I'm a pretty good gift giver sometimes, if I do say so myself. I really enjoy thinking carefully about who a person is and especially, what kinds of things they don't realize other people know about them and surprising them with a related gift. I like to think that we all have a treasure box we open when we are alone from time to time to polish, organize or simply gaze in contentedness. I can't always pull it off, but when I'm able to catch a glimpse of someone's treasure box and maybe add to it, it's one of the most satisfying feelings I can think of.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've become inspired to go through that process for myself. I realized that I've opened my mind to the things people I love care about countless times. I've spent a lot of time and loving energy into figuring out how to highlight, acknowledge and honor these people. I will always love doing that and don't plan on giving it a rest, but I'm admitting I've never put that kind of effort into finding out what's in my treasure box, or I haven't in a long time. I used to be better about it when I was younger and had less responsibilities...I had a spot in the woods near the house I grew up in where I could steal away and just sit, soaking up the surroundings...I used to shut myself in my room, lay on the floor with my radio and collection of tapes and listen to my favorite music for hours on end....if I was having a hard day, I would sit at the piano and play all of my favorite songs until I felt better...
It becomes harder as we get older because we have less time, but I'm not floating through life without any interests or deep passions. However, I don't spend enough time honoring those things and trying to figure out how they all meet in the center, with me. I'm not a religious person, but I do believe all living beings on this earth are connected and that there is deep meaning in that connection. I think I'm always finding ways to strengthen those connections and have attempted this by nurturing other people. I'm only just now considering the possibility that these connections can only get so strong if I'm not spending more time polishing the stuff in my own treasure box.
As parents, we've heard over and over again (and nodded our heads in agreement) that by taking care of ourselves, we become better parents and partners. Although I've always believed this to be true, for some reason I don't personally invest the energy into the concept. Now that my kids are getting older though, it's becoming easier to see that there will be life after this one I'm entrenched in. My "after kids" life has always been fuzzy because having kids has been my end goal my entire life. All I ever wanted was to become a mother and somehow I never considered the fact that someday, my kids would be adults and more space would be made for me to think about me again. So...what to do with that?
I've decided to start figuring that out...to open my creaky old treasure box again and polish, organize and gaze in contentedness...I'm excited to see what comes of it.