Tag Archives: stress
The holidays can be such a difficult time for some families. All crowded in the same house. Forcing civility. Trying each other’s patience. Accommodating. Pleasing. Or trying to please with the same childhood insecurities and failures rearing their ugly heads.
Here is a post I wrote a while ago. A little Jane’s wisdom. I am a work in progress. And so are you. Hug yourself and let go.
I’ve made a conscious decision in my adult life to focus on people who reciprocate. I don’t mean in a tit-for-tat kind of way. I don’t keep score. I have some friends from far away that make an effort to visit and some that don’t. With some friends, we need to talk a few times a week and with others we can pick up where we left off after months of no contact. I suppose my criteria is different depending on the relationship. But for the most part, it has to feel like we’re both making an effort to nurture the relationship.
A very wise man once gave me the following visual about marriage. He said that there are times when a marriage is like this – and he made a fist with one hand and covered it with the other. And then there are other times when a marriage is like this – and he reversed his hands. But for most of the journey a marriage should be like this:
He interlaced his fingers, joining them together.
That visual made such an impression on me. I was in a relationship at the time that was so lop-sided. I was co-dependently orchestrating our journey. I left that relationship – thank goodness. I’ve applied this visual to other parts of my life, both with family and friends.
I recognize that we need to carry the other person sometimes. We all have struggles in our lives where we need others to pick up the slack. And sometimes, we’re the one who needs to be carried. Being able to lean on your friends and family from time to time is essential. But for most of the time, for most of our journey, we need to be working together to nurture and care for each other.
Journeys shared are the journeys worth taking. I surround myself with people who nurture me and allow themselves to be nurtured by me. People that listen with their heart. Act with compassion and kindness. See with loving eyes.
These are the people who I make time for.
These are the people who matter most.
I’ve recommended this book enough times to a few of you individually that I think it’s time to share the love will all of you. I read a book this past spring that is still with me. It isn’t the best written. But it is very entertaining. And for me, it was very thought provoking.
Lately I’ve been craving simplicity. I lived in a home built in 1950 and it was very much like my grandmother’s house. Every time I cautiously opened a closet, dodging items like a beatbox dancer, I’d think, “If my grandmother could do it why can’t I?” She raised two children in a home much the same size. She had a beautiful home. Filled with beautiful things. Every nook and cranny wasn’t filled. Her home was never cluttered. But we had stuff. Stuffed everywhere. There is a big difference between beautiful and stuff.
We’ve paired down quite a bit. Comparing my life with my grandmother’s, I look at purchases with renewed interest. I carefully consider it’s usefulness. We still have too much stuff but we’re making progress.
I was hooked on the PBS series Manor House, Frontier House and Texas Ranch House. I was fascinated with the simplicity of it all. No cell phones. No TV blaring 24/7. A cup of tea and a nice letter from a friend. It sounded all so charming.
I found See You in a Hundred Yearsby Logan Ward at the library one afternoon. I picked it up and devoured it. A family of three, disillusioned by big city life seeks the romantic, idyllic, simpler life of a farmer in the early 1900’s. The book chronicles their adventures and missteps. Soon they are overwhelmed by the complex, strenuous nature of survival. The stress that comes with a constant stream of information and connection is replaced with feelings of isolation and inadequacy. But the things they gain in their relationship and respect for community and history unfold.
This interesting read encouraged us to try a few Unplugged Sundays (no TV, computers, electronic games, phones). I try to cook more whole foods, purchased in season and buy locally. I appreciate modern medicine and the ability to have a cell phone at the ready. I’m inspired to send one “snail mail” card or letter per week. It has encouraged me to stop and watch a spider spin a web with my boys. It has taught me to slow down and appreciate how far we’ve come.