Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nitty.Gritty. "This is my life" philosophy for living

This is a snapshot of one second in my life from three days ago. I'm not sure why exactly I took this photo, but it actually says a lot about me, I think. First of all, you can see from the 'mess' in the room, that I am as I say I am. Real, not perfect, constantly reminded of the patience I keep striving to obtain (I've gotten MUCH better with patience through the years), present in the moment, and basically able to savor and almost 'glamorize' the ordinary.
I get emails from people on occasion, asking me how it is that I live the way I do. I know, {Chip} I've blogged about this before. But I just want to keep driving home the point...plus, I am still working at it. So, if I am still learning and trying to keep at it, then obviously it's something that is blog worthy. {Not to point him out in a bad way...but hubby thinks I have been too redundant here in my posts lately. I apologize if this is one of those posts.}
I am no superhero. I don't even see a weekly therapist (hold the comments here, please), and I somehow manage to function in my daily life with a true inner sense of contentment. It has been an ongoing process in my life, and one that I don't think will ever stop changing in me- as I am constantly experiencing new things and the dynamics in my life are different from day to day. Still, I have to admit that I feel overwhelmingly content in my life and with my life. For me that means a lot of things. That's where I keep growing and learning and 'maturing' as I put it. It's something that I believe takes practice and effort. I don't think it just happens. But the good news is that I believe that we all can experience it!
I remember watching a segment of Oprah a few years ago in which she was talking to Celine Dion and I had one of those 'lightbulb moments' that people talk about. It was not really even meant to be a 'teachable moment' as far as the show was concerned, but was more just a casual conversation between these two women. I happened to be fortunate enough to be watching at this particular moment and this conversation impacted me deeply- although I may not have even realized it or to what extent at that time.
The general conversation was simply Oprah asking Celine what she was looking forward to as she prepared to move to a new home, become more of a 'home body' (this was about the time her son Charles Renee was going to be born and she was moving to her new place out in Las Vegas, if I'm not mistaken), and slow down her life compared to how she had been living it. Here's the part that struck me. Celine told Oprah she was looking forward to doing things for herself and her family. She got all giddy at the idea of waking up in her own bed and getting up, heading to the kitchen and making a piece of peanut butter toast. {To which she added that she was going to 'butter it first and then put peanut butter on top of that'...I do remember that part clearly. =)} Like I said, I don't think I really understood how much this little conversation would impact me, but it has. Very much, I might add...even if only in the back of my mind from time to time. It put things in perspective for me. It has shaped my attitude to a certain degree.
In fact, today when I journaled a couple of pages in a small notebook, this is what I wrote.
"The perspective that guides/shapes my parenting is this- When you begin to see the day to day as a delight, rather than a drudgery... When serving my children is seen as a privilege rather than a chore... Knowing that my actions are, slowly and through repetition, shaping them for the rest of their lives... then it becomes a task of enormous and lasting consequence.
It becomes a 'higher calling' and the reality sinks in that demanding my best, giving it my all, and expressing love in everything I do, is the least I can offer to those who mean the most to me."
I think it's important to realize this, not only in our relationships with kids, but with spouses, coworkers, extended family, and to anyone whose life we might connect with. I think that conversation between Oprah and Celine was one step in me getting to the point of this realization in my life. It hit me as Celine talked, that although she had access to all sorts of services and people and places and positions...endless opportunities at her fingertips, that what she was dreaming of was the life that I had. I was getting up out of my bed each morning, making peanut butter toast, and taking care of the needs of those I loved around me. THAT is what she wanted! That was my lightbulb moment. Right then and there, I recognized that what I had in my life was 'perfect'...it was more than I deserved, and it was something I should appreciate every single day.
True contentment, as I've blogged about before, comes not from things, but from within. It's something that cannot be bought or attained, but has to come from the heart. I guess from some of the emails I've received lately, it has hit home to me again. I am happy to say that I am living a life of contentment...and I hope I inspire others to step back and realize their own place in this world and that this peace, this joy, this contentment is something that is available to everyone. It's not defined by circumstance, location, monetary worth. It comes in accepting who you are, and that where you are is a very good place to be.
It sounds so simple...and yet it has taken some really drastic happenings in my life for me to come to this point. That's part of the reason that I share my philosophies and beliefs here. I am determined to share my experiences in hopes that others will gain insights or at least pause and reflect on their own lives, and in so doing, reap some of the rewards I appreciate without actually having to live through the things I have had to go through.
In the end, this is just part of my journey and one of the important lessons that I have learned. Tomorrow will be a new day...with new lessons and experiences. I have learned though, that it is important to build on each and every experience...and that's what I intend to do.


Anonymous said...

edncThank you! You stated my feelings exactly. To the point that I have linked to your blog. I struggle truly feeling the blessings on a daily basis. I seem to let the drudgery get to me. Having you state it is such a way truly inspired me today. I even wrote you thought down. It was very profound, and exactly what I try to feel. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your insight today. I needed to here that.

teresamay said...

thanks! perfect....contentment is key!!! at every "season" of life and the answer for America =) This contentment comes from Christ alone. (and no, it is not easy!)

Jennifer McNeely said...

I love what you wrote - maybe it will make it into the greatest quote books:) It may even end up on a scrapbook page, giving credit to you, of course.

melissa Adak said...

you amaze me!!!!! AGAIN

Jewell said...

I needed to read that today!

betsy said...

I love those lightbulb moments! "Godliness with contentment is great gain" right? That's 1 Timothy something.

Green pants girl has mouth-watering highlights...

Anonymous said...

wow jody-
you spoke to me in a major way today!
many thanks from your faraway friend..

House of Big Cheese said...

You are a wise lady!

CarolSue said...

Wow. Jody - you don't know me, I've stumbled onto your site through blogs of friends of blogs of friends - you know how it goes. I am a firm believer that things happen in life for a reason, and that for some unknown reason, I've found you today.

I'm not trying to sound melodramatic - but I've been floundering lately. I'm a 31 year old mother of 2 beautiful daughters, ages 2 and 7 months, and I work outside of the home. I have a wonderful partner, a husband of 6 years. But even though I have so much, I just am not happy sometimes. And I know that I have so much to be happy for, and I feel guilty, and frustrated, and anxious, (and did I mention guilty?), that I am not embracing life to the fullest. But more and more - things have been happening to open up my eyes and awaken me to the fact that I need to change my perspective on life or I will never be happy. And episode of Oprah, or a comment from a friend on how she finally "gets" motherhood, or finding your site where you utter exactly the sentiments that I needed to hear - thank you so much for helping me to take a step back and look at what I have. It's taken a while to drill into my thick skull that it's not the things around me that need to change in order to make me happy... it's me that needs to change. It's going to take some more work, but I think I'm finally getting there.

Even though I've never met you - I can tell through this glimpse into your life that you are an amazing person with an amazing family - please know that you have geniunely touched someone today. Thank you for sharing your life.