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Archive for April, 2012

We spent April Vacation week in Washington D.C.  We planned everything, I bought books and activity pages so the children would learn and have fun at the same time and even with all the planning we still only saw a small part of Washington, but if by some miracle we had seen everything I still wouldn’t be able to tell much about it because in my mind it all seems like a blur.

I remember walking all over the city, running to catch busses and trains and cursing the fact that the Capital is on a hill (hence Capital Hill) and the city builders penchant for lots and lots of steps.  I remember being caught in a subway door with my mother and two younger children behind me, too afraid to move for fear the door would shut and the train would leave them behind.  I remember waking up at an ungodly hour, 4:45 am, to meet our state representative at the capitol and meeting two students I had been a substitute teacher for in Uxbridge.  Now, I see kids from school all the time around town, but in Washington?  On the plus side, I love these girls and their family is so nice and it really made the day so much better.    

The highlight I’m sure for these girls and certainly for  my own children was not getting to sit on the floor of Congress and listen to Representative Neil speak (my kids fell asleep), but the fact that sometime during our representative’s talk my 18 year old daughter felt the best way to deal with my 9 year old aggravating his sister was to tie the sleeves of his shirt together, behind his back, in a double knot!  So as NORMAL families were following the interns to get their picture taken with Congressman Neil and my husband was pretending not to know us, I was trying to get my son’s sleeves unknotted.  The kids were giggling hysterically and I have to admit so was I.  After the knot was navigated, I gave my adult daughter a stern look and went to smack her lightly on the arm but missed and accidently hit my youngest in the face who cried all the way into the Great Hall.  Yes it was a banner mother moment.

We dragged the kids through museums that even bored me.  In the American History museum, the dresses were pretty, the 1950’s subway was cool (you could sit and watch people talking on a subway,  “sit” being the optimum word here).  I probably would have gotten more out of the National Museum for the American Indian (shouldn’t that be Native American?) if we had more time, but I have to say lunch was beyond Amazing!  Maple Brined Turkey Breast with black cherry chutney and sautéed pea pods with wild mushrooms and onions.  For dessert a chocolate dipped macaroon with chunks of coconut as big and thick as a dime. Fantastic!  I’d go back there just for the food. 

The most well received museum by the children was the Natural History Museum where the kids oohed and ahhed over bugs, butterflies, dinosaurs and mammals.  Somehow I got separated from our large group and wandered around the museum by myself and amid the hundreds of people it suddenly seemed extremely quiet.  I wasn’t talking.  Had I been talking that much?  I guess I had.  I had been the teacher on duty all week, quizzing and teaching in some attempt to engage my tired children and ensure they came away with something from our Nation’s Capital. 

So let’s recap, I am an out of shape, too lenient mother, who is bored by trains and machines but easily distracted by pretty dresses. In addition, I am a loquacious know-it-all who likes real, good, food. It was remarkable to find silence in the middle of so many people.  My mind is always running; what needs to be said next, what needs to be done soon, where are the kids now and do we have them all.  It just keeps coming.  The trip to Washington D.C. is a lot like my own mind.  Crazy, involved, and nonstop, but underneath the chaos there were moments, soft moments, touching moments and moments where seeds of ideas were planted and new thoughts will hopefully bloom.  So yes I am all those things stated above, but I am also a lover of wisdom, a person who chooses to believe in people and someone who approaches life with a good dose of humor and a whole lot of love.  My mind may be as chaotic as Washington DC but my heart is open and my soul is waiting for the next enlightening experience.  It was a really full week. 

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I have not been depressed for a month and a half, not at all.  I was exultant when I sent my query to my first agent, disappointed in myself for the mistakes I found in the first three chapters AFTER I sent said query, crazy stressed with too much to do and not enough time to do it in, regretful when I said something stupid, proud that I followed my heart, exhausted while making untold batches of Easter cookies, rejuvenated at yoga and peaceful with an inner knowing that where I am is where I am supposed to be, but depression has been ignored and turned away as it stood knocking on the door the one time it tried to darken my front steps.

A therapist I once worked with told me that depression is inclined to become a habit.  It is the “go to” emotion when we don’t allow our bodies to feel other feelings like anger, frustration, disappointment, or sadness because society frowns upon negative expression.  It is where we find ourselves when we refuse the experiences of happiness, joy, exuberance, or contentment because we believe we don’t deserve them or that they are too fickle to be depended upon.  Depression is the black hole where all our other emotions are obscured because we don’t like them, fear them or distrust them. 

After writing 7-8 hours a day for close to six weeks straight I came to a screeching halt after I pressed the send button.  I will have to wait six weeks for a reply or lack thereof to move on to the next step.  I was exuberant with the knowledge that I had listened to my heart’s calling and I was completely confident that eventually my mental follow through will lead me to where I am supposed to be.  Then I recalled how spiritual journeys are never easy and thought, “oh boy, this is just the next beginning.  I am in so much trouble.”  I then went crazy; between premenopausal insanity, too many commitments at one time and a transition I should’ve seen coming I was flooded with emotions that sent me out of control for three days straight, (a funny story for another day.)

Monday morning I woke up and everything was back in place.  I made time for yoga.  I went organic grocery shopping, washed the kitchen floor, cleaned the bathroom and did laundry.  In the afternoon I got the kids off the bus and played with them, I made a balanced supper, listened to their tales of the day and read to them before I kissed them good night. Finally I have time to fit in those other parts of my life.  Ok so maybe I haven’t found the dining room table yet but there’s time now.  It’s not that writing is totally on hold.  I still have corrections to make, new query letters to draft, three blogs a month to write and a story to abridge for my youngest daughter’s class but it wasn’t until the pell-mell writing jag was done  that I was able to see how imbalanced I had been and how much I liked not only that time but this time. 

My plan is to be a writer (preferably a writer who brings in some sort of revenue) and if this is my plan then this will be my life.  I will start a new book, research, begin the writing, get to the point where I will need to finish within a time frame, and then send the copy off to the agent, publisher or editor and wait.  My life will follow this pattern of planning, research, writing, writing like crazy, send, wait, repeat and honestly, I adore every single part of the process.  At first my mind reeled at the sudden change of pace but then I stopped long enough to embrace the time of rejuvenation, the time to get myself, my life and my family back in balance.  This “down time” is not a break.   It is an essential part of my writing process.  It is where I reexamine my spiritual beliefs, reconnect with who I am and open myself up to new lessons.  Those lessons change, morph and become the themes in my novels, and lead me to the next story which begins the cycle all over again.  I’m in a new place right now and this place excludes depression and embraces all those other emotions that come along in this life.  It is exciting, crazy, and joyful along with sad, disappointing and frustrating, but if I allow myself to feel the bad I also allow myself to experience the good.

Have I kicked the depression habit for good?  I don’t know.  I guess only time will tell but when I look back at the last six weeks I feel light.  I feel free.  Like the wings of my life have taken a huge beat, filled with air and are ready to fly.   It’s exciting to be on the edge of anticipation.  My senses are awake.  I am present and trying to keep my eyes and heart open for the next lesson and the next story.  So listening to my heart paid off.  It brought me to this moment and for now I am content.  Granted in four weeks with no response I will be a total nutjob, but for right now I am blessed with peace, a sense of place and the satisfaction that when you listen to your heart everything eventually falls to where it is supposed to be, including depression, outside and alone on the cold doorstep.  Yeah!

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