Solvitur Ambulando

I started this post in July, 2009, and didn’t get any further than the title.  Wonder what I was going to say then.  Almost a year on, I’m sure the content will be different, but Solvitur Ambulando still seems as good a place as any to start.

At its most literal, my 6-month circulation issues are being solved by walking.  It’s a direct correlation — take a (long, brisk) walk before bed, and I won’t be lying awake at 1 in the morning with restless legs that don’t exactly HURT, but which compel me to move.  Don’t take that walk, or (as happened last night due to impending world-endage) cut it short, and in the wee hours, I’ll be doing silent bellydance shimmies at the foot of the bed while my pookie snoozes peacefully.

In less on-the-nose interpretations, this birth journey seems to only be solvable by walking.  So much of what’s to come seems subject to forces beyond my control, yet all the literature says, “make a plan!”.  I’ve been struggling to reconcile this, because what’s the point of specifying How I Want Things when something as simple as which way Fizzy’s head is pointing can throw the whole thing out the window?  In other arenas, I’ve always been perfectly comfortable with the idea that a plan is essentially a wishlist, and things will inevitably change.  For some reason, that is very uncomforting now.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t get much sleep last night and have been broody all day, but it really seems at times like the only things standing between this birth and complete disaster are prayer, chance, and luck, and the only way to know what will happen next is to walk the path with faith and positive thoughts.

My volunteer supervisor said to me yesterday that when she was in some public place, she’d noticed almost every woman there was expecting.  “It’s going to be a big class!”  It made me think of the WWII baby boom, and it got me thinking.

In the midst of war, recession, environmental disasters both current and looming, and rising cost of everything from diapers to college tuition, we are still choosing to reproduce.  It’s an essentially hopeful act, the conscious propagation of the species.  In these days, it almost seems like an act of faith — economic security be damned, unemployment average do what it will, terrorists target whatever, we WILL have a child because the world is bound to get better.  I think if we actually thought the world was going to be a barren hellscape in our lifetimes, if we were the last remnants of a species bent on destruction of all things good who would very soon scrabble for mere survival on a ruined planet, baking in the heat of an ozone-less sky, it wouldn’t occur to us to bring children into the world.

Solvitur ambulando seems to apply  to our environmental and healthcare footprint (why yes, walking WOULD solve some problems, wouldn’t it) as well as to the greater mission of saving the world for our descendants.  If we can walk in their shoes, maybe it will give us greater impetus to leave them grass to walk on.

This post itself seems to be less walking than wandering in circles.  I can only hope that, like the labyrinth, I’ll eventually reach the center.  For only in combination can one truly find solution.


in the omnipresence of fear

“Fear is the original sin,” wrote John Foster. “Almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that some one is afraid of something. It is a cold, slimy serpent coiling about you. It is horrible to live with fear; and it is of all things degrading.”

~ Lucy Maude Montgomery, The Blue Castle

Sometimes I think my entire life — not just events, but everything people think of as me — is built around coping with fear.


This draft has been sitting around since, oh, the last time I updated here, and since then, I feel less like that. With the Symposium, I’m between falling axes, things are going smoothly with my mom’s house, and in general I feel less like I’m balancing on an ice floe at the edge of the world.

Either that, or I’m just to busy to acknowledge fear. The other night, I was sitting at the stoplight to get on Wade Avenue, when on NPR they were talking to the residents of a little town in (Serbia? Bosnia? one of those). One of the points of the story was that no one wanted to talk to them.

“Don’t ask me any questions,” an elderly woman told the reporter through the translator. “I’m very tired, and too much has happened here.”

My eyes welled up with tears, and I sobbed all the way to the I-40 merge. I knew exactly what she meant.

But while I feel the truth of that quote up there, I also can’t help thinking that fear, while unpleasant and constricting, can also be a powerful motivator. Fear of failure makes me conscientious and detail-oriented; fear of abandonment keeps me from taking my loved ones for granted; and impatience with fear makes me determined to live my life in defiance of it. I refuse to be that person who huddles inside her fear, wrapping it around her like a holey blanket, and whimpering, “but…what if…?”

Go boldly forth, and fear be damned.

an unexpected complication

ok, so at real work (NCSU), we’re reading a self-help-career-enhancer book called Go Put Your Strengths to Work. it’s basically about tailoring your job to focus more on what you enjoy and less on what makes you want to stab yourself in the eye. as with most of this genre, i’m a little skeptical, but overall, not a bad premise, right? except for one little, slightly embarrassing, problem.

i have a niggling suspicion that in order to follow my heart/find my bliss/put my strengths to work, i should have some clue what my heart/bliss/strengths ARE.

doesn’t that sound lame? it’s a simple enough question…”what do you want to do?” and yet i find my jaw flapping blankly and myself involuntarily responding, “what do you need me to do?” that’s not the point, and i know it. and yet my whole being tenses when i try to weed out the needs, the expectations, and the second-guessing and just BE.

it feels like there must be a secret answer, y’know? like the strategy for exams (which i used more than i like to admit) wherein you answer not the question the professor asked, but the question he implied: “do you agree with me?” my favorite profs were the ones that didn’t work on, but the vast majority of times, it was the fastest, least-effort-involved, route to an A. i think i’m still trying to answer that implied question, but “what do you want” is a tougher one to fake.

the sad fact of it is, i’m not sure i have any idea.

i can list the things i’m good at, the things other people consider my strengths. but according to Go, just because you’re good at something, that doesn’t mean it’s an actual strength. this concept is stressful and gives me a headache. it also profoundly complicates things! >.< because if i can’t go on things i do well for my criteria, what am i supposed to use?

i talked to one of my co-workers about this, and she recommended a list of helpful books. i think the most annoying part of this whole “find your bliss” thing is that i don’t have TIME to sit and meditate about my druthers. in mel’s immortal words, i got shit to DO! maybe after the new year i’ll get a moment to sit down and read through these undoubtedly very helpful resources…maybe i’ll even sit in a dark room and contemplate living like no one is watching. but for now, Christmas is less than a week away and i still haven’t sent out cards, wrapped presents, packed, or baked.

my bliss will simply have to wait its turn.