"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Passion's price

A page from my SR2 journal
So I had my Yarn Along post for yesterday nearly finished. It was a bit longer than I had first planned but reviewing Nurture Shock ended up taking longer than I thought. Then, I looked at the time. OH CR--!! I was 10 minutes late getting the kids UP and into the car for swim club nearly 30 minutes away. And crazily enough, I took 2 seconds to consider finishing the post FIRST before getting the kids to swim club. I shook my head to find some sense and ran to the bedrooms to wake the kids up. Both kids managed to go to the bathroom before I plopped them half-naked and half-asleep into the car with their half-frozen waffles for breakfast. At least I had sense to pack their swim bag the night before. I drove fast alternating between cursing myself for not paying attention to time and praying that I do pay attention to my driving. We were late, but we made it. And the kids, well, they seemed unfazed and happy to be there. As I let out a deep breath and sigh of relief, I wondered in amazement at my obliviousness to time, again.

I have hit a point, at 40, where I have come to understand the madness of passion. The need to feed something so strong that other things seem to fall away on the importance scale. My ability to focus and concentrate had always been a good thing, until what I focused on moved from my homemaking and motherly duties over to my enthusiasm to create. Yikes. I mean, I knew this was happening but I had always counted on my responsible self to readjust my priorities and keep me centered. But lately, that responsible self seems to be on vacation. Is it the psychology of summer? Is it turning 40? Have I somewhere subconsciously decided that I have the liberty to just do what "I" want to do?  Has passion become a growing amoeba of insidious selfishness?

The bottom line is that there is a price to be paid for passion. Passion is wonderful and electrifying. Passion feeds my soul and allows an unleashing that helps me feel alive. But, I am finding that passion can also be blinding and selfish. I have always counted on my understanding of balance to bring me back to center. But passion is an energy that has greater force than anything I had ever encountered, so I have been toppling over more often than not. I know I need to harness the energy being shot around here instead of running around thinking I am suddenly out of time and feeling like my pants are on fire. I need to figure out the fair price for passion.

I know fear has something to do with it--fear that passion might float away if I don't feed it. I have no desire to give up my passions, so something else has got to give. And it won't be my relationship with my kids, it can't be my responsibilities that I have committed to them or to my husband. It's gotta be the house, laundry and dinner. Just kidding. But seriously, it's gotta be something else I am missing. And on top of that I've been trying to reignite my passion for health, with difficulty I might add.  So today I am opening myself up to ideas and asking you, what is a fair price? How do you do it? I have my thoughts and I know it has to do with organizing time, but I would love to hear more from you!

signed Selfishly Passionate :),

xx oo

P.S. I've tried giving up showers, too, but that only works until I have to leave the house :).
P.S.S. I've also cut back on commenting ---so sorry for not being there as often.


  1. I think the most important thing is that you are AWARE. Also, it is summer!!!!!!!!! I have cut back on my internet time. When Mr. Dragon was ill .. all the long hours in treatment ... I carried the lap top everywhere. I was constantly connected ... usually Farming on FaceBook. Now that he is no longer with me ... the farming has moved to my postage stamp backyard. I don't spend the time on FB. I have time for some of my passions and have to find them all over again. In the words of a Zen monk/teacher: *you are just fine the way you are. you just need a little work* ... makes me smile and laugh each time!!!!!!!

  2. You jokingly mentioned giving up on the house. Me? I truly have given up on the house.

    I do try and keep it picked up, and I definitely make the beds everyday, and am somewhat successful, but it is nowhere near my preferred standard of clean of a thorough cleaning each week. I have consciously decided that time with my children is more important than clean floors or dusted furniture. That said, usually every 6 or 8 weeks I reach a point of overwhelm and do a cleaning...but day to day I keep the mantra that these days are fleeting and I don't want to spend them cleaning.

    I totally get what you are experiencing with your passions (we are having a similar 40 year old experience!) and I am glad you are embracing your passions -- after all, isn't that the beautiful part of life?

  3. Oh MJ- I think EVERYONE can relate to this post. I think it's great that you KNOW you struggle between family and creating. I find that picking a time once a week that is my "creative" time has helped me. Even if it's not as much as I'd like, I can look forward to it each week and give myself permission to let everything else go and create. I've also segmented my cleaning and laundry. I clean one room per day and only keep it to Mon, Tues, Wed and Thurs (kitchen, bathroom, dusting and declutter, floors). I don't worry so much about bedrooms, no one sees those anyway. :) Laundry is a load a day - one goes in before dinner, then changes out before bed. This means there is usually a load in the dryer, but who cares? Also, not signing online in the morning is KEY. I find my whole morning is gone if I sign on to read the beautiful blogs I love. There's always a balance in everything we do. I hope you get some great tips- I'll be checking on on this thread for myself!!! All tips help, don't they?

  4. I totally get this. I usually turn a load of laundry on before I go to bed so that while the kids are eating their breakfast, I can get it hung on the line. Then coffee + blog reading for one hour. Then time with the kids, cleaning the kitchen, getting lunch done. After lunch is naptime for the youngest, school time or quiet time for the kids and I. This is when I pay bills, balance the checkbook or do things hard to do when the noise level is high. On most days I spend the time reading or doing something I want to do whether that is write, take photos, read blogs, paint with the kids...we spend the afternoon playing or crafting, a little time spent outside, then it's time for dinner. Once that is going, I'll check email again quickly before we eat because after dinner it's cleanup, bath time, bed time, and then time to hang with the Mr. Some days are easier than others and some days I just feel overwhelmed and depressed. I do find that writing most of my blog posts ahead of time and scheduling them has helped me tremendously.

  5. Oh yes, this passion conundrum. My passion for creating has been in overdrive ever since I became a mama. Isn't that how the universe works??? As soon as I feel all this creative energy flowing through me, I don't have enough time to express it! Rats!

    I used to try and fit in a few minutes here or there of working on my current project, but for me, that isn't really satisfying. I need some un-interrupted time to get absorbed into my creativity, so now I try to do it while my girls nap or sometimes I can set up an activity to keep them busy for a good half an hour while I sew/blog/draw etc.

    I know the feeling you mean; as if this fleeting inspiration will fizzle out if you don't get around to creating something right! now! I feel that desperation too. But I remind myself daily, that inspiration will always strike again and I'll have plenty of time to pursue my creative endeavors when the kids are grown. :)

    Lastly, my house is not up to my former standards and thank god for my easy going and understanding husband who never complains if he comes home from work to find the house a wreck and canned soup and crackers for dinner!

  6. I very much relate.
    My own creative passions have to be fitted into narrow, intense (late night or early morning) moments. Often these moments are inturupted too :)
    But I have littles and that is the way it is with littles around. And I wouldn't swap that for the world.
    I don't get as much time to comment on blogs as I'd like to either :)
    I think you are right though MJ, balance is so important. Balance is the key.

  7. I really want to read your review of Nurtureshock. Perhaps you could post it here?

  8. Sure Patti!! It's a pretty good thought-provoking read. I'll make sure I post it or send it to you directly :).

  9. true dat.
    why do i continue to add more things to my plate - i find i'm trying to squeeze in all the things i love. i'm not sure if that is making me happier or crazier. maybe it is all the same?
    but something has got to give if i want peace...

  10. MJ, I have been thinking about your post most of the day. Like everyone else,I can relate so well to this post. It's so hard to fit it all in and I think when we try, something loses...house, kids, marriage..something. I wish I knew how to make it all work,but I don't. Right now my house is suffering because I spend so much time in the garden and the truth be told? on the computer. I guess one just has to make choices. A very good post and one I think that will help me make some much needed changes in my own life. Love to you my friend.xx

  11. What a gift - to have passion! But, as you say, it can be a curse, too. But, truly, you are so far ahead of the game...I have no idea what my passion is anymore. Maybe it's because I've given up hope of ever striking the necessary balance to support it. But I am so encouraged by your desire to find it. And, I have no doubt at all that you will in time!! Hugs to you.

  12. I think showers can totally go, MJ! And the house—it'll still be there, and all the To Do things when you've spent that hour or two or three immersed, beautifully, in your Own Good Things. The stuff does build up, but there's something glorious about the feeding of the Passion, isn't there? Don't you feel a little (or a lot) on fire, lit up inside, like you're at the top of the wave, and all around you is space—you can see for miles. So it can't be given up, ever.

    Passion is something I don't think can be scheduled, really. It just IS. And that makes it unwieldy when the rest of life is standing nearby, perhaps looking over your shoulder, saying, Um? We have no food. Or, I have no pants!

    So the only answer I have is to breathe. And feel when it's getting too much, and on those days, step away. Yes, comment less, because we know you love us anyway. Or, go for that lovely, energising walk, then do a load of laundry because it IS nice to have clean pants. I think all you can do is feel, in the moment, what is necessary. Step away when you need. Come back when you can. Live. Live. Live.

    (And do you know that when you write, you speak straight into my heart? I am so glad you write, and for ALL your Passions. They make you.)

    Sending love :)

  13. you got me thinking. it's always a balancing act, isn't it? i have always thought that there are stages of mothering...the intense baby years, the almost more obsessed toddler preschool years and then we begin to come to a new place where we are no longer all consumed by the needs of young children and feel more confident in their path...perhaps you are between stages. and do remember that our children need to witness our passion. it's more important than running a little late or having a clean house or what not. thanx for writing and keeping us on our toes!

  14. It's funny, I have a draft on my blog that is along similar lines, but is not yet published as I am only part way through a project that is a 'passion' of sorts. I hear where you are coming from and I feel if you have a moment in your day to work on your passion, then go for it. The washing, housework etc will still be there tomorrow, but sometimes that moment to work on your passion may not. Gosh, I hope this makes sense, it's getting late here and my brain is shutting down. Jacinta

  15. This is such an important and valuable topic. I do let passion come before housework on some days because the things I am passionate about give me something I need, and it's something uncluttered countertops just can't provide. Still, I have certain responsibilities I need to fulfill and I frequently find myself overwhelmed with stress because I simply don't think I can fulfill them all. That's where the time management you speak of comes in, and I'm really trying to learn that skill.

    Anyway, I'm rambling, but the point is: I completely understand what you're staying - so much so that I have no advice to offer! I have cut back a bit (not this week, though!) on writing, too, and that helps. I certainly don't fault you for being here a bit less if that's what you need.

    I hope you'll share more on this journey toward balance, because I'm certain I could learn from you.

  16. Heck if I know!! I totally get the passion thing. I know if I don't get time to create, to think w/o demands from anyone or anything, it can get unpleasant. I usually let the house go to some extent. I have been enlisting the help of kids and husband in doing cleaning. That helps. It may not be the best clean, but I feel better not being the only one responsible.
    There is just so much and with kids there is always more. I lose sight of time also. Besides getting up earlier (which is against my nature), I have no solutions. Oy. Good luck and I'll be thinking of you.

  17. i think that following our passions is essentially selfish. unless we believe that we're on this earth to be martyrs, then selfishness is essential. love, compassion, appreciation of passion, etc, comes from giving all that to ourselves first.
    the selfishness that is suspect is the type that excludes the needs of others. Believing that our needs are supreme.

    i see it like when flying - in an emergency you're to put the airbag on yourself before doing it for others, even your children. thinking that the selfless thing to do would be to sort the kids out first could be detrimental for everybody. goes for the rest of life. :)

    i now can't see how i could be the mother that i am without loving selfishness - self love.

  18. Hi darling- a late comment from me on a beautiful post. I've read some of the other sweet comments too.
    My small contribution: I practice finding passion to be in everything I do. So it's everchanging. If I'm doing the dishes, it's there. If I'm playing a a show, it's there, if it's cleaning the coop, it's there. That way I am never without and always within. Don't mean it to sound esoteric. But, really, when being a mom of young children and a housewife, it works out pretty good. Then I feel I am also teaching my children to be connected to what is at hand as well as pursuing dreams.

  19. I SO hear ya. I feel so busy -- what ever happened to lazy summer days? We're out worshiping the sun, the beach, the naptimes - and I hardly have time for the "me" projects (knit, blog, and oh laundry, gardening..)
    I'm the half of an orange already squeezed being placed upon the juicer. I go in and out of fitting it all in, then watching it pile up. Let me know when you find the answer to balance..

  20. marvelous post! the price I pay for passion...is usually a messy house :) so glad you find time for art AND photos--so lovely!

  21. definitely the house, laundry, and dinner. in that order. lol...

  22. I'm barely holding down a husband, two dogs, and our house/meals/laundry, and a full time job. So, I guess what I am saying is that we haven't even added kids to the mix and it's a lot. I guess the best advice I could give is that priorities are allowed to shift even day to day. Some days cleaning and meals are more important... others it's making sure we all get a walk... others yet I am selfish and sew most of the time. Not everything has to be balance every second of every day. Just keep plucking away and I'm sure you will do better than most! Maybe the kids smiling can be your barameter? If they are smiling, then life is good?


“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw