Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How not to expect

On the fridge we have a little poem by Galway Kinnell (ok, we have lots of stuff up on our fridge aside from this one little scrap of paper). Here it is:


Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

I can no longer remember where it came from - it looks like I cut it out of something like a newsletter or other piece of mail. Something that was folded, and there's a crease running across the paper just below Kinnell's name. But, I thought of this poem this morning as I tried to derail my brain's worrying at the usual topics (are we moving? when will we know? when will they call? what if they don't? what will we do? are we moving? when will we know?...).

I like the idea of this poem, I like it for many things. I like the idea of just wanting what happens next, whatever "what happens next" turns out to be. I often strive for that kind of expectant nonexpectancy. It is a harder struggle - of course it is - when I actually do have something specific that I want that whatever happens to be. And when I want it to be something good; when I expect something good. Or at least something more good than not.

I'm looking for a more nonexpectant attitude, even if just for today. I can be good at standing against the flow and I can be good at going with the flow, but I am not so good at hanging out in the eddies and waiting for the stream to start moving again. Is this about some kind of psychological inertia? Maybe.

One good side effect is that, in my desire to feel like something is moving forward, that there is movement for my psyche, I am reading a lot more. I hadn't been doing much since October - the busybusy fall, the illnesses, the stress and sadnesses of the holidays and January, all those things made it hard for me to focus on the page. But now...a different story. That part feels good. That part of right now I am enjoying, and I'm trying to keep that in mind.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The waiting.

We are waiting. Waiting to hear whether we will be moving or not, what our summer and fall will look like, where we are going with our lives. We are in that strange and uncomfortable limbo of "everything went really well...I think everything went really well...did everything go really well?" that is so familiar, I think, to anyone who has been on a job interview.

We were pretty sure it would be at least a week before we heard anything. That week is over and we are trying to stave off the second-guessing mode that has been inching closer and closer. Waiting, I may have said here before, is not a strength I possess. I can do it, but not easily. Not without some major distractions on hand.

I thought maybe I would distract myself with potty training! Yes! Fun! Pull-ups! M&Ms! Constant entreaties to please sit on the potty, please, please. Reminders of how if one finds diaper changes offensive to one's existence, one could always choose...THE POTTY!!

Yeah. That worked for about as long as (and about as well as) you might think. We'll continue buying diapers for a while longer yet. We'll continue waiting.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Forgot to mention...

That I'm also weirdly excited about the upcoming changes in our lives. I mean, there's the heartbreak and sadness of leaving people and places we have come to think of as home, but at the same time there is excitement and pride in Chris's accomplishments and the thrill of learning a new place.

Do you know the tarot card the two of pentacles? The image on the card has been popping into my head a lot in the past couple weeks - the holding of two things and finding the balancing point between them has been my task, not just careening from one emotion to another. I'm striving for flexibility and fluidity, rather than the squelching of either emotion.

But, perhaps the sadness end has been given freer rein in my speech and writing, because when I drove Chris to the airport for his interview on Wednesday and said something about being excited, he was surprised. It is hard to keep both in my mind, let alone my mouth, but they are both there. He came home late last night, full of positive feelings about the class he taught as a demonstration of his professorial style, his meetings with various important people, and his interactions with students and faculty.

So now, we wait with fingers crossed for a phone call, for an official offer. It seems likely to be coming, but of course nothing is certain, and we are a little afraid to put too much conviction into it quite yet.