Where to begin?
I want so much to share the amazingness that is right now, to capture it for myself and my children to look back on years from now but the truth is that it is not all wonderful and amazing. And I want to honor that part of right now too.
Lily, my animal-lover, is learning to milk cows, to check the animals for signs of stress and to help Farmer Megan walk them to and from their pasture.
This summer is the pure joy of truly living my dreams juxtaposed with extreme exhaustion, collapsing in a pool of tears at the end of a long day, wondering what the hell I am doing and why.
Once a week I meet with Farmer Ashley at our vegetable CSA farm to map out the newsletter for the following week and plan community events — like our first contra dance, which will take place at the end of August. Lily took this picture while we worked.
This spring I sat with my calendar open, looked out at the summer and mentally planned our days – Mondays: meetings in the morning, afternoons at the market; Tuesdays and Wednesdays working from home; Thursdays off from work relaxing with kids; Fridays working at the farms (yes! farms plural — one in the morning and the other in the afternoon); Saturdays organizing and teaching yoga and attending the farmers’ market; and Sundays relaxing and catching up.
I sprinkled in a little summer camp, touched base with all our mothers’ helpers and made plans for the kids to have weekly sleepovers at my parents’. It all felt so doable. So neat and smooth. And so much fun.
Once a week the kids and I drive Farmer Pat’s truck from the farm to the market – a major highlight of the kids’ week!
And sometimes that’s how it feels. Sometimes I feel like superwoman.
Meetings in the morning. Mid-day working at the farm. Washing eggs. Hauling boxes. Driving the farm truck. Unloading the coolers. Setting up for the market. Chatting with our customers and the other vendors.
Lily has taken responsibility for egg sales. She’s starting to remember our customers and which size eggs they like to purchase and is learning to count change.
But sometimes it is anything but fun.
And when I think back to my nice little neat plan I made this spring, I realize that I didn’t factor in the summer heat (100+ degrees at times this month) or torrential rain or the physical exhaustion we would all experience.
I didn’t think about what we would be eating on these long work days and who would be doing laundry (and when???) and how I would keep track of where the heck I stashed the sunscreen.
I forgot that four-year-olds often regress with potty learning, especially when away from home for large periods of time, and that dealing with potty accidents while attempting to wait on customers is not fun at all.
Did you know that Farmers’ Markets are open rain or shine?
This past week I hit a wall.
House guests, traveling co-workers, fast approaching deadlines, last-minute sitter cancellations, all-day weekend events, extreme heat. It was all just too much.
I’ve been here before. John and I call it “the perfect storm.” When a dozen little things come together in just the right way to make everything feel completely and totally overwhelming.
At the farm we call it “the pig pile.”
Whatever you want to call it, these are the moments that can make or break you. And for me they often do both.
No matter what the temperature outside, in our walk-in freezer it is always -20 degrees and I must “suit up” before going in to fill orders. Photo by Quinn.
I remember once my friend and fellow yoga teacher telling me about the end of her marriage and how it led her to yoga. “I had a complete breakdown. And then I had a breakthrough,” she said.
That’s how these perfect storms feel to me.
I break down. I cry. I yell. I swear. I feel sorry for myself. I wonder how the hell I got here. And then at some point, I break through. I name everything that isn’t working. I reach for the best feeling thought I can muster. I make a new plan. I start moving forward again.
And that’s about where I am now. July broke me. It forced me to get real with myself about who I am and who I am not. To ask myself how much is too much? And what is sustainable – for me and for our family? And to re-examine what it is that I really want.
It also brought me more deeply into my yoga practice and helped me recommit to attending (a minimum of ) one yoga class a week. And led me to pull in more childcare. And reconvene weekly potluck dinners with friends.
July asked me to say goodbye. And to say I’m sorry (many times). To breathe deep. And dig deep. And keep moving forward. And take chances. And trust.
This kids and I enjoyed a special late-night moment earlier this week feeding the pigs by the light of the farm truck. As we drove down the farm lane the full moon came up over the trees.
Photos taken with my cell phone.
One particularly challenging day this month, I opened my e-mail to find this. (Do you get wonderful things in your in-box like Daily Quotes, the Daily Groove or Notes from the Universe? And do they come to you at just the right time like this one did for me?)
Overwhelment is about you not being up to speed with what you told the Universe that you want. The Universe is yielding to you. You’re just not ready to receive it right now. – Abraham
I am ready to step back from overwhelment and move into a place of receiving and flowing with all that I have been asking for and all that has already manifest.
And I have July and my mid-summer meltdown to thank for that.
I’m going to step away from this space for a bit while I continue to get myself caught up to speed. I’ll be back in early August to celebrate the two-year anniversary of exhale. return to center. (And I’m going to need your help to do it!) Wishing you a lovely stretch of days.