If there is no wind, row.
I found this proverb on my meditation app, Insight Timer. Since my children all row crew, it seemed especially apropos. I also believe it aligns with my favorite saying, “Action dissolves fear”.
The last few years, I have pushed myself to be an action-taker.
Hard to reflect when you are busy
One thing I’ve found missing, when my life is all action, is time for reflection. As you can imagine, this affects my writing and creativity. Each week since I started my job last September, has been a challenge to come up with a subject for the weekly post on brendaknowles.com.
I spend my weekdays at the high school working with kids in special education. It is necessary to stay focused on the classroom environment and the needs of the students. There is little time for daydreaming or reading, much like the years when my own children were young.
Interestingly, I am now applying the subjects I have studied and written about to real life situations and relationships. Even my home-life is more action than reflection. My new husband and stepson, along with my children, keep me present. Their needs and emotions keep my nervous system on alert.
All of this presence and action sometimes makes me tired. This introspective lady needs to process often. I miss reading. Reading soothes me and allows me to learn in a comforting and comfortable way. Reading also gives me ideas for writing.
Engagement: a different kind of nourishing
There is something energizing about being engaged with life though. Each day I come home with stories from school. I get to witness kids learning. I get to interact with caring and interesting people. I get to learn new subjects and relearn old ones. I feel involved. Working outside the home in an unpredictable setting, with little training, makes me feel stronger, more resilient and adaptable.
I received a Valentine from my co-workers. On it, were several phrases that they would use to describe me. Patient, kind, reliable, gets the job done and adaptable, were some of the words they chose. I am proud of that Valentine. Proud they think I am patient and I get the job done. My family may question the patient part, but it is there in writing.
Home, the place to rest?
Admittedly, my patience and adaptability suffer at home more than work. I expect to take action and move a lot at work, but home is my sanctuary. I get more anxious when I cannot rest in my home, but I also am learning the most important skills there. The hardest growth takes place at home for me within my relationships. My stepson and husband are different from my children and former husband. Their different temperaments and lifestyles challenge my status quo. It is a good thing, but still hard.
There has been a roller coaster of emotions for me, particularly when dealing with loss of the quiet, mostly manageable rhythms at home. Home is my sanctuary. The sanctuary is more active now, but it gets more satisfying every week.
Bye comfort zone
This is growth for me. I am on the edge, or maybe just over the line of my comfort zone. My default is to process from the outskirts of a situation. My current life makes me process on the spot in the middle of a situation. It feels like a loss of control and a loss of security at the same time. It would be OK for me to lose a little control, but maintaining a sense of security for me and my family (all of them) keeps me engaged. I can’t drift when it comes to creating a secure home for my loved ones. I have to row.
Instead of succumbing to the stress of change and busyness, I keep learning it is best to move through it. This is not to say that I do not meltdown sometimes, I do. Eventually it hits me though, I need to do something to make it better. If there is no wind, row. So I take action. I have a difficult conversation with a family member. I announce I am taking a night off from cooking. I ask for help with a project. I read. I write.
Then I feel better, stronger.
What do you do when the going gets tough? Row or drift? Do you find yourself doing things differently as you get older?