Monday, September 3, 2012

She has discovered stairs. Lucky for her, and for me, my mom taught her how to safely go down them (on her tummy, feet first) so really, she's probably 85% guaranteed to have a safe journey. But that 15% freaks me out still, so she gets some boundaries set for her for a while longer. 

I know these boundaries breed in her a discontent.... She wants to MOVE, to explore, to grow... But for now, I have to do the wise, safe thing, and help her get there slowly. 

I know there's a metaphor here. I'm sure of it. But my own discontent of late is so heavy and thick, I'm not able to see through the fog of it to come up with a savvy, clever parallel to match my own current state of mind.  So forgive the just-out-of-reach, almost-there wise epiphanies that relate to my own "baby gates".... I haven't reached them yet. 

Instead, I'm right in the middle of my fog, and needing to vent it a bit, I suppose. 

I am restlessly, moodily discontent. 

I am chafing in this home.... All I see is clutter and "to-dos" and dust and work to be done and too much stuff and not enough cohesiveness, and no sense of loveliness and design to it.... Functionality, and that's it. And even that is compromised when a light bulb still needs changing or a towel rack is still waiting to be repaired. "Home" is not as cozy and peaceful as I need it to be. 

I am chafing in my pregnancy. I am horrified to find that especially this time around, "PREGNANCY" is not so much about this tiny, marvelous baby growing in me, as much as it is about the opportunity to MAKE EXCUSES. Pregnancy As Excuse Machine. I am horrified to admit that days go by without warm, motherly reflection of the little boy inside and his growing movements and his marvelous possibility.... Rather, "pregnancy" is a state of being that explains why I am unmotivated. Why I deserve a treat. Why I will take a nap and postpone a responsibility. Why I get to buy a new shirt. Why I get to say, "not tonight, dear." Why I will get take-out for my family's dinner instead of cooking. 

I'm pregnant. I'm tired. I deserve I deserve I deserve.............."

PREGNANCY equals EXCUSES. And I HATE it. And even after realizing it, I keep slipping right back into it. Where is the joy, the delight in this gift? I WANT this. I love being so. But where is the quiet meditation on what my body is capable of? Where is the stillness and reflection on the spirit of this individual within me? Where is the "I am WOMAN! Look what I can do!" roar? Why is it a vehicle for indulging every vice-laden piece of my personality right now?

I am chafing in the dribbling, never-ending tail of summer.... The "It's September! That means it's practically FALL!" feeling, only to step outside and drown in the muggy leftover heat of August....Happy autumn wishings crushed in one humid blow of the hot wind. September is cruel that way. I crave change in so many ways, and especially this year I am falling into the trap of WAITING for physical seasonal change before I kick into gear with my own changes. Like I can't "snap out of it" until the air has a snap in it. 

What a crock. 

And as the Master Excuse Maker I am of late, I go blaming September. 

Discontent. I am riddled with it. Daily I wake and tell myself to resume rituals and thoughts and activities that in the past have soothed me, healed me, and helped me be whole and mindful and joyful. I try to read books that center me. I try to listen to the music that heals me. I try to pep-talk myself into having a better day. I pray. Beg for a change of heart. Every one of these things works. For a minute. But too soon I am bogged down again, and I am lost in it. 

Last night, I picked up my Simple Abundance book... One more tool that usually works. And last night, the place my bookmark was already placed was the EXACT essay I needed to read. It was titled, "Divine Discontent: Learning to Live By Your Own Lights." Pieces of it were written directly to me, this very moment:

"The dissatisfaction you can feel....manifests itself in different ways. Suddenly you don't like any room in your house...Your clothes don't fit or look right on you anymore. You're bored with the meals you're cooking. You're sick of opening the front hall closet and covering your head. But worse, that expansive, even giddy hopefulness that came from starting to integrate gratitude into your life gives way to restless discontent."

Oh, how this exactly describes me! 

Sarah Ban Breathnach goes on to quote English historian Dame Cicely V. Wedgwood, "Discontent and disorder are signs of energy and hope, not of despair." She reassures me that what is going on here is part of the process...She says it is "the grit in the oyster before the pearl."

Ya know? She didn't continue the essay or the advice much further than that, but it was a start. Her words are giving me the reassurance that:

1. This is not going to last forever.
2. This is not a bad thing.... perhaps it is a refining era that is manifesting in growth I can't even see yet.
3.  I am on the right path, even if I don't see it ahead of me. 

Like I said about the baby gate.... I am sure there are some ridiculously remarkable conclusions to be made here. Some awesome lessons to grow from. A metaphor of feeling trapped, but really I'm just being held in this chafing spot while some kind of personal growth happens and I am stronger and more ready to move on... 

I don't have those conclusions. 

I still have thick, heavy discontent. 

But..... maybe it's getting better as I slog through it, and maybe I'm closer to the other end of it than it feels like. 

Til then.... what to do? I guess I will continue to read inspiring writing. Continue to listen to peaceful music. Continue to at least BE AWARE of the things I want to change-- the pregnancy excuse-making, the snappish moodiness, the September-loathing....Awareness is the beginning, right? And above all, I know I have to continue to pray. Ask for change in my own heart. Ask for that "grit in the oyster" to do its job and create something lovely out of the discomfort. 

I believe in that process. I'll see you on the other side.


  1. I think you are totally right, Discontent is a part of your growth right now. But you are writing again (yay!) and you are mindful of it all so I think you are further than you even realize. This whole entry made me think of this quotation:
    “I beg you, be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
    ― Rainer Maria Rilke

    I'm proud of you & can't wait to see you friday :)

  2. Emily, my dear Emily, I don't know how we happen to be in the same place at the same time so often, but it always amazes me how we can feel the same but you have the remarkable talent of being able to put it into beautiful, meaningful words. I think periods of waiting seem to always produce a bit of discontent and pregnancy, despite our best efforts to enjoy the moments, is, lets face it, a lot of waiting and painting on a happy face every day through the agony of the wait. This is my fifth pregnancy and practice has not made it easier. :) I love the hope in your post; the promise of the pearl. On Oct 4th I find out if my pearl will be boy or girl. Oh put in a prayer for me because I just don't know what I will ever do with four boys. Love you Em!


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