Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, December 27, 2010

Done for the Week: Up to My Ears in Eggnog

Another Christmas come and gone.  Another solstice/full moon/lunar eclipse, the last of which was 372 years ago, put to bed.  Something about these infrequent events makes us feel the passage of time.  But living our lives intentionally, I think, is the only antidote to the regret that can wash over us as the year comes to a close.  As Marie Beynon Ray says,
We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand ... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late.

Here's how I used my moments last week:

Done for the Week:  Dec. 20-26
  1. Continued off-season race training; biked three times 
  2. Succeeded in getting husband to gym with me once
  3. Finished The Groves of Academe, by Mary McCarthy
  4. Continued reading The Zen Path Through Depression, by Philip Martin and continued adding to my library stockpile
  5. Took week off from supporting transitioning nonprofit
  6. Worked my two part-time jobs, with more hours due to holiday week schedule
  7. Published 5 blog posts
  8. Wrote 7 Gratitude Journal entries
  9. Wrote 3 Morning Pages
  10. Meditated 5 times
  11. Got electrician back to install re-ordered wall oven
  12. Marked the once-in-many-persons'-lifetimes confluence of the solstice, a full moon, and a lunar eclipse by sleeping through the night (It was cloudy here, anyway.)
  13. Purchased new bathroom lights,  spoke with electrician about post-Christmas installation
  14. Watched our two favorite basketball teams play 4 games, with son and husband
  15. Foraged for food at the grocery store several times
  16. Attended two yoga classes
  17. Survived spouse's return after four-week absence
  18. Walked my dog three times, including Christmas Day family trip to the dog park 
  19. Gave significant but subtle support to two teenage sons stalled on the "launchpad" 
  20. Finished Christmas shopping, and facilitating kids' shopping, by late Christmas Eve
  21. Spent happy, peaceful Christmas day with my household members
  22. Had enjoyable Christmas dinner and gift exchange at my daughter's
  23. Participated in traditional family day-after-Christmas bookstore venture, with gift cards and 20% off!
  24. Reconvened my meditation sangha, after two week hiatus
Again last week, my focus goal was to "put first things, if not first, at least earlier in the day. . .  and to figure out what those first things might be, on any given day."   At the present time,  blogging, meditating, exercising and adhering to my novel-writing schedule constitute this category of "first things" on most days.   My related achievements are highlighted in green, and again reflect progress over the previous week.  I made a particular effort to step up my meditation, motivated by the increased stress of the holiday week.  Conspicuously absent from the list, for the third week in a row, is any time spent on writing my novel.  The disruption of schedules which comes with annual celebrations and preparations for same wreaked havoc with my authorial commitment.  

This coming week is another of those non routine times that I find so challenging, to my psyche as well as to my overall productivity.  My step-daughter and her family are in town, my grandson is still off preschool, my professor husband is between semesters, and my teenaged sons are still without jobs, and imposed structure.  For this week, I renew my resolve to post five blogs, exercise four times, meditate six times, and make the time to resume writing the novel--before I forget what it's supposed to be about.

The most important "accomplishment" of the past week was unequivocally the wonderful Christmas Day spent with my family.  Over the years, we have had our share of difficult holidays.  In our large and insufficiently blended family, crises often erupted on or around these emotion-fraught occasions.  We were slow to learn the lesson of lowered expectation amidst the Hallmark hype.  And some of us were not especially mature, as is the way of childhood--and parenthood.  But this year, everyone in our small household stepped up their game, showing love and thoughtfulness and generosity and gratitude and grace under fire.  It was a joy to be the mother and the wife of these men I live with.  With or without the trappings, it is this gift I would wish to keep always.

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