Stormy Weather

I feel relatively grounded on average.  However there are times when I feel life piling up around me, and I lose sight of the sun.  My thoughts become cloudy, and I focus on an unrealistic desire to resolve all pending worries in the immediate moment or else.  When I get into this ultimatum frame of mind, I attempt to remind myself that there is no way that everything will be resolved immediately and seek to access my calmer analytical side.  I ask myself “What does ‘or else’ really mean?”

On 90% of the items, the plain truth is that if those things don’t happen, no biggie.  They just happen later or life goes on anyway.  The remaining 10% are almost exclusively highly improbable, and even if they do happen, will not be improved by torturing those around me.

Despite knowing this, I opted for the “free torture for all” approach yesterday.  Opted isn’t really the right word.  It was more like having my mind invaded by a frenetic wild-eyed doppelganger who looked like me in the mirror.  I needed the pragmatic rational me to kick the irrational “what did you mean by THAT comment” me out of the driver’s seat.  Frenetic doppelganger would still be hanging out in the vehicle, but at least she wouldn’t be driving the bus.

Work was in high gear (nothing new).  I need to have surgery on one of my hands (that is new), and due to various reasons, have to have the procedure done next week.  Thankfully it’s on my right hand, and I’m right-handed.  Also I can type with my toes and allow my young children to create complex spreadsheets whenever they need a break.  Wait.  No.  I’m thinking of the clever octopus in Finding Dory.  I do actually need my hands to type.  I started to worry about this yesterday, and the panic train began its exit from the station.

I wanted to write a post but there was no time.  I wanted to search for a low-key vacation spot in the area but again there was no time, no cash, and no freedom since we are chained here by the looming possibility of a house showing.  Thinking about the possible showings had me thinking about the house and the cleaning worries began.  The mental to do lists were already cycling.  Once more I remembered that I needed to work before any of that could be tackled.  So I worked as the panic increased and the noise in my mind grew.

Tech turn off time rolled around.  Those of you who live in an area with hurricanes have probably seen the way these storms can stall over water for a short period of time before moving along their paths.  It seems as though they are taking a leisurely respite, but in fact they are often building in strength and becoming disastrous destructive powerhouses.  Yesterday’s tech turn off was analogous to this storm stall period and ultimately led to a category 3 Hurricane MoJo.  Bless my poor kids and husband.  They all opted for duck and cover or just ran whenever I got within range.  I swear I heard one of them tell another, “Serpentine!!! Serpentine!!!”

Thankfully that particular storm blew through the area within a few hours, but all affected residents are still under watch for ongoing heavy emotional floodwaters and scattered hot messness.

I just get completely overwhelmed with it all sometimes.  Work worries, house worries, family worries, health worries, money worries, worry worries.  It can be incredibly hard to stop it all from circling my mind once it gets going.  Second verse…  Same as the first…

Tech turn off was hours behind me, and I was tethered to my laptop once more.  My tidbit teeny kid came in and wanted to help me work.  Language can be subjective, but I feel like she and I have widely divergent interpretations as to what the word help means.  To me, help means help.  To her, help means jack up my spreadsheet beyond repair.  Semantics are funny like that.

So when she offered to help, I said, “Don’t even think about it lady.”  Being her mother’s daughter, she had no interest in heeding my silly warning and climbed into my lap anyway.  Damn she was good.

Next plan.  Turn on music.  What can I say.  The kid likes to shake her bon bon and typically can’t resist a beat.  It is a solid deterrent to kid destroying behavior.  Cheese also works, but I had no cheese.  So music it was.  And then she started to sing.  She’s two.  She doesn’t always get her own name right.  I had no clue that she knew the song at all, but she absolutely did.  Admittedly it was totally her own version of the lyrics, but if you know the song, you know where she is going with it.

In a matter of seconds, she made me smile – really smile – that big fat make your cheeks hurt smile.  My heart sang with her as she sang into her flashlight (that had randomly appeared) and shredded the lyrics.  I turned off the work right then, parked her little hiney in my chair (at a safe distance from the aforementioned computer), and recorded a video of her in action.

It was the smallest moment, but there was such tremendous magic in it for me.  I never cease to be amazed at the way life feels like it is hanging by a thread, but then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, reminds you that you are where you need to be.

Nothing had changed from one moment to the next.  I still had the same items on my list.  Work, surgery, house, family, etc.  But there was clarity around them.  I could even see unexpected blessings in some of them.  Knowing that I will likely be limited in what I can do for a week is forcing me to seek more help at work.  We have done a lot on cleaning the house, but some of it will just have to be whatever it is.  Oh well.  Maybe we can’t do a vacation away, but we can look at little day trips.  That’s totally doable.  And then there’s family.  They love me even when I’m certain that they can’t stand me.  I do the same when they form their own personal hurricanes.  Their love is boundless.  So is mine.

As much as I seek to avoid them, I learn so much about myself and those around me during and after these storms.  I am terrified of leaving a path of destruction instead of following a path of enlightenment.  So often we feel like we have to be on one road versus another.  We decide that there can be no shared space between the two.  No commonalities.  No crossover.  But what if there aren’t two paths at all?  Maybe the difference lies in recognizing that your choice isn’t about the path but rather how you let it shape you.  We are where we are supposed to be right now.  Sometimes it feels like we lose our way, but we are never lost.  Not really.  We get so focused on where we want to go that we forget where we are.

I pray that we see the benediction and grace along our paths even when they appear to be lined with anything but blessings.  Find the magic in the moment, and remember where you are and who you are.

Blessings to all of you.  Joanna

(Day 20)


23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. foodzesty
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 05:07:02

    I completely understand the worries you have in your mind. We all go through them some more than others. But speaking from personal experience and serious difficulties in my life, I have come to the point where I now do not put myself through all of these worries anymore. I woke up one day and said β€œenough”, no more. Sometimes worrying about all these things just causes more anxiety and more worries. Just enjoy life and your family because they will always come first. πŸ™‚ Life is too short Jo….:)


    • MoJo
      Jul 19, 2017 @ 05:45:01

      I love your perspective, and of course you are completely right. The funny thing is that I can see the irrationality of the behavior even while it’s happening, but i can’t always snap out of the spiral. I’m sure that sleep deprivation is very much part of the problem, too. Maybe I need a go to bed on time challenge, too! Lol! Thank you again for your wisdom honey! πŸ€—


  2. James J. Cudney IV
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 06:46:49

    I know how you feel with the sense of overwhelming. All I ever do (that I find successful) is bring it back to my two or three primary goals in life… which I make less about doing things and more about how to enjoy life, therefore when the pressure is intense, I have something to auto-re-set a bit. Loved your story. You are not alone. And the fact that you can put it out there, recognize it and have a sense that it sometimes needs more control than other times, you will always make it thru, in my opinion. πŸ™‚


  3. Playamart - Zeebra Designs
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 06:58:15

    This is so beautiful! Of course your little singing angel climbed in your lap and steered you out of the eye of the storm! What a gift, and the other gift was that you were wise enough to realize the beauty of it all – and share it with us!


  4. Blog Andrew
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 11:46:23

    Quite often observing my sister-in-law and her young sons, I think to myself ‘how on earth do busy mother’s cope?’ I asked sis’ J. once and she laughed saying “I just get on the best I can”, and reading your blog I get a similar sense the you muddle through the best you can and succeed. Don’t be to hard on yourself, you mother’s are amazing and you know I’m always honest. πŸ™‚


  5. misifusa
    Jul 19, 2017 @ 18:20:48

    Your last line tugged at my heart, made me smile and I breathed a sigh of loving relief. Thanks – this was perfectly timed! “I pray that we see the benediction and grace along our paths even when they appear to be lined with anything but blessings. Find the magic in the moment, and remember where you are and who you are.”


  6. wakinguponthewrongsideof50
    Jul 22, 2017 @ 06:44:59

    Hope your surgery goes well! Please think about some sort voice recording thing so you can still blogβ€¦β€¦πŸ˜


  7. shalini
    Jul 29, 2017 @ 02:14:16

    Jo, I am so glad to hear that your daughter blew away your dark clouds… Daughters are fun and cute


  8. joyfullyrenewed
    Aug 25, 2017 @ 21:55:49

    I’ve been up since 4 this morning creating my own little mental hurricane of worries. Oddly, as the day wore on, what I was awake obsessing over this morning was downgraded to a tropical storm and then just some showers (which my gardens desperate need). On a side note, I could have used that video of your little one singing πŸ™‚ Two and three are my favorite ages. So much joy to be found there!


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