Sunday, September 20, 2020

THE AUTHENTIC SELF IS READY TO ROLL

 Yesterday, I had my coaching call with our Mission Accomplished group led by Deborah Hurwitz (Productivity for Perfectionists) and we were discussing accountability and authenticity, and specifically how accountability is accessed through authenticity. At the end of the discussion, our homework was to decide what new action we would take as a result of laying claim to our authentic self. I was somewhat perplexed by this, since I usually see myself as authentic. I don't feel hemmed in as I sometimes did when I was a child. My beloved husband and I were equal partners in our marriage; he encouraged me in all my endeavors, especially in my writing, but also in taking riding lessons when I was 27 and painting classes in my 40s, but most importantly in going to a World Wide Marriage Encounter Weekend after 7 years of marriage, and all the adventures that ensued--moving from New Jersey to California, giving WWME Weekends and becoming involved in leadership, and adding three more children to our quiver. I have never felt so fully alive as when we were working to enrich marriage and family life, especially when we coordinated the 2008 International WWME Convention. We learned to lean into one another's strengths more than ever before and learned how to listen deeply to other couples and priests and reconcile our differences.

As I told my daughter Elizabeth, when I was growing up, I would sometimes feel squelched by my parents, but now I can feel somewhat constricted by my children. For example, I was looking for some form of exercise that I would really love, and I remembered that as a child my mother would take my siblings and me to the roller rink one day and the swimming pool the next, and we'd alternate all summer long. I was a terror on roller skates and my husband and I had even gone skating when I was 5 months pregnant with our fifth baby, and I wasn't the one who fell! After one my daughters suggested I get one of those things you wear that supposedly says, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up," instead, I bought a beautiful pair of skates, and started skating on the sidewalk we have in our back yard.  However, I quickly discovered after a number of somewhat painful falls that skating on a sidewalk that has gaps and edges that have heaved up under pressure from tree roots, as well as branches that you have to duck under when you're over 6 feet in your skates is quite different from skating on a rink.  I eventually gave them to my daughter Mary for a friend who wanted to start skating and thought no more of it, because the rink where we used to skate had closed and was being turned into a carwash.  But Elizabeth encouraged me to see if the other rink that was farther away was still open. She told me that a friend of hers who had been an Olympic ice skater, and stopped skating when she was raising her children, started back recently, but that she hired a coach to help her ease back into skating.  That seemed like a brilliant idea, and as soon as I hung up, I looked up the rink online, which turned out to be a historical location, opened by Eleanor Roosevelt. They are closed for Covid, but have plans to reopen as soon as they are allowed to, and they have coaches.  Because I used to pass this rink every time I went to see my spiritual advisor, I know exactly where it is, and having to print out a map isn't even necessary.  I was unbelievably buoyed up by this discovery, and by the fact that I took action on my daughter's suggestion right away.  I put my name on their email list so that I can be notified when they reopen, and look forward to the day when I can lace up my skates and get going!

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