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This weekend, my daughter showed me that she can think outside of the box.

By thinking outside of the box, she found a comfortable place to sit when she needed to rest.

She embraced creativity when the whim struck her.

And, she found a step up when she needed help reaching her goal.

I can learn a lot from my daughter.

 

“Bountiful implies that your cup is already overflowing so you simply tip your abundance into the hands of others.”  Christina Katz at The Prosperous Writer, “52 Qualities of Prosperous Writers:  Number Thirty-Four is Bountiful.”

My cup overflows.  It’s true.

I should regularly reflect on the gifts in my life so I can more fully appreciate its bounty.   Instead, I often focus on the minutiae of each day rather than savoring each sweet, small moment before it has passed.

I spent the morning with my daughter.  We had appointments to meet and errands to run, but before the flury of daily activity began, I sat at my kitchen table soaking in the early morning light streaming through the window in front of me as I sipped my coffee and Bear chattered in her chair about “doggy” and “cereal” and “agua.”  The morning light softened her bedraggled hair and face sticky from peaches and post-nasal drip.  I turned my thoughts from the piles of magazines and junk mail on the table and dirty dishes in the sink.  Instead, I focused on the loveliness of sitting quietly at my kitchen table, with a warm drink in hand, and a sweet soul next to me.

Later, as we waited in an exam room for Bear’s allergist, Bear and I read a beautiful book about butterflies that my dearest friend gave us about a year ago.  I pulled the book from Bear’s bookshelf today for the first time, knowing that a long doctor’s visit might be the perfect time to read it.  Bear gazed lovingly at it from the moment she laid her eyes on the cover.  We spent long moments lingering on each page where Bear could pull out flaps revealing elaborate garden scenes and run her fingers over vibrant butterfly wings, kingfisher feathers, and sunflowers.  She continually amazed me as she pointed at the ladybugs and fireflies that I asked her to find, even though I didn’t think that she knew about such things.  I found myself holding Bear a little more closely, breathing in the smell of her hair, and sending a silent thank-you to my friend for the thoughtful book that had so completely captured my daughter’s interest.

As Bear has napped this afternoon, I checked in with the world at work and found that it has not fallen apart in my absence.  This has left me with a span of uninterrupted time to think and write.  The dog sleeps on the floor next to me.  The locusts sing and buzz soothingly outside my window, and our homebuilding neighbor builds quietly across the street.   I can sit at my computer reading, thinking, and typing; embracing this rare time to be alone with my thoughts and to focus them in the directions I desire.

My husband told me earlier that his day has been passing smoothly and quickly.  His work has been going well, and clients have been cooperative.  Before long, he’ll drive back to our home and his family.  When the garage door begins groaning and rising, the dog will scamper wildly around the house, and Bear will run to the door shouting, “Daddy!” and he will step through wearing an expectant smile at our celebration.  Then, we will start our long weekend together.

All is well in my world, and I am thankful for each sweet, small moment of the day and the bountiful life they signify.  I hope that by sharing the bounty that I enjoy in life, I’ll tip my cup to help fill up yours.

“Pure intentions lead to clarity, which leads to a certain amount of freedom.  It’s hard to have clarity, if you don’t have purity.  And it’s impossible to have freedom without purity and clarity.”  Christina Katz at The Prosperous Writer, “52 Qualities of Prosperous Writers:  Number Thirty-Three is Purity.”

Perhaps I’ve been going about this the wrong way.

I spend long days at work dreaming of the day when I can set myself free from my profession and in the meantime, ideas pile up in my already crowded brain.    I often think of writing as my escape, and the day that I choose to pursue it as the moment that I will finally achieve the freedom that writing symbolizes for me.   However, I seem to have been pursuing (if you might call it that) this path with the idea that freedom will bring purity and clarity.  I have been holding onto hope that if I finally have a moment to think that these virtues will follow organically.  Can it be that the freedom I seek may actually come from getting my “ducks in a row” first?

Ms. Katz writes that “purity of intention” requires one to “[k]now what you are doing.  Know why you are doing it.  Know whom you are doing it for. . . .”  Although I am certain that her words speak to the necessity of focusing one’s professional writing self (and projects) on clearly-defined goals with clearly-defined audiences, these words reach me in a different place.  I am writing.  I am writing to put my soul back together, and I am writing for me.

Someday – someday soon, I hope – I will be ready to turn my focus to writing with greater resolve and with more purpose than simply to stick my big toe in the writing water once in awhile.  In the meantime, rather than dreaming about freedom, I’ll get my “ducks in a row” first.  I’ll search for pure writing intentions in an effort to find the clarity that may lead me down the road to writing freedom.

I once corrected someone who introduced me by saying that I was a part-time mom and a part-time attorney.  No one need remind a mother that, above all else, she is a fulltime mom, no matter how she spends a portion of each day.  I am five years out of law school, two years into my second job, one year into motherhood, and still searching for that thing that makes my life whole.  My daughter certainly fits the bill.  She fills the void in my heart like nothing ever has before, and she gives my life immense meaning.  I long to step away from my career and to find satisfaction in just being “Mommy,” and to be quite honest, being both a lawyer and a mother does not make me happy.  However, being a mother has brought me to a happier place than I have been in years, as though I am suddenly reveling in the warmth of a 50-degree day after a long, hard winter.  I long to bare my arms and bask in the sunshine, but it is not spring yet.

Perhaps I am a dreamer – and I see no shame in this – but I want my career, whatever it might be, to fill me with satisfied purpose.  I want to believe wholeheartedly that the precious time I spend away from my family is spent doing something that engages my soul and in doing so, makes me a more compete being.

I’ve almost come to the place where I can jump off the barreling train that is the law.  I’ve done it once before, but unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the place where I landed was not going to fill me with the satisfied purpose that I sought, and I clamored back on the first train that came my way.  Now, I find myself on the edge again, not desperate to throw myself off like before, but with a good enough foothold in my career and perspective on motherhood to know that the place my heart desires exists.  I can just barely glimpse it, but I know that it exists.

I fear that others will misperceive my certainty as fickleness and see my desire as a mirage.   I am afraid that I might burden my husband with dreams that are only dreams and force him alone to carry the responsibility of creating all real stability in our lives.  It is this fear that causes me to grip more tightly to the train.

I am both a mother and a lawyer, and I am comfortable embodying these roles.  I am comfortable, but not fulfilled.  Becoming a mother has given me an additional, but all-encompassing, identity beyond that of my profession.  Let there be no doubt that I want to be a mother first and foremost.  But I also want to be something else, and I want that something else to fill my tank in the same way that the law depletes it.  Unfortunately, making good on this desire requires me to stretch, accept fear, and take risks before I can find proof that writing may lead me to this place.

It may be that this blog is all the writing that I ever do.  But, it is my brainchild; my inspired idea.  As I raise my daughter and take pleasure in her every moment, and as I spend time away from her helping others with problems that burden and haunt me, I intend to grow inspiration here and to allow it to fill me until I am confident enough to let go of the train and fall into that place of completeness.