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On Finding Peace, When You Least Expect It

It's Monday midday, and I'm sitting in a coffee shop near my office. I'm in that interim between work and home, so often only experienced in the car, those short twenty minutes sometimes the only time I have to myself each day.

My good enough project has been lagging a bit. Or maybe it has simply plateaued. Or maybe I can't remember what it is I'm really after. Organization? Spirituality? More sleep?

The project wasn't just about organizing stuff, which I've done plenty of, and which has indeed made me feel better, but it was about finding a certain peace, a balance to my days. It was about finding the time and inspiration to apply myself more genuinely to all the aspects of my life.

And truthfully, I have made progress. I've decluttered a lot of stuff, meaning I've taken care of half-finished projects and things I've needed to cross of my to-do list for a long time. I've also managed to get to one yoga class every week. Granted, I used to go to 3 a week when I lived in Los Angeles, but one a week is pretty good for a mom, I think.

I've taken at least one bath a week, which has provided space for meaningful contemplation and helped create a sense of peace, no matter how fleeting. I've also tried to be more present in my daily interactions, and to reconnect with more of my friends. I've even got an out-of-town girls weekend scheduled for January with three of my best friends from high school.

Greg and I seriously benefited from our three days without Veronica last month. It was something I didn't want to do, but comitted to anyway for the sake of my marriage. And it was a great experience. And even if those three days remain in a little bubble, and even if we have gone right back to being parents again, it was still worth it, just to be reminded of who we can be, and where we originate from.

So here I am, checking all these good things off, but still not feeling very satisfied. There is something bigger I'm after, and I'm not quite sure what it is or how to find it.

Greg's friend Will is coming to dinner tonight. Over the last couple of years he's undergone an intense spiritual transformation. He's hardly the same guy I met three years ago and he exudes such peace these days that you can almost feel it rubbing off on you when you're around him. I never tire of hearing about his adventures — ashrams in India, nudist retreats in Oregon, road trips across the country…

But I'm always left a little envious too.

I would very much like to be doing all of those same things. I would love to travel for months on end, to spend whole weekends meditating, to help build a yoga center in India. I can't even tell you how much I would like to be doing those things.

I've chosen another life for myself though. And all of the above activities and quests are not ones suited to motherhood. I'm sure that years down the road I'll find myself in a place in which I have the time and the resources to nourish myself in those ways, but that seems like a long way off.

I guess my quest then is to figure out how to create and sustain a journey of personal exploration during this very ——-

——– um, in the middle of typing that last sentence a guy next to me at the coffee shop got up from his table and said, "I've never seen someone work in such a state of peace."

"What? Ha. I don't feel that way," I said.

"Well, you just EXUDE peace," he repeated smiling.

Maybe I'm on the right track after all?

12 comments

12 Comments

  • Posted November 8, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    maybe in the search for peace, we lose the point. maybe peace is what you make of it and those little snippets, really are enough?
    hope you find what you’re looking for.

  • Carroll
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Holy bovine, the world does work in mysterious ways! The words “Exudes peace” *just* hot off your keyboard, and then that out-of-the-blue comment? Wowza! I’m thinking you just might be more in tune with the universe than you give yourself credit for, Claire:-) Baby steps, maybe? You could start with, say, just a very small coffee shop ashram…:-)

  • Posted November 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Haha… how appropriate that he would say that to you at just such a moment. Maybe you’re further along that path than you realise?
    And I second Carroll — a coffee shop ashram sounds like a good start :)

  • Anne
    Posted November 9, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    What a nice afirmation from the universe. :) Your good enough project has also inspired me to take a more thoughtful look at how we’re organizing our days, and see if I can ensure that I’m getting to the important stuff (and figure out what the important stuff is). But, with a baby, I’m finding that it really is about baby steps for us. Ben takes up so much of our time and the time with him really does need to be focused on him, that we can only get so far in a day. Spending time together during his nap — or putting Mill Organite on the lawn. Getting a little time to myself — or locating the number for the handyman and making the call. Good luck on the journey. Sounds like it is going very well.

  • jo
    Posted November 9, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I’m always envious of people who say they’re at peace with themselves and the world. But, on thinking about it, I’ve realised it’s so hard to find peace because there are always ‘two sides to the coin.’ You sound like the kind of person who’s always keen to explore, push boundaries and try new things, however when we choose one side of the coin (e.g. beautiful V) we automatically veto the other side (ashram in India!). To take the analogy further (humour me!) maybe what we should be aiming for is a balance of heads and tails – a balance of ‘me’ stuff and ‘others’ stuff. I think this will always mean we’re a little unsettled because we can’t help thinking about the things we’re missing.
    Apologies for the long comment… you got me thinking!

  • Posted November 9, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Definitely something good to keep in mind. I think we can absolutely lose it if we search too hard for it. Being present to even the smallest moments is so important.

  • Posted November 9, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Ha…a coffee shop ashram. Maybe!

  • Posted November 9, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    And yes, maybe further along than I thought. A sign from the universe telling me to relax and realize just how at peace I really am?

  • Posted November 9, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Glad Ive been inspiring for you! Baby steps are definitely key. It really has been incredibly effective to just cross little things off my list lately. Youre going to have to let me know how it goes with two kids!!

  • Posted November 9, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Dont apologize! Great comment. Youre exactly right. A balance of it all is the thing Im striving for. Im so happy with V and my life with her…just have to figure out how to have a little bit of the other side of the coin too.

  • Posted November 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I’m thinking you just might be more in tune with the universe than you give yourself credit for.

  • Posted November 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    It certainly seems that way!

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