Thursday, January 22, 2015

Flourishing: Broken Dishwasher

It's rather a revelation to be handwashing our dishes now, and to see how shiny and sparkly-clean they get; clearly the dishwasher had been dying by degrees for some time, but we didn't recognize it. So, we're trying to decide which direction to go with repairs vs. replacement, and in the meantime handwashing is beautiful.

Also annoying.

I really don't feel like it's the worst chore in the world, but it does eat into my time more than it used to. Yesterday I hit a point where I had been cooking fairly intensively for a a couple of days and also doing all the dishes and it was late at night, and I felt my dreams slipping away from me somehow. It wasn't so much the specific chore as it was that sense of inevitable invisibility. My mind took me right back to those years of law school in a windowless basement box of a kitchen, struggling with depression and poverty and a single sink without a garbage disposal.

Except, it's different now. It's not windowless, or invisible. My husband and kids pitch in a little, some with more prodding than others; the (double) sink is in a sunny, central spot where people can talk to me, I can turn on music, there's plenty of interaction and appreciation and, oh yeah, a garbage disposal. So what used to feel like invisibility isn't, not in the same way. So why did I get that panicked dream-slipping-away feeling?

Well, partly because it's that time of winter when there's just less to look forward to. But I sat down and wrote about it this morning, and came to some interesting realizations. Mainly, that I personally need others to spend mental energy visualizing on my behalf. I don't know if as humans, we all need this, I'm just starting to explore the idea; but when I wrote that sentence, 'mental energy visualizing on my behalf', I recognized it as truth.

I've been doing a little music teaching this past month, not tons, but I'm trying to start up. Mainly I've been helping some kids prepare for upcoming auditions to get into a local performing arts charter school for next year. I'd also been prepping my two oldest for their All-State Junior Band auditions, which were earlier this month. As part of that, I try to include some coaching on visualization. I have a strong belief in the power of visualization, and some concrete personal experiences to back that up, so I feel like that's something valuable I can teach. I want these kids to learn to use it as part of their approach to an audition or performance because when done right, it's almost magically effective.

I take this tangent as a way to help explain what I mean by hoping that someone who knows and loves me, understands my gifts and weaknesses, would set aside some time and thought to imagining my success. I'm not invisible in my home anymore, even when performing drudge-y chores; everyone here has come a long way in growing up, cooperating, and expressing appreciation. But despite that increased appreciation, and though I'm told on some special spiritual occasions that I am on the cusp of great things and that exciting changes are in store for our family because of me, I feel like those dreams of progress remain invisible to the ones who could most help me. I get the sense that they would recognize it when they saw it, but that they remain one step behind the vision.

Sorta like our broken dishwasher, and how it took that breakdown to show us how clean our dishes really could be, I don't want my family to notice my achievements only once they're complete. I'd like them to picture it in advance like I do for them, constantly, habitually, and lovingly. I don't do it in a pushy way that requires them to follow my vision, but in a way that allows me to assess their growing potential, internally commit to their success, and make room for it in the day to day mess of life. I'd love to have more of that kind of 'room' myself.

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