Embracing the Mess of Motion

I love time-lapse photography. I am grateful to this family for putting up a video clip that so closely resembles the way the holidays feel for me.  Actually, any point of the year when all three of our children are home feels just like this.

Motion

Mess

Motion

Mess

Motion

You get the picture. I know I only have the mess because of their motion, and I intend to take time regularly to remind myself that I WILL MISS THE MOTION.

There will be stillness in this house…eventually. There will be times of silence…eventually. Those things that I safely store on the counter will actually stay put…eventually.

I don’t want to make that motionless time come any closer than it already has.

Our oldest is 11. The other day he pointed out that he is already more than half done with his time in our home.

I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that the motion will stay this way forever.

I absolutely know better.

I didn’t really make a new year’s resolution this year, except that I want to yogify my life. As part of that process I intend to be in the moment. It means I embrace each part of my life, whether it is the motion… or the mess.

My little mess-makers are making messes back in their classrooms today, and I have had a few minutes to contemplate (clean) and give thanks.

I’m moved to gratitude for the motion… and the mess… in our home.

I’m moved to offer comfort and prayers for the local families who have to deal with the sudden loss of motion.

For the family and friends of a 3-year-old Minneapolis boy who was killed by a stray bullet, and for the family and friends of a 16-year-old Benilde-St. Margaret hockey player who lies motionless in a hospital bed after a check into the boards.

There is motion and mess in my house, but there is motion and mess outside of my house too. Perspective only comes when we can see the whole picture.

Motion leads to mess, but it matters most how we decide to be moved by the life around us.

How will you be moved this week?

Copyright 2012 Choosing to Grow- Meagan Frank

To learn more about Meagan Frank, you can visit her at her website: www.meaganfrank.com

Writing is a Four-Pronged Fork…Eat up!

It’s Wednesday.

And, I’ve been walking.

The mind-shifting walk this past week was the one I took with my Littlest Sprout and Mini Sprout.

Little Sprout is our soon-to-be-six-year-old who is currently sitting in her kindergarten classroom for the second day.

Mini Sprout is our ten-pound chiweenie who loves walks more than breathing.

Little Sprout had requested to ride her bike around a new path while I walked the dog.

Request granted.

When we walk around the lake, I see different things than my walking buddies . The dog sees squirrel tag games and peeing posts. Little Sprout sees “pretty gardens” and “secret paths”. They both point these things out to me as we walk, and the experience is fuller for all of us.

She sees a sleeping moon, and I see eternity. She sees a baby turtle, and I see the miracle of new life.  She sees a slinky caterpillar, and I see perpetual change. And she sees an uncatchable grasshopper, and I see courage and strength.

She hops off her bike several times to get a better look… and a picture. She shares what she sees with me, and I eagerly anticipate the days I can share with her what those things make me see now.

We head out of the canopied path and back to the street that will take us home. Little Sprout says, “That was a nice walk, Mommy.  Thank you.”

I thank her in response, and we chatter the last block away as she plans to share the pictures with her brother and sister. It’s all she wants to do.

It is just then that I realize what we have just experienced. This was a fork moment.

There has been an idea swirling in my head for the last few weeks, and it materialized completely on this walk.

The four prongs to writing, or art, or photography, or story-telling, or music, or well, I guess anything we create are as follows:

Experience.

Contemplate.

Create.

and Share.

Life is meant to be lived and experiences are meant to be had, but that is only part of what makes our lives feel complete and satisfying.

My life mantra can likely be summed up by Socrates, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Contemplation must accompany experience. A moment of reflection…a connection to past, present or future. That’s the logical.

Then there is the emotional. Allowing ourselves an opportunity to create in response to what we’ve thought about an experience. It is a luxury, I know, but it is as necessary as the involuntary rhythm of a beating heart.

Lastly, and most concupiscible… is the sharing. It is the human condition to want to share what we’ve created…what we’ve experienced…who we’ve become in the moments we truly lived.

Everyone is trying to share something. It takes intention to stop. To hear. To see. To appreciate the offerings of those around us. Don’t we all appreciate the people who ask us to share?

My challenge is to get better at celebrating the fork moments. Mine and theirs. To see my writing as what completes an experience for me, and as nothing more than my offering to share. While at the same time, inviting in how others are sharing too.

What do you do to create? What are the ways you share? Are you taking time to contemplate the experiences in your life?

I sincerely hope so…for the sake of all of us!

To learn more about Meagan Frank, you can visit her at her website:  www.meaganfrank.com

Letting Go of His “Me-Doll”… an Apocalyptic Lesson From Preschool

Today’s the day. The end of the world is upon us, and I want my last blog post…ever…to be an attempt to tie things all together.

Doomsdayer: “The end is here.”

ME (whose last preschooler finished school yesterday): “I know, I know. Isn’t it so sad?”

Doomsdayer: “The world is coming to an end.”

ME (still thinking about my own life): “It sure does feel like that. You know, I’m not as ready as I think I should be.”

Doomsdayer: “You need to repent.”

ME: “Repent? Oh, I hadn’t really thought of that.  What should I be sorry about?  Well, I guess I am sorry for a few things that happened along the way. There were plenty of mistakes made as the kids made their way through preschool, but I tried to learn from them.  Like Big Sprout’s “Me-Doll”.  Have you seen that thing?”

Doomsdayer:  “It is an Apocalypse!”

ME: “Apocalypse?  It’s bad, but that might be a bit extreme? I suppose if we talk about the “Me Doll” as an apocalyptic revealing of truth.  It most certainly was.

Here’s the story:

Big Sprout was assigned a Me-Doll project when he was four years old.  I have always been the stickler for school assignments and I read it literally:

1) Lay your child on the large piece of butcher paper.

2) Trace around his/her body and then cut it out.

3) Let your child draw him or herself and bring it back to school by Friday.

I started the project on Wednesday, because I knew my active and craft-hating, oldest son was going to complete this project, but begrudgingly.

Wednesday we traced and cut and then Thursday afternoon, I laid his paper version of himself out on a piece of carboard and presented it to him with a bucket of crayons and markers.

He started with the black marker and drew a pair of beady eyes that matched his little dot nose.  He put a great big beaming smile, a tuft of hair and a few toes.

He took out the yellow and drew the start of a shirt, but then he went back to the black marker. He put on his nipples and belly-button, and then…he took out the blue marker.

I smiled, proudly, as he drew more of his shirt and went down to what would have been the outside of his leg. Remembering what was likely the most important self-discovery of that year for him, he then drew on his blue genitalia.

My smile shifted to shock as I watched his little hand work and the blue balls take form.

I was left speechless as my art-exhausted son jumped to his feet and declared,

“I’m done!”

He ran out of the room completely satisfied with his rendition of himself, and I sat– stunned.

How was I going to carry in a blue-balled, naked me doll to be hung in the halls of the Catholic preschool?

I knew better than to chastise his self-image, because it really was an appropriate view of himself.  The problem was, it was not appropriate wall-art for a preschool.

I showed his dad, when he got home from work.

“What the hell is that?” he asked.

“It’s our son. Or at least his best attempt at an artistic expression of himself,” I tried to convince myself.

“He can’t take THAT to school,” he pointed.

“I know, but he is done drawing for today, and I don’t want this to scar him,” I worried.

“Well, maybe I can get him to draw on some clothes tomorrow before school,” my husband softened.

It worked, Big Sprout saw our logic when we explained to him that even Me-Doll’s need to get dressed for school, so he got out the black marker again.

He scribbled on some clothes, added the stripes of what looked like a referee uniform, and off we went to the preschool unveiling. (internally apocalyptic for me!)

Astride on the arms of his classmate’s parents were the most elaborate me-dolls I had ever seen.  There were princesses and cowboys, superheroes and firefighters. Many of the dolls were three-dimensional and some had fabric and buttons!

I slowed my entrance as the limp referee sadly hung on my arm. I felt like the worst mother ever.

I had volunteered for the day, and as my punishment for being a pathetic mother, I was sentenced to hang all the me-dolls along the wall.

I pounded the staples into the wall. Felt my heart race with every doll hung, and I just knew Big Sprout was going to have to come to terms with my inadequacies.

He walked in from recess with his classmates and was overjoyed when he found himself among the wall-hangings. He bounded off smiling and proud of his presentation.  He was perfectly fine with his Me-Doll…just the way it was. That day I learned that I needed to be fine with his presentations too.

The origin of the word apocalypse includes the idea of uncovering…revealing.

Today marks the end of preschool for our family. It could be the end of the world too, but in case it’s not, it can still be a day for a triumph of good over evil.

Every phase of life offers such chances for victory…we just have to be willing to seek out the truth of the matter, and accept the presentations offered. The more raw, honest and revealing the offerings, the more important that acceptance is.

I am grateful for my revelations…and I want to be mindful of every one. All the way up to the very end.