Friday, May 14, 2010

Leave Room to Breathe

(Wow-according to the count on my Dashboard, this is my 201st post!  That's a lot of writing.) :)

And an update:  The healing vibes are already doing their job...thank you!

"Leave Room To Breathe"

Tonight is my son's spring festival at their school.  I've known about it for quite awhile.  We are planning on attending.  They've been asking for volunteers forever and for food donations for the cake walk...and yet, I have volunteered neither my time nor my albeit-beginner cooking skills for this evening.

I am not an absent mommy as far as the school is concerned.  I'm fairly active in the PTO.  I was a chaperone for a recent field trip.  I've created documents and surveys, volunteered time, money, and very basic food throughout the past several months.  (Why do I feel the need to include all of this?!)

There is another upcoming half marathon that my lovely, determined sister would like to do in a week or so.  She doesn't want to do it alone and has asked for me to join her.  I'm not going to.

I am not a flake.  I love my sister and I love running.  I would love to say I did two half marathons in a month.  The course is gorgeous in an area in which I grew up.  (Why do I keep adding this?)

Why am I not volunteering or running the marathon or any of the other countless things that are on my mind, that would fulfill both myself and help others, that I know I should and possibly even want to do?

Because all I have left is room to breathe.  And as the days go on, I am becoming more and more protective of that space.

What is filling the rest?  My daughter's laughter as she chases the dog.  My son's careful determination in figuring out the words on the page.  My husband's snuggles after a long day at work.  The laundry that I'm finally - or for now - staying caught up on.  The painting I've had in my mind that has made its way through fingers onto the page.  The bills I just paid.  The food I'm throwing into the microwave.  My soul.  My sanity.  My life.

When I start fretting over what isn't, what I'm not doing, what I could or should be doing....regardless of how "good" that Other might be, I start cramming out what Is

In this gift bag of my life have been placed countless gifts, along with ample room to breathe and to add some tissue paper to make it pretty.  To everyone else, it looks like there is room for plenty more.  So many of us look at our gifts in the same way.  "There's space - lookie there!  Fill it!"  But when we do that, we tighten the packing.  We press in our chests and our lungs and shorten our breath to make room for just a little more.

Finding the strength to be me involves breathing with every step I take.  If I lift a weight and forget to breathe, it won't be a pretty trip to the hospital.  If I say yes to each thing I feel I want to do and should do and forget to breathe, I will all too soon start feeling light-headed and most likely wake up one day in a life I don't recognize.

So tonight, we'll go to the festival.  I'll feel guilty for not volunteering.  If my sister goes through with the half marathon, I will be there to cheer her on.  I'll feel a little twinge of jealousy for not crossing the finish line.

Yet as I finish the post and go to play with my daughter, as I finger the art I just created in preparation for this post, as I savor each bite of the leftovers I'm about ready to eat, I'll breathe.  Deep and easily.

For you, I wish room to breathe.


  1. Oh this is a very good reminder for me today Lisa. Thank you!
    Just breathe...

  2. Another beautiful post, Lisa.

    Don't feel guilty. Seriously.

    I had to put on a huge Spring like festival at my school last week--and I've just had way too much on my plate this year that I opted out of things that I usually do--or I delegated them to others. I didn't feel guilty one bit for taking care of myself first.

    Believe me, the Spring festival will be a huge success with or with out your brownies or cupcakes...but life would be less then perfect if you didn't have the energy to be wonderful you!

    Big hugs!

  3. such mindful thinking. LOVE this. I think we all need this reminder from time to time. We can nurture so many, and save ourself for last. Rest, Breathe, and Enjoy all those beautiful things you mentioned. xoxo

  4. Thank you, Lisa. We are not perfect - none of us are. We make mistakes. We forget things. We are HUMAN. We can be very difficult on ourselves - I know this first-hand! Sometimes I am SO wracked with guilt over things. I need to remember the positive side of things but just the negative. To learn, and move, and grow. And I shall definitely remember to do as you advise - Leave room to BREATHE. Enjoy the evening with your son - that is what's most important! Theresa

  5. Fabulous!! Glad you are feeling better. I too am getting more protective of spending my time the way I want to spend it. We don't need to do it all and the world won't fall apart if we pass this time around!

    Thanks for the beautiful post and sharing yourself so beautifully!

    Kathy over at Everyday Bliss

  6. Lisa,

    Although I would love to have you run by my side, (if I go), I would much rather you take time to breathe. I'm glad you're feeling better, enjoy the festival!

    love, your lil sis

  7. I saw stress described as this once: "when your mouth says yes and your stomach says no."
    Don't worry about it. Seriously, it sounds as if you are doing MORE than your share! Sometimes you gotta just enjoy the festival and not do all of the work or any of the work!
    hugs, CHeryl

  8. it's funny how automatic breathing should be... and yet it isn't. thank you for this reminder and for visiting me today!!

    like you i am really looking forward to kelly rae's flying lessons. i can't wait!!