Life is in the parenthesis, in the comma, in the spaces and in the pause.
I have been thinking a lot lately about life in general which of course leads to a contemplation of life in specific, namely mine. I used to approach myself with Jesuit tenacity and finatical austerity. I was certain that I could mold this thing, this life, this "Angelina" into something valid, something purposeful, perhaps even exemplary. I meditated and cajoled, I coaxed and cursed, I exercised and hiked, I did yoga and ate vegetarian, I went to workshops, I read and read and read and then tried to understand it all.
Then I became a mom.
Let's face it, who has the time to examine life with a fine tooth comb once you have exchanged sleep for diaper duty/food preparing/story telling/child tending marathons. I went through an identity crisis with my first son. Wondering, "who am I now?", now that the backdrop of my life is no longer punctuated by long vistas of reflection and wide expanses of self absorption. "Who am I?" and "what?" and "where?". Over the following years I began to find myself in the spaces between the actions. A walk in the park holding a small hand, a spontaneously composed lullaby, a good night kiss, a candlelit supper, a poopy mess, a homework session, a trip to the grocers. These mundane moments ARE our lives and the question isn't how do we rise to meet them but how do we OPEN to greet them. This is where meaning is found and this is where we catch gossamer glimpses of ourselves. As a teacher of young children, one of my jobs is to act as a memory keeper. Children are creatures of the NOW, hurrying from one experience to the next with evident disregard for the one that preceded it. We can deepen their experience by elongating the pauses, asking questions instead of providing answers, documenting the journey so they can remember and by getting out of the way of the process. We adults are not so different. We are rushing through the moments of our lives for altogether different reasons, but rushing just the same. Writing these vignettes is a way for me to prolong the pauses, to extend the in-breath, to enjoy a comma. Writing has become a way of widening those gaps, to savor them, share them, and reflect on them. Thus the in-take of breath in a long distracted day, becomes a story and in that story I glimpse Me, the point where I interface with the world. Not the busy being me, but the quiet residing me, beckoning toward wholeness, toward openness, into LIFE.