Whirlwind week, it feels like.

Though I think my definition of ‘busy’ is absolutely eons behind some other parents’. Perhaps it’s just that trying to re-train my sluggish brain has been more taxing than I anticipated, but today, Thursday Morning, after less than a week being mindful of my 2014 themes I was already feeling the need to take a breather. I think the positive difference this time is that today I decided to pay attention to my mind and my body.

I felt the tension in my neck, the heat in my chest, the tightening in my fist. The anxious, visceral reaction to sounds that really shouldn’t be a problem (I’ve often joked with friends and family about this condition). The need for a quiet, still, calm space was real and intense. I knew I needed to take a moment before I started down the self destructive path of yelling at my kids, feeling hopeless and helpless, neglecting my mind and body, losing myself in trivial distraction to block out the tasks and necessary rhythms of the day ahead.

I needed a margin. That white space in a book, between the words and the edge of the page, it’s a buffer between the words and the world. You don’t really take much notice of it when you’re reading an amazing story, or getting entrenched in some research for a topic that interests you, or when you’re writing in your own note-book. But you sure would notice it if it wasn’t there. (Does anyone else feel uncomfortable writing in a notebook without a ruled margin?). The words would butt up right to the edge of the page, making them difficult to read, tiring your eyes. A book with narrow margins is just a turn off.

So this morning I was feeling like that margin-less book. All words against the world and no rest for my soul – no room for expansion, no room to jot down little notes and fancies and whimsical wonderings.

So I put the baby to bed, and bribed the kids with the promise of liquorice if I could take an uninterrupted shower. Oh what bliss. I gave myself permission to rest in the imperfections, I let myself off the hook. Previously I might have continued to subconsciously stress about the tasks not being completed while paradoxically numbing myself to reality by completely checking out, today was different. I allowed mess to be mess  – which is ALL IT IS. A mess is something that can be cleaned up. A mess is not The Apocolypse. A mess is not going to break me. I am in charge here.

Earlier this week when I posted about Embracing Mess, I don’t think I was descriptive enough in what I actually meant. After a brief conversation with Nathan and re-reading the post, I am sure that there were things in there I had meant to include, but somehow in my rush of excitement at finally being able to write something, I neglected to articulate what I had wanted.  So when I started work on my Right Brain Planner earlier this week, some things just sorted of tumbled out, like when you don’t properly stack things in a cupboard, one day you open it and stuff starts escaping. That’s kind of what happened in my journal/planner. And thankfully, and somewhat prophetically, the notes I had been making to myself earlier in the week are what allowed me to fall gently through today and just DEAL, rather than stumbling through and feeling like it was all too much. So I flipped back to Sunday and this is what I found:

{pictures of atrocious quality!}

So this morning, my very clever, wise and grounded past-self was able to give some sage advice to my anxious, overly-analytical, and flighty current self, by way of this directive:

Remember Your Margins.

I am no good to myself or my kids or my husband of I have not allowed myself that space to breathe and unfurl and take care of Me. Perhaps at this stage of my life I need wider margins than some, or it could just be within my easy-going nature to dislike that over-crowded feeling. Regardless, the advice to myself was worthwhile, good, helpful, lifesaving wisdom (if I do say so myself), and after some self-induced Time Out, doing the bare bones of the days routine (yep, skipped dinner – no shame in Weetbix for the kids once-in-a-while/week), I have arrived at this evening feeling CALM. SPACIOUS. ALERT to my mind and my body, knowing that both are telling me to sign off here soon and go to bed, to indulge in a little White Space…

Knowing that tomorrow is day one again, that I can allow mess to be what it is, nothing more…

Knowing that I can choose not to be overwhelmed, that I can choose to reduce (tasks, possessions, negative feelings), that I can pull ME out of MESS, until what is left is just that double ‘s’,

that ssssssssss…

white noise…

Knowing that I am in charge here, that I can embrace these opportunities to let my children make a mess because it’s nothing I can’t handle…Knowing that if I embrace the mess of life rather than chasing perfection, I might just find that the world keeps on turning, that my perspective will shift, and that I will find myself more capable, more tuned-in, more alert and alive than before.

Because it’s the white space that stops those words tumbling off the page into oblivion…

It’s those pauses in a music that make the notes that follow all the more powerful…

It’s that rest in between sets at the gym that make it possible to do more reps…

The Margin is where I can allow my mind to wander, to not follow the lines from left to right, top to bottom, to take a break, to listen to the silence. To unfurl.

And, as I wrote in the margin of my journal (so meta):

Oh! A margin is a splendid place to be: Where I learn ‘Me’