Monday, June 25, 2012 why DON'T I?

I just finished reading this article in Whole Living Magazine about the Tao.

(cue freak-out from my religious friends who think I'll be a pagan/Buddhist/atheist/Jew at any moment...)

It's been awhile since I've read anything about the Tao. 

Last time, I was in college.

I was dating this guy who was supremely down-to-earth.  Not a boring down-to-earth, but a rich, soulful, grounded down-to-earth.

The kind of guy who sits up in his boxers playing jazz saxophone until three in the morning and tops it off with a joint, fine wine, and reading Anne Rice

He had the most interesting books, music, and philosophy piled in his cave-like basement bedroom, and introduced me to the wonders of Blues Traveler, Charlie Parker, Dead Poets Society, and The Tao of Pooh (did I mention the guy had an affinity for A. A. Milne?).

I read these books and listened to this music ravenously, and not just because I was trying to impress the guy, but also because I was genuinely interested.

And so...  long story not that much shorter, when I came across this article regarding the Tao in the magazine this evening, I was not wholly unfamiliar with the idea.

Of course, this time, I was approaching it as a married (NOT to this guy) mom of two who has her very own interests, a small-time career in the art world, and a shaved head.  Basically, I'm a far-cry from my nineteen-year-old self.

The first time I read, I took in the ideas, but this time, I nodded knowingly.  I embraced more fully.  I grasped more intentionally.  That fully developed frontal lobe has its benefits.

As I was reading I remembered how much the tao had to say about "going with the flow" and "trusting your instincts".  Those two things are catch phrases for nothing.  We really should much of the time.

It's funny.

There are so many times in my life where I look at something, or think of something, and think - I'd really like to do that right about now... but I don't.

I wrote these "mom goals" for myself a few years ago (I don't recommend this) and every once in awhile I visit them.  Mostly, they just serve for making me feel like a huge failure because the fact is, I really just don't do the things I set out to do there on that paper.  But... I want to.

One of those things is swimming every morning.

I can only imagine how much more amazing my life would be if I actually got off my butt and went to the pool every single day and started everything off with just a half hour of water awesomeness.  I love swimming more than just about anything.  I enjoy it more than running, hiking, walking, boxing, yoga - all that crap.  There's nothing that can compare to the water.

So why don't. I. do it?


I think about going to the water.  The thought thrills me.

And then something inside my body rebels.  It says "don't do it!  You'll get cold!  You'll have to shower after!  You'll be taking time away from your family!"  And those three things are enough to keep me home.

That...and the insane amount of busy-ness I've let accumulate in my life.

I haven't made any resolutions for this New Year.  And here I am writing something in January that you won't get to read until June... but I want to make this one promise to myself...  that I'll quit the busy-ness crap.  Seriously.  It's getting to me.

Most of you know I'm a theatre person.  I like that part of my identity.  It makes me special and different and associates me with a set of talented, intelligent, and creative people who are generally accepting, supportive, and fun.  The problem with being a theatre-person is that it is all-consuming.  During the rehearsal process and shows theatre trumps literally everything.  The longer I'm a mom and wife the more that bothers me.

Right now, I'm directing Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle.  I'm excited about the process and what will certainly be an exceptional product.  But when I looked at the schedule I'd made I realized that show week we trumped my daughter's dance class.  We knocked out my son's cub scout meeting.  We ditched swim team several times to make room for rehearsals.  And that's... well that's just wrong.  Selfish.  And wrong.

I have been so used to making theatre the Most Important Thing that I neglected to think about the ACTUAL Most Important Thing: the people I love.

Some show shouldn't matter to me more than spending time with my kids.  Than taking my kids to their chosen activities.

And this isn't me saying that parents shouldn't have their own interests, because trust me, it's a vital necessity, but it is me saying that for is probably going to have to go - at least until my kids are older - until I can approach it more on my own terms...until I can get to a place (if that place exists) where the craft doesn't own me...I own the craft.

And thus and so for the rest of my life.

Why should everything around me have so much power over me?

I get up in the morning and I WANT to eat an apple, but I eat potato chips because I feel a craving and I cave to it because it feels good for that moment even though I knew it wasn't what my body wanted or needed in that moment.

I don't go swimming because I've decided and programmed my brain to tell me every time I think on it that it's going to be more trouble than it's worth - forgetting the amazing pay-off for the follow-through.

Right now I'm in the throws of ...Chalk Circle and planning this bus trip with the fam. and trying to get out from under our house and taxi-ing our children hither and yon...  And it feels like this is not really the time to get out there and do the things I want to do...but if not now, when?

Now...  how to fit this into my already intensive schedule...  and which pool to try first.

What aren't you doing right now that you WANT to be doing?  What's holding you back?


Jeff said...

I remember C.S. Lewis writing about the Tao in the epilogue to one of his books - I think it was the Screwtape Letters. Or maybe the Abolition of Man. So not so scary. Although C.S. Lewis also wrote about witches and magic...

Anyhow, this post makes me want to work on the comedy web series bouncing around in my head.

Missy said...

Jeff - please oh PLEASE make a comedy web series!!!

Heather said...

I actually LOVED the Toa of Pooh (totally a Mile fan- in fact I just found my books and started reading them aloud to my boy) and owned it back in college. It was actually what helped me understand faith and the Holy Spirit when I later embraced Christ. Or better wording would be to say it prepared me to understand living by faith and doing the next thing instead of worrying about the future which I was prone to do. :)

Missy said...

There is a lot of cross-over in other religions with Christianity. I feel that, as it says in several places in the Bible, all people have an understanding of God - it may manifest in different ways. We may get it wrong... but everyone has a concept, and sometimes those concepts can be found outside of what we would consider our own religions. I find it interesting and odd that so many people around me associate my caring for the environment with paganism, for instance, when I see the command to steward the world right there in Genesis. So many pieces of the Truth are out there for us to claim.

Mari said...

It's interesting that you mentioned this. Only in the past year have I gotten back into theatre. When my children were little I stepped away for exactly the reasons you cite. A show is too all-consuming to leave time to care for children or spend time as a family. What's blown my mind is how many people in my theatre circle just. don't. get that. They express amazement that I put MY passion on hold to pursue my desire to care for my growing family. As if, somehow, being a wife and mother isn't "really" a passion, not a thing to pursue and dedicate time to. It just makes me sad for those people.

I don't regret a single moment of the decade I spent with my girls and my husband instead of learning lines, working blocking, doing rehearsals, and costume fittings. And I'm loving that now that I have the time and energy to pursue my passion again, my girls are eager to pursue it with me.

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