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Extra batteries

How can it possibly be true that I am in a good mood right now? It’s 8:47, and all the kiddos are finally in bed. For the record, that’s about 1 hour and 17 minutes later than I would tend to consider appropriate.

One reason is that I had a little breakthrough with Benjamin this evening: I helped him see that I “get batteries” when people listen to me and say nice things, and I “lose batteries” when people don’t listen me, and they say mean things to me.

It’s an obvious concept. We’ve explored it before. But tonight, for some reason, Ben really connected with it. And he made it his mission to be a good listener and say nice things tonight. What an extraordinary difference it makes to have people create kindness intentionally.

Extra batteries were necessary, needed and valuable today, because today made no sense.

My workday today consisted of co-facilitating a room of 6 clients from a video conference in my home office, and then connecting live every 30 minutes to a video call with different strangers to facilitate a separate interview, which were broadcast on-screen in the client-room from them to watch and take notes about. It concluded the fourth and final day of our design sprint this week.

After only a 20 minute break after the workday, I then had to join a video call with the board at our church to work through financial conversations.

Good mood, does not compute. Extra batteries required.

Batteries came from the events after work: Dinner was a new deep-dish recipe Kendra had discovered in a cookbook; a delicious beef stew with cremini mushrooms. We invited Frank and Kathy, aka, grandma and grandpa, to join us from their downstairs suite, and wine was enjoyed.  After work, after the board call, our family finally decorated and straightened yesterday’s naked and maligned Christmas tree.

There was also a moment after that long work day of remote facilitation, where I stayed still. I wrote 12 lines in my journal in the style of a rhyming children’s poem, that broke off into a 6-word prayer.

That moment, trying to shore up energy and focus and health and presence and well-being enough to recover from a draining day and get ready for some massive context switching into my remote mini-board meeting and then into family chaos…somehow, peacefulness found me, and persisted.

It’s now 8:57 pm. All the kiddos are finally in bed. I’m going to read aloud to Kendra some chapters from Octavia E. Butler’s Patternist series (we’re in Clay’s Ark), have a little more wine, and then it’s bedtime.

*

In one other quiet moment today, I found myself judging myself mentally for doing this project at all. The whole thing. The blog, the create daily, everything. A sneering, hateful internal bash of myself for this whole embarrassing wannabe concoction. A vile stew of internal hate piling upon me for even attempting it, for exposing myself to the world.

I wondered to myself what influences in my life have caused me to think that a writing project is silly and wasteful. I didn’t figure out the origins of that voice, but I recorded this simple note on my phone:

A voice in my head says this is frivolous.

A voice in my head says I don’t have time for this.

A voice in my head says I was made for this.

At least for now, I’m going to see what I can learn from this.

I don’t know why those voices offer me shoulds and shame, but they are present and they are noisy. It takes a daily muting to leave them alone.

…but at the end of the day, I can’t tell you why voices in my head are sometimes mean to me, and why sometimes they abate and show kindness.

Must be the extra batteries.

PS – This song, Voices, is worth a listen, and connects with today’s reflection.