December 15, 2009

slowing down and giving thanks.

yesterday i was struggling to build a box for a rocking horse i sold and needed to ship. the trick was to say within certain parameters because the UPS rate would have nearly doubled if the dimensions increased by an inch in any direction.

i think i spent at least three solid hours throughout the day on the project and was nearly in tears with exasperation when the papa came home.

shortly after his arrival i thought i overheard our three year old pea say, "mama ignored me all day." my heart sank because i had been so focused on getting the rocking horse packed up that he and baby sprout had been banished from the playroom for most of the day, as that was the easiest place to work with a huge cardboard box and sharp instruments.

as it turns out, pea really said, "i ate a snowman today," in reference to the chocolate snowman from his advent calendar. i gave a small, silent thanks for his ability to overlook what i felt so bad about and started thinking about how pea, at nearly four years old, probably didn't even feel ignored. i focused my awareness on how i manage my time. or mismanage. i gently reminded myself that i need to slow down from time to time and not get so engaged in tasks that frustrate me, since i'm not very productive once frustrated.

if i would just slow down, step away, and re-approach the situation once calm, i would save myself a lot of time. i was reaching a point of frustration yet again, so it was a relief when the papa came into the playroom and offered to finish the box for me. i was nearly done but had no desire to keep working on it. of course he did the smart thing and got an actual box cutter and the measuring tape (i couldn't find the box cutter and figured i'd be just as efficient with my x-acto knife and fiskars. wrong.) but it still took him about 20 minutes to construct the last remaining section.

i gave another silent thanks, and a verbal one, for not only did he come home in time to rescue me from an utter meltdown but there was still enough time for me to make it to UPS and i didn't have to take the kids! i kissed the boys and papa told me to drive safe. these words are spoken often by those close to me and they really do give me pause so i gave myself another gentle reminder on the way out the door.

it was nearly dark but there was no reason to rush. i have to start practicing the art of slowing down when i get in my car, anyhow, as lately i've been slipping the automatic shifter past "drive" and then driving off, not realizing that i'm in third gear. it seems to slide past drive so easily, that i almost wonder if something's wrong with the car itself, but i've also been so hurried lately that i am probably just slipping the shifter out of park too fast. so slow down, i tell myself. breathe. drive safe.

i had some stuff to ship through the post office, as well, but i was too late for the USPS pick-up at the UPS store so i decided to drive to the post office. the parcels weren't too big to fit into the mailboxes outside so i opted for a quick drive-by, rather than parking and getting out. only after i drop my parcels down the chute do i realize the big blue mailbox is open and the wheeled cart that fits inside and collects mail is sitting beside it. so my parcels are likely to get missed. luckily my favorite postman in the area emerges from the truck parked next to the boxes. he sort of reminds me of a cross between santa clause and tommy chong because he's so gosh-darn cheery and calm for a postal worker. and there's the long, gray beard and hippie hair.

i get out of my car to let him know what i'd done and he jokingly made a big deal about the hassle of crawling in the big blue mailbox to retrieve what i dropped in there. i offered to do it but he said no. i'm not sure why but before i can stop myself, i am explaining to him him that if i'd actually listened to what i'd been telling myself since i left the house i would have slowed down and noticed the open box and the collection cart next to it. he thanked me for the reminder of humility, closed his eyes and formed the om mudra, and told me to drive safe. three times.

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