My last post was on Cinco de Mayo when Joe and I had a beautiful walk in the woods, which were green and bursting with spring lushness. Since then I have been making slow progress on my 2015 intentions, specifically the massive house reorder a’ la Marie Kondo. My weeks are divided between working at the medical clinic, and keeping my house. Last week we went adventuring with all our boys, both sons and the Portland nephews, on a bike camping trip in Eugene. It was really fun. We had a wonderful dinner with old friends while we were there.
“The best life is a series of daring excursions from a secure and orderly base.” David Brooks – New York Times
This quote is from a New York Times article by David Brooks from September 2014. The concept has become central to our ideas about prioritizing time and effort in our household since reading it. The article illuminated a myth I had been living by, namely that self care, and taking time to keep house, unfairly takes time away from being an effective agent for change.
Looking back at my adult life, one constant has been my desire to be an agent of change, to embody the change I want to see in the world. I have worked diligently to live up to my ideals. I have believed that I must prioritize that work above self care, and by extension above care of household and family. Who really cares if my house is a mess, if there is injustice in the world? I picked my piece of the work and got busy busy busy.
The rub is that “Busy Busy Busy” is deeply unhealthy. The entrance of cancering into my life slowed things way down. One of the gifts from the pause of last year was the room to look at some of the myths I was living my life by. The David Brooks article provided the rational validation I needed to accept that being an effective agent of change requires my house be in order first. Whether the goal is metamorphosis of self, or being a catalyst for healing change in the wider world, there needs to be a foundation of self care. This is true for everyone, and especially true for those of us who are highly sensitive. Self care is a prerequisite of contributing to a healthier world.
This year I am choosing to put my efforts towards creating a secure and orderly base. I find that cleaning and sorting is an excellent method for self care- it works on both practical and metaphorical levels. Since I started the whole Marie Kondo effort the last week in March I have had trouble getting excited about much of anything else. The more I clean the more clarity I am getting. And lest you think I have become some cinderella- know that I am resting, and that cleaning has opened my studio up for me to make things- which is very healing and fun. I have become more than a little obsessed with making aprons. The more orderly kitchen has encouraged us to make lots of jam, and inspired starting my first ever batch of homemade wine.
We have also prioritized some time for play and fun. Hence the camping trip to Eugene, which felt like a daring excursion. I drove the volvo with 6 bikes on top, while Joe drove the VW. We traded boy passengers throughout the journey. It was hot and sunny. Now that we are returned home we miss the cousins, and are settling back into the cleaning frenzy- we have guests coming next weekend to inspire our efforts.
My hope for all of you, May your days have the space you need to do what you need to do for adequate self care. May there be joy, and realness and a “secure and orderly base.” If everyone had such a thing the world would be much more peaceful and happy and fun.