Power StrugglesTuesday, December 14, 2010
The Self-Aware Parent
It's time to go. I walk out the door and head toward my car. But right before I get there I slip on the ice and fall down. Hard.
I swear a few times and then head in the house. I lay flat on my back and breathe.
I know why I fell. There is a part of myself that is protesting my decision.
I am heading to Detroit to surprise my friend Lara for her 40th birthday. I am only staying for the night, but it's still 10 hours of driving and a night away from home.
I have Christmas cards to write, presents to wrap, work to do, and of course, three children and a husband that will have to do without me.
But I want to go. This is a decision I made two weeks ago with no hesitation. It came to me in the shower (this is when most of my ideas come, so I tend to take long showers), and I emailed Lara's husband immediately to make the plan.
It was my heart speaking, but my heart is not the only part of me that has a voice. I have another voice that is practical, planned, and controlled.
This is the part of me that wrote college papers a week before they were due, and the part that enjoys checking tasks off my to-do list. It's the part that meets work deadlines and makes sure that my girls get to school on time.
It's an important part of who I am - it's dependable and responsible and I honor what it provides.
But it can't always be in charge. Constantly living from this place is too stifling, too demanding, and basically not fun, especially because it's afraid to fail. It serves me, but when it has too much power I get stuck.
My heart decisions are free and exciting, fun and inspiring. Like when I decided to change my major to education my junior year in college, and when I moved to Chicago 17 years ago with no job and no plan.
Or the time that Lara and I decided to fly to Mardi Gras for just 24 hours, or when I decided to become a yoga teacher. These were heart decisions - they felt right, but they didn't make sense logically.
So one voice reminds me to keep my feet on the ground and the other voice reminds me to let my spirit to soar. Much of the time they are wonderful partners, but like most partners, they tend to have power struggles.
I take one more deep breath, stand up, and then look in the mirror. I say out loud to my practical self - It's a good choice to go to Detroit today, so let's go.
So I get in my car, turn on my new CD and drive off.
And I don't even need my GPS - I already know I'm headed in the right direction.