Living, Spirituality

Ain’t Got Time to Die

Hello, my name is Jennifer.  And I have a problem with mindfulness.


In the quest to be mindful, I’m consumed by it.  I’m so busy thinking about it, I don’t think I can achieve it.  Two days ago, I wrote about the miniscule moments that eat up our day; how we don’t live because we’re completing chores and tasks that never end, but we keep trying to complete them anyway.  True.  But people like me never set boundaries, a point when reached, regardless of completion or ‘im’, I stop and begin to relax, enjoy.


Julie Metz also offered me another perspective in her book, Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal

“Henry’s [Metz’ husband] idea of a perfect day was an action-packed race from waking to sleeping.  He was afraid of the tedium of everyday life, with its chores and routines.  Every real day, however, includes a portion of boredom.

I have struggled to resolve my own boredom through frantic mental activity or shoe shopping.  In rare, blessed moments, I have understood that, with patience, boredom can lead to stillness and calm.  And in calm, I can experience a meditation where I connect with my true self.  I can greet myself with kindness, before I return to my work, parenting, and chores.  These uncharted moments, whenever they happen, are as close as I have come to heaven.

Henry fought off every meeting with his true self, with all its flaws, contradictions, and talents.”


Am I, by not embracing the boredom and tedium, not meeting with my own true self?  By mocking the replacing of the toilet paper roll, et al, am I missing out on whole chunks of my life?  Mini-mental vacations I can take to realize, wonder, and reflect?


I can’t tell you the last time I was bored – unless you count depressive states when nothing is appealing.  I often joke that I’d love to be bored, to have the opportunity to do nothing.  Really, we can’t do something with our lives unless with take time to do nothing periodically. Am I physically and mentally capable of that?


The refrain of a song I heard long ago fills my head as I write this [My subconscious speaking or another sign that I can’t focus on one thing at a time ;-)] –  “Ain’t Got Time to Die,” a Negro Spiritual I first heard sung by Terras Irradiant, a Christian acapella group from Amherst College.


Lord, I keep so busy praisin’ my Jesus

Keep so busy praisin’ my Jesus

Keep so busy praisin’ my Jesus

Ain’t got time to die.


I am so busy, but I think I’m filling my time with the wrong sorts of things.  Or at least the balance is off.  Focusing on the spiritual would make the crazy press of days fall away or at least lessen.  The hectic pace would slacken, or wouldn’t bother me so much with moments of mindfulness to bring me back to center.  My center as it relates to the greater world around me, my place in this great sweep of time and humanity called life.


How’s that for some high falutin’ thinking?


Now enough thinking, just be.


(Think I can follow my own advice!?)


(Don’t answer that!)


anxiety, Living, Spirituality

The Moment

I’ve been trying.

I’ve set aside novels (temporarily) for the beautifully poetic spiritual tome I was too young to read the first time around.

I’ve felt the wideness of my collarbones and my elbows hanging directly below my shoulders.  I felt my head float above my neck and my thoughts detach.

I’ve felt the taut string of the universe pulling me forward, rushing past the green leaves of trees, toward the white billowy clouds against the brilliant blue sky.

I’ve heard the hypnotic rhythm of the acoustic guitar goading me on.

I’ve tried to speak new words rather than the tired routine trod into my brain.

I'm trying to embrace my monkey mind

I’m trying to embrace my monkey mind

I feel the vacillation.

Between the old and new, the positive and the negative, the healthy and the easy monotony.

It always seems to be one or the other.  Never both.  Never a balance.

Or maybe it is both at the same time.

Maybe it is everything all at once and I can’t be one thing at one time and something different at another.

The older you get, the more you carry with you.

It’s a special moment when you can set it all down and float freely through the universe – if only for a moment.

Living, motherhood, parenting

Pieces of Me

Walking across the quad of the campus of my alma mater yesterday, where I’m taking a weeklong institute on writing, my feet felt tipped.  No, not tipsy, but tipped, as in leaning outward.  Now as someone who is a diagnosed overpronator, this is not a sensation I am used to.  Must just be because I haven’t worn these sandals in awhile, I thought.


When I reached the classroom, I felt my foot roll and thought I’d stepped on something.  I bent my leg a la checking for dog poo and saw that the rubber sole of my sandal had started to disintegrate.  What I’d stepped on was a small wedge of the one that had made up the bottom of my shoe.  As the day wore on, a pile of rolled-up rubber collected under my chair and a Hansel and Gretel crumb trail of what had worked itself off in the hallway led me to class this morning.

I was pissed.  I had paid good money for these brand-name sensible shoes.  My husband did point out that I most likely bought them when expecting my first child about nine years ago, but still.  My father still has shoes he wore when I was a babe.  What the heck!

Shoe travesty aside, it was disorienting to find pieces of me scattered all around the various paths I’d taken yesterday – and left behind unbeknownst to me.

But then, looking back over this entire week, that seems de rigueur.

The first time I sat down to write this, I shut the door.  My now-six year old opened it and asked if she could rest while I wrote.  Fine.  But the door stayed open and I could hear the television, computer, and talk radio playing simultaneously downstairs.  Then she started explaining, in great, glorious detail, some drawings she’d done.  Beautiful.  But I can’t form words and listen to them at the same time.  Then my three year-old started a full-on high-pitched fit about the television being shut off for dinner.  Downstairs.  Behind the couch.  Far removed from me and yet still ear shattering.  Then my husband called up the stairs that dinner was ready.

And now this, my second time trying to write it, two daughters camped out in the room until I complained of noise and one went into her room, closing the door behind her in a huff.

I’ve attended class all day each day since Monday, leaving campus each day rife with ideas and inspiration, which I need to shove on the backburner of collecting my kids at various family members’ houses throughout the state, trekking home, figuring out dinner with food I didn’t have time to shop for, hugging and kissing for lost time, trying to relax and catch up on my sleep deficit and finish my homework at the same time.  All three of the kids contracted a stomach bug, which not only made me worry about them, but the various family members who still lovingly offered to take them.

There are pieces of me scattered all over the place.  My house, my car, our other car I had to take when I transported all three children at the same time, my purse, in the mosquito that bit me as I cleaned the puke off the bottom of the car and then flew into the woods by the side of the road, the carpeted hallway of Adams’ Library, the windowless classroom, the roads I’ve rushed down, the hearts of my children, the imagination of my husband, the dreams of my soul.


I’m not a crumbly mess, but it’s hard not to feel worn thin.