Staying Busy is My Therapy

IMG_20180505_221722959The list of things I do to keep myself busy is fairly long.  I am a Pastry Chef, Executive Chef, writer, builder, wood worker, stone mason, gardener, painter.  I am a Reiki Master and I study holistic medicine so I can learn to help people heal themselves without pills and chemicals–and now you can add jewelry designer to the list.  It isn’t that I don’t ever sit down and do nothing…on occasion, I do…just not very often.  Truth be told, when I’m alone, I often eat standing up–almost like I don’t finish one thought before moving on to the next.  Some people say I’m crazy, I say I multi-task…a lot.

IMG_20180508_165328283I have an instant gratification fixation.  I love mowing my lawn because I can see where I’ve been and how much better it looks.  I don’t care that I still have an acre to mow–I look at the lane I’ve just mowed.  And it looks good!  I also like mowing because I can talk to myself and no one can hear me.  They don’t know whether I’m singing or what–and all the while, I’m solving the earth’s problems.

My new venture–wire weaving to create jewelry from gemstones combines a lot of those things.  I like sparkly things–I love crystals–they make me feel good, and they’re awesome–and humbling.  You want to argue if there’s a God–take a look at a snowflake amethyst with purple, blue, orange and pink crystals and think that a zillion years ago that was a handful of sand.  The perfect recipe of creation–time, heat and pressure transformed that dust into a dazzling thing of beauty.  Miracle?  I say it is.  My designs may not be miracles, but it’s so cool to take five strands of wire and an incredibly thin wire and begin to loop, loop, loop and watch this “thing” grow and come alive in your hands.  Pretty awesome–and gratifying.

I used to use a lot of those busy things as distractions–so I didn’t have to think about things that hurt.  When I would stop and do nothing, the thoughts of “there’s nothing good about me…I’ll never be good enough,” would creep in.  So I did use activity kind of like a drug–escape.  I did those too, and they created their own trap and I had to escape the things I used to escape things.

Things changed when I joined Mercy Ships and for the first time my life was about helping people who weren’t in a position to help themselves.  I had dabbled in it fairly often, but this became my life’s mission.  During that time I learned that as I reached out to someone else in the midst of my own pain, my pain was healed.  Layer by layer the onion was peeled away and I began to be able to look at myself as being whole–not splintered, not broken, not not good enough.  I was a train wreck, but I could still help someone else out.

Fast forward 20 years and I’m still just as busy.  I still work 12 hour days and when I get home, the “other” work begins.  The difference is this work–all this busy-ness is therapy.  It makes me feel good to see a broken stick of a plant take root and grow.  It makes me happy to see the plants in my garden so laden with produce that I have enough to last me and entire winter and have enough to give to my neighbors, my employees and friends.

I’ve often joked that I am a life long student.  I get excited when I find something new to learn.  I can’t just half way do something.  I’m all or nothing.  If something isn’t worth giving 100 percent, it’s not worth taking the time to do it at all.  And, I’m the same way about things I do for fun–because actually, most of what I do I do for fun.  It keeps me sane.  It’s my therapy.  Staying busy is my therapy.  I get up before the sun, and I don’t stop until it’s dark.  Man it feels good to be alive.

Do I Stay, or Do I Go?

pyramid copyYour heart, spirit, intuition–whatever you want to call it will always know something isn’t right long before our minds will accept that concept.  Some people call it “that small still voice.”  I call it that higher part of me that like an eagle flies far above the circumstances and can see with clarity what is, and what lies ahead.  My mind, however, will often become the trap that keeps me mired down in situations my spirit wants to get out of or be free from…yet I stay.

Why??  Fear?  Yes.  Self doubt?  Yes.  Feeling like a failure if I walk away?  Yes.  Are those feelings real?  Yes.  But where do they come from?  They come from that part of me that wants to make sense out of everything–that part that says there has to be a logical order so that the outcome that is produced is also logical.  And how do I feel while in the midst of that process?  Miserable, defeated, trapped and hopeless. Miserable to stay, afraid to leave.  Not a particularly meaningful way to exist…certainly not fulfilled, excited or content.

I know I’m headed into that vacuum when I see less and less color in my life…everything begins to lose the sparkle of life and turns into a monochromatic monotony.  It’s easy to make a glowing list of all the reasons it would be beneficial to extricate myself from the situation, and it’s just as easy to make an ongoing list of all the things that would make removing myself complicated, or at least uncomfortable.

When things have been set into motion to get you to remove yourself, there is no arguing with the outcome.  Remaining stationary in those situations, really comes down to one basic emotion for me….fear.  Fear of the unknown is a completely controlling emotion until I make the decision to not be controlled any longer.  As soon as I begin to move in the direction to do something about it; as soon as I put something into motion; as soon as I make a declaration that this, too, will change….BOOM!!!  the universe hears me and doors will begin to open.  And I wonder why it took so long to make the change.

It reminds me of a story I’ve heard many times (and every time been able to see it applies to me).  A man stands on the edge of a cliff–the voice in his head telling him to take that leap of faith.  And he asks, “But, what if I fall?”  The voice answers, “But my dear…what if you fly?”

At some point in the life of every sparrow, every hawk, every eagle, there came a time where they were faced with taking that leap out of the nest.  Without it, they would never fly, but by taking it, they learn how to soar.  I guess I just answered my own question.