The weeks leading into the recent holidays reminded me that every now and then I need to pull my paddles out of the water and drift into the wider stream of life. I have to ship my oars, take a pause and just be where I am: slow down and recover from illness; be part of a large extended family as we honor the passing of one of our elders and celebrate a life well lived; host a holiday and remember that this is all part of my rich Multidimensional Life.
Living a Multidimensional Life
Creating and living in a Multidimensional Life is the journey of my lifetime. It is ever evolving, expanding and twisting and one I’ll continue till my feet wear out and my eyes fade.
It wasn’t always this way. Where once I thought I had to be single minded in my pursuits (usually work) I now know that I want to flow among the various layers of my life that are important. The last 15-20 years of my life have been a time of gradual awakening. I’ve been shedding elements of my old self that no longer fit. I’ve been unraveling the bindings that have held me in a state of discomfort.
It is a work in progress.
Managing the Oars
I also know that when I don’t actively and wakefully manage those oars, I can easily drift into the reeds or, even worse, into someone else’s stream. At the same time, I can’t just set a route and go on autopilot. Navigating involves monitoring conditions and adjusting my course. Otherwise, I’d be flung onto a strange shore and knocked back to sleep.
Does this sound familiar? Did you ever have a period in your life – days, weeks, sometimes longer – where life seems to have other plans? I’m guessing you have, just like me.
Take November for instance. I love that month. I love the crisp weather. I love the occasional bonus warm day that invites you to plant those last few bulbs, to cut back what needs cutting back in the garden and, if I’m really ambitious, to divide and move a few perennials. The garden is one of those layers of my life that is essential.
I also love Thanksgiving and have been hosting it for over 20 years. The ritual and routine of this holiday are a valued part of my life.
This past November began with a death in my extended family. A wake, a funeral, a repast. My large Irish family gathered in support, prayer and eating.
Shipping the Oars
And those few days throw me off my game a bit. There was little time for my normal routine; trying to fit writing in was a challenge and watching what I ate necessitated a little more vigilance and a lot more relaxation. But life is to be lived. Okay, lift the oars, adjust your course, slip into that stream of life.
And in the gathering and hugging, someone shared a lovely virus. It latched on to my husband and I and traveled home with us. We had a two-week stint of “hot potato” with sore throats, congestion and general malaise tossed back and forth. This lasted through all the pre-work and prep for Thanksgiving. By the end of the big day I had no voice and my left ankle had gone out on me. I was limping and croaking.
I chose to give myself permission to hit pause on my normal exercise routine (but, hey, window washing should count for something!) I let go of my target word count in my writing. I sneak in what I can.
The day after Thanksgiving, for better or worse, I attend our annual Poinsettia buying day, a tradition that we’ve shared with another family for over 30 years! This satisfies my desire for connection. (And a lunch that doesn’t involve turkey!)
On Saturday I purposefully dip my oars back in the water and navigate to the shore for a few days. I rest the oars on my lap.
Not Fighting the Flow
I don’t fight the flow of life; I move with it while observing it. But I remain aware of my navigation tools. Those oars are just resting on my lap. They are there to engage when I’m ready and until then their presence reminds me that I have choices, that there are times to make things happen and there are times to let things happen. I get to choose.
The reality is that, as much as I take comfort in my own routines, I am not an island. I am part of a larger life. These times that necessitate a pause or a redirect are actually another layer of my multidimensional life. They are part of the ebb and flow of my life’s stream, not an eddy that spins me around and sucks me down an endless drain.
As long as I remember that I get to navigate, to dip and ship the oars, and that going off course is temporary and sometimes intentional, my Multidimensional Life flows on.
Dipping the Oars Again
Eventually, I put the oars back in the water and slowly find my way into back into my stream. I maneuver the paddles, adjust the rudder and choose the appropriate speed.
I am awake and still creating and living my Multidimensional Life. It beckons with all its beauty and riches. I am alive for the journey.