I am always searching for the ‘magic’ notebook. I pick them up and bring them home like one would an orphaned kitten. What would this notebook accomplish one may ask? Well, it would transport my to-do list into a concise and clear text that could eradicate all fear of forgetting. The notebook would maintain an air of perfection in my home. All would go according to plan. Nothing would be forgotten, I would find intense inner peace. Yes, I would become Inner-Peace Working Mom.
The problem with this:
A. There is no to-do list that can be accomplished in a day, a week, or a year. Goals, of course, are admirable. To-do lists however are a waste of time. Anything that is never-ending and always changing seems like a futile effort.
B. Nothing in life is clear, nor concise, nor concrete enough that mere ink strokes make any sense as a means to control it. Controlling and perfectionist ideals leads to a slew of behaviors that are not healthy such as stress and guilt.
Often, perfectionist tendencies leads to judgment of others. Guilty and working on this one. Having two young children has been a game-changer for me. I cannot strive for perfection anymore and I don’t want to.
So magic does exist, but it is not in the form of a notebook, post-it, or sketch pad. Well, art is magic. Creativity is powerful. Thoughts, images, and feelings from an individual so moved, they have to exert that energy and create a visible product (or a sound, like music). That energy is then translated into something visible (auditory or tactile) and open to interpretation by the public.
I am aware of this cliché: The artist bares their soul, but it is true. Their piece means something particular to the artist but that piece also has the power to transcend the original meaning and become something else for another interpreter. A witness to the art. Experience is relative. Art can transcend. That is powerful.
I digress, the magical notebook. This is not a movie with Ryan Gossling, though that beard was mighty magical. Digressions. This may be my problem or a virtue. Without digressions we wouldn’t end up in another state on a whim road-trip. We wouldn’t let our children stay up late to catch firefly’s barefoot and in their pajamas. Without digressions we would not be human. To stray is to be human, to survive, and to err.
I have post-its from 2014 show up in many random places: drawers, stuck in book pages, under the fridge, and pockets of pants I wore last winter.
You would think me a hoarder. Quite the opposite. I am an organizer. On paper. In my head, is debatable. Perhaps the list is just a means to vent and get it out of my headspace. Unless it’s a work agenda; my personal life to-do lists are forgotten after I make them. The work agenda is necessary. The magical home organizing notebook is not.
I started this blog to channel my creative energy into something more visible, more relevant than a Saturday night discussion with my husband about food preservatives and monarch butterfly decline. It was apparently clear I needed to move some of that energy into discussions on important topics.
So how do I regulate this? How do we channel our rambling ‘notebook-like’ thoughts into a cohesive strategy for living. We don’t. We can’t. And we shouldn’t.
Sleep resets me. A nice, cold IPA. Yoga. A hard run listening to Metric. That completely still moment in the morning when you awake to a toddlers breathe in your face and the comfort of a warm bed, soft sheets. What is it about your own child’s smell that is so intoxicating? Literally, I could breathe in my children’s scent all day and never tire of it.
Did I digress again? The list… I’ve concluded…There is NO linear list. There is a circle with points in it, on it, and outside of it, and lines in between those points. Millions and trillions of paths that life can take. My magical notebook cannot contain the to-do’s of life’s list.
The list is not meant to be written down. It’s meant to be experienced.
So experience is relative. I was discussing with my husband today that soon our son needs exposed to other children that do not have as much as he does. We want him to feel for others and learn empathy from a very early age. True empathy also, not giving away toys he ‘does not want any longer,’ but perhaps parting with a favorite toy because he feels another could gain joy from it.
This means finding the right time in his development to introduce the topics of fear, poverty, desperation, and unfortunately violence- all things vital for him to understand the human condition. He is not there yet but as parents we have to somehow expose him eventually.
What is horrifying and shocking in this modern world is persecution of people for cultural, religious, and political beliefs. What seems insane to me is that I worry (and make lists) about buying Christmas gifts for my children when some children are literally in the rain as I type this, cold and without a jacket. Their parents cannot smell their sweet skin and hair through the tears and the fear that surrounds them.
What is beautiful in this world is to see people who radiate love and caring in the midst of fear and desolation. This video touched me when I saw it so please take the time to watch it. Life is fleeting and everyday problems often are extremely petty. Shame on me for my petty everyday worries. Shame on my to-list. Forget the to-do list today and hold your family close. Appreciate what you do have. Truly appreciate it.
Let’s refocus our every day worries into finding more grace, forgiveness, empathy, kindness, and patience in ourselves and for each other. Take the time to listen. Make the time for people.
Please Watch this Video:
Published on Oct 9, 2015. Description: ‘For thousands of desperate refugees, the dangerous first step on their journey to Europe could be their last. Samaritan’s Purse teams are stationed at several primary stops across Europe distributing necessary supplies.’
Articles pertaining to this issue:
- How you can Help in the Migrant Crisis: CNN.com Lee-Johnson, Laura. Sept. 30, 2015. This article contains links to various support groups, such as Save the Children, UNHCR, Catholic Relief Services, and Samaritan’s Purse.
‘A new report from the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, says that more than 2,500 migrants and refugees have died or gone missing this year while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, seeking a new life. Although over 350,000 survived, the journey into Europe remains dangerous and deadly.’ 
2. ‘Europe has found itself ill-prepared to deal with its biggest influx of refugees since the second world war. ‘ TheGuardian- Winter is Coming: The New Crisis for Refugees in Europe
3. ‘The conflict in Syria continues to be by far the biggest driver of the migration. But the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, abuses in Eritrea, as well as poverty in Kosovo are also leading people to look for new lives elsewhere.’ BBCNews- Migrant Crisis: Migration to Europe Explained in Graphics.