eat, sleep (mostly nap), coffee, shower, feed, read, write, reply, apply, snack, stretch, read, write, snack, tea, read, look into space, …, more looking into space, write, scribble, file, reorganize files, read, write, slouch, grouch, welcome, bathe, tuck, Once upon a time there was a boy…, yawn, read, discuss, nap, sweat, awake, repeat.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the same, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
So many things happened in one year…and I am relieved it is over, as it has been among the toughest…and as you may know those are also the best teachers.
I am now a confirmed PhD Scholar and somehow managed to pull an amazing presentation last week. So what?
This has been by far the most unexpected, challenging and overwhelming year in terms of exploring my own personal knowledge boundaries, the way I think about knowledge(s), how I construct meaning around myself, and how I interpret the world (research and work just follows). I can now fully state that the more I dig and read and write, the less I know. There are, though, times of insights. Snippets of light. States of flow. When all of a sudden you climb up invisible stairs and you are able to look down and discern a pattern, a shape, a link…and that’s when I know this is my path, and I go on blindly following.
Ok, heavy speech I know, but what I mean is, I am super hyped that I was given this hardship, and that this bit is over, it is past me, I am on the other side now! Doing what we do, is not for the faint-hearted (as it turns out I am one)…support support and more support is what one needs not only when doing a full-time PhD, full-time mothering, and when you also what to be fully present for your partner, your home, community, interests, etc. When support is lacking or none, you end up like me. Totally overwhelmed, lost, and ultimately sick. My body has been struggling for the past 9 months to get me through, and not without fall-backs. I spent this first year permanently ill, all infections, maladies, fatigue, depression, anxiety, migraines, you name it… Naturally, when a cold persists for that long and you cannot catch up on rest, it gets into your mind and the way you start thinking about yourself. It consumes you. It conquers you. It wins.
Well, to bring out the light in all this, my illnesses and body, had ultimately thought me the best of lessons! Not until I began to listen, I managed to prioritize and pull myself together…Insightfully, at once and also very slowly, slowly opening up to my senses, listening to my feet, my stomach, my ears, my nose, my hair, my heart. I am determined to selfishly and selflessly devote myself to a better me, a healthier me, a sane me. With no better purpose such as to be a better mum, a better scholar, a better wife, a better friend. No.
Just for my own sake this time. And this is to be ME. Just ME. To accept me. No better versions of me, but this one. No better future ME, the one that comes with “if’s” and “should’s” and “oh, must-have’s”. I am who I am. It is what it is. And it is now. And now is all I have got.
You may try to give it a go. close-up the last chapter, the last year, the last project…and just be.
Have a brilliant YOU-day!
we feel like little thieves every Thursday morning when we drop off Sami to kindy, and instead of heading to the office, we head to… a date! No lipstick and heels, no fine dinner and bubbly, no dancing and midnight swims…those are long forgotten (for now, until Sami is off to college calling his parents on the weekend only to get to their voice mail, a-haa!).
We now go for a much humbler experience. A minute or two of uninterrupted coffee. We order, we sit, we wait, we gaze at each other, filled with the effort of recognizing and slowly remembering WHO that person was, how their hands felt, what their voice was, and then we are just walking and talking, and then some more talking. We sometimes have lunch, we sometimes have a picnic by the river, we go watch a movie. We even had a couple’s massage.
Then Stoyan goes for a late shift at the emptying campus. I pick Sami up, holding him a tad stronger, sniffing his hair a tad longer.
these are our date days. we like them.
Do you know about flow? That intense state of being, when you are engulfed in the present moment, totally devoted to what you are doing…immersed, to the point of no sleep (or getting up at 3 am to write), no food (I completely forget about meals, me? the foodie? yes!), no external world whatsoever, and totally loving it?!
Yes, I skipped my morning shower yesterday. And I even got to notice it, so maybe there is still some times when I switch off and leave my realm. On top of all, I am still recovering from a nasty cold, but I have found this to be a very flow-like time for me.
When I started my doctorate 6 months ago, I was initially completely lost, almost drowned in all the information out there that I just had to take in with no theoretical framework to hold it together, to contain it. And you know what this means? Just that. No. Framework.
It’s like a very complex painting that has no frame, and it is all over the wall, spreading outside of the room, leaving the premises of your house only to explode in a big blotch of colours, shapes and meanings. Quite post-modern, I may say…but only recently I became aware of this, and even of the above comparison. Because, clearly, we don’t know what we don’t know, until we go back and realize what we did not know.
Naturally, there was a havoc. All previous ideas, quite influenced by others, went to hell and I started my project from scratch.I am building it right now. Reading and writing, then doing more reading, and more and more…At times, I just want to throw it all away, as learning more about things and all the ramifications that come from a single piece of information, are utterly confusing. It creates tons of anxieties. It makes me feel so little.
I think I am beginning to see the scaffolding of things and this is what keeps me going, as I now have the shoulders of a giant to sit on, and this is very reassuring. As much as I wanted to be a pioneer I still need others’ shoulders (and other body parts presumably) to begin my own adventure from.
I guess what this all means is that I find meaning in what I do! And it is so rewarding! It is flow.
And thank goodness for husbands who take care of children in moments like these! I would have never done this without you. Period.
i have been a lucky gal. when i have a minute to pause i like to give thanks to my fate. it helps me stay focused on the right attitude that i have been trying to cultivate for some time instead of the ever so pressing urge to contemplate on the problems that are awaiting my attention. i sometimes achieve it and most times i don’t. it is a learning process, i guess. it never ends.
what i really appreciate today is simple, quite basic actually, but we do not usually recognize the simplest things in life, right? well, i stopped taking those for granted ever since i lost quite a few and i am most grateful for that, as now i know better how to appreciate the smallest of things…
– my family is healthy
– we finally have a home
– we have means of transportation and we are free to go anywhere (we can even afford gas)
– we can also afford to have food on our table (we got a table with 4 chairs for an amazing deal), clean water, hot water, towels and sheets, candles and soap
– internet (we missed that a lot. turns out life is not only easier with it, it is Possible with it)
– we have a bed, and one for Sami (bought second hand, as almost everything we own now; i personally painted it, and i am super proud)
– the old and antique bench that we revamped (got it for $5! a cup of coffee is $4!)
– my mum (her cheering voice is so warming even from the other side of the world)
– my grandparents (the first ones we called when we got a home phone installed)
– my amazing mentor and a supervisor Fiona
– espresso, dark chocolate and Stoyan cooking
– our wine glasses that we brought from Vegas filled with Australian red (also quite grateful for ibuprofen this morning)
– the park right outside our door with bats hanging from the palm trees
– the muddy Brisbane river, passing slowly by our neighborhood
– Saturday’s West End market
– found a fridge today, liked it, took it home and we no longer need to eat all our food asap
– Sami got a new scooter; the excitement!
– going to a house warming party tonight for a Bulgarian author whose book about Brisbane life we read while we were in Bulgaria; we are now friends!
– excited about watching a couple of new movies
– afternoon naps (about to dive in one right now, so i will have to put a pause on this endless list)
what are you most grateful for today?
This I found on my husband blog that I have written 2 and a half years ago…gotta say, still agree with it 100%.
to be continued…