Thursday, March 19, 2009


I wish I was one of those people who was built like a sturdy old oak tree, emotionally speaking. The one who weathers every storm upright, whose branches barely even move in the strongest of winds. But I'm built more like a bamboo stalk. The slightest breeze rustles my leaves, and in a storm, I bend and shake and shiver and generally make a big ruckus. This is to say that I am a pretty emotional person, and probably have become even more so since becoming a mother. Call it hormones, call it build up of sleep-deprivation, call it the sense of vulnerability that happens when you cut a piece of your heart out and let it walk around in the world independent from you (loosely quoted, don't know from whom). It doesn't really matter why I am like this, just that it is a part of my nature, somewhat exacerbated by motherhood.

Like all parts of our unique human nature, there is the good and there is the bad. The good is that I experience gorgeous, joyous highs. The bad is that I can sometimes be a teensy bit over the top when I get upset. Which might be more often than other people. [Insert my husband laughing out loud here.]

The bad is that I can sometimes over-empathize with other peoples' situations. I get drawn in to their grief, and it starts to become my own, even though the reality of what I'm dealing with is much more mundane: flat tire, dead battery, sunny day. The good is that I can sometimes channel that heightened sensitivity into my writing, mine it and use it to create.

But any way I look at it, I am definitely someone who needs, perhaps more than others, good techniques for grounding myself. For not just reminding myself of gratitude and grace, but for getting myself into the place where I can actually experience the here-and-now of life: the sun filtering through the newly-leafed maple, the overblown white blossoms on the camellia tree. A house quiet and warm and filled with the smell of bread toasting. A little boy with eye goop and berry-smear on his cheeks asleep in his crib.

We've been running around a lot this week, it feels. So this afternoon I'm leaning towards still and grounding moments: cooking a big pot of soup, cleaning the kitchen, planting some mint that reminds me of the smell of a cup of muna tea in Peru, laying on the floor and letting Elan crawl all over me. May you have some of those too.

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