Monday, May 16, 2011

Time: One of the "Bestest" Gifts

So I walked slowly thru the exhibitions, making sure that all my senses feasted slowly on all the color and beauty smothering every stop. With the exception of the heat, -which I really shouldn’t complain about as it made the colors brighter and the atmosphere more festive- It was an absolutely beautiful day.  I really enjoy arts and crafts festivals.  They’re actually one of my favorite events. I truly like seeing how emotions and ideas are introduced into the physical realm through such clever and lovely ways. It actually makes me think about the wonderful gift of creativity  we have received from our Creator. Isn’t it awesome? He always gives us wonderful gifts!  And on that day, while walking through a jungle of tangible dreams and memories He gave me a present –Actually a mother’s day present. One that was more precious than any other item I could’ve gotten from the festival. Let me share it with you.

What a wonderful wood-craftsmanship!..the whole piece was carved out of  a single trunk..beautiful!

As I walked through the festival, I actually saw a few pieces of art  here and there that reminded me of how much I wanted to not really buy something like that, but actually do it myself. If you ever visited my home before I married, you  noticed that there were actually very few pieces of art hanging on the walls. There were just three charcoal sketches that I made over 15 years ago hanging on the living room and one more cross stitched design hanging at the entry way. The reason for the wall baldness?  My desire to be the one who painted or crafted the pieces versus the issue of time scarcity compounded by my cuasi obsession with over-commitment. In simpler words,  my self-created lack of time. 

Since I came to the US over 10 years ago, my schedule and calendar have always looked like the Timesquare intersection in New York, with more activities and to do items than what you can imagine.  This picture actually reminds me of a good lesson I learned recently regarding “White Space”, which has become a staple at home and one my husband’s favorite cravings.   According to the teacher, successful companies like Google and Apple, apply this concept to their marketing strategies, believing that people are attracted to simple, clean ads full of “white space” instead of the “car dealership” type of ads full of information.  That is so true. Have you noticed?  People normally just pass over that kind of input overload to avoid the waste of energy to process all the unnecessary information. Instead, for example, we are drawn to sleek and clean ads.  They just make you feel relaxed instead of prompting anxiety, or to others it’s just cool, right?  The application of this concept he said, is that people need “White Space” in their schedules to be devoted to be spontaneous, more aware and rested. I think that was such a great idea.  But don’t ask me about the implementation at that time.  It really didn't down on me until walking through the festival.

              See mommy, Daddy always takes his TIME to play silly games with me....he, he..

I know I am not the only one that suffers of self-created lack of time. This is such a universal and human issue. It seems like almost everybody suffers of this ailment. But on that day while walking through the exhibitions I was confronted with the fact that it is imperative that I not only acknowledge my problem, but also do something about it; as now in contrast to years before, I am not the only one suffering the consequences, but also the people that I love the most in the world, specially my husband and now my son. I know I sound kind of melancholic, but believe me this realization was such a great and timely present for me.

    He takes his time to show me the world!...

I remember this question popping on my head continuously on that day: “So why haven’t you hung any painting in your walls?. Of course the answer sounded so simple, that you would doubt any of its spiritual connotations: “Because I haven’t had time”. Such a common, and sadly overused answer.  But don’t even think for a moment that the Lord was encouraging me to start adding another activity like painting or crafting to my already busy schedule. He was bringing my heart to a place where I could realize that I need, my family needs, more of my time. And by this I mean, time where I am intentional to create an environment that fosters our enjoyment of each other, without regard for artificial formulas or rigorous planning.  This was especially liberating for me as for first time in my life I enter the summer season as a mother. And the only way I can think of to describe how I felt after browsing a magazine to check on summer activities for children is this: “Buried under an avalanche after opening that door-closet.” I know, I probably interpreted this through my prism of “weariness” after a spring season full of baby development classes, Gymborees, mom’s clubs, miles driven, etc. -Now, I don’t want you to think that I am completely against planning activities or sharing with our friends and community. I know that this is a important part of a healthy lifestyle. But as big "hearted" mothers, so easily drawn to enjoy giving of ourselves and continuous interaction with multiple groups of people, we have to learn to draw the line. I was reminded on that day to draw lines, just as you do when you draw a sketch.  I was reminded that the creation of a piece of art requires time.  And these very words were the words mom used many years ago to question me about what kind of painting I was making of my life.  She said:  “Every stroke counts, so you better chose your colors wisely and enjoy the process”.

 Time? What is that Momma? Can I mouth it? =P

So this was my mother’s day gift: I was reminded that the bestest gift I can give to my family and my son is MY TIME. My simple, pure and unadulterated time. No preservatives added. No signing up for any summer programs for us.  Instead, time to look at each other in the eye, be silly, sing out of tune, be spontaneous and enjoy our days and learn together at our leisure. What a great time we had on that art festival. We really didn't buy anything, but I left with the satisfying feeling of having gotten a great deal. I actually did!  I got it for free, and it was so satisfying!

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