I recently participated in a call hosted by Sara Yamtich and Jade Rivera on “multipotentiality” a.k.a. being interested in and wanting to go multiple directions with your life and how to make that happen.
I spent a good fifteen years of my life fitting myself into a little box, shrinking who I am to a minimum, ignoring hopes and dreams. I realized a few years ago that I don’t have to feel trapped in circumstance anymore.
I have found many treasures that I love and want to use, now that I have “unpacked the box”, so to speak, but it is difficult to remember how. I have also found that letting my emotions roam freely can be overwhelming and exhausting, and I struggle with how to manage them wisely.
A moment in the call particularly spoke to me – Jade discussed satisfying three things every day to keep herself in a state of peace: one for the mind, one for the heart, one for the body.
That sounds like an excellent starting point for me.
I have responsibilities, and homeschooling two gifted girls is very time consuming, but I know I can do three things daily for myself.
So, what’s my plan?
For my body – I began running in April. I am not a very athletic person, but one day, I had just had enough of everything, and needed 15 minutes to myself. I downloaded the Couch25k app, and got on the treadmill. Within a month, I felt motivated to run often, and I began running outside, which improved the experience further.
It’s a soothing habit now. I run 1.5 miles 3-4 times weekly. It adds an element of peace and nature and endorphins to my routine. It’s healthy for my whole self.
For my mind – I am enrolled in a Coursera class – Modern and Contemporary Poetry from Penn State. I adore poetry and much of the material for the class will be new to me. I enroll classes often, but I rarely participate. I will make it a priority to engage in this class, and pamper my brain, rather than watch another Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.☺
So far, I have taken 15-20 minutes in my day to watch the lectures and read the selected poems. B has been watching the lectures with me, and perhaps she will learn to love Emily Dickinson as much as I do.
For my heart – I need to help, to give. I tend to go all-out and give until I have nothing left for those who are most important to me, and then I come to an abrupt halt.
I volunteered at our local food bank/food center for a time, in the kids’ reading room. I read with children who came with their families for their one hot meal of the day, helped with homework, and played with the little ones. My emotional OE went into overdrive and I could not stop thinking about the children and their lives. I wanted to take them all home, feed them all, love them all. I would break down thinking of them during the day, and I dreamt of it at night. My family suffered in the mean time, and I had to force myself to admit that it was too much for me. (In my head, this still sounds horribly selfish – my emotions were too much? Their lives are too much.)
I had to accept my limitations, however selfish it made me feel. I don’t know that I am able to turn my emotions to a lower gear, so I need to involve myself in productive endeavors that will satisfy but not consume me. My goal in this area is to give daily, in ways that are more sustainable for the long-term me. For now, I will engage in random acts of kindness, and look for small but meaningful ways to help in my community.
At the beginning of the call, Sara emphasized that “clarity comes from doing, not thinking”, and that is is just fine to be and do more than one thing. It sounds so simple when I write it.
Stop thinking. Start doing.