New directions / by Christina Rosalie

Re-reading previous posts I caught a glimpse of my own inner static. I've been restless the past two nights, feeling on the brink of things. Wishing I could feel like I've already rrived, but instead feeling very much like I'm still in the process.

I feel like I'm spiraling towards creative potential that I've only just recently encountered and this process sometimes leaves me zinging and uncertain.

When I first had my baby boy, I was still in work mode, anxious, over-zealous, stressed beyond belief. I worked up until two days before he was born, full time, as a second grade teacher to a class of urban, highly needy and very diverse kids. They sucked me dry. Each day, taking the train home, with my hands cupping the dome of my stomach, I would wonder how I could continue to spread myself so thin, and continue to be happy.

I felt deeply exhausted throughout the winter. My last trimester was spent inadvertently skating across parking lot ice, wiping runny noses, trying to be present in my daily life. I felt scattered, taking the concept of multitasking to a new level: I never had a moment throughout my day when someone didn't need me, or rather, when six people didn't need me.

To some extent, I have always been like this: throwing myself full-force into life. I give, and give, and give to people---and especially to the kids I teach. It has often been hard for me to gauge how much energy I was giving out, and harder to keep enough in reserve for myself.

And had I not gotten pregnant, and instead continued teaching, I am fairly certain that I would have gradually drained myself on some deep, irretrievable level. I would have become someone different as a result. Someone slightly jaded, with a layer of gray sorrow washed over the fiery gusto I have for life.

Yet, I did get pregnant, and because of it, a new sequence of events unfolded, bringing me here. Because of my son, we moved to this city that I love, on the lake with the rolling blue mountains bordering another country. Because of him, I have learned how to be patient again, in a new way.

I have started to learn how to simply BE. Because this is how he is: totally present, in the moment, needing my attention. My body is still his geography. His tiny hands snatch at my hair as he nurses, grunting with satisfaction and I cannot rush him. I cannot be in two places at once in my mind. When he is awake and in my arms, he demands me to be wholly there with him.

And though I'm sometimes totally overwhelmed by the end of the day. (Sometimes I can't take any more hair pulling, or shrieking, or spit up, or flailing, and pass Bean off to DH unceremoniously in the midst of putting him to bed, and rush to hide in the bathroom or at Starbucks for a few moments: just to have some space to myself.) I have also benefited from the SLOWING DOWN OF THINGS in my life.

I have begun to allow myself to be creative in new ways, and am opening myself quietly, daily, and with intent to the possibility of new directions. In a way it seems I am learning to navigate with a new inner compass.