Recovering Super Mom
With spring finally here (or is it? Still frickin’ cold here in KC!) our instincts kick in to clear the clutter, shift the closets from winter to summer clothes, and clean out the old brush in the flowerbeds. But how many of us have thought about clearing our calendars?
I am a fully recovered calendar crammer. I was reminded of how far I have come yesterday, when a good friend and neighbor asked if I would be on a steering committee for a worthy cause. The poor thing must have been shaking in her boots when she typed that email because she apologized a dozen times for even asking me! I must have a reputation now :) Those types of requests used to make me panick and break out into a cold sweat. Now, I either say “no thank you” in my nicest June Cleaver voice, or tell them what I CAN do and what I CAN’T do (i.e. meetings – can’t stand them) so no one is disappointed!
But that isn’t how it used to be: my calendar once resembled Boing 707 blueprint. And many of the things on there I dreaded, like meetings, meeting, and more meetings.
I thought there was something wrong with me: everyone else was on committees, boards, and chairing some benefit…and they seemed to like it. What the hell was the matter with me? The thought of going to a Children’s Mercy Hospital fundraising gala meeting made my skin crawl. Did I have coal in my heart that I didn’t want to help poor, innocent, sick children?
Then I had an epiphany about 2 years ago after reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose . He says that we should feel either joy, satisfaction, or neutrality when we do things. If there is something that we strongly dislike to do, we should either change our attitude towards it or stop doing it. Well, I certainly was doing a lot of things that really had a negative impact on my day, so something had to change.
I couldn’t help thinking, though, that it was still my problem. The world needs volunteers, damn it, and if I am going to be a good person, I needed to suck it up and do my part! I’ll MAKE my body like it, even if I felt anxiety when the impending meeting was approaching.
Than another clue: in my readings of Deepak Chopra, I realized that the body DOES NOT LIE. If my body is feeling physically ill at the thought of something, then I am not on my right path. Listen to my gut, it will always steer me in the right direction. OK, gut, here I go!
So I systematically got off every board, committee, and volunteer gig I was on. I said “no” (very nicely) to ANY opportunity that gave me a gut twinge. Slowly and surely, saying “no” wasn’t that hard. Eventually, I had my entire calendar cleared. Aaaahhhhh.
Every once in a while I second guess myself when I run into a “super mom” doing everything perfectly: she is on every gala committee in town, works in the classroom 5 times a week, gets up at 5am to train for her marathon, has perfect breasts AND perfect hair (*itch). But, I gently remind myself, we all have different capacities, and I am doing my part. Raising 4 kids in a kinder, more present way is giving back to society. Having time to cook with whole foods from scratch for the health of my family is giving back to the universe. Being a happier person so I can spread the love…big time benefit for everyone. And, I have even been able to find volunteer work that I find life giving.
You can do it too! It isn’t that hard. Just start paying attention to the things that make you CRINGE when you see them on your calendars…and stop doing them! There are plenty of people out there that like to do the things that you hate to do…trust me.