Last Spring it had become apparent to me that I become "cut off" from so much that used to nourish my soul. To some degree, this was to be expected: we had moved farther outside of town; life with a preschooler was getting busier & busier; I work part time; and I'm just older and tire easily! I missed seeing friends, popping out for a movie or a coffee and a chat, but ... that's life, oh well.
Then I got involved in all these online courses and what blew me away were the strong connections being formed. Sure, it is easier when I can type something at 9 AM and someone can answer me from the comfort of their living room at 2 AM. Still, people were reaching out, supporting and encouraging me and it brought home the fact that I have seemingly "misplaced" my circle of friends closer to home.
So I have been taking the steps to put myself out there more. It is hard. I remember trying to connect with some moms in one of Cowgirl's gym classes and feeling rejected when they never called. And I am trying to promote my upcoming workshops, so yesterday I pulled out the phone and began calling people I was embarrassed to have neglected for so long. And of course they were gracious, understanding, happy to hear from me and so excited to hear what has been going on. Why did I wait so long?
I need to be forgiving of myself - it has been busy, I have been adjusting to changes that seem to roll faster and faster the older Cowgirl gets. And with absence was a realization of how much I cherish my friends, miss being part of a world larger than the circuit I walk the dog, and how pleasurable it is to fall into that circle of attention, support and care that friends provide. And I miss being a friend to them.
But I have also learned about my boundaries and my need to watch how I use my energy and to be able to say "no" when I need to. If I don't take care of myself, I cannot be a very good friend to others, never mind tending to my family. So perhaps I am ready to integrate this aspect back into my life with a better understanding of how to care for those relationships without sacrificing myself. It is a balancing act I struggle with - family, friends, self, teaching, creative time, Moose time - but I think I have a better handle on it now.
That's not to say my online circle isn't firmly in place and being nourished daily by emails, blog reading and flickr comments and discussions. And as a reminder of how the two worlds do interconnect, Cowgirl and I went to collect the mail and were thrilled to find a fat enveloped addressed to "Mermaids!" sitting in the mailbox!
Inside was a treasure trove of goodies for scrapbooking sent to us with love from the Mermaid herself. Cowgirl loves - I mean loves in the way some women love buying new shoes - getting mail. And this was an extra special treat as I informed her this was from The Mermaid of our art videos. (This lead to a lengthy discussion of the relationship between the Fairies and Mermaids and how they know each other.) After spilling the contents of the envelope unto the floor, we immediately got to work making a necklace. It was a great way to end our day. (Thank you McCabe ... and I haven't forgotten about my video project! It is fermenting ...)
Go figure, right afterwards I got a phone call from another dear friend and even though I needed to clean up and get dinner on, I plop myself down and savored every morsel of our conversation.
How do you balance it all? What keeps you connected?