Yep- that’s where I’ve been. As in present in the now. And while ‘here’ has physically been Las Vegas, Nevada; Riverside, Santa Barbara, and La Quinta, California; Scottsdale, Sedona, and Tucson, Arizona; Lewisville and (now) Austin, Texas, I really just mean I’ve been right HERE feeling and living in the present. And let me tell you, it feels… interesting.
I’ve been preaching presence all this time- the power of being in the now with our children and families. And, the truth is, I haven’t REALLY known it. Sure, I thought I knew it. I spend loads of time with my kids. We communicate deeply and constantly. Our familial bonds are loving, respectful, brilliant, and fun. But something has brought a new awareness into my life – the awareness that there is a spot in my brain that steals from my state of presence. It always has and I’ve recently given it an eviction notice.
There has always been something to look forward to, prepare for, to-dos lurking in the back of my mind just waiting for the time I need to get them done. For most of my life homework was the primary spaceholder in this space (yes, about 20 years between primary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate studies), sitting on my shoulder and whispering its endless, persistent presence in my ear. When there was no school work to be had, it was job-related tasks, childbirth education curriculums and preparations, bereavement programs to develop, research and re-writing hospital unit protocols. If there wasn’t something filling that spot, I volunteered for something because leaving it empty left me feeling uncomfortable, unproductive… useless.
When I stopped working a few years ago, I stepped up my blogging here, started the Humans Being podcast, began taking speaking engagements, co-sponsored an unschooling Meet-Up group for Dallas/Ft. Worth, and began co-publishing Rethinking Everything Magazine. I love all of these things but what I had managed to do was marry my computer. In the absence of knowing where to draw the line with how much I actually needed to be on the computer, I would check it and be working on something almost constantly- two e-mail accounts, blog entries, podcast development (preparation, recording, post-production). When I wasn’t on the computer, the space in my brain would throb with items that needed to be attended to… Or so I thought.
After spending two weeks in Las Vegas (brilliant time in the city of glitz, by the way), we slowly made our way out to Santa Barbara, California to visit Chris’ brother, sister-in-law, and beautiful little niece. While Rancho Oso was a really picturesque RV park with lots of amenities, we found ourselves just over the mountains from the ocean view smack in the middle of a (insert Twilight Zone music here) no-service zone. No cell phone. No internet. Period. Nothing to boost. We were told we could get a signal at a turn-off 1/2 mile up the road from the entrance booth. What?! Rather than completely freaking out (I do that now and then), I felt a strange sense of peace creeping in. My “it is what it is” voice met with my “I have ‘work’ to do” voice and overtook it in a swift coup d’etat. I felt liberated. A quick consideration of how much truly NEEDED to be attended to during our two-week stay amounted to what I could knock out during a 1/2 hour visit to the dial-up-disguised-as-cable internet provided at the lodge.
That’s not all Santa Barbara provided. While not a phone-talker, my cell plan was up and my dinosaur-disguised-as-a-phone was becoming an embarrassment to my techie husband. I got a Blackberry Storm and it has not been the addictive curse that I had imagined. It’s actually been the perfect complement to my new state of awareness. I can quick-check all I want with the touch of a button and never wonder if there may be some collossal issue needing major attention and hiding within my laptop. I can surf Facebook in the car (while Chris drives, of course) and not get swept up in its current at home. I can retrieve a recipe or send a quick note without opening Pandora’s laptop and getting sucked in.
Life has, shockingly, not collapsed with infrequent computer use. I feel much more connected to each moment with my family. Even my cooking is better. My head space is so clear and I just haven’t been able to sort out how to add back in the podcast and blogs (I’ve managed to work on REM in a much more organized fashion) without clogging it up again. I’ve come to realize that it’s not really the focused intention/work that is the issue, it’s the tendency to get side-tracked web-surfing, Facebook commenting, etc. Even when I do these now, I do them with intention and it feels great. So here is my attempt to keep in touch, to journal, to share our journey of ever-evolving freedom of mind, body, and spirit without compromising that journey.
This blog has had many lives: homeschool portfolio, unschool chronicle, pondering place, and travel journal. It may continue to be all of these things as I continue to evolve and grow and choose to do that which fills me rather than that which fills time.