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Wednesday, September 2,2015

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”(Leo Tolstoy)

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

When my kids were little, I used to take them home to upstate New York each summer to run around my old stomping grounds. We rebuilt moss-covered forts in the woods, climbed the trees in search of old initial carvings, and cooked marshmallows on the bonfire in the back yard. My boys are older now, and off to college, but I still go home every summer to visit my parents.


No longer the director of Camp Mommy, my itineraries are now directed to entertain my own inner child. I participate in workshops at the Omega Institute, a mere 10 miles from my house, and visit with family or read on the back porch in the evenings. Most of my friends still live in New York, so we usually plan a long weekend somewhere in the middle where we can all come "home" to the unconditional love and support that only sisterhood can offer. It is pure joy. But with it comes a restlessness in my soul. A panic-stricken alarm bell warns: “Summer is ending and the clock is about to offer 8-10 hours less per day to live your life!” I usually remember to be grateful that I have the gift of summers off; a husband and a budget that offer me the freedom to travel and take songwriting workshops and visit all of my best friends and live in the house I grew up in with my parents - whom I am fortunate to still have with me on this planet. Yes - I have it very, very GOOD! And yet, this restlessness… Anyone who knows me can look at my body of work and laugh out loud at the panic in my voice. Likewise, anyone dealing with greater challenges than just a "busy schedule" might also laugh out loud. And then want to slap me. To them I say, “I acknowledge. I truly do.”

I make gratitude a top priority.

But, admittedly, as I try to walk the Zen path, my ego and my fear win out and I have a selfish desire to have it ALL. Yet, a larger part of me realizes that my cup runneth over. All I can do is thank heaven for all of the choices I have, listen with a clear head to the calling in my heart, appreciate those who love me and act from a place of love and compassion. That is the only way to open an avenue for peace to find its way into this hyperactive soul of mine.

Three quotes stare at me from my desk as I write this:

Knowledge requires that I learn something new every day. Wisdom requires letting go of something every day (Zen proverb). This shows me that my thirst for new experiences is in competition with my inner wisdom and reminds me that I cannot have it all.

Next, from Marianne Williamson, “The ego says, "Once everything falls into place I will feel peace.’ The spirit says, ‘Find peace, and then everything will fall into place." That ego… what are we going to do with her?!

Finally, from Elizabeth Gilbert: “Stop wearing a wishbone where your backbone ought to be.” Ouch, Elizabeth! That one is so true it hurts.

I am resolved that I either find a way to maintain the momentum of my soul’s seeking while working to maintain my lifestyle; Or I alter my lifestyle to allow more time for my soul’s seeking. Either way I must own it and not wish it were any way but the way it is.


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