Friday, March 2, 2012

Give Voice To Your Heart

That is the theme of this year’s “The Woman Within” Lenten speaker series at my church. It’s the fourth year of this program and this year will run for four weeks. Last night we, as women, were encouraged to give voice to what is in our hearts, and so I thought what better time to start blogging again? I know, I know, I’ve had a couple of false starts already, but this is Lent, and therefore a time to make changes for the good. The results of last year’s Lenten changes have been phenomenal, and turned my life upside down.
Last year at this time, I was a total workaholic. Anytime someone asked me what I was doing, “working” was the answer. That and keeping up with my son’s schedule. Making sure he got to where he needed to be when he needed to be there. In short, he was the one with the life, not me. I knew something had to change, or one day he would grow up and be gone, and I’d be left home with the cats, still working all the time.
I’d already unwittingly started in on my plan for change, as a blog post I wrote in June of 2010 entitled “There’s No Excuse for Being Bored” morphed into an article published last January in my diocese’s Faith Magazine (click on January/February 2011 issue, pages 8 and 9). In it, I listed a host of activities offered through the church bulletin, church newspaper, and Faith Magazine, and basically said that life is out there, waiting, for anyone who chooses to participate. Life is Out There...Waiting! was in fact the title of the article.
With that thought in mind, I began to craft a new life for myself, one full of fun, friends, and all sorts of social activities. But it wasn’t enough. I was out and about, having fun, but wanted someone special to share that fun with. So in July of 2010 I took the leap and joined an online dating site. Nine months and maybe a dozen dead end conversations later, I had a file folder full of notes and information on how dating sites do and don’t work (no experience is ever wasted when you’re a writer), but still no partner.
In March, I decided to give up that ghost and concentrate on Me. March, I eventually declared in my blog posts, was “Me” month. For the month of March, I would focus only on what nourished me--mentally, physically, and spiritually. I’d read more books, pray more, exercise more, clear the clutter in my home and life, attend only lectures and events that spoke to me personally, and in general just be good to myself. To that end, I added a third Qigong class to my week, this one held on Sunday mornings.
Qigong is something I’ve been interested in for more than a decade, but somehow never made the time for. Finally, I joined a class taught clear across town. My friends were amazed. You go to class where? For the previous 24 years I’d pretty much limited myself to local activities held on my side of town, or within a very limited driving distance (my occasional trips to out-of-town conferences and such notwithstanding.)
Suddenly I was driving across town three times a week, meeting new people, and making friends outside my comfort zone. Then, lo and behold, one Sunday morning, in walks this man, who, unbeknownst to me, fit the section of my online dating profile headed “What I am Looking For” to a tee. Three months later several students from our class headed to Niagara Falls for a Tai Chi workshop (Tai Chi being a form of Qigong), and the two of us just “clicked.”
We’ve been seeing each other ever since.
Which is one reason why my blogging fell off. Instead of working all the time, I now focus on work during the weekdays, and spend my evenings and weekends tootling around with him. We go to class, go to church, go to concerts, car shows, festivals, dances, dinners, games, and wine tastings. We take trips, and have been to Canada, Michigan, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and New York. We flew to South Dakota, visited the National Music Museum. We’re headed to Texas, next. In between trips, we trundle around town taking care of errands and visiting friends. We collect recipes, go grocery shopping, and cook. We watch movies and volunteer for community service together. We attend all my son’s special activities.
But none of this would have happened if I hadn’t given voice to my heart. My heart felt a lack, and so I did something about it. Through my article in Faith Magazine I put it out there, into the universe, that there was no excuse for being lonely or bored, and then, though my online dating profile, I put it out there what I was looking for.
I spoke from the heart, and my voice was heard.
So today’s question is: What is your voice telling you? Is there a lack in your life? What is it you need to bring you closer to being the person you want to be? More time in prayer? More exercise? More “Me” time? More family time? More social activities? More active involvement in your church or community?
I seriously doubt it’s “More work.”
Take time out this week to be still and listen to that voice within. They say peace and contentment comes when the person you are and the person you want to be are one and the same.
Who are you? Who do you want to be?
Even if you’re not Catholic, like I am, Lent--or spring, if you prefer--is a good time of year, a time of rebirth and renewal, to take time out to consider these questions and--either by your actions, or through your words, or both--give voice to your heart.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Liana, Your message is so timely for this season of reflection. I usually feel like my Lent starts with January's diet, and don't often remember to take time out before Easter to think on who I want to be.

This year, I've had quiet moments as I held and cared for my third grandson. The voice from my heart spoke clearly. You are who you love. Sure I love writing and associated activities, but I love my family more. Spending time with them is important to me, so I try to find a way to do both.

Welcome back to the blogosphere.


Mona Risk said...

Hi Liana, your post is so inspiring. Last year I wanted more exercise, more outdoor life. I did it, but developed bone spurs in both feet and can't walk long distance now. So I redirected my activities to more reading, sitting on the beach, mingling with friends, helping friends and writers, and above all spending more time with my husband. All things useful to others and fulfilling to myself.

Unknown said...

Liana--I feel blessed and uplifted just reading this post. Not sure how I could step out of my comfort zone, for I don't feel a need to. I have done plenty of that in past decades, so now I think I just enjoy the sameness and the mundane life I and my husband lead. Once in a while, I do something I don't really want to, but feel maybe I should. Our church adopted an entire elementary school which has evolved in to all sorts of ways our members work over there (this is a very, very needy school and students.) I didn't want to mentor, I didn't want to be a regular reader, nothing of the sort, so I though to do a fill-a-back-pack drive. My lands, that turned into quite a job, and by the time school began, we had quite a pile of school supplies--including backpacks.
I'll probably head that up again this year...we'll see...maybe someone else will want to step out of their comfort zone and do it instead of me! Thanks for such a wonderful post...

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm still enjoying doing what I want instead of working for a boss in an office, though, I must admit I'm a harder taskmaster than he was. Sometimes I do need to take it easy, instead of trying to get everything done!

I'm glad you met someone who makes you happy, Liana.

Morgan Mandel

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Liana, thanks so much for sharing your journey. It's very inspirational. I think I need more "me" time, and quite honestly, it's a challenge with my demands. I have fit in a little more scriptual reading, but at work. I should take a look at my schedule and see what I can do.