The other day I was lying in a yoga class enjoying a small moment of peace. The instructor was giving us some words of encouragement because we had done some challenging things in class that day. As she was talking she mentioned that "repetition builds stability" and it really spoke to me. I had my eyes closed as I tried to really process the concept and tears started sneaking down my cheeks!!! It was just what I had been needing to hear all week long.
The past week I had begun to feel the pressures of the world resting heavily on my shoulders. This was the first time I had really felt like I could relate to this idea that many other women feel overwhelmed by. You know... "I have to be pretty. I have to be thin. I have to be organized. I have to be patient. I have to be smart. Blah, blah, blah." It hit me when I was in the middle of a busy morning... the dishes weren't completely done, neither was the laundry, or any other household chore. Everything was either started or at a tolerable point in the process for me to stop and go on with the next thing I needed to do. (These kinds of tasks are always interrupted by the needs of one or all of my children and sometimes by other important things too. I've had a lot of photography work the last few weeks so I was now juggling that as well.) On this chaotic morning we were running behind in our morning routine because Macy was awake during the whole thing which is rare and just slowed us down a little bit. I didn't get Marshall's lunch made but promised I would bring it when I came to help in his class. As the kids are piling into the van I find that the battery was dead for one reason or another so I holler for everyone to jump out so we can climb into the truck. Those added minutes were not what I was hoping for at this point in our routine, but what do you do? As I grab the truck keys off the shelf I realize there's a good chance I'm going to have to check Marshall into school late and I was running around in my nightgown (granny style!). I kind of take a couple steps toward the truck then a couple steps to the house, back and forth, debating whether I should run in and change my clothes or just get in the truck and hope we make it just in the nick of time. I decided that Marshall would surely be late if I changed so we would chance it. The truck is pretty tall so I find myself having to lift the boys in as plenty of cars are driving past my house catching me in such a glamorous moment still looking like a crazy old nightgown lady. Oh well. Thankfully, we made it to school in time for Marshall to jump out and get into school before he was "late." Phew! But this was all just a little more chaotic than a normal morning. On top of all this, I'm pretty sure Tyler was in a mood, but I can't remember specifics anymore. All I remember is it wasn't even 9 in the morning and I wanted to crawl back in bed and just wake up the next day ready to be kind and patient and in control of life a little better.
My awareness of being overwhelmed really hit me about an hour later when I was at least ten minutes late to help in Marshall's class (exactly after realizing I had forgotten Marshall's lunch on the kitchen table). As I drove I thought to myself, "I can help in my kids' school. I can make sure my kids feel loved. I can blog and catch up on my blog, so our life can be journaled. I can show my YW they are important to me by being there and fulfilling my calling. I can spend time with my husband. I can cook meals from scratch. I can have the kitchen, and family room, and bathrooms cleaned. I can visit and help my neighbors that are in need. I can wash and fold the laundry in an reasonable time frame. I can be healthy. I can exercise. I can get back to my pre-baby weight. I can improve my skills in the garden. I can earn a little extra money by building my photography business. I can help my clients feel beautiful and important. I can impress them by completing their sessions much faster than I promised. I can read and become more enlightened. I can listen to the talks from General Conference another time to glean more from the words of God's servants. I could do 1,000 other things that I do regularly on a daily basis. But I cannot do it all right now. I'm drowning in my "have to do's" and losing my mind from lack of "like to do's" and I need to slow down and prioritize." It was helpful to acknowledge I don't have to do it all, but almost paralyzing to realize the daily routine of things I need to accomplish just to exist in peace in my home... the things the I do over and over and over again... were inching their way closer and closer to suffocating me emotionally.
And this is why I was crying in yoga.
It became so vibrantly clear that by washing those dishes every day, by keeping up with the laundry, and making beds, and scrubbing toilets, and giving haircuts, and all those other chores I do again and again, I was creating a feeling of stability for my children, my husband, and myself. I was creating a sanctuary from the world within our home and I would be able to feel the peace inside myself that I felt was being swallowed up by these very tasks. I resolved right then to find joy in these chores and allow the repetition to build stability. Peace. Joy.
I made this resolution on Friday and pretty much abandoned all of my duties in order to celebrate Marshall's birthday, shoot a wedding, and fulfill my church calling, but I figure the repetition of picking up the pieces and starting over is going to be good for me too. So here's to doing a little better.