aren't looking so pretty or I even fall flat on my face again, I am worthy of love and kindness. Even from myself. Yow.
When I got out of bed I could feel that thought lingering with me. I decided to put aside the worries about school and take inventory on the baby steps I've been taking towards meeting the divine. They are small - sleeping when I need to, really listening to my body to know I'm eating food that is good for me, listening to music that takes me to that zone, singing, reading, holding stones, getting out in the cold, meeting with friends and co-counseling - but I wonder if collectively they can start to shift things.
Still writing a post every day. Still November. Thank you for reading. I'd like to say all of the posts are well-thought-out, but sometimes it's a bit of a wander...