Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Being Inadequate

Suffrage Parade (LOC)
Suffrage Parade (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)
It's Election Day in the United States of America and I voted. I hope you did too, especially if you are a woman. Women worked really hard to get the right to vote after our Founding Fathers forgot to include us in that document they drafted. I'm sure they just weren't thinking clearly, what with the shot heard 'round the world still ringing in their ears. Good thing some women had the guts to point out the omission and get it corrected.

Election Day, with all its uncertainty and annoying phone calls trying to get me to vote for the candidate I already voted for or, worse, the guy I wouldn't vote for if you held a gun to my head, was exacerbating an already dark mood. See, I got sick, needed some down time to rest, and lost all my momentum. Or, at least, that's the excuse I've been using for the past week for not accomplishing anything except getting the Netflix award for watching the most consecutive episodes of a mediocre TV show without stopping. (We won't tell them I slept through most of them, only waking up when my earbuds got quiet to start the next installment.)

While I was sick and hiding under the covers I wasn't doing my bookkeeping, creating flyers for upcoming studio events, helping my son with math, cleaning my house or the other usual things.

I also wasn't campaigning for the candidates I support, attending anti-fracking rallies or writing letters in support of clean energy subsidies. It's not that I would be doing those things if I was well - there simply is a limit to how much I can do in a day, even if I feel strongly about the issues - but if I'm going to be a slacker I might as well be a BIG slacker, right?

Then the storm called Sandy wiped out places I used to call home and places I used to visit to get away from home. What could I do about that? Nothing. I didn't even have to pull out my Red Cross volunteer ID because the storm left the Adirondacks alone. Which was good, considering I couldn't talk and a box of tissues was my constant companion. But my slacker-ness grew in my mind.

By last night I was again hiding under the covers, convinced that Superstorm Sandy was my fault because sometimes I forget my reusable grocery bags and I'm still driving a 10-year-old SUV, my yoga studio is doomed to failure because I'm not posting enough on its Facebook page and I'm a terrible mother because my homeschooled 4th grader hasn't mastered long division. I was sure I couldn't call myself a runner because I took a break from running in the cold rain when I got an ear infection. Let's not forget that I forgot to water my plants!

I have big goals and even bigger dreams. There are causes which I passionately support. When I'm feeling good I'm sure I can do great things. Last night, however, I had hog-tied myself with all my failures and inadequacies until I couldn't make dinner, much less change the world.

It was only obligations - little things like giving my kid breakfast and showing up on time to teach this morning's yoga class - that got me out of bed this morning. I was vertical, but in my head there was a running list of things I suck at. My Medicine Card deck was sitting on the kitchen table and, out of habit, I picked it up, shuffled, and did a Moon Lodge spread. It's just five cards with animals on them, but it kicked me in the ass.

I won't go into all the details. Basically it told me to sit with my fears and feel my pain until I can see the many blessings in my life. It also said that I have a message to share, but it's not about telling other people what to think or how to behave. It's about spreading joy by being joyful.

Funny thing, it didn't say anything about having an immaculate house, raising a genius or packing my yoga classes. Not a mention of standing in front of the Statehouse waving a sign or sending money to Planned Parenthood. Nothing about manning a shelter in a storm or even paying my bills on time. Just be with my pain until I find joy, then be joyful. I can be inadequate and, in some big or small way, make the world a better place.

I know it's just a deck of cards with animal pictures on them. But today pictures of a rabbit, a raccoon, a hummingbird, a hawk and a dolphin got me through the day without retreating under the covers. Tomorrow I may even make the bed. And I'll be inadequate. Joyfully inadequate.

Unless the wrong guy wins tonight.

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Help Hurricane Sandy victims by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief.

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