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Archive for November, 2012

Muscles

My husband has introduced me to an athletic trainer who is helping me heal my back and neck.

He calls what he does “muscle activation,” and that phrase is coming to seem more and more an analogy that applies to multiple areas of my life. Certain muscles in my body need to be waked up. Certain muscles in my artistic life need to be waked up. Certain muscles in my life as a mother and as a “house-keeper” and as a person who prays need to be waked up. The muscles in my life as a teacher and editor are kind of incredible: I’ve got a six-pack! It feels really strange to deliberately step away from exercising those, earning money from those.

I have been a “stay-at-home mom” before, but never when my kids were all in school during the day. What will I being doing with my time? My deepest intuition says: spend the time waking up muscles! Take up my study of yoga again. (I’ve been to one formal class in the last eight years.) Write creatively again. Commit to new spiritual disciplines. Find out whether my nearly-constant efforts to draw, sculpt, and paint are worth pursuing in a serious way. Open myself up to what’s possible.

And then I feel the fear coming in, contracting all the muscles: what the hell is all this dreaming, Judith? You’re quitting teaching because the laundry needs doing and the kids’ lives need organizing. You won’t be journaling and going on yoga retreats–you’ll be driving to football practice and cleaning out closets. Or, you’ll be working part-time in some office job so you don’t go into debt and your kids can go to interesting summer camps.

But last week my trainer told me that my body is responding so well to the treatment–my body is sound, whole, a good instrument. What a message of hope–and I find myself believing it! And in this moment I think I can believe the same thing about these other areas of my life: the artist-dreams and the priest-dreams in me are not dead or, God forbid, silly. They are sound, and whole, and real. And the message coming to me from a hundred different sources is that it’s time for these dormant muscles to be awakened–for my family’s sake and others’ sake as well as my own.

And surely it’s all connected–all one big system? Then it’s false to label some needs selfish and some needs unselfish?

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