Words and Rhythms

I have found that if I use the word “rhythm” in reference to the flow of our day, it feels better on my body. I know that I won’t have to explain that to some people reading this; but for those who don’t quite get what I am saying, I will.

You know how sometimes, when you hear a word, your body tenses or reacts because of its negative connotations? I have become quite aware that even my thinking and energy levels will change based on the words used. Sometimes, when someone speaks to me, I have to mentally change the words they are using in order for my body, my spirit, to react appropriately to the sound of them. Someone might use entirely different words than I would to convey an idea, but their choice of words might bring what my body interprets as a negative connotation with them, and I will subconsciously react. Make sense? To someone who loves structure, order, external achievement and consequences (a Type  A), the word “schedule” might bring a sense of comfort and relief. I had always used this word, and recently transitioned to “rhythm” as far as my own family was concerned. It may seem silly, but when I use the word “schedule”, I feel a bit confined. Yes, inspired to put effort into it, but also almost like I am setting myself up for failure already. But if I use the word “rhythm”, it feels more like a flow… Not as though my day is broken up into half hour blocks with detailed instructions as to how each half hour will be spent for myself and each child, but more like… a cycle. Something that moves along naturally, without constraints… I am reminded of leaves blowing, and think of music playing. It feels joyful. Peaceful, even. “Schedule” seems dry. Dull. Boring. Rigid. Dead. Ugh. Yuck. Help me…

I went to my mother’s apartment in Ottawa. I think she is either an ESFJ or an ISFJ. Probably an ESFJ. She has a place for everything and everything in its place, which seems to come naturally to her, yet she is completely absent of the cold, nitpicky, difficult tendencies often found in super organized people. Her office/guest room has a wall of floor-to-ceiling shelves with labelled bins for everything. It is perfect. It blows me away. This is the kind of thing that I could probably only achieve at an 80% level (at best) if I put 100% effort into it. And maintaining that effort would leave me exhausted. But to her it just comes naturally. Once upon a time I would find myself feeling defeated and like less of a person because I am different. Being older and more in tune with my own basic personality, I am aware of my natural strengths and weaknesses. I know that with a little effort, I can have that same kind of set up, but it will take more thought and energy on my part because it does not come naturally to me–it is a conscious choice. I have seen my mother go into subconscious robot-like tidying mode. I wish I had inherited this. I have not. But I can draw inspiration without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated now, which I couldn’t do for a long time when I found myself observing the fruit of someone else’s naturally organized personality type.

That said, and I think I have mentioned this here before, my mother says I cook like my Grandma did—“from the hip”, so to speak, tossing in what ingredients and seasonings I have on hand that I instinctively know will taste good and work well with what I am creating. I don’t fret about dinner guests because I can pretty much work with what I’ve got and only need to pick up a few things, unless I know I have people with allergies (or really picky people with with ten page lists of what they don’t like) coming over. Mom is recipe lady. A by-the-book lady. That is her comfort zone. The same kind of detailed instruction that makes her feel safe and secure about a making dish or dessert is what practically makes me break into a cold sweat for fear of screwing it up royally. I need leeway. Freedom. Space for creative tweaking.

My sister-in-law and I have the same Myers Briggs personality type, but she is a Type A Mom and I am a Type B. We spent a short amount of time together at her house getting ready for the party, and I found myself inspired by much of what she does in her home and with my nieces. I also knew right away that the incorporation of these things into our home and family would have to be adapted because of the different personalities–and our low-key Island lifestyle–in order to have a positive effect versus a detrimental one. We may live in the same country, but we live in an entirely different culture. I found myself inspired to step up on the paring down & decluttering, and on the organization again, but also glad that we live in a place where parties are often potlucks, or relaxed BBQs or meals of homemade chili/chowder/stew & rolls.

Back to Words and Rhythms. I like the word rhythm. Daily, weekly, seasonally… It gives a sense of comfort and regularity without the confinement and psychological jail bars. On the seasonal note, we upped our autumn decor to add some Halloween elements yesterday. It was nice. The kids enjoyed getting the stuff out of the closet and hung up around the house. Miss D.  & I picked up a couple of big pumpkins for the deck as well. Solstice will be next. And taking a note from Mom and my awesome Type A sis-in-law, my decorations have labelled bins to rest in upstairs between uses.

Today’s rhythm: finish our housework, get supper in the slow cooker, tackle our 3Rs & some French, read a little, do some laundry, bake a little, take a walk, and do some art. Daddy will be home later. Mommy doesn’t work again until Friday.

I will take some pics of our decor later and share. We need the sun to go down for the full effect of our Seasonal Table upstairs.

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