chop wood, carry water

(TMI warning: I talk about my cervix, and a recent assault on it, in this post... if that sounds unpleasant to you, you may want to skip the section I'm labeling "TMI" below)

you've heard this wisdom, no?

before enlightenment, chop wood carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood carry water

Well, now you have.  I think it's pretty self explanatory, but if you need to know more you can pretend that google is the same as "Ask Jeeves"used to be like I always do.  (what is Ask Jeeves?  Why, it's your personal internet butler of course!)

After that search I realize I may not agree with the google answer to the question.  To me, this wisdom is about recognizing that "enlightenment" or progress on the soul/spiritual path doesn't change the nature of life on earth.  The basics must always be addressed... if there's going to be firewood and water, you're going to have to chop and carry it.

I've had an interesting week (and it's only Wednesday!).  On Monday I arrived at the OBGYN and had an unexpected colposcopy in response to an abnormal pap. I was tended to by Dr. Wonderful who was extremely thorough and relatable and conscientious and just all around great.  She explained that the colposcopy was going to check out my cervix under different lights and magnification to see if there was anything of any significance that they'd want to biopsy (she doubted that she would because my abnormal results were pretty profoundly insignificant) and I was going to get to watch the whole procedure on a TV screen above my head (awesome!  i love stuff like that.  i was totally bummed when the mirror got kicked out of the way when I was giving birth).  

not my cervix.  mine is much prettier.
i wish i had taken a picture.
TMI begins: So, I lie there for 30 minutes while i watch her assault (all the while being quite friendly and encouraging) my poor cervix from every angle.  She swabbed, she poked, she jabbed, she smudged...  and then despite the fact that my pap results were profoundly insignificant she wanted to biopsy 7 places.  7.  That's 7 more than nothing.  

Then, I watched (what under the super magnification looked like) giant metal jaws take juicy bites out of my poor, sweet cervix...  And all of this was fascinating at the time  because I was forcing myself to see it that way.

She was still certain that it was all nothing, she would call me in a week with the results and I should prepare to hear that everything is fine and the tissue she took is just scarring from a previous HPV infection--no biggie/all adventurous girls have it.  (by the way, she called this afternoon--2 days, not a week, later--and everything is absolutely fine.  all clear.  so basically she just left my cervix looking like it had been attacked by jungle animals for fun...)

end of TMI

Later that day I finally realized  it was okay for her to be wonderful, for the view to be fascinating, and for me to still be traumatized.  So, there I was... triggered, with a nagging pain in my belly... sending love to my cervix and quite taken with exactly how fucked up a headspace I had gotten into by the end of it all.

Lucky for me (and all of you!) I knew this had little to do with the procedure in the doctor's office.  The blog post I wrote on Monday isn't one I wanted to write.  Shortly before writing it I realized I was GRUMPY.  Super duper grumpy.  Super awful rotten sauce grumpy--I have to blog but I have nothing to say so I'm just not going to do it grumpy…  until the little voice said "this is a sign that you should definitely be writing tonight.  go.  it'll be okay."

and it was!  I am really happy with what came out!  I love the experience of sitting down completely resistant and uninspired and then ending up with something I feel connected to.  I was so happy that I listened to the little voice and I went to bed completely aware that the great writing experience was not the resolution to the grumpiness but was probably a shaking loose of a block that was holding back something...

I woke up even crankier  and I could tell I was feeling really ugly and nasty about the whole OBGYN experience… but I also knew that couldn't be what this was really about… and I wanted to know what was underneath all of it.  So, I sat in the discomfort and waded through all the negative self talk and shame about not being more on top of my health and all the other ugliness that came up.

and finally... after a day of trying to keep myself out of my head and luring myself into my heart (by snuggling in a blanket/shawl, curled up in my desk chair, with my head resting on the back all morning in conference calls at work, favorite thai noodles via a sunshiney walk at lunch, first sorting into Roy G Biv order/then consuming peanut m&ms, and finally ranting/bawling to Angry Wombat over the phone) I found myself in a safe enough to place to recognize what's beneath the triggers I experienced

...and I got to be face to face with a part of myself that I still don't love (shit, there are those still?).  I have been so intent on being grateful to the process that got me here that I haven't really done the work to go back and recognize that I still resent the version of me who made the choices that led to this path and not only choose to be grateful, but to completely have compassion for her and forgive her.

I have, buried under the gratitude for the experience of the journey, an enormous amount of resentment and regret towards the past ten years of my life…  and when I first confront that resentment I am greeted with the story that if I had the courage to  take off to new york at 18 that I would be where I want to be right now…  that instead of having to work for someone else I would be working for myself already…  that instead of discovering something i loved to do after years of doing things less satisfying I would have started where I found the most fulfillment and built on that foundation instead of starting in the dirt…  that i never would have met bfo…  that instead of being responsible for the life of this five year old boy I would have either known myself well enough to see that I wasn't matched to the task or I would have chosen a partner whose strengths would compliment mine in a supportive partnership.

of course, that's bullshit.  of course i would have made other mistakes and they would be just as essential to my story as the ones I did make are…  and a whole bunch of those things aren't mistakes at all!

and because gratitude is light and airy and isn't a conducive material for burying things under I bury those stories by trying to do too much.  I am still trying to do too much… like it's a race.  Like somehow i can make up for lost time by pushing myself to the limit… and of course, because I don't actually practice perfection anymore, I can't…  I can't do it all, and I end up doing little or nothing instead, and that feels even worse.

after being confronted with this truth i thought a lot yesterday about what "work" I was going to do to start healing some of this resentment and i came up with ideas like talking to myself in the mirror and writing down the things older versions of me had "done" and then forgiving them… but i decided that all of that is still too much.  

Instead, for today (starting small), I was not going to do anything I didn't feel like doing (unless of course doing it was essential to keep my job, home, or parental status).  So, even though I paid to be a part of the Chakra Photo Project, if I don't feel like reading the emails and taking the photos, I'm not going to (because what's really more important, $60 or my sanity? besides the opportunity to participate doesn't go away when the class ends, I'll just be doing it on my own)…  If I don't feel like doing the Compassion Course reading, I'm not going to.  If I don't feel like reading the Receiving Project emails and setting intentions for the day, I'm not going to.  If I don't feel like doing any work that will uncover more old stuff, I'm not going to.  I'm not going to be actively trying to make progress on any personal projects… I'm just going to be.  I'm going to take care of myself, my kid, and my relationships… and I'm going to do that for as long as I need to do it to feel the glimmer of motivation to engage in something outside of myself again.  And when I do, I'm not going to try and "catch up" on anything I've missed… I'm going to start where I left off and maintain my own pace, or I'll just skip something (and only go back later if I feel like it).  It's probably a pendulum swing in the opposite direction and isn't the balance I'm looking for in the long run, but it's where I'm going to start.  

One main reason for my resolution for the day is that I'm afraid that if I don't adjust my attitude about work and parenting I am going to make myself miserable very quickly.  The reality is that I have a full time job working for someone else and I rely on the income I get from it to support myself and spiderman... and spiderman, he's a big job too.  All of the the things I've taken on lately are for me... which is what makes them different from the kinds of things I said yes to before (those were about pleasing others) and when I'm at work or with spiderman I am focusing on how work and spiderman are keeping me from the things that I want to be doing for me... When work is over and spiderman is in bed I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things I have/want to do and dont know where/how to start AND am bogged down by disappointment in myself for being sub-par at work and being a shitty mom (I'm not really... Just being overly harsh to make a point) and I'm not getting anywhere (fast enough, good enough, blah blah enough).  

I need to make meaning out of these two parts of my life if I am going to be resilient enough to give them a combined 14 hours of my day and still have something left for myself, my projects, and my relationships. 

So, that was the intention for today.  Just be in the present elements of this life and ENJOY them, because they are beautiful. Stop looking for satisfaction outside of what i already have.  Love the moment now and let that love attract more like itself at the pace that the universe decides is going to be best.  Basically apply the same formula I did to loving myself as a person to loving my life.   Should be a piece of cake. *wink*

Chop wood (go to work) and carry water (be a mom).  Simple and essential foundations to supporting my life.

...And it worked really well for the first couple hours this morning, I was able to see and acknowledge the projects with a gentle nod, knowing smile, and a whisper "i'll see you again soon," i found myself enjoying my morning routine and having more fun with spiderman, and I was even looking forward to immersing myself in the creation of a catalog for this event I'm planning at work... and then I got there and was immediately struck by some crippling anxiety.  

And now I get to figure out what that's all about.  Lucky me. :)  

If you made it this far, you're a champ.