This year. This strange wonderful crazy awful amazing year. My thirty-eighth year was not what I thought it would be. Than again I suppose in the big scheme of things what does one expect of thirty-eigth years on earth? Little in comparison to someone with say thirty or forty years more than I have.
When I was young, I used to pray. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I would beg God to help me through tough times, I would ask for things, I would ask to be a better person or faster swimmer. I would pray so hard it would bring tears to my eyes. I had my prayers memorized. I would work really hard for Sister Annie (she was the little one with mean left hook from her cane to your knee) to be an exceptional Catholic child by learning everything she taught me, every prayer, every bible verse she handed to me to memorize because I thought it would make my prayers more effective. I would pray for big things and small things alike. I tried praying on my knees beside my bed like the kids did in old time books. I tried praying in church. I prayed in the car that night my parents tried to harm all of us. I prayed every time the fighting would start up. Then one day I did not pray. I have come back to prayer now and again. For example, there was that period in my life after I left the jerky abusive ex-boyfriend and my Granny died and it felt right to bother honor my Granny but also it helped me find my own path away from the jerk.
Of course, the one thing I did not understand about prayer for years is that I could pray but if I never took action I would never "get what I wanted". Most of what I wanted back then was out of my control. Make my Mom "normal". Please God let my parents stop fighting. God, I am begging you to find me a normal family. Oy. The prayers back then both break my heart and make me chuckle. Obviously we can pray intensely for someone and send that energy to help them but when it comes to our own internal prayers it is really deeper than that. Prayer with intensity is nothing at all if I do not ever work on my own internal self.
This past year I have to realize my own intensity is not always a good thing. I am deeply intense at times... okay, often. ALL THE TIME ALRIGHT! For instance, tonight I just flipped a switch on M Bug and lost it about something so mundane. The poor kid stayed home from school sick and it was a long day. I was keyed up but none the less it was unfair to use my keyed up intensity on him about such a minor item. I had to tell him that. I had to say "Your Mommy can be intense about things and sometimes they are things that are not worth being intense about." That was hard.
I trying with baby steps. Identifying when I am being too intense. And breathing. Such a simple step, breathing. I just simply do not breathe sometimes. So I am working on deep breathing. Slowing down. Calmness within myself. I have my own external calmness in my house and with my family but I have yet to let the past go and create an internal calm about myself and it shows. Sometimes that intensity and lack of calm work to my advantage but what I have come to realize is it's actually mostly holding me back. It is creating drama where none is needed. Intensity equals anxiety, stress, and anger (nee rage.)
I run a lot right. Not one, but two people pointed out how intense I looked. Angry even. I probably am. I love to run. I love to train. I love to race. SO why am I doing it with such fire and anger in my face? It makes no sense. If I love it, I should show it. It is hard. This smiling business. Breathing and smiling. Who knew I would need to learn how to do that in my thirty-ninth year. And this year, this is the year of inner calmness, continued deep breathing, being wholly aware of my intensity and changing the behavior that surrounds that intensity, and finally at the end of the day smiling, inside and out.