I'm home again on a Monday afternoon with my daughter who's got a cold. Her first year of schooling has been pretty good to us, but this past month has been a doozy. She's feeling pretty rotten so we read extra books today, snuggled into my bed. I was just finishing a chapter of Tow Truck Pluck when I noticed her little body had become extra heavy and soft in the crook of my arm. Sleeping children are so mysteriously heavy. I closed the book and just laid there with her a while, relieved she'd found some comfort and wondering how many more times she'll fall asleep in my arms. It is an immense gift to be the arms where she falls asleep. It's a thing I often overlook when considering what I want more of in my life. It's what we want for ourselves too, a warm, soft place. Once we notice what we want, how do we get it?
A friend was telling me about a new adventure into a field she's been exploring. She has been finding such satisfaction in learning and success in practicing that it's really exciting to witness. We both had to run off in different directions so I wished her well one more time and then she said, "Oh! I wanted to tell you: I'm so impressed by what [mutual friend] is doing with her blog, isn't the writing amazing?? And she's managing to do it on top of being a fabulous Mom too...Amazing, isn't it?" Apparently there was a limit to my magnanimity because my next thought was are you fucking kidding me? My Grandma always said my face reveals all, so I did my best to wave appreciatively and quickly walk to my car. Where I cried. Byron Katie says, "you're either attaching to the thought or you're observing the thought, there is no other way." Somehow the tears signaled me that this reaction was worth observing instead of indulging. I listened: That praise was supposed to be for ME...... The deal is I congratulate you on all your great stuff and then you congratulate me, not someone else. Where is my praise for writing a blog and juggling it all and being generally awesome?? Sometimes noticing what we want comes in sweet, snuggly moments when we discover "ah...this is exactly what I wanted and I hadn't even realized it" and other times we notice what we want when we're wiping snot on the sleeve of a party dress: "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to" style. Either way, the noticing is the gift and everything else was always illusion. It would appear that I want more praise for my efforts. How will I get that? I can do the inside work. That doesn't mean that I stop asking others for what I want, the asking is also a very worthy practice and I am richly deserving. Before asking outside myself, though, can I get what I want within myself? What I discovered through questioning was that I was looking for my friend to give me confidence. Based on perceived lack I had decided to go out looking for it. I can ask and ask and will find no satisfaction in hearing from others what is already lacking inside me. I am beginning to notice that it has to exist in me to recognize it in the world. I decided to praise myself, have a little celebration of fresh cut flowers on the way home. Confidence will come and go, like so many other feelings, and I'll be OK. In the low ebbs, though, why not heap on some extra love? It's what we all want and we have it in abundance.