Sunday, September 2, 2012

Slowly, beautifully, I finish last

After a week stomach disturbance, I am enjoying a weekend of feeling healthy.  What a lift to my spirits this brings!  It's almost as heady as being in love.  Yesterday I was able to run for over an hour.  When my body wanted to stop after ten minutes, I just kept pushing on, giving myself more time to work myself into a red faced flush.  When I thought my lungs and heart would burst, I slowed down to recover and climbed a steep hill.  I would not stop moving.  I kept working up to my top speed, running in cycles of intervals.  I honestly think that I could have gone for another hour this way.  It is so exciting to break through the mental game I play, every single day.  The game of limits.  The game of an underachiever.  The game of finishing first.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to stay on the treadmill, and finish the race in last place, to be the last one to leave the room.

 Yesterday's run for last place is still having a positive effect this morning.  I have more energy and a feeling of strength through my core.  More powerful than the best motivational coach, my health has become the empowering factor in my life.

I have an old habit of limiting myself through the illusion of "not enough time" or "not enough energy" or "not enough finance.'  Classic scarcity thinking combined with a desire to finish first is the main reason why I have not achieved the levels of success and joy for living that I crave.  Economizing my potential through simplification is really a negative way to live.  Although I feel like I have overcome many of my wasteful spending habits, the "less is more" thinking really does not translate to other areas of life.  Perhaps I can explain.

I have limited myself by economizing time. In a desire to finish I rush and skip things and miss out on the pleasure of thoroughly experiencing all sensation and possibility.  Here's a little story.

I love to prepare meals.  I love to bake.  I enjoy being in the kitchen for hours while music is playing and smells are floating.  I love the chopping, the sizzling, the rising of warm goodness.  I especially love tasting and sipping and testing.  If dinner could be an event of sampling while standing at the counter, that would be heaven!  I have a beautiful memory of dining this way while Richard and I were dating.  One summer evening we spread out a mini buffet of creamy swiss wedges with tart green apples and crackers.  We sipped beer out of salt rimmed bottles, caught up in recognizing the miracle of life reflected in each other.  After our little meal, he washed the dishes.   As he sunk his strong hands into that basin of bubbles, my focus shifted to he way he took his time with the chore as if he enjoyed it.  As if he had time to do this thing that I never felt I had enough time to do.  It was one of the most beautiful and memorable nights of my life.  Cheese, crackers, and washing dishes.  It ranks higher than a trip to an amusement park in the file of best life moments.

Here's where things get muddy.  I like simple pleasures, but only if the simple gift that I am enjoying is spread out over a big block of time.  This is what I often forget during my daily routine.  This is why I've stopped making lists because they end up making me feel like I'm in a race.  I can enjoy the most mundane operation of toilet cleaning if I'm not in a rush.  I often rush when I am tired so that I can hurry up and rest.  So, energy for thoroughly enjoying the simple pleasures of life is something I desire.  Strangely, this means less time for draining activities (online activities included) and more time for things that make me feel uplifted, like running, swimming, bike riding, and of course, creating little projects.

 Breaking out of this race to finish first is my new focus, and something I intend to weave into our homeschooling journey.  The answer lies not in another workbook, another method, another set of rules to master. It is not going to be a quick fix miracle, or another atrocious book on teaching ANY child to spell, that involves Forcing your student to write.  The really wonderful epiphany I'm experiencing is the revelation that teaching is all about uncovering a child's belief that there are limitless possibilities to do the thing you thought you could not do.  Especially if you take the time to finish last.

So here I am, recognizing that the ever driving goal of efficiency in our society has negatively impacted the outcome of so many years of education.  I might have intelligence and could function successfully in the workplace, but became so disillusioned and dissatisfied and burned out by the rush of it all that I take a wild leap to figure things out for myself, on my own terms.  The world and its love of efficiency, speed and skill is not about to change because I feel like this drains the pleasure out of life.   But now that I know this, maybe a new developmental leap is in the making.

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