I’m leaning on your Love Lists for a spell

by Kristin on December 4, 2009

in Culture, ideas & paradigms

Illustration by Jason Berg

We’re in the thick of it—that extra-extra busy time of year. This year it’s not just holiday preparations and celebrations that are crowding every spare moment of time. I have more work deadlines than usual pressing in on me. Earlier today I tweeted that I am feeling overwhelmed and under-inspired, and I jokingly asked if the two might be related. They definitely are, as far as I can tell.

Which means it’s a perfect time to be focusing on my Love List, right? But life and human nature have a way of ganging up against us at these moments. Often the very thing you need most is the thing you can’t seem to make happen.

It’s not that making a Love List takes significant time that I don’t have. It takes a certain awareness and connectedness to your heart that I don’t seem to have right now. My own Love List seems to have nearly stalled over the past month, leaving me contemplating a chicken and egg situation: Has the list stalled because I have been stressed and down, less open to what I love? Or am I stressed and down because I haven’t taken my list seriously enough?

Just the other day, though, after reading some tweets and a few blog posts, I did add something to my list:

I love it when people put into words what I want/need to say. reminds me why writing is such an important vocation. #thelovelist

Sometimes I just have thoughts floating around in my head, in abstract forms I can’t tidy up enough to articulate. When I find someone who has given form to my loose ramblings, it’s such a relief.

But other times I just feel too stressed, overwhelmed and generally down to express myself. I feel uninspired, and begin turning inward, a particularly scary, spiraling pattern for extroverts like me.

When I’m feeling like that, I need other people, more than ever, to step up and speak or write for me.

Watching other peoples’ Love List additions filter in on Twitter and reading other Love List-inspired blogs have really helped me travel through my own little drought. To all of you who have embraced this project, thanks for carrying me—and probably many others—along.

Some recent Love List contributions, via the Twitter hashtag #thelovelist:

@OSG I love Gutenberg’s invention and its descendants…and bi-folcal glasses. #thelovelist

@lje2me Sitting on the porch swing watching the leaves, like children, chase each other down the street. #thelovelist

@MoJoJules I love seeing how my twitter buddies are now over lapping. Such a cool family I have here. #thelovelist

@starxlr8 My mom just baked us individual fruit hand pies (apple, strawberry-rhubarb & strawberry) for midnight dessert #thelovelist

@bridgeout Hope, DVR, Inspiration in the early morning hours, The look on some1s face when they are truly happy to see me #thelovelist

@lizdyer Love it when my son has friends over and they are little loud and rambuctious – it brings life into our home #thelovelist

@TrinaMb I love the ‘cozy’ of Christmas #thelovelist

@c_w_s RT @livingsexuality “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” -Leonard Cohen #thelovelist

@dtatusko watching kids play and run outside my window unaware of the corruptions of our world. they give me hope. #thelovelist

@kt_writes I love it when people put into words what I want/need to say. reminds me why writing is such an important vocation. #thelovelist

@lje2me Not much better than having lunch w a good friend when you are feeling down. #thelovelist

@chambanamoms My pup is curled up with her head resting on my leg. She will always be my first “baby.” #thelovelist

@c_w_s In the car this AM, 4 yr old says, “I need to hear Defying Gravity.” Yeah, that’s my kid. #thelovelist

@kt_writes I love when I’m able to throw myself into something, and then a few hours later I can clearly see the results of my efforts. #thelovelist

@TrinaMb Love my tween son’s giggle. Reminds me of his boyishness, of ways he’s starting to leave behind. #thelovelist

@kt_writes we decorated the tree tonight. I love doing things w my kids that I remember loving as a kid—my traditions overlapping theirs. #thelovelist

And some Love List-related blog posts you should check out:

- Ordinary Mer (@McMer314): My Love List, Part 2

- The Wonderer (@MoJoJules): The Love List Project: Perfection and New Community…breathe in…and out

- God and the Single Girl (@techlady09): Love List

- Mothering (my guest post for @CandaceWalsh): Tweet your love, feed your soul

What’s on your Love List? Or have you written a related blog post? Share it here!

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  • http://www.orangeshirtguy.com Dave Thurston

    Really like today’s silhouette. Isn’t it great how easy it is for a child to show/share simple joy? And for everyone to be able to see it. There is a love list addition, “Being able to be filled with joy when I’m able to notice it around me.”

    Oh and those draughts, and doubts, and that darn lack of sunlight for much of the day.

    I was in South Africa a few years ago and worked in a small township village type thing. After I left, I remember thinking, “I wish that I had a button to push to capture the feeling around this place.” Kind of a centering-button to make me remember what is important, what is mental-crap, and to help me turn the corners of my mouth up.

    The solution is somewhere between Dogs and the Happy-Yelling-at-the-Local-Playground. Oh, and perhaps a good book and a good conversation, too.

  • http://www.ordinarymer.com Meredith

    I, too, love it when other people put into words what I’m trying to say, as you’ve done here with this post. I can completely understand where you’re coming from – with so much competing for our attention, esp. at this time of year, it’s hard to settle down and find that place within us that has all those creative, inspired words we want to say.

    I’ll say an extra prayer that you find some balance, if only for your sanity.

  • P-Marsh

    “Often the very thing you need most is the thing you can’t seem to make happen.”
    Story of my life

  • http://revsongbird.typepad.com/ Songbird

    Often the very thing you need most is the thing you can’t seem to make happen.

    That’s me right now. I have many satisfying things in my life, but each one argues against the other in some way. I love my work, I love my husband, I love my children (one of whom still lives at home), but his work takes him away, we can’t locate in a place where we will both live year-round because of the child and a custody arrangement, and I won’t leave her, even though she makes me a little crazy at times. And our geographic ties leave me with very limited vocational opportunities. I’ve been doing interim ministry, and I hope doing it well, but I dearly miss being in a community and building deeper relationships. I love ministry, marriage and motherhood, but I am frustrated by short-term ministry and long-distance marriage.

    None of which is going to help *you* with your love list!

  • Trina

    I was wondering if #thelovelist was waning a tad in general, sort of like the honeymoon phase… the list seems to have fallen into a reasonable rhythm. Being able to see/do/recognise something we love every day may not always work. I am glad we can offer you a spot to lean, as we may all need to lean on each other sometimes. I enjoyed seeing the list here today. Thanks for highlighting them all.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com/ Kristin T.

    Dave, thanks for noticing the new graphic! It was created from a photo of my youngest daughter—Jason has done a great job with them. I love your love list addition, too: “Being able to be filled with joy when I’m able to notice it around me.” And the “centering button” would be genius. Can’t you invent something like that?

    Meredith, you clearly *do* get it: “…with so much competing for our attention, esp. at this time of year, it’s hard to settle down and find that place within us that has all those creative, inspired words we want to say.” Thanks for the prayers.

    P-Marsh, it’s a bit of a conundrum, isn’t it? I guess it’s a Murphy’s Law sort of phenomenon, and/or a Catch 22: When we have that positive energy (or whatever we’re needing) it naturally multiplies—right when we don’t need an extra dose of it. That’s why I’m at least glad we can lean on each other a bit. I hope you find some of what you need to get you through life’s messes.

    Songbird, I guess not being able to grasp what we need most, when we need it, must be a fairly common human experience, eh? I really get the mix of emotions and frustrations you’re feeling right now, partly because I’ve been in similar life situations in the past, and partly because you’ve described it so honestly. I need that kind of honesty from others when things are less than perfect, just as much as I need to hear their Love List joys.

    Trina, yes, the honeymoon phase is over! Which is always bittersweet. It’s hard to let go of that energizing high, but in the end I think it’s good to make contact with the earth, working all the good stuff out with all the messy stuff.