Friday, May 28, 2010
The connected life
In the midst of talk about how to keep privacy and boundaries, I am frequently left feeling non-plussed. I have never been good at putting my life into little boxes, which is how I feel that all of these "healthy boundaries" would be in practice.
Maybe it's because of how I was raised, in a home daycare business, homeschooled, in a community theater company, working in my father's Naturopathic doctor's office from a very early age. I just don't "switch hats" - I wear them all at once, as a coordinated outfit. This is my authentic, whole self, and I feel very little need for a "private life". OK - there are a few things I want to keep to myself (your basic bathroom and bedroom privacy applies!), but I feel that beyond that, I'm an open book.
But beyond being very open communicatively (and making up new words, too!), there are other ways that my life is connected. I frequently bring my work home (such as in the picture above - how lucky am I that I can work on stick puppets with my daughter at our dining table and it's my actual WORK?), or I bring my kids to work with me. They are pretty connected to what I do, but it works both ways. My job frequently makes me a better mother, and being a mother frequently makes me better at my job. The opposite is true at times - work and family do sometimes compete and one could "lose out", but of all the ways to make a living, this one sure would be hard to beat.
And then there is the other way that I am connected, as I am brought into a circle of community that shares its joys and sorrows with me. Last weekend, I was honored to be asked to be part of the "wedding party" for a 25th Anniversary recommitment ceremony. Today, I learned of the death of a congregant who was one of the first to ever welcome me into this church. Her memorial service will be on Wednesday, and I am sure I will be there crying, not thinking about whether this is "work" or "personal". I cannot separate the two - they are both strands of my very being, and as I am a whole person, they are woven together.
Others may have a different way of seeing this, and believe me, I do know the dangers. Growing up, it sometimes hurt to be in my parents' professional or public spheres - it hurt when I became entangled in power struggles or law suits or inspections-gone-bad. But it was wonderful also, as I was part of their lives and included in their good times, their business trips to fun locations, their parties and friendships. To me, a whole life is a fully connected life. The boundary lines are fuzzy, but the intentions and the principles are not. I mean to live an authentic life, as me, committed to my principles. Sometimes that will move me to pure joy. Sometimes it will bring me to tears. I wouldn't have it any other way.
No need to "be a rock", for me.