Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 164: Time, Connection, and Stuff

There's something wrong with the way we're living when everyone you meet agrees that there aren't enough hours in the day, when stress is considered normal and no one gets enough rest and relaxation to recharge and face another day or week.

And the logic follows then, that there's something wrong with the way I'm living. Because when I peel back all the layers covering my struggle to see beyond behavior to the heart, it all comes down to time, connection and stuff.

Not long ago when I had one child, no job, fewer relationships and no volunteer responsibilities, I had time to engage in the kind of connection and communication my relationship with Jackson needed. I was able to take our days at a slower pace and actually sit and eat lunch with him instead of frantically trying to do dishes and sweep floors or get Max to sleep while he eats alone. I was able to get some much needed relaxation and me-time just by going to the park and watching him play in the splash pad while I read a book in the sun. I was able to read to him and play during the day instead of being glued to a computer screen trying desperately to catch up on a workload that just keeps growing.

It's easy to blame myself for being impatient when he needs to take his time (Ahhhh! We're late again!?) or to feel guilty about not engaging him the way I used to or as often. But the reality is that I haven't changed, our life has. I'm still the same person with the same capacity for love and patience, I've just slowly become overloaded by more and more stuff. Stuff that is eating up the time and energy I need to connect and be present with him.

Of course Maxwell was the first and biggest change (and I think we'll keep him :D), but very quickly after him came one responsibility after another and eventually my relationship with Jackson got crowded out. He got less and less of my time and attention and it's now culminating in issues of jealousy with Max and desperate attempts to reconnect with me through negative behavior. (And here come the tears)

I can't believe it took me so long to finally see what was lying underneath it all. The change was so gradual - adding one thing, then another - that I couldn't see how far we had strayed from what used to be normal for our relationship.

But now it's clear that the behaviors I've been fighting against and trying to control (in him and myself!) have been pleas for me to come back to him, let go of the stuff and give him the connection he needs and the time he deserves.

I was forgetting how intuitive and in tune with my energy he is. He's so painfully aware that when I'm with him, I've got a million other things running through my head - I'm not really there like I used to be. I may have convinced myself that I was giving him what he needed, but he knew better.

I'm so proud and so thankful that the connection we built early on left him unsatisfied with my leftovers. Only his refusal to accept the scraps of my time and energy would ever be enough to pull me back to center and right our relationship.

So on to the work. Learning new tools is helpful and I always want to pursue growth. But trying to manage the feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger that swell up when I'm stressed and overwhelmed is like putting a bandaid over a gaping wound. Something bigger needs to change. The stress itself has to go, and that means addressing the stuff.

Because I am enough. I have enough patience, enough love, enough energy, enough of everything, even time, for the things that are truly important. Finding myself in this constant state of frenzy - rushing everywhere, always behind, too stressed to connect - isn't because I'm not enough, it's because the "stuff" is too much.

And as I end on that thought and soak in its truth, I'm struck with the reality of having to move on to making decisions about what can stay and what needs to go. No easy task and a good topic for tomorrow.

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