i've always been a reader. if i could find a spare minute, i was usually found with my nose in a book. that makes sense, i suppose, if you know that i have a phd in english (yes, i know i should be capitalizing, but it's my one grammatical rebellion in blogging).
once i began my graduate school career, and the internet became more of an everpresent feature in most of our lives, that book immersion has given way to a nearly constant stream of media exposure: email, websites, streaming tv and movies, cable at any hour of the day.
i am grateful for all of it, for the most part. the internet makes it possible for me to work from home a lot, which i will be even more grateful for once our sweet baby comes in april. the internet makes it possible to connect with a host of people that i never would have met. i can pay my bills, order a pizza, research the best washer and dryer to buy, and express myself in a creative way through a blog.
but i'm beginning to think that, for all its blessings, the constant inflow of information has taken its toll on me.
i was talking to my husband late last night about my hormone-induced pregnancy anxiety. as i talked about the what-ifs and the what-will-we-dos, i realized something: i am more anxious about the pregnancy that i'm nearly 1/3 of the way through than i am about the days, weeks, months, and years that follow.
i'm not afraid to raise a child. i'm not even afraid to give birth to a child. i'm afraid to grow a child.
what if x happens? what if y happens? the statistical probabilities and the sensationalized stories and the list of foods to avoid and cautions about supportive shoes and support hose and sleeping on your side and folate and every other piece information my sponge-like brain has picked up over my years of adulthood swim in my brain.
in the course of all of this swimming information, i began to forget what i knew about myself. i normally pride myself on being able to handle most anything. i consider the possibilities, make a plan, and move forward. now, in all of this melee, i seem to feel paralyzed by both information and self-doubt.
i began to wonder why.
in the massive push of information that we are surrounded by every day, i think we are quite susceptible to forget our own instincts, to ignore the still small voice that guides us to good decisions and wise behavior every day. our better nature, the one that tells us to take the stairs and choose the salad over the fried chicken, knows what to do.
knowledge is wonderful, once we implement it successfully. but knowledge for knowledge's sake can, i think, be somewhat detrimental. who are we listening to? what are we stimulating our brains with? why do they know better than we already do?
we talk a lot here about the importance of healthy bodies and healthy choices. lately, for me, i have been considering how integral a part of that formula a well-centered mind is. i am beginning, myself, to realize how much one feeds the other, how reciprocal that relationship is.
my suggestion today is this: pay attention to what and who you are listening to.
turn off the voices that tell you you're not enough. turn off the media that encourages you to doubt what you already know is true--that you are strong enough to accomplish whatever comes your way, that you are wise enough to make the right decisions and, when you are not, you are wise enough when to ask for help, and that you have the capacity to be all that you want to be. unplug the things that keep you from being quiet, from resting from your labors, from finding inner peace.
take a deep breath. remember what blessings you have. take stock of the love that surrounds you and the joy that you have been privileged to feel.
be inspired, once again, by your own strengths. take an honest stock of who you are and, even if you've been feeling anxious, beleaguered, and weary, i believe you'll see all of the majesty of exactly who you are.
i am working on doing just that--not just for myself, but for my family and for those that i work with, love, and serve. we are important to those around us--whatever we can do to make ourselves even stronger (in mind, body, and spirit) will help us to create the life we've always wanted.