May 3, 2012

Balance & Fire

I am joining the blogging world!  I'm not sure I could say why, exactly.  A combination of journaling, an outlet for my need to overshare (some things just aren't meant for facebook), and taking a stab at a new hobby, maybe.  I anticipate that there will be a very random mish-mash of things that get posted here.  Home updates, so I can keep track of our progress in transforming our foreclosure into a place we love and motivate myself to keep going.  Learnings from my job as an elementary math coach, so I can have a place to easily revisit and share with other folks who are interested in all things education and math related (aka nerds).  Recipes I've tried and places I've visited, for easy cataloging.  Questions and ideas I can't quite figure out, to help me think about it and maybe get some advice.  And pretty much anything else that I want to put out into the world.

Like this.

I have trouble finding a balance between my work life and my personal life.  I know it.  I claim it.  I wrestle with it.  My husband puts up with it, haha.  Since nearly the beginning of our marriage, he has regularly urged me to adopt a hobby as a way to stop myself from checking my work email *just one more time* all night long.  Or maybe it was so that I'd let him play video games without interruption...?  However, I am a bad hobbyist.  I am envious of friends who enjoy needlework or crocheting or painting or birding or yoga or a million other activities that sound delightfully rejuvenating.  I cannot seem to find a hobby that consistently satisfies my restlessness and wouldn't cost more bucks than I have to spend (sadly, regular spa treatments and riding ATVs on my own dirt track are both out of the question).

Perhaps this will help me build some space between the daily business (busy-ness), to throw on some mental sweatpants and let it all hang out.  Errr... sorry for that visual.

When I studied for my Masters, one of my cohort leaders (she was 4'9", had a shock of short white hair, and was a total closeted hippie) would share poetry as an entry or exit point for the class.  After fighting the urge to roll my eyes for a few weeks, I began to realize that I LIKED the poems.  This one poked me right in my weak spot of struggling with balance in my life, and hard enough that I saved the poem and still think about it.  Plus I just love the metaphor.  (Like I said, nerd.) 


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs packed in too tight
can squelch a fire,
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water can.

So building fires 
requires tending in a special way,
attention to the wood
as well as to the spaces in between,
so fire can catch, can grow, can breathe,
can build its energy and warmth
which we so need in order
to survive the cold.

We need to practice building open spaces
just as clearly as we learn to pile on the logs.
It's fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible,
let it develop in the way that's 
possible when we lay logs in just the 
way the fire wants to go.

Then we can watch it as it leaps and plays,
burns down and then flames up in unexpected ways.
Then we need only lay a log on it from time to time.
Then it has life all of its own,
a beauty that emerges
not where logs are
but where spaces can invite the flames
to burn, to form exquisite
patterns of their own,
their beauty possible
simply because the space is there,
an opening in which flame
that knows just how it wants
to burn can find its way.

--Judy Brown

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