Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A little more Person, please

I am doing better. Thank you, everyone, for your beautiful words of encouragement. I've found that my physical and mental healing are progressing together. I can't remember on whose blog I read it, but a woman who had recently suffered a miscarriage spoke of her "shoulds" turning to "woulds." Instead of feeling, "I should be 22 weeks pregnant now," she had begun to think, "I would be 22 weeks." The difference encapsulates what I'm feeling, too. While I'm still sad, I don't feel the aching emptiness anymore. I don't feel that I'm "off" because I'm not pregnant.

At the moment, I'm reflecting on Lent and discerning my Lenten sacrifice. Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project had a post last December with tips on refraining from holiday indulgences. In it, she describes two personality types: abstainers or moderators. After careful thought, I have discovered I am a moderator. I like an occasional treat and can stop after a little bit, whereas when I am totally deprived of something, I grow crabby and whiny and obsess over it.

In fact, it's led me to a realization that I hope will help me better order my time. I think I've been neglecting one of the five Ps (as illustrated in A Mother's Rule of Life): I'm not taking time to feed myself as a Person. This is not to say that I am work, work, work 100% of the day. Far from it, unfortunately. I spend more time than a person should vegging out in front of the TV, and I frequently bake myself any kind of treat I feel like. In fact, do you know what I had for lunch today? Scones with blackberry jam and cream. They were awesome, BTW. I highly recommend that recipe.

The point, though, is that indulging my immediate desires does not grow me as a person. In the serious parts of my life -- prayer, parenting, providing, partnering -- I am growing. But in terms of my self, my professional core, I am doing the equivalent of living on fast food and cupcakes. Those things I do to entertain myself, like watching Star Trek or dancing to salsa music, while thoroughly enjoyable, do not grow me.

So I think what I need to do is give up those little indulgences that make me feel good in the moment, but don't do anything concrete to grow me as a person. Instead, I need to spend that time on something productive, say, finishing my book or writing a short story or critiquing a friend's novel. Out with the mindless, in with the fruitful. Giving up the internet for Lent seems a good place to start, though I think I will follow the example of some other faithful Catholics I know who have done this and allow Sundays for checking email and catching up on blogs. Otherwise, the amount of backlog come Easter is overwhelming.

Jen had an awesome post on this a couple days ago, and I know Anna gave up the internet for Lent last year. Several of the families in my homeschooling network don't own televisions at all (!!!) so I know this is not only an achievable goal, but a laudable one that can bear significant fruit. I'm excited to embark on this journey!

Picture credit.

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