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Eating Pie Off The Floor and Letting Go


I’ve talked a lot on these pages about my continuing efforts at self-improvement. There are times when I feel like a hiker climbing up rocky paths that go around and around in circles. I work hard, sweat a lot, but never seem to make any progress. Life seems to be more about challenging myself to accomplish one thing after another than it is about enjoying life.

It all feels like busy work. Dig holes and fill them up. Repeat. Over and over and over.

Add to that, I’m restless. Not bored. There is always SOMETHING I want to do. Just restless. Like nothing I do really matters.

I’m too old to be feeling like this. Isn’t this supposed to be the time in life where you sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor?

Given our travel schedule, that sounds ridiculous, I know. I AM enjoying the fruits.

But I am also feeling terribly guilty that I am not being more productive, accomplishing something. That surely I have not done all I was put here to do. That I am wasting what precious little time I have left on this planet, and that I will leave it not having done ENOUGH. That I am not being all that I can be.

Sounds like a continuing mid-life crisis, except that I am beyond mid-life.

Now file that away for a minute.

Have you seen the Disney movie “Frozen?” In it, eldest sister, Elsa, has the power to shoot ice out of her hands and freeze everything and everyone in it’s path. She spends her life hiding this power, until she is found out and leaves the castle singing the song “Let It Go.”

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the queen.The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried!Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know!Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me  – I’m free!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry!

Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

My take-away from that is a feeling of  liberation in being able to cast away expectations (even if they are self-imposed) and just live life. The song won’t leave my head – it replays in my head over and over. Now file that with the first part.

So. I’m going through my newsfeed on Facebook and come across a post from Elizabeth Gilbert (author of “Eat, Love, Pray”) that has now joined the song in my mind. Instead of an excerpt, I’m going to take the liberty of “sharing” it here in addition to sharing it on my wall. Same difference, right?

Against BALANCE…

Dear Ones –

The other night at my event in St Paul, a young woman asked me about how I achieve balance in my life.

First of all, I love that she thinks I have achieved balance in my life!

Secondly, I felt the need to speak out once more against the subtle tyranny of the word BALANCE, which I think haunts and punishes modern women more and more every day.

We are constantly being told that we should be achieving balance — that we should somehow exquisitely be negotiating the relationships between our work lives, our home lives, our romantic lives, our health and well-being, our spiritual selves. You can’t read an interview with a famous woman these days that the journalist does not applaud her for having achieved BALANCE….and then if you turn the pages of that magazine, you will find ten more articles showing how you can achieve balance. too!

Be careful.

The word BALANCE has tilted dangerously close, I fear, to the word PERFECT — another word that women use as weapons against themselves and each other.

To say that someone has found the secret to a balanced life is to suggest that they have solved life, and that they now float through their days in a constant state of grace and ease, never suffering stress, ambivalence, confusion, exhaustion, anger, fear, or regret. Which is a wonderful description of nobody, ever.

Balance, when we do find it, is a breathtakingly temporary condition. We stand upon a world that spins at 2000 miles an hour. Our minds, meanwhile, spin at 200,000 miles an hour. We collide every day with other humans who are also sliding and spinning wildly. The landscape of our lives, therefore, changes by the minute. You find your balance one day and think, “Hooray! I have solved it” and then five minutes later the world utterly transforms again, and you’re knocked on your ass one more time.

That’s just how life is on this planet — messy, fast, out of control, unpredictable. It’s all terribly interesting, but also terribly unstable.

That being the case, I dropped the myth of BALANCE a long time ago. (I buried it right next to PERFECT.) My life seems happiest — as I tried to explain to this young woman the other night — when I just surrender to the madness, and embrace the glorious mess that I am…and also when I embrace the glorious mess that everyone else is, and the glorious mess of the world itself. My life gets the most painful when I try to set the entire mess (myself other people, life itself) into order.

The world is like a dropped pie most of the time. Don’t kill yourself trying to put it back together. Just grab a fork and eat some of it off the floor. Then carry on.

If you can get some stuff done in the chaos sometimes, god bless you. If you can basically hold it together, propping yourself up with duct tape and glue, rock on. If you can manage stay upright even one hour a day, you’re doing pretty great, as far as I’m concerned. And if you can be kind to the other stumbling fools around you half the time — well, that’s just heroic.

Basically, I think we are all just sloppy stupendous champions.

 

These words have been rolling around in my head for hours, and they really resonate with me.

So, now put my introduction, the song, and this piece all together (like I have!) and what do YOU come up with?

Am I conflating things that have nothing to do with each other? Or am I onto something? Do I need to just let go of all the unreasonable expectations I have for myself, quit worrying about whether I’ve done enough with my life and enjoy the heck out of the time I have left? Or do I redouble my efforts and make one last push to be all that I can be?

I’m sorta liking the idea of letting go, eating the pie off the floor, and just having fun…

Life would be so much simpler if I could do that!

About tatterednworn

I am a woman who has committed to living a creative life.

5 responses »

  1. Janet! Ramona here. Thanks for linking to this on your Facebook page. I’m embarrassed to admit i didn’t know about your blog until now. Or if I did I’d forgotten, which happens at my age. (I’m able to use that as an excuse for everything, because, you know. . .my age.)

    Anyway, To your wonderfully written lament: I’m afraid, dear, that you’ve committed to living a creative life. (It says so right above) So now the question is, what is “creative”? Eating pie on the floor may be a fun way to eat pie, but unless you’ve created the pie from scratch, it’s inevitable that once you’ve finished you’ll be thinking, “Is that all there is?”

    No, you’re stuck. You will push on. You might give yourself permission to veg out for a while, but it won’t last because you are who you are and it’s too late to be anybody else. I don’t know what you have in mind for that one last push, as you put it, but you’re such a good writer, I wonder if that’s the direction you’re heading for?

    I have a feeling, knowing your passion, that whatever you set your mind to do, you could do. But I also understand the need to sit back now and then and rest. Enjoy. Laugh. Trust me, it can all be done. It SHOULD all be done. But if you fight against who you are, you’ll be wasting a lot of valuable time fighting a losing battle.

    (Adding your blog to my Constant Commoner blogroll. It’s right up my alley.)

    Reply
    • 1st of all, Ramona, thank you so much for your lovely compliments. Coming from a “real” writer, I’m, well, a little blown away. And there is truth to what you say. I may well be fighting a losing battle. But I know I need to find a way to stop beating myself up. It’s exhausting.

      As to just discovering my blog, no worries. After all the fussing and fighting on Dag (and before then TPM) I needed a break from political blogging. As a part of my “creative journey” I started this blog and rediscovered how much I love to write. I figured no one on Dag would be interested in my artsy meanderings, so I never mentioned it! Anyway, glad you found your way here!

      Whether there is any “professional” writing in me is yet to be seen. I LOVE reading my own writing (it took me awhile to be able to say that out loud!) but until I have enough of a following to have anyone take me seriously as a writer, I’ll probably stick to entertaining myself and a few wonderful friends that stop by from time to time!

      Reply
  2. wow! I needed to read that today – thanks for sharing – now to find a pie to drop on the floor 🙂

    Reply
  3. Pingback: community | Deb's Studio Blog

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