I've always been a bit of a control freak. I've been independent and self-reliant since I left the house at age 4 to walk to the store, purse slung over my arm. (My grandfather retrieved me, about 1/3 of a mile from home). Those qualities served me pretty well in high school, and quite well through college and my 20s. Boy, those 30s threw me for a loop. I developed not one, but two very important relationships in which I was a partner, and bore my children. To say that it has been tough for me to loosen my grip and let other people have a bigger say in my life would be a laughable understatement. In fact, thinking about it now, I'm not sure I'm very good at it still. Perhaps that brought me to the second lesson?
I don't know, but I can tell you that wrestling with the frustration I'm feeling at not being able to just live my normal life is one of the hardest parts of this ordeal so far. I think that I've been pretty patient, paying attention to what my body is telling me about how much I can do, and when I should take a nap. It doesn't stop my mind from whirling, though. I want to be in the shop, helping to prepare for the season. My own designs have been pretty well received on a small scale, and I want to move them to a larger scale. I want to be going to Jacob's baseball games and taking Claire to school every day. Feeling that my life is on pause, or at least in slow motion, is very hard for me. And so much of the time and energy I do have is being spent talking on the phone, going to appointments, making decisions about my health. I realize that it is what I must do, that there is nothing more important at the moment. These tasks are an integral part of increasing my chances of living to see my children grow up. So there is no question that these duties need to be at the top of my priority list. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that I enjoy doing them, and it doesn't mean that I can reason my frustration away.
Perhaps there is a lesson in my meditation practice for this. "My meditation practice" makes it sound a lot more established than it actually is. But I have gathered enough so far, with my little baby steps, to know that perhaps I would be more at ease if I were engrossed in each moment, in each task that I am focused on. Even when–especially when?–I would rather be doing something other than the task at hand. After all, I am alive, and can do these things that may save my life. When I look at the lives of my peers, it seems hardly fair that I have to spend so much time focused simply on surviving. But when I think about the lives of people all over the world, there is no question that I am still a very lucky person. Simply by virtue of my birth time and place, I have been handed more than my share of "fair".
I know, too, that I should be taking this time to appreciate the tiny joys and to breathe deeply, as a wise friend recently told me. I try. Really I do. Okay, maybe I could try harder. Maybe that will be my goal for this next week. It shouldn't be that hard, with the lilacs and apple blossoms in bloom.