Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Beautiful Life

I was recently asked in an email, "How do you do it all?"
Those that know me are spewing their coffee right this minute.
And now snorting.

I was surprised by the question, for a couple of reasons.
The first reason being that I don't "do it all" any more than anyone else does.  Or that I do do it just as everyone else does... one moment at a time.
The second reason being because it's been a long time since I've thought of in any way the idea of "supermom" (a term I really dislike)... it isn't an issue in my own mind, and it isn't an issue that I perceive in the world around me.
I want to say "I've moved way past that"... but that sounds like it's an inferior notion, and that's less than kind.  What I mean is... if there's one thing I would like to pass on to the world through these writings, it's empowerment.  I want people to be encouraged to create and explore their lives and loves. 
To feel entitled to create for Creativity's sake.  To play with their children for the Joy of it.  To live well because it is an intrinsic part of being Alive.

I believe that we're all free to choose and live a beautiful life. And I believe we're all free to create that life as we please.
What that means for us is lots and lots of room for whatever we'd like to fill that life up with.

For me, a beautiful life means loving well my children.  Leading and following, giving them lots and lots of room to revel in the things they love, and giving them lots of chances to discover more things that make them happy.
And a beautiful life is also in a pitcher full of roses. And a pretty chair.  Noticing sunshine streaming across cushions and a wood floor.
And it's about doing the scrubbing with a song in my heart instead of resentment under my breath.
It's about choosing to fold the whites on the bright white washer, and leaving them there to admire because the sun is shining on them, and it's so, so pretty.
And it's about letting some things keep, because loving my family won't.

I'm not sure how we came into the idea that some folks simply have more hours in their day than others of us.  The truth is that we all get to choose how to spend our time.  And we are free to change our minds at any time about what's most important in this moment.
[Shrug.]  That's the way I do it.
Sometimes it's time to go cut roses.  Because I noticed yesterday there were several ready and waiting.
Sometimes my heart and hands are longing for scrubbing.  So I get to do so with joy... and with lovely, uplifting concoctions of peppermint and oranges that I've made myself.

I think sometimes we might get a notion that one-size fits all, and that there is a single formula that will transform our days into perfect bliss.  So we can have a sparkly and perfectly organized house.  And tromp in the woods.    A fabulous art project.  Plenty of computer time for anyone that wants it.  A science documentary.  The dog's waterbowl clean and filled with cool water.  The toys in the backyard picked up.  The garden weeded.  (By hand of course.  No chemicals.)  Hours for reading.  All the curtains freshly washed and allowing in breezes of sunshine.  Math games on the patio table.  A family bike ride.  Trip to the library.  Clean, clean carpets.  Fresh, warm bread on the supper table.  And before bed, a trip out of the city to count the stars, and to look for Cygnus.  Aaah, a perfect day!

Thankfully, we have lots and lots of days to live this life.  We don't have to do it all in one day.  We shouldn't expect to do it all in one day.  We shouldn't even want to do it all in one day!  If we could do everything in one day, what would be left for tomorrow?
So instead of feeling disappointed in ourselves, all we have to do is decide what we need most in this moment.  Or what we'd like most in this moment.

Not in an ever-seeking, never-finding way of "now This shall surely make me happy!", but rather a contemplation of what's best about this life, what's joyful in this life, what's magic in this life... and filling it up with moments of those things.
Not only allowing ourselves room for Joy, but insisting that Joy and bliss be a big part of our lives.
Lots of awe-filled, enchanted moments of "This is my beautiful, beautiful life."
Find joy in that.


  1. A lovely post.

    I've wasted many a precious hour/day/week fretting about all the things I'm NOT doing, while all the things I AM doing go unnoticed.

    Truth is, I make the choices I make for reasons sometimes I don't even understand. They may not always be the best choices, but most of the time they are ok. And that's good enough for me.

    (Haven't quite got to the song in my heart while scrubbing, but sometimes I simply decide not to scrub :) )

  2. Big Momma Frog - that cleaning is exactly what I'm talking about! Soooo much better to skip it than to do it and grump at everyone and feel resentful while doing it. Some days we wake up and can't wait to scrub and make things shine! Why not just do it then?? :)

  3. Beautiful reminder.
    "Not only allowing ourselves room for Joy, but insisting that Joy and bliss be a big part of our lives.
    Lots of awe-filled, enchanted moments of "This is my beautiful, beautiful life."
    Find joy in that. "
    Yes, this. Thank you.

  4. What a beautifully written post about the choices that are ours to make and how joy can be ours if we choose it!

  5. Love this post :-)
    Thank you.

  6. Beautiful! Thank you for this reminder!!

  7. I keep coming back to read this. The "thankfully" paragraph (2nd to last) is just so wise.

    Again. I l.o.v.e. what you've said, and *how* you've said it. A truly honest, beautiful, wise post. xo

  8. Penny - thank you so much.
    It really makes me sad when we feel that we're just not good enough.
    I understand striving to do better, the need for self-mastery, and having such a keen desire to live up to our ideals, but that doesn't mean that anyone else does it any better. That's why I detest the "supermom" thing so much. None of us are any better than the rest.

  9. A perfect way to put exactly how I'm trying to live my life. It's hard (though the idea is that it should be easy and natural, not hard). I love the idea of filling moments with the things you love.

  10. Another one to print and add to the collection.

    I am going to make "this is my beautiful, beautiful life" my mantra.

  11. Boy, did I need to read this! We have had alot going on in the past two years and I never feel I can keep up. I do grumble about the house now. :( How must that make everyone feel? I know how it makes me feel. And the truth? They don't need it clean spotless for them to be happy. That is me. I want it clean because I am the mama and I like the way it looks. Makes me think...maybe it isn't their bliss...just mine.

    So, I am repenting of the grumble time and fussing time about the house. I mean, they will help anyway, why tell everyone how unhappy I am?


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!