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

Monday, December 5, 2011

Done for the Week: Shit Happens, Once Again

Another short week.  And a huge bite out of the middle of it.  (See item #6 on the list below.)

I'm not sure I have more than my share of mini-crises, though I have been told that my life reads like a bad soap opera at times.  And here we are at the beginning of December, and my family is on its second baffling medical mystery and third fairly significant trauma since October.

The challenge for me is to respond each time with love and courage and flexibility--and not to completely abandon my life plan in the process. 

How am I doing?  Not great.  But not awful.

Done for the Week:  Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2011
  1. Biked twice--still recovering from injury
  2. Read No Signposts in the Sea, by Vita Sackville-West
  3. Continued to work my two part-time jobs
  4. Published 2 blog posts
  5. Continued work on current clients' projects
  6. Spent 24+ hours in a clinic, a hospital emergency room, and the hospital with my son, ruling out Guillain-Barré syndrome
  7. Spent a day catching up on lost sleep and recovering from stress
  8. Meditated three times
  9. Attended 1 yoga class
  10. Went to my tap class
  11. Watched one episode of Eureka with my son
  12. Watched one episode of Boss with my husband
  13. Continued reading Elizabeth George's A Traitor to Memory aloud with my husband
  14. Made Sunday soup
  15. Saw my doctor for injury evaluation
  16. Went to dinner with my husband
  17. Did laundry 
  18. Orchestrated hanging of our outdoor Christmas lights
  19. Read draft of my husband's journal article
  20. Took my grandson on his day-long birthday train adventure 
  21. Printed out a copy of the Unschedule

A great deal of my energy last week was spent "rising to the occasion" of my son's frightening physical symptoms, which came on suddenly midweek.  Doing what needed to be done to shepherd him through the medical system and support him in enduring the necessary workups and tests and procedures, including approximately thirty attempted blood draws in his dehydrated state, was the most important thing I got done.  At this point, we don't really have an answer as to what caused his progressive numbness, or why it began to abate after 48 hours.  But the scariest things have been ruled out.  And he is back at school, though the ordeal has put him behind at the end of the semester.  We will continue to follow up with doctors, and hope to put the experience behind us.  And I have yet another chance to learn how to move forward from the periodic derailments that continue to visit my life.

Last week's focus goal was "to resume work on my novel."  Ahem.

It was once suggested to me, rather unkindly I thought, that the drama in my life, both good and bad, served the purpose of protecting me from the risk of failing (or succeeding?) at my most important work.  Never mind that the person making this suggestion didn't know me well; mistook for my "most important work" the work she thought I should be engaged in; and was most ultimately offensive in focusing on the adoption of my son as the great interruption she saw it for. 

I think it bears examining the pattern even a stranger, albeit a rather perceptive one, could observe in my bumpy history.  For whatever reason (Could it be the six kids my husband and I share?  my large, close extended family?  the dark intensity of my Irish-Catholic roots?  my embrace of a slightly offbeat lifestyle, grounded in the '60s? bad karma? psychological instability?), I seem to have a penchant for "coming a cropper," as they say, and for being blown off course in the wake of personal and family disasters. 

Perhaps I need to start seeing this stuff as, in Thomas Moore's words, "nourishing to the soul."  And perhaps I need to draw on all this unsolicited nourishment and develop a routine for righting myself in the aftermath.

So once again, I need to get back on the horse, and focus on resuming work on my novel.  I don't want to believe that I choose or allow the frequent big-deal interruptions to "my work," but I do admit that they have functioned, at times, to let me off a hook or two.  And I vow to get better at resuming my work, and my focus on it, in the periods of calm between the storms.  This week, I will try to make better use of what calm spaces there are, to more proactively protect my time, and to complete at least a chapter of my novel.


  1. Hi Mary,
    I thought you'd like to know that the Thomas Moore you mention in this post is the same Thomas Moore who wrote the quote in your sidebar. This Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul is an American who lives in New Hampshire. His dates would be (1940- ). You may enjoy a blog dedicated to this Thomas Moore at I hope the rest of the week goes well for you.

  2. Oops! Thanks for the correction. That's what I get for randomly searching for quotes.

    Glad to know Mr. Moore is still with us.