How to decide.......At 18, straight out of high school, I was pounding the concrete jungle working in Manhattan as a secretary. I never had the whole “moving out and into a dorm room” experience. So, from my perspective, I wanted this to be fun, fun, fun for my daughter and was getting quite frustrated when simple decisions were not so simple.
“Orange or turquoise?” I asked.
“I don’t know!”
“T-shirt sheets or regular?” I asked.
“I don’t know!”
So, in order to circumvent this continuum, I decided to go ahead and make the decisions and just show her what I had done. I wish I could say this was the right answer. She was so appreciative but then felt terrible because it wasn’t really what she wanted.
Ahhhh! Now we were getting somewhere!
Lesson #1: If you don’t know what you want, start with what you don’t want.
We continued to look online at website after website until our eyes were crossed. Then we decided we needed some fresh air and we went out for ice cream. This actually lightened the mood of indecision.
Lesson #2: If you don’t know what you want, create a diversion and do something unexpected.
All I can say is Target, Target, Target! Honestly, they know their customer, the market, and how to merchandise to make it E-A-S-Y.
Lesson #3: If you don’t know what you want, follow the experts who have done the heavy lifting for you.
In the end, we made a lot of progress. I was very curious at what changed for my daughter. She was so stuck in inertia that I wanted to pick her brain and see what caused her shift. While all of the lessons here were contributing factors, she said that in the end, she was just ready.
Sometimes we push up against what is. We may feel like we are stuck. We may feel like we are disconnected from our inner compass that is usually spot on.
But... I can’t help but wonder if that is all a part of the process and that we aren’t stuck at all. What if it is necessary to play in limbo for a bit? What if this space of not outwardly knowing is really the incubator for great things to be born? Maybe we are underestimating the state of inertia?
Lesson #4: If you don’t know what you want, trust that you will know when you know.
Support hose... you know what I’m talking about, right? They are flesh-colored and typically worn because of circulation issues.
Yeah, well, they are ugly as all, that but the support is reliable and foolproof! (You just pray that you never need them.)
Well, on a rare moment when I had nothing to do, I started Google-ing my favorite topic: working moms. It’s sort of like putting your ear on the railroad track; you can hear the rumbling from miles away. I was not surprised by the number of articles that echoed the same message: working moms need more support. One of the articles I read suggested that working moms need a wife! And I’ll have to admit that at times, this suggestion can seem like an appealing option.
The support that seems to be needed comes in three distinct categories:
That, by the way, is never a good idea. I realize just how antiquated this sounds, but when you consider that “women’s liberation” was only a mere 35 years ago (give or take), it is totally understandable that real examples of how to balance home and work are not easy to come by.
But don’t lose hope! Here are some easy steps you can take to get the support you need right now:
Adjust. Purge. Adjust again. You may, for a short period of time, want to adjust your view of what a clean and organized house looks like. Schedules are complicated, and you may not be able to give the amount of detail as you once did (before family, business trips, etc.) It’s not defeat; it’s reality.
This leads to the next step: the purge. Do you really need everything you have? Stuff creates clutter, and clutter is an energy vampire.
It sucks your time, your psyche, and your overall outlook. After you’ve done the purge, adjust again. Set a schedule for cleaning, and enlist the “all hands on deck” motto – never too early to get the kids enlisted – and then test it out for a week or two and see how it’s going. You can always rinse and repeat the process!
Uncomplicate! I know the routine all too well! After work, you get slammed with practices, games, dance lessons. Here, too, you need to adjust. In my neighborhood there is an unspoken expectation that the more activities you have your kids enrolled in, the better parent you are. This shocked me when I moved out to the 'burbs! I was just unwilling to have dinner – aka fast food – in the car between activities when I was aching to get home, have some down time and enjoy just “being” with my kids.
Adjust, choose. It’s up to you. I know at times the squeeze is unavoidable. If you can, double up with another parent, barter or pay someone to do the driving around. I know I felt bad that the stay-at-home mom would get stuck carting my kid around because I wasn’t home from work in time, but then I would treat her to her favorite latte, magazines or a night out when I’d watch her kids.
Don’t suffer in silence. Seek out the support you need!
Play the game. There are some great companies out there who have very flexible work schedules, back-up day care, job sharing, telecommuting, and a host of other options to help you be your best at work. If your company is not up to this speed yet, I understand the challenges you may face. When I’d have to leave early because my child was sick, if it happened more than two times in one month, I would say the appointment was for me. I didn’t want to be looked down upon because I had kids who needed me. I did not feel like I was being authentic, but I knew because of the environment I was in, that I was doing what was best for everyone. And you do too.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to make certain decisions – within reason of course – to help you manage the rigors of your work life and family life.
I have long-been fascinated with Native American culture and so our trip to Nemacolin holds extra meaning for me. The resort reveres and honors the tribes, which settled the land where it now stands, with Millioke Meadows. The picture above is of the two sacred buffalo, Thunder and Lightning, who reside on Millioke Meadows. The male white buffalo represents lightning. The female black buffalo represents thunder and are seen as messengers from the Creator. This is sacred land and has been blessed by many visiting Native American tribes who have left their banners behind showing reverence for the site and the buffalo who live there. Tribes make pilgrimages here and leave gifts for Thunder and Lighning. Now, you may already know that white buffalo are rare with approximately only seven living in the United States. Being so close, I just had to visit and so, I decided to go on my personal pilgrimage.
When I first walked on the land I was struck by the silence, with the exception of beautiful birds that were flying in circular motions hovering above the meadow, singing a beautiful song. I was sort of overwhelmed with emotion and at first began to cry feeling and thinking about the many trials that Native Americans have had to bear throughout our history. As I walked around, I read the signposts which explained the history that had taken place there. There were designated places in the meadow that honored the medicine wheel, teepee, totem pole and sweat lodge. The signposts described the traditions and rituals that were performed and the longer I lingered, the more peaceful I became. I sat there for a while to reflect. As I walked away, I felt so grateful for having shared time there and I couldn’t get the idea of rituals out of my head.
What rituals do you have? And what is the purpose of your rituals?
Rituals are a way to honor that which is greater than we are and ourselves. Prayers are rituals, singing is a ritual, meditating is a ritual. I decided to add more rituals in my life because I loved the sacredness and peacefulness I felt. I decided that they don’t have to take too much time, but that I needed a special place; perhaps a chair, a gathering of things that I hold sacred and I wanted it to be ceremonial.
So what about you? How would your life benefit by creating your own personal rituals?
Here are a couple of ideas:
- Create a space with ambient lighting
- Light a scented candle
- Drape a beautiful throw on a comfy chair
- Gather things you love; pictures, flowers, sea shells
- Add nature sounds or music to your liking
- Bless it with thoughts of gratitude and grace
- Bring in a foot stool or oversized pillow
- Be mindful and deliberate about starting and ending your own ceremony
- Just add time………
I’d love to hear about your rituals or see pictures of the space you’ve created for yourself. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them on Facebook and Twitter!
Paula G. Rosario
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