Monday, March 8, 2010

Turning the Corner

It was around this exact time last year that I decided I needed to freshen up my life. And so I did what housewives have been doing for centuries--I opened my windows, got on my hands and knees, and scrubbed every surface of my house. If you remember, I even soaked my fabric lampshades in the bathtub. And I emptied my spice containers, washed them all out, and applied new labels. And I moved ALL the of the furniture to dust and vacuum underneath.

I was, absolutely, a cleaning maniac. Craig was concerned for my mental health (although also secretly enjoying our new, spotless residence).

Funny--I don’t feel the compulsion to do the same this year.

Oh my house needs it--rest assured.
There’s an alarming pile of dirt resting precariously on the blades of my bedroom ceiling fan as we speak. And my magazine stack has definitely regained its former girth.

I’m sure that eventually I’ll get around to it. Once the weather gets warmer and the windows can actually be opened without fear of hypothermia. But even still--I’m not sure I’ll pursue spring cleaning with the same vigor as I did last year.

Why? Well, mainly because I’ve been focused instead on this practice of reCentering. The goal is the same--to bring freshness in--but the means are different. Whereas last year scrubbing and mopping was sufficient for removing the vestiges of winter, I’m afraid that this year requires a bit more intention. And a few different strategies.

You see, last year was a doosie.
Even the memory of some of its challenges still spook me like an unwanted phantom. And so what I’m trying to figure out is how to gracefully exit a difficult season and enter one that promises to be lighter. And spring cleaning, I’m afraid, just isn’t all that helpful toward that end.

The tricky thing is that I’ve gotten used to things being dormant. Used to, for instance, this blog tinkering along in obscurity. And used to being infertile. And used to isolation (working from home can definitely do that!). But now I feel like it’s time to start getting used to different things--like attention and fertile-ness and community. And I’m not ashamed to admit that part of me is genuinely afraid to leave my comfort zone! I mean, I’ve learned how to survive in winter. It’s comfortable. Familiar.

But spring is coming.
And somehow during this transitional time I’ve got to practice letting go of the familiar and saying hello to new attitudes and projects and hopes and fears. I’m not sure how to do this, exactly, so I’ve been walking more and waking up earlier ( of this morning), and eating better (as of...well...later today). And I’ve been trying to spend A LOT of time quietly listening to my heart and praying and pondering the future.

And I think I’m on the right track, but time alone will tell.
In the meantime I’ll just keep practicing.

I’d love to hear about a time that you turned a corner--and what helped you let go of the past. I invite you to please share your story below--



  1. Sometimes making a conscious decision to lay down burdens that were thrust upon you or that you chose to carry helps.

    Life was not kind to me and my siblings as children. Our mother was an intelligent woman who was caught in powerlessness. She used the only less powerful inhabitants of her universe--us--as whipping boys for her frustrations and disappointments. Physical and emotional abuse was everyday life to us. But it had to be kept a secret. The world must not know. We could not tell on pain of death by her hand. And she ALWAYS carried through on her threats.

    So I grew up thinking that carrying secret burdens was simply part of life. I walked in the world with the weight of its burdens on my shoulders. It sapped my energy, kept me from having any real friends (how can you have friends if you cannot be truthful?) and generally left me feeling that others were allowed to participate in life but not me. I had to keep the secret.

    Then I began to ask, "Why?". Why was I continuing to protect people and events in the past that could never be changed? Why couldn't I get out from under this perpetual black cloud? Why was it so important to continue to show a pretend life of "normalcy" to the world and at the same time never reveal, never give a clue to the garbage that I came out of.

    And the answer was that there was no reason.

    So I made the conscious decision to just lay the burden down. And not pick it up again. What is past cannot be changed. What we choose to do about it can. I choose to not let it weigh on me anymore. I look forward, not back. I forgive but I do not protect.

    And I can sometimes bring a little light into the life of someone else by being open and honest and sharing the feeling of freedom that making that decision brought to me.

  2. Wow--what an amazing comment. I'm honored that you've shared your heart by being so honest. Thank you!

    One thing you mentioned that I think is really key is forgiveness. A lot of this past year for me has been learning to forgive God for allowing bad things to happen, and learning to forgive myself for certain failures.

    I also love how you talk about forgiving--but also not protecting. That is SUCH a good point. I think that I'm currently concerned about being hopeful and then disappointed--and so my instinct is to protect. I'm attempting to overcome the instinct and be open.

    Great, insightful, and heartfelt comments. Thank you sincerely--

  3. Thank you both for sharing your stories of revelations, transitions, and turning points. I love the image of bravery in choosing to lay down your burdens and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I believe those risks, taken in trust and obedience, result in huge blessings.


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