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.