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I’m feeling exhausted at the moment.
Yawning, eyelids at half-mast—call it world weariness. There are times throughout the day when I stare into space, void of thought, and then I bring myself back around with the words, “Wake up, woman.”
It isn’t as if I’m not getting enough sleep. Generally seven to eight hours, and the sun wakes me up before my alarm can. This morning, I forgot to set it and, fortunately, my head alarm woke me up, but 17 minutes later than I had intended.
That meant scrambling to get out the door to head over to my son’s and daughter-in-law’s house to watch my toddler grandson. It is part of my morning routine. In the few hours I am with him, we sing, dance, cuddle, build, draw, drive cars and trucks, play with his stuffed animals and Sesame Street figures, as well as watch PBS and Toy Story. He is a delight, and as my son predicted when he was in utero, “the center of my Universe.”
He will be joined by a sibling in May, so it will be double the pleasure and double the urgency to make a positive difference in the world.
I contemplate how different my life was 2o years ago when I was 43. Newly widowed, (three years earlier) single parent, doing my mightiest to keep a roof over our heads, juggle several jobs, and blaze a path I had never anticipated traversing.
I was in survival mode. With the three fs of faith, family, and friends, I look back at what transpired in those two decades and shake my head in wonder that I got through it.
Back then, I didn’t have the additional worries that are with me now. I can’t ignore the world as it is, and it seems as if it is an ominous shadow that hangs over me. I can’t seem to shake it and wish I could. I am not prone to depression and anxiety and yet, I find myself sinking into both at times.
My right livelihood work includes psychotherapy, journalism, ministry, speaking, teaching, and doing PR and marketing for people who, themselves, are all about transformation.
Writing helps to keep me sane and vertical, and it hopefully serves that purpose for those who read what I pen. There are still times when I feel I am not doing enough. What does enough mean? It feels elusive at times.
As a recovering codependent, I have had to surrender control over the outcome of anyone’s choices.
As a mother and therapist, that is challenging. I have an idea of what I would like to see my son and clients do, but ultimately, their path is unique to them. Paradoxically, it is easier to let go of expectations for what they decide than to relinquish wanting to be the arbiter of right and wrong in the wider world.
I find myself in awe of the resilient people I know and those who I am only connected with via our shared humanity. Some are survivors of abuse or trauma.
I was musing about this today as I was driving home from grand-toddler time, along autumnal, leaf-dancing winding roads. I soaked in the beauty and did a bunch of sighing. I have all of the creature comforts I desire, work that I find fulfilling, dear family and friends, relatively good health, as well as income that allows me to spend, save, donate, and share.
If I had the power to change the world:
>> There would be no physical assault against anyone.
>> Children would live in justified trust of the adults who take care of them since they would never be harmed; that includes verbal abuse and hitting.
>> Humans would be good stewards of the planet, recognizing that we are temporary tenants.
>> Everyone would “leave the campground better than they found it.”
>> No one would flick cigarette ashes or drop butts on the ground.
>> We would all reduce, reuse, and recycle.
>> Touch would only be by consent.
>> Social justice would triumph.
>> Peace would prevail.
>> There would be no borders between states and countries.
>> People would love who they choose without judgement.
>> There would be accessibility for those of all ability levels.
>> Dictators and autocrats would relinquish the desire to overpower.
>> Gender would not matter, and people could be free to be genuinely themselves.
>> No one would freak out over gender neutral bathrooms…just remember to wash your hands.
>> No one would be marginalized or mistreated because of the amount of melanin in their skin.
>> Religion would not be an incendiary flashpoint.
>> Every elected leader would have the entirety of the planet in mind when they contemplate their actions, not just those who voted for them.
>> People would not line their pockets at the expense of others.
>> Elected officials would be servant leaders rather than self-serving.
>> No one would feel a need to turn to substances to get through a day.
>> Addiction would be obliterated.
>> COVID-19 would be in the rearview mirror.
>> People would remember that we all drink the same water and breathe the same air, and we can’t afford to live without either.
>> Everyone would consider the impact of their choices on the entire community.
>> The former president would fade into obscurity, behind bars as karma takes its turn and the chickens come home to roost.
>> Everyone who was involved with planning and executing the insurrection would experience the most strident consequence.
>> All those who align with him would awaken from the spell cast on them.
>> No one would take advantage of anyone.
>> People wouldn’t lie, cheat, or steal.
>> Education would be a right for everyone.
>> Adults would acknowledge that every child deserves to be loved and safe.
>> We would break the generational cycles of addiction and abuse.
>> Everyone would have a healthy sense of self-esteem.
>> People would be of integrity as they follow through on commitments.
>> Folks would buoy each other up instead of bullying each other down.
>> School board members would set a good example for students rather than raging like dysregulated children.
>> Everyone would have an opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes so they would understand why they hold the views they do.
>> We would recognize that we are all here on loan, so we would treasure the people in our lives.
>> There would be no more gun violence.
Suggestions from friends included:
“Free child care. We offer free and low cost child care to working moms, and I can’t tell you how much this little leg up has helped so many families we know (and now love). It’s immeasurable how different life can be for someone if you lift one heavy burden.”
“Right now, my self-care needs really just want to bring back the eggnog latte at Starbucks to get through the holiday season mostly intact.”
“We do have the power to change the world. Love! I donate, volunteer, clean up the environment, and spread kindness and sunshine wherever I go. One smile at a time. If we all did it, there would be nothing to change.”
“Change how people treat each other. If we all looked out for and acted in the best interests of those around us, most of our problems would be solved.”
“I would help people lose weight.”
“End hunger and for everyone to have access to clean water.”
“I want to live in a world that people don’t feel the need to escape from through drug addiction.“
“If I were queen of the world, the one thing that I would do first is make it so that all parents could stay home with their children for the first year of their life. It would save us so much money in healthcare and would make our world much more peaceful, both in individual relationships and on a worldwide level.”