Friday, March 25, 2011

Why a (lovely) blogging conference made me feel ashamed

I bought my ticket to the first Australian bloggers' conference as a birthday treat for myself, months before the event. I wasn't updating my blog much, but at least I kept up reasonably well, for me, with reading and commenting on other people's.

But in those months between buying the ticket and actually going, I got so busy with

the children and the baby,

Christmas and New Year,

with going back to school and one starting kindy,

with writing my column,

with birthdays and then, more lately, with hospital and doctors' visits,

that I decided even reading and commenting on my handful of favourite blogs could drop off my priority list.

I almost didn't go the conference, and I'm glad I did because it reminded me that blogging is essentially all about people and relationships. And the best blogging is about real people being authentic and connecting with others.

It reminded me that if I write something, it should never just be for me, for my own self-expression. It should always, at least a little bit, be for others too.

The most lovely blogging stories - there were examples at the conference - come from when a person communicates their very self on their blog, and then are surprised by love, real concern, real support, real connection, in reply.

The term 'comment love' is very apt.

I felt ashamed not because I took time out from my computer in an overwhelming season of life. I had to do that.

It was because it was so easy for me to forget the women behind the blogs I had followed, including one whose ill husband I had prayed for.

And the kicker? Which I realised with sick guilt at the conference.

I'm not just like this with virtual friends, but with my 'in real life' friends and my family as well.

It's too often out of sight, out of mind with me.

So concerned with my own cares, that I hardly give a thought to anyone else's.

And then, left inside behind the door in my own head, my own small problems seem so big! They fill up the room, and they're all I can see.

I'm not very good at community. But I know it is everything.

Life is better done together. Everything and always.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When I'm terrorised by my to-do list

I thought I'd learnt this already but I evidently need reminding. That I'm not a slave to my to-do lists. A list is supposed to serve me, not the other way around.

But there's a lot of good stuff that I know that I don't live.

I have such a love-hate relationship with my daily lists. It's as satisfying to grab these pesky thoughts fluttering around my head and pin them onto a piece of paper as it is to crisply cross the items off - call x, send birthday card for y, school mufti day, pay the phone bill.

But I only think I kill those pesky thoughts. In fact they aren't the real problem, they are only the offspring of the anxiety in my heart. And that I can't quite kill off.

Not by myself anyway.

It all starts out fine. This time I was worried about forgetting something so on top of my daily list I made a meta list of the random things I needed to do as a priority and the day I needed to have them done by.

There were ten items on the list. Each was important, and seemed doable within the week.

The first item was to enrol my two littlest into the local occasional care centre. I had got a call two weeks ago telling me I'd come up on their waiting list for membership and I was afraid at this rate they'd figure I didn't want it anymore and offer it to someone else.

Do forms tonight, take tomorrow I had written.

That night, when I laid the baby onto my bed (he won't sleep in his cot!) it was with the intention of going straight from there to my desk. But he looked so sweet there that I lay next to him for a second - and of course only woke up very groggily when my husband came to bed at nearly midnight.

I was annoyed at myself, annoyed at him for letting me have the rest I obviously needed. "I've got things to do," I moaned.

Those forms were still on my mind the next day. I still hadn't crossed it off the day after, and every time I looked at that list I got a little stab of anxiety at seeing very little crossed off it at all.

Finally I got a chance to go to the centre, and guess what? There was no urgency, the director told me. There is actually another thing they need from me, a copy of a doctor's letter, and I still haven't got around to doing those forms and it's ok.

Why do I let a list that I have written myself, which is just a group of lines and squiggles, determine whether I have a 'good' ie. productive day, and a 'bad' ie. unproductive one?

Why do I get so discouraged and feel like a failure if I haven't achieved things on my lists?

Why do I get so puffed up and proud of myself when I 'get things done'.

Why do I keep letting myself believe that the doing of these types things are more important than the one thing necessary?

To be. To really, authentically, be really, me, in this moment. And to stay close to my lovely ones.

The most important things I do are not the kinds of things I tend to write onto lists.

Yes, I remember this.

Maybe the most important thing I do tomorrow is to take my boy for a walk to look for big sticks. Like I did the week before this latest manic list episode.

 I noticed the sky.

Yep, tomorrow I will notice the sky again. I don't need to list that.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Turning around

I feel as though I am in a waltz with God, sometimes. I had spun out, so wide (did he do that, or did I?) and am now curling back towards his embrace again.

It is Lent, and so I am turning back, keeping pace with sombre music, because it is dark out there on the limits called self-reliance. Dark and very cold. I move (am drawn) towards the light.

Yes I trust in you. I do.

And yet, of course I don't. But he is grace and so I hope to see his face again at Easter's dawn.

This blog is doing a turn-around too. I am too lazy to start up a new blog with new themes, or to think of another blog title so I'll just keep this old one going.

It will be my little, quiet corner. Which won't contribute to the clutter in this house the way that notebooks and bits of scribbled-on paper do.

And I'm going to try not to compete with the many so much better writers out there. The ones I love to read because they hold up a mirror to my own soul.

In writing here, as in life, I'm going to try to be appreciative, not jealous. Generous, not self-indulgent. And at peace with my own ah...distinct lack of brilliance.

I hope to start afresh. And I hope to make some sense, to someone.

Don't we all?

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