I'm not much into self-help books, although I have to admit, I've found a bit of solace in the self-help aisle of the local bookstores, by playing out this scenario:
I stand with a recommended title in my hands, spinning my wheels about coughing up hard-earned dough on a book I know I will never read anyway. I contemplate my "issue," realize that I know what the stupid answer to the stupid problem is anyway (stop spending, stop eating, stop fighting, just stop whatever it is!] and decide to buckle the fuck up without Dr. Phil or Tony Robinson. Put the book back, save $16, and feel better about myself already. What a load off!
One book I *do* like, however, is Jon Kabat Zinn's "Wherever You Go, There You Are." I'm not sure it would be considered self-help, or more of an instructional guide to Mindfulness Awareness and meditation. In a nutshell, what I take from the book, when I flip through it, is 2 things:
1. Live in the here and now. VERY difficult to do. We get so caught up in what happened earlier, and what we have to do later, that we miss out on NOW. We don't taste our food, listen to our friends and families, smell the roses, see the sunset.
2. Try not to place negative or positive judgments on things: "This is neither good or bad, it just is." (Or was it Yoda that said that?) This also requires some determination, but when I make an attempt at it, my road rage cuts down considerably: "That that moron just ran thru the 4-way stop is neither good or bad, it just is, and it's in the past now, because I'm through the intersection now..."
I generally can't (or don't) stay aware of this mindfulness stuff for more than a few weeks at a time, even though I feel noticably more grounded when I do.
I am, lately, restless.... There's normal holiday chaos, yes, but it's more than that; the past and the future are my constant companions, and Mindfulness Awareness is hard to come by.
I've mentioned, before, my son's plan to join the military. Final dates are not established yet, but it won't be long, before he flies the coop. These are big issues between us, I am contemplating worrying about him, and missing him.
His entire childhood is flashing before me, several times a day, as I shop, drive, do chores. I polish floors and smile at how my convincing him that his black dress shoes were "police-man shoes" backfired on me bigtime, and his 2-year-old hatred for them turned into an obsession to wear them even to bed. I laugh at the memory of his father startling him so badly with a dead bug he found in the car that he accidentally tossed his bagel out the window. On and on, the memories are flooding me lately.
Whatever his decision is, whether it worries bejeezus out of me or not; whether it's military, school, or a career...it's time for me let go.
And the future looms ahead. His. And mine.
And it's time for me to decide who I am going to be now. Though I'm sure you'll hear more from me, about his life, as it's relayed to me, I do not intend to BE "lonely, weeping mom," for heaven's sake. I need to keep things in proper perspective here.
This is just a big, BIG life change for me, kiddies. I married my first husband straight out of high school, and so went from my father's home to my husband's. We were married for 10 years, and Brian was 4 when we ended up on our own. He will be 20 in March.
I will be 43 in January, AND living alone for the first time in my life. No one to take care of but myself. No relationships in the works. No obligations to anyone or anything, save a mortgage payment and a few credit card bills.
CAN YOU IMAGINE?
These issues are the source of my restlessness. It is TIME in my life for me to be nothing but me, and just THINK of all the choices! Oh, I'm planning, baby; I am contemplating and stewing and making some hardcore decisions here.
Though some might just kick back and take a bit of a rest, that's simply not in my nature. I just told a friend the other night, "I can decide now, whether to do nothing, or to do something great, and I'd like to aim for something great."
So, let me get through these holidays. Bare with me while I weep a bit when the kid leaves. Smack some sense into me if I forget to stop it soon enough...and hang on to your hats, you'll be hearing from me in hopefully bigger and better ways.