Thursday, October 27, 2011

From Juggling to Weaving

Several years ago I worked on a quiet retreat with my friend RaRa Schlitt. RaRa is a gifted spiritual director and artist. As we prepared for our work together, we spent time away at a hermitage in Western North Carolina. We brainstormed what we thought people, especially women, were hungry for.

Out of our conversation, RaRa painted this image, our “mascot.” I lovingly call “the juggler.” The juggler is me – I am guessing many of you might see yourself in the juggler, too.

                             (c) RaRa Schlitt
At first blush – I see her action - her constant motion - keeping all of the balls in the air. I see all of the “things” I do - planning meals, balancing check books, helping my daughter apply for college, getting my daughter ready to travel abroad this winter (airline tickets, visa, shots, etc), writing meditations, writing blogs, weaving for the upcoming Foothills show, volunteering at school, teaching leadership skills, having coffee with a friend who needs to talk, planning retreats, taking meals to a new mother or a sick friend. My list goes on and on – I imagine yours does, too. No matter what stage of life you are in, living with small bundles of energy or with sore legs and aging parents/aging siblings/aging spouses/aging friends – I am guessing that this resonates with you.

In that image of constant motion I see exhaustion – I feel exhaustion deep in my bones. It takes so much energy to keep all of those actions in the air. I know that sometimes I wish that someone would just come along and say “Can I take that ball for you?” – even if it is just for a while. People count on me, people I care about count on me, so I keep trying, I keep doing – I keep juggling to keep all the balls in the air. Being a responsible, capable, competent woman can be physically and emotionally exhausting.

In that image of constant motion I also see energy and excitement. I see life. I see connection with others. I see caring. I see creativity. I see possibilities. So many of the balls in the air are about living a life of service – whether that service be to support the development of your own healthy child/grandchild or to support your spouse’s career or to equip others for ministry or to encourage employees to do their best or……. Those who juggle – those who are adept at juggling many balls - are often looking for new and exciting ways to do something new - rarely putting anything down while adding a new ball to the routine. I don’t know all of you who tune into this blog but I do know some of you – and those I know live this kind of life of service. I am guessing that many of you are juggling lots of things that are in the service of others. I also guess that many of you are looking for that next ball to pick up - that next exciting way to be in the world. Being a responsible, capable, competent woman can be exciting and energizing.

So beyond activities what else is this beautiful lady juggling? I see her juggling roles. I know I juggle many roles – mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, trainer, caregiver, board member, mentor, spiritual companion, household communications coordinator, weaver,  and on and on. For me there are times when the roles compliment one another and there are times when the roles definitely conflict. There are some roles that I will have for a lifetime and others that I will move in and out of – some more gracefully than others. Sometimes it seems that the roles define who I am.

So why am I going on about all of this a Loomy Tunes? This morning I started a new "to do" list. My brain shifted from one project to the next and soon I had a list that was broken into six different categories. Oooh six different balls or is that 36 different balls - as each has lots of sub tasks to be accomplished (even as I type that - another item pops in my head an goes on the list). So the "to do" list reminded me of the image of the juggler and that lead me to part of the meditation I shared at that retreat two years ago (modified text above).

So how do I make the shift from juggling to weaving? When I do rugs I begin with individual strips of fabric - kind of like those balls in the air or all of my roles. But when I weave they become integrated - they are no longer distinct or independent. They become solid and useful and beautiful. That is what I want to do - that is what I want to be.

me with fabric strips for another rug
individual strips woven into one integrated piece
Now it is time to get back to that "to-do" list.

Be well,



LA said...

I used to keep gerbils in my classroom, and they would run and run and run on that little wheel in their enclosure. The wheel moved (very fast) but they were always in the same spot. Then, one year, one of the gerbils learned that if she held on with her little claws, she got to take a loopy-d-loop ride. Do gerbils go, "Wheeeee!" I's a great ride. Enjoy this time, and remember to enjoy the ride when you can.

Tina J said...

I always think of the artist that keeps all those china plates spinning on top of the sticks. I believe I saw it years ago on the Gleason show, or Sullivan show. I think of it often.