I’ve got a confession to make: I feel totally overwhelmed. I wrote the other day about how fast my whole world turned upside down and did the shimmyshake and, don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the opportunities that the world has bestowed upon me, but … it’s getting to be a little much. Mostly the thing that is hard is that I struggle to have an adequate understanding of what I really can do and how long it’s going to take me to do it. I have the typical “do it all” syndrome. I forget how much time unschooling really does take (there’s a wildly false misconception that there’s really nothing going on and I don’t actually have to do anything,) and how much I need to sleep, and how much I need to have my own practice, and how much time I need to be with my husband, and how much time I need to have to myself, and how much time I need to just be open ended or else I’ll go insane. I put my head in the clouds, attempt to leap from tall building to tall building with only a cotton cape, and almost always fall on my ass or kick several undeserving folks in theirs for no reason other than I’m freaking out.
Know who’s fault that is? Mine. It’s all mine. No one has ever made me do more than I can, no one has even asked me to do more than I can do. I want to do it all because I want to help the folks who need help, but we don’t always want what is right. I forget that I have to realize that I am human and that saying, “No,” is always okay, even if the only reason is because I’m tired or it’s too much or it would cause me too much stress or because, frankly, I’d rather be playing fetch with my dog (aside from my yoga practice, that is my other house of worship.) I am not good at this NO business. In fact, I’m really bad. I occasionally manage to do it, but it doesn’t come naturally. The only way it gets easier, the only way I do more of it, however, is by actually DOING it. I learn kinesthetically. I can read and write about what I plan or want to do until I’ve memorized libraries on the subject, but until I get off my duff and make the magic happen, it doesn’t sink in.
This morning I was almost shaking I was so overwhelmed. Schedules, meetings, changes, sub dates, paperwork, playdates, visits – my head was spinning. I was already looking ahead to a big event that is happening in a couple of months and getting stressed out about that and … well, I was anywhere but right here, right now. I was so ungrounded I might as well have been a helium balloon floating on the wind. I closed my computer on something I was working on and headed outside. I’m a Midwestern / Southern girl – sometimes I need to get my hands dirty to clear my head.
I dug and poured, planted and weeded and watered. I spent a long time in Malasana planting lettuce and herbs and early strawberries and even taking a chance on a container tomato or two. As the dirt caked into the palms of my hands and snuck under my fingernails, I felt myself becoming more connected to the earth. Not only were my hands deep in the soil, my root chakra, Muladhara, was opening and grounding me. We all come from the earth and we will return to the earth. We can no more be super humans than we can be super heros. There’s only so much we can do, there’s only so much we are meant to do, and the lesson is not in how to do it all, but how to realize what and where our limitations are and to honor them.
A palm tree will not grow in Greenland. There are no lobsters in the desert. Snowmen don’t live in Mexico, you can’t get a T-Bone steak at a hardware store, and no human being can do it all.
Thank Elvis for that, right?
As time passed and I got dirtier and dirtier, I started feeling more optimistic about the way things are going. I can do one thing at a time and get it all done. Or not. I don’t have to worry about September because it’s not here yet. I can do what I can do and that’s all that I can do and I am okay with that. Mostly. Okay, I’m working on being okay with that. Everyone else is okay with me doing that, so I might as well be, too.
I went out to my little flower garden in the front yard and dug up all the weeds and grasses and leftover gunk from last year. It looked fresh and clean and open. I could have decided exactly what to plant and where to plant it. I could have tried to control it, but I know that even that would have been an illusion. Instead, I mixed up several packets of wild flower seeds and randomly sprinkled them onto the earth. I covered them with topsoil to hide their mystery and watered them to start their magic brewing. I don’t know what will come up, it’s a gamble, and I’m willing to let the universe take over. Sounds a lot like life, eh?
We cannot always control what the world gives us. We cannot control the weather or if our tomatoes will make it, or if any of the basil seeds the dog kicked over managed to stay in the soil (they’re tiny little buggers, I’m saying.) We can, however, control what we do, how we grow, where we choose to plant ourselves – in the sky or in the ground. I know where my roots grow best. Even if I forget from time to time, all it takes is getting down and dirty to remember.