I really truly am blessed. For so many reasons. I could tell them all now, but I’m actually dying to tell you about how to make your blessing into an ordeal. Because, lets be honest, gratitude can be one boring mofo. Especially when it’s delivered with an undercurrent of ‘I’m just saying this so you don’t think I’m a selfish and ungrateful bitch’. Which I have been known to do. Be a selfish and ungrateful bitch that is. And frequently pretend I’m not.
Selfishness is one of my bug bears. Along with not being any fun. If you ever want to wind me up, tell me I’m selfish. Or tell me I’m boring. Or for the real cracker tell me I’m selfish and boring. So then, in an effort not be selfish and boring I can overdo things in the giving department and the busy and important department. It’s not really working out.
Here’s the deal. We are currently without an au pair. I started writing this on day 3, it’s now 2 weeks later. We had found a next au pair (a couple actually) and they were due to arrive later this month, so getting my head around three weeks of juggling was doable. But then they had some couple drama (as couples do, and now I’m super glad it didn’t happen while they were here) and they are not coming. So that threw me. Not so much at the time, but the next morning mid making lunches and juggling in my head about how full-on August would be and the possibility of that continuing on in to the rest of the year (and possibly very dramatically into time immemorial). I didn’t handle my guy’s request for some time-out to go to the gym one evening. I’m pretty sure I may have said, “You can not go out ever again!!!! No I didn’t say that, but I’m guessing it sounded pretty selfish. I was pegging out washing. Angrily. On the veranda with a view to the ocean and the north sun billowing in, drying the clothes with golden sunshine. I may have just been to Pilates. He may have just made me breakfast and tea and helped get kids sorted. And if you tell me I’m being selfish I might just scream.
But I have been being selfish. And completely ungrateful. And fearful and overwhelmed and angry. And then, just like that I stop it. Sorry men of the world, I cannot explain how one minute I am the superangrycrazylady and then next I am zenreasonablecalmlady. But they are both equally doable with moments of each other.
Anyway, I stopped being angry – after he’d gone to work, and after they’d all gone to school and after I talked to my friend who teased me for acting up over hanging out the washing, and once I realised that the total art of ungraciousness was painting my days into the biggest freaking ordeal. So I stopped.
We made a plan about how to manage the household tasks and childcare/parenting (I think it’s actually just parenting, but I don’t want to be that gracious just yet) and exercise and opportunities for some kind of socialising and I just had to let go (fuck it) of everything else I’d imagined would be unfolding or everything I thought I might get done or be doing and just stop trying so hard to get what I want, and focus (as I do in my work with ease and grace) on helping them get what they want, and then by default I will get the things I want. If that makes sense?
When you’re parenting if you want some time and space those little people will be all up under you like some kind of parasite. And you’ll be trying to unhook them and get away and they will keep coming at you until they get want they’re after. No, even though I’ve been dramatic it is NOT ACTUALLY YOUR BLOOD. Usually they want some loving attention and focus and then they feel all safe and loved and special and they nick off and happily mess up other rooms in the house (not just the one you’re in). And then you get some time and space. But if I want that first? It’s a nightmare. Tried it on Sunday and Miss 8 had a tantrum for 1.5 hours. Just saying.
And it’s the same in business. You just can’t be selfish about it. Especially not in business about your soul (because by default it’s going to be about other people’s souls too). Don’t start a business because you want a lifestyle. Don’t start a business to be your own boss and work hours that fit with your kids. Don’t start a business so you can get to do what you love all day. Don’t start a business to make money. Don’t start a business for yourself. Start a business for them. Your people. The ones you can help or heal or guide or awaken. It’s the only way it works. Otherwise there’s too much hustle, and too much focus on what you can get. When you help others get what they want, you get everything you thought you wanted anyway. Possibly in a different form – but with abundance and clarity and lifestyle and empowerment and joy. Pure joy.
See how much more eloquently I said that for business? But it’s the same lesson. I know when I’m being selfish. And at such times I am also super boring. Gratitude changes all of that, but the real stuff. The stuff where you stop and be still and feel it through your being, and know all is as it should be.
When I stopped being the superangrycrazylady and became the zenreasonablecalmlady I just knew (a knowing, a deep knowing) that we’d be OK no matter what, and I have a team and a guy who totally loves and supports me and either way it would work out. And then? We found a new couple to be our au pair, who could start sooner, needed very little training and had availability until the end of the year, when things should be less hectic. And it’s my biggest girl and her guy and we’ll be all together as a family for a while. Which is pretty magic and better that I could have planned.
I do think though that sometimes you need to ordeal to get to the gratitude. Or you need to really feel the ridiculousness of the struggle at some level before you’ll let it go. However it is for, don’t pretend it’s OK when it’s not. Be the real deal. It’s the only way out.