On My Mind

by Rachael on August 2, 2010

I spent much of last week lost in the thick of samsara. I often get lost when I’m working on a project that scares me, either because it feels too big for the time I have to work on it or because it challenges my capabilities. Last week’s project was big and involved skills that aren’t typically the focus of my work (copyediting), and I coped with the stress as I often do: I jettisoned pretty much everything but the work (well, and the Critter—can’t really throw the kid overboard). For me it’s an old, old way of doing things, one that got me through high school, college, and then graduate school until I found myself flirting with a nervous breakdown during my only year teaching high school. Whenever I slip back into that way of doing things, there seems to be no limit to my rage and disgust with myself for putting myself yet again into a situation in which I’m overwhelmed by work I don’t care about.

Or, at least I claim not to care about the work, while at the same time I’m throwing myself headlong into it. Is it just that too much of my ego and too many fears about my livelihood are wrapped up in the work I do for pay? Or is something else going on? All last week I was haunted by my apparent inability to answer for myself the question Summer Pierre asked at her blog last Monday: “What the hell DO I care about besides MYSELF?” Perhaps if I could answer this question more clearly, I wouldn’t be so likely to lose myself in work.

In the meantime, I plan to bear in mind the metaphor of Indra’s net as I go about my business this week. For me, the solace is in the idea that by taking care of whatever is in front of me right now, I am taking care of the whole world.

Also in the meantime: at last I’ve cleared my desk for writing poetry (at the top of my list of ways to keep the shitbird at bay, you may recall).

The Critter, up to no good

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A couple weeks ago, I claimed that attachment parenting is not anti-feminist. I should have chosen my words more carefully: it would be more accurate to say that attachment parenting need not be anti-feminist. Because no sooner did I type those words than Peaceful Parenting (an attachment parenting Web site) published this post by Dr. George Wootan, making the not just ahistorical, but a-prehistorical claim that until they are three years old, children should never spend any time separate from their mothers. Never! Presumably not even if Mom needs to pee! Or, egads, take a shower! But, fear not! Because to counter this nonsense, we have these responses at Raising My Boychick and Blue Milk. I need not say more.

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Over at Birthing Beautiful Ideas, Kristen wrote a truly awesome post in response to some questions I had about birth plans. In short, she says: do your research, discuss your preferences with your caregiver, and remain flexible and open in the face of what actually unfolds during the birth. When the time comes (and it may be a long time coming, so don’t get any ideas), I’ll be drawing on the information and resources Kristen provided to put together a plan for the birth of our next little one.

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