Hey! I'm Emily... homebody, amateur philosopher, professional photographer, mama and wife. This is my little world-- a place for me to preserve the little snippets of my life that bring me joy, make me think, or show my creative leanings. I'm so happy you're here. If you get a minute, please introduce yourself in the comments. If you like what you see, you are invited to follow my blog through your RSS Reader. Just click the link at the bottom of the page to add me.
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Monday, September 20

The Still Axis in the Center of the Wheel. I WANT This.

Life is…. Noisy. Wouldn’t you agree? There are kids yelling, laughing, asking, pulling… Spouses needing the scraps of you that are left after the kids get done with you. The house—the laundry, dishes, yard, small tornadoes caused by everyone in the house. The work— in your home or out of it, where you must be resourceful, innovative, creative, and efficient.  And then, if there is any time left, there are the extras—the friendships to grow and maintain, the social groups and activities, the hobbies and passions, the outside interests. The favorite TV shows. The internet—facebook, Twitter, blogging, message boards….
Life is…… NOISY.

Most times, we manage it. We might even thrive at it. I admit it:  I have done a pretty dang good job of coping. Balancing. Even succeeding at managing the mayhem and enjoying myself in the process.

But. I reached a point this summer where I realized that I had been MANAGING my life for so long, that I had forgotten how to find MEANING in it. I was burned out. Dried up. Tired. Uninspired. And sick and tired of the noise.

I was LOST. Really and truly lost. Somewhere between 2007 and today, I got lost. I managed to have a grand time in the fog--- I look back at the last three years and have nothing but gratitude for the journey and the experiences… But somewhere, even in the full little life I was leading, I still managed to lose myself.

Sometime in July, I picked up a small book I had read pieces of here and there, Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I turned to the page I had last been on, months before, and begun a chapter called “Moon Shell.” And read these words:

“…It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”  Pg 38

And here began a massive change, a shifting in my M.O. – my “modus operandi”, (approximately translated as "method of operating".) I read more, devouring Anne M. Lindbergh’s quiet, deep wisdom. Read like I was drowning—because I really kind of was. And in the middle of this inspired chapter, she presented an image that has become my lifeline. She said that we, as busy, modern women, are like wheels--- with relationships, obligations, and activities revolving around us, turning turning turning, busy busy busy… But that we need to learn to find stillness within this wheel--- to be the “still axis within the revolving wheel”.  She said that if we are not careful, the activities and “noise” of our lives will begin to act as “centrifugal forces” on our spinning wheel, and we will be pulled off center.

Aha. THIS was me.

My life, spinning around and around me, often too fast to really keep hold of--- photo sessions, play dates, due dates, bills, grocery shopping, trips, hobbies, naps, local friends, long distance friends… relationships… Dreams. Fears. Spinning, spinning…. And I had gotten to the point where even the good things were pulling me off center. ALL of it was. I had no STILL CENTER AXIS to my crazy wheel. And I had forgotten how to get back to center.

The more my noisy life barreled on, the less I knew how to refill my spirit, my soul, my “well”…. And I forgot how to truly tune in and grow and heal.

Lindbergh describes this feeling:
“…We are hungry, and not knowing what we are hungry for, we fill up the void with endless distractions, always at hand—unnecessary errands, compulsive duties, social niceties. And for the most part, to little purpose. Suddenly the spring is dry, the well is empty.” Pg. 41

That. Was. Me.

And it would seem that in a great, efficient, modern world like ours, there should be TIME to learn how to get one’s soul back… But the irony of having so much at the tips of our fingers is that “with our garnered free time, we are more apt to drain our creative springs than to refill them….We try to muffle [the soul’s] demands in distractions.” I have been so guilty of this!! Having forgotten how to really nurture my heart and spirit, I would lean towards “quick fixes” to feel soothed and comforted--- I would take extra naps… I would indulge in a pedicure. I might eat something sugary sweet. I might crash and burn out after a long week and end up in my pjs on the couch, doing NOTHING for three nights, becoming a zombie in front of crappy TV. Did any of these “comfort fixes” really FILL my well? Absolutely NOT. They were mere band aids for a hemorrhage of soul. They did not heal me.

Something had to give. Something had to change. I was in fear of losing my very SELF, and had not realized it for so very long... But for some reason, by the grace of God, I have been waking up to this issue, and have been handed some incredible inspirations and motivations to get me back on track. I know for an absolute fact that the Lord is absolutely carrying me through this time in my life, and that He is incredibly relieved I am finally waking up… ready to CHANGE. Finally.

So many things have been changing since this started in July… So many little epiphanies. So many incredible blessings. So much SYNERGY in the universe, pushing me along to my goals. I am so excited to share some of it. So excited to “preach it, sista”--- to get more women on board--to begin sifting through the NOISE and finding out how much of it is really necessary, and what we can let go of. I could be a motivational speaker with all the excitement I feel about these things! It’s borderline annoying. Ha! But really…

The thing is, I am a mess. Really. I am naturally lazy, totally chubby, I tend towards selfishness, I get competitive, I don’t brush my teeth every day. I’m not afraid to reuse something from a dumpster if it has potential. I watched the entire series of The Bachelor Pad. That’s gross. All of it.

But I am also always striving… Trying to change. To understand more. To grow. And for some blessed reason, I have been given an incredible opportunity this summer to wake up and try to change a little.

So. I’m gonna share some of it this week. I’ll try not to get all “Oprah” on you. I’ll remember to show you the not-so-ideal sides, too. I do NOT have it all figured out. But… I am feeling deep joy these days. And I want to share it.

So. That seems like more than enough for one post. TOO MUCH, probably. Yikes. Boring.

So I’ll come back tomorrow…. Write your eyes off a bit more tomorrow. For now, since I mentioned maybe adding some images once in a while, here are some shots from my busy little "Noah naptime" today. Both the good AND the messy:

So, I made jam. Then I made a trifle. Random, yes. But happy:

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That's a raspberry cheesecake trifle there. I had some cake that needed to be used, and trifle seemed easy. A cream cheese/whipped cream filling.... Raspberries/peaches/shaved semisweet chocolate...
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Mmm.... chocolate. Mini chocolate chips added for fun. How about that closeup!?

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But of course, all that busy kitchen-ness left me with all this:
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Pretty much EVERY dish, used.

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And more mess.... Plus the pretty little jars of jam I made:
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*sigh* LOTs to clean up, when all I wanted to do was go take a nap. So I took one more photo of the prize--- To remind myself it was worth it:

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And then I got back to work. And really, it didn't take too long to get back to this:
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And the resulting clean emptiness was ALMOST as good as the nap I missed. 

Almost. 

Off to bed with me, folks. Toodles!

7 comments:

  1. SO happy to hear more of your journey! I am hearing many of the same calls, and trying to figure out what noise brings joy and what brings something else...and the trifle is simply perfect!

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  2. First, that trifle looks amazing! Second, i totally hear what you're saying--that's why I love keeping the Jewish Shabbat so much. It's 25 hours of just BEING, instead of doing, of not being plugged into any device, just good food and friends and loving your husband and prayer. Without it, I'd be a mess. Not that that's the solution for everyone, because Judaism doesn't teach that, but just wanted to share my own experience with cutting out the "noise":)

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  3. You are so very, very inspiring, my friend. <3

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  4. You know what the crazy thing is? I mean CUH-RAY-ZEE? She wrote that book in 1955. NINETEEN FIFTY FIVE!!! So many times I hear the women around me (friends, family, strangers) saying that it's our modern era that has done this to us, giving us all this responsibility as women/wives/mothers/daughters/friends/etc. But the older I get and the more I learn about life, the more convinced I become that this is no 'modern' thing, but a 'WOMEN' thing. That we do this to ourselves out of our good natured desire to do everything we love all at the same time, and to please and make life easier for those around us - even at the expense of ourselves.

    Glad you and Anne had a little tete a tete and that you came away from it farther along your path than when you'd began. :)

    Also, JAM!!!! My envy is palpable over those little jars on your countertop. If I could, I'd string them on a necklace and wear them as jewels! You know, so if you wanted to produce a link to a recipe, that wouldn't be a bad thing...

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  5. Amen sister. Love this post. You should write a book your self I think!

    I was rambling once to a good friend about finding balance and she said to me, "yeah, I've been there. I realized I don't really want balance, I want the fulcrum. And that should be Christ."

    That really stuck with me.

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  6. YUM!!! what a beautiful creation. I always love to make trifles.. it always amazes me how many people think they are such a difficult work of art... and so easy peasy!
    What great reflections you are sharing with all of us. I am so with you on a bunch o these things as well! keep it up!!

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  7. Yum, yum, with a side of YUM! That looks beyond delicious!

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