No, this is not “Where is, Waldo?” although I did always love looking for his red and white striped stocking cap with my kids. I also enjoyed trying to find the hidden objects in a collage of pictures. But this is a “Where in the heck has Martha been?” kind of question. One that even makes me wonder.
Because I am not at all certain where the time has gone and where I have been over the past weeks and months since my last blog. I do know that I started a couple of blogs, got them almost completed and then something in my life pulled me away. So now I promise that blogging is on my calendar and being built into my schedule. That is part of what happened, and probably what happens to us all, we get too busy, make too many commitments and then parts of our life drifts away.
Where have I been? I have been working to help my daughter who is still recovering from the concussion that I blogged about before. I have been working with another therapist to write a chapter about neuropsychological testing and Anabaptists. I have been teaching and taking on the responsibility of an extra class because of a colleague’s illness. I have been working extra hours. I have been trying to enjoy the holidays. I have been trying to help rearrange the house. I have been dealing with emotions of an upcoming divorce and I have been working to nourish love in a new relationship. I have been working to be a good mom, friend, “sister”, partner, daughter, clinician, teacher, writer and probably other roles—although that mostly covers it. And I love all of those roles in my life. But I find, and maybe you do too, that as we add and add, we can get distracted and overwhelmed. And maybe that is partly where I’ve been--in the land of running too fast and trying to do too much.
What does that mean for this blog and this prompt? It means with this New Year, we can each make new commitments. I will focus on writing here—hopefully every week. And that promise and this prompt will lead you to, hopefully, make your own commitments.
• Where have you been? Look back over the past few months and journal about some of the vast number of moments. What were the high points? What were the lows? How did the holidays go for you? Write about what you remember from them—Now look at your writing. If you found happy recollections, great! Enjoy and savor them! If you remembered challenges, then maybe dive deeper into them. Write about what your expectations had been. Write about the gap between your hopes and the realities. Write about how these holidays compared to those in the past. Do you keep thinking things will change and yet they remain the same? Is that where the disappointment comes from? Some things can change, but sometimes the change has to come through our expectations. We need to learn to accept aspects of ourselves and of others. That doesn’t mean that we can’t shift anything, but we may need to find ways to meet our desires through other avenues. If your family members don’t always listen, find a friend or a therapist who can lend an ear. Write to discover what you need as you move forward with this year.
• Write to discover if there are things that are important to you but seem to have gotten lost in the challenges of daily life. One of my writing friends was talking about a woman who told her that she wanted to write, but didn’t have the time. My friend’s response was, “If it is important to you, you’ll make the time.” So think about your goals and dreams. Write about them. And if you are not making the time for them—then write about why that is. What is stopping you? Is fear getting in your way? That might be part of why you aren’t making the time. Do you feel that believing in the dream is better than trying it and facing a potential crushing of your dream? Maybe, but then you will be left in a state of limbo—always wondering what if.
• Write to discover your roles and what they mean to you. List them—like I did and then think about each of them. What does it mean to be a friend, a parent, a child, a spouse, an employee, an employer? Work to understand some of the hidden expectations and limitations that you might be putting on yourself in these various roles and relationships. Write about what you would like to get from them. Make a list of new ideas that you can try to help deepen these connections.
But most importantly…Go….Write On!
Martha Peaslee Levine, MD