We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In the windmills of my mind

(Fractal: 'I sleep only to dream of you' by longan drink)

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel

It is 4am. I woke up to go potty two hours ago. I should have gone back to bed but the seductive glowing screen called to me from the darkness. I should go back to sleep now, but something has been turning in my head for days... I must risk greeting the dawn with a yawn again because I want to share it with you - to record it for myself - to make it real - and this is the only time that I have.

Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space

I started week 4 of the podrunner series this morning. I was so stiff and my hip hurt. Even after 5 minutes marching on the spot to warm up and 5 minutes stretching, I was limping when I started the first walk interval. I told myself "Just give it a go. You can stop if you need to." Then came the chime for the first jogging interval. My body started to move. Running is still slower than walking, but there's this magic that happens in my head. Once my feet start pounding, my thoughts roam free. Maybe it's the extra blood flow to the brain, maybe the endorphins streaming through my system, whatever it is - I think better - think clearer - than at any other time.

Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

I love spirals. I've always loved spirals. Beautiful fractal coils, endlessly spinning around themselves.

Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half-forgotten dream
Like the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream

As I run, I think. I think about spirals. I think about spirals as a metaphor of my life and suddenly I feel something click. Back in August, on my 36th birthday I first felt this peculiar, invigorating click inside me.

That was the moment I changed from someone sedentary to someone active. From someone who was drifting with the flow and getting fatter and flabbier with every moment to someone willing to swim upstream against the flow of time... someone with the determination and drive to get up before the babies wake and learn to run, someone who voluntarily teaches their body to move in new ways. In July, if you had said to me that by December I would be running, doing situps and pushups, I might have laughed. If you insisted that I could be that someone, I might have cried. But here I am. I am doing it. This is me!

Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Back to the spirals and that second inspiring click I felt last week while running.

Life as a spiral. Always spinning inward, inward, inward into the center. Searching for that mote of perfection inside myself. If I could just find it. If I could just polish it bright enough then it would shine so radiantly. Everyone would recognize my brilliance. Everyone would love me. I would have all the answers. Failure would no longer frighten me. I know it is there, somewhere inside me. If only I could find it.

Academic achievements, two university degrees with first class honours. Nope. Not there. Self indulge the study stress, the relationship stress. Stop eating, not consciously, blame it on illness. Psychosomatic. In my mid 20s I weighed 53 kilos. That's 10 kgs less than the ideal weight I am aiming for now. Maybe if I faded away to a shadow that brilliance would shine through. Didn't work. Marriage. Children. Still not it. Still seeking, searching, spiralling inwards.

Keys that jingle in your pocket
Words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly?
Was it something that I said?
Lovers walk along a shore
And leave their footprints in the sand
Was the sound of distant drumming
Just the fingers of your hand?

Thinking all of this. Running. Hearing the birdsong behind the beat of the music. Watching the sunrise gild the treetops... turn the sky from grey to blue. Thinking of the boys and my husband, my darlings, asleep inside the silent house. Thinking of lists of things to do. CLICK. Suddenly the spiral turns.

Suddenly it is no longer spiralling inwards. Suddenly I can feel the potential of energy spiralling outwards. A quiet, shining, spinning pool of light in my centre sparking out into the universe. In that moment I feel immense, tremendous, powerful, capable of anything, not the meagre, pinching tightness of the old inward spiral. This is something new. Something amazing. It's a feeling I am trying desperately to hang on to. To remember. To put into action. But the old habits of thought and action are so strong.

Pictures hanging in a hallway
Or the fragment of a song
Half-remembered names and faces
But to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over
Were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning
To the colour of her hair?

I do not need to search any more. My perfect self is not elusive. It is not hiding in some dark inner crevice awaiting my discovery. It is me. The me that is here and now, with these hands, with these feet. This flesh is at my service and I have the will to put it into action, to use it for good. To make a difference.

I have to start small. Baby steps.

I have dusted off my flylady control journal. For three days now I have kept the bedroom (where the boys and I co-sleep) and the playroom (a gated off section of the loungeroom) clean and tidy. Neither the boys nor I eat nor go to bed nor go outside until I can see the floor and everything is in its proper place. New rules. New beginnings.

To put this in perspective, housework is my anathema. I was raised in a mess (despite my busy mother's best efforts) and I just don't notice the clutter even when it hits me in the face. If I am going to spiral out and change the world I need to first start by changing my own environment. The internal changes are working. New habits are forming. I am fitter. I am stronger. I can do more. Be more. That click of the spiral is shifting my focus outwards, showing me that it is possible. I CAN do more. I can be that person. I can have it all.

Three months ago I was a person who didn't "do" exercise. Now I am a person who does. It is a deliberatly chosen way of life that I want to maintain for the rest of my life. Three months ago when I started moving for 30 minutes a day on my mini trampoline I honestly could not imagine the possibility of learning to run, of logging over 100 exercise minutes in a day and feeling it wasn't quite enough. It has made such an incredible difference to my life. If I can hold onto this feeling, this awareness, this energy - if I can channel it outwards - what a difference can I make to the lives of my loved ones? Already I see an improvement in the boys' behaviour, in their ability to settle and concentrate. Can I keep it up?

I've been through stages like this before, and always I can find something to blame for sabotaging my efforts. I slide back into the old ways so easily. But this time... I want to believe in that spiral. I want to flow outward, not inward any more.

My mother-in-law returns from holidays tomorrow. That is my first challenge. When it's just us, when I am responsible for the house running smoothly, it is easy for me to take charge, take control. When she is here I have to share the space. I slip into negative interactions, hide in my shell, let her do the work or clash with her efforts. I don't share easily, not when the spiral is running inwards, when it is all about me. I wonder if I can change that too. Plenty to think about. Plenty to act on. I have my baby steps planned for tomorrow - oops - for today. If I do my pilates now, I can get the area around the computer tidied up before the boys wake up. I'm already awake and I can always join them for naptime after lunch.

Happy start of December! Have a blessed day :D

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
As the images unwind
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind


Steff said...

I used to be there - I had a plan - a routine - these were the jobs i did every morning before we went anywhere - simple things like tidy breakfast dises from table - things to other people that would seem self explanitory but just didnt happen - with my list of tasks i worked through them and wasnt fluffing around trying to think of everything i had to achieve. then i would have a list of tasks for monday, tuesday etc - depending on what io knew i had on that day - my house was clean my washing done...then I had the surgury and there was so much i couldnt do, then when i was finally on top again - hubby broke his leg - and though i try and try to get back it doenst happen - hubbys leg is still impacting daily even though he is almost better and i feel swamped everyday and unmotivated.
Exersize is the same - i miss hurting - but i keep making excuses - I dont have that fire to loose weight - i binge and eat lollies (except for when i listen to my hypnosis) I am so tired because of leiseys sleep which has been awful since the surgery and worse since the leg) and wonder if it is related - or if its an excuse.
I feel like i am drowning and just treading water till the boat arrives - i read you and your motivation and it makes me depressed - how can i exersize when i am drowning - I selfishly dont want you to loose weight and we are at teh same weight - I dont want you to break into the 70's first - but while you are feeling guilty nibbling on a pie crust i am making pies!!
I WANT to be motivated - i was not that long agao - what happened to me.
winge over - I am happy for you - i hope your motivation continues - I wish you were close by

Schelle said...

Sweetie, I know exactly where you are coming from. Not that long ago I was desperately struggling to just keep up with exam study and the boys. EVERYTHING else fell by the wayside. You were losing weight, had lost so much more than me and were moving ahead with your dreams. Yes, I was jealous. I wanted you to stop and wait for me, but I knew you couldn't. You were on your own ride and I was proud of you for doing so well, for being up there in the sky and encouraging me to keep going.

It's just the same old rollercoaster we've been riding all our adult lives. At the moment you are stuck way down in a dip. It feels like the abyss is calling and the pressure will never let off. I am up there on the crest and the view is magnificent! It's breathtaking. There's also the fear that at any minute the downward rush will start and I'll be back staring the abyss in the face and trying not to give in to despair and jump off the ride.

You can feel that chain tugging you. It wants you to start moving back up up up. But you are so emotionally heavy and tired, your wheels are spinning, it's such a long way. Don't look up at the mountain and be discouraged. Look at your feet. Choose one little step and make it. Make it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Just one tiny little babystep added to your day. Don't think about all the 'shoulds' you are not doing. Don't beat yourself up for doing things you shouldn't do. Narrow your focus and face just one small hurdle.

One little commitment leads to another and another like links in the chain and before you know it you have pulled yourself back to the top of the hill and you are feeling proud and amazing and want to shout about it so loud that the whole world can hear!

I promise I'll be right here shouting with you, cheering you on, whether I'm at the top of a hill or wallowing in my own abyss. You know and I know that the rollercoaster goes on regardless. Our choice is whether to stay on the ride, to enjoy the good times and struggle through the bad times, or whether to hop off and sit sulking on the sidelines resenting everybody else's fun and laughing at their misfortunes. I know which choice you will make. In fact, I'm, not giving you a choice after all. I'm going to keep nagging until you come play with me! You and I are going to keep screaming and laughing and crying together until the ticketmaster says "game over", my sister... so hang on tight to my hand because the rush of this ride will take your breath away!

(And now I must get dressed and get outside because it's my running day! Let me know which tiny baby step you have chosen for this week! Maybe, since the week is half over, it should be making your sparkpeople page lol. I can promise you some great new friends and some fantastic inspiration - though if you already have too many online commitments and choose something else instead I'll understand.)