learning to love the questions, as well as who I am (part 2)

I don’t think there’s one clear diagnosis for my recent struggles: depression, overwhelm, exhaustion, anxiety, dwelling on things, perfectionism, discontent, motherhood, low self-worth. Call it what you’d like, sometimes the diagnosis sounds too severe, while at other times it doesn’t seem strong enough. However, it does seem the root all of these struggles are negative thoughts flitting around my brain, thoughts that have been there a long time unrecognized. So, as much as I’d like to have a much more straightforward step by step system to get rid of these negative thoughts, I’m starting to accept that my brain is going to need a lot of convincing to let go of some of them, which probably means a lot of work and a lot of time. So, that’s that. And because of the paralyzing overwhelm I’ve mentioned, I think it might be a good idea to give myself permission to just acknowledge these thoughts for now, not trying to dissect and understand each one. And, while acknowledging these thoughts, most of which could be lies, I’d like to focus on three truths:

God created me, me. Beautifully different and unique, with distinct gifts and insight. And I mean so different from most women/ mamas in this southern culture, which should translate into so unique and beautiful, but it’s pretty easy for me to get lost in the comparisons.

God created me to be a mama; to be present in this tiring stage of motherhood, filled with joys and struggles, as we greatly anticipate the birth of our third baby along with our almost four and five year old boys.

God created me to create; to express myself though artistic creativity, somehow in this busy and tiring stage of life. The how is one of the questions I wish I had a clearer answer to- should this be though my peppered paper collage work, should I pursue illustration, loser expressive painting, writing? I’m just not sure right now, but I am sure this creative expression is a big part of who I am.

So, there we have it. As I said in part 1 of this post, I don’t believe the creator of the universe made a mistake when he created me, me. He gave me gifts and passion and a drive to create artistically. He also gave me the gifts of two little boys and a third baby on the way. I often refer to them as rascals, on rare occasions tyrants, but when I try to express the incredible gifts they actually are words are not sufficient, and tears are inevitable. Did I mention I’m pregnant, and tired… but really, you know what I mean if you’ve experience this gift in one form or another. So, I must continue to convince myself of what I really do believe and who I am created to be. I must continue to try to reconcile these callings and claim the titles of both artist and mama, focusing on the big truths in light of all the little lies I’m fighting daily.

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learning to love the questions (part 1)

“… have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…”  – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Once again, I’m having trouble slowing down and capturing my thoughts on recent struggles, which I’m learning is actually part of the struggle. It’s as if there are little fireflies darting through my brain. I catch a glimpse of one truth and try to grab on to it, but before I can wrap my brain around its meaning and beauty there are three others that light up in the background, and before I even realize it I’ve lost sight of the one that possibly had something to show me. Deep breath, because even this metaphor is stressing me out. So, because I’m working on taking hold of my thoughts and questioning their meaning, and more importantly their truth, let’s take hold of this metaphor:

It seems I’m grasping at things that are not meant to be held and understood fully. Sitting outside at dusk on a warm muggy summer night with these lights flickering all around is magical and the epitome of peacefulness to me. Magical by definition is something that cannot be fully understood, and as soon as it can be the magic is lost. Peacefulness also elicits an idea of restfulness and calm, in the midst of the unknown. So, part of being able to sit and enjoy the beauty of a magical summer evening is accepting and appreciating that each individual light flickering in the night is not meant to be captured, held, and dissected.

Easier said than done, especially when we’re actually talking about my thoughts and trying to move toward truth and healing instead of just enjoying an evening of lightning bugs in the backyard. However, I’m thinking there might be great magic and peace in accepting who I’m created to be, and acknowledging I cannot fully understand and control my thoughts. I can work on acknowledging their presence, seeing them for what they are- truth or not, and let them flicker out, one by one or several at a time. I can try to love the questions themselves and have great peace in believing the creator of the universe didn’t make a mistake when he created me, me….

continued in part 2.

“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke