Feeling blah and unmotivated, I turned to a random page in a book I brought home recently and started reading:
“There is a lovely idea in the Celtic tradition that if you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times…”
It’s called “Anam Cara – A book of Celtic Wisdom” by John O’Donohue. Before ever happening upon this book, my long-distance bestie and I called each other anam cara in the sense that we believe we are soulmates. A quote from the book’s prologue reads, “The Celtic understanding of friendship finds its inspiration and culmination in the sublime notion of the anam cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul; cara is the word for friend…The anam cara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul.”
This morning, I was about to turn to this blog writing about my lack of motivation, my conscious failure at #All In For August, and my unsettled restlessness these past many months. I wanted to moan about motherhood and how I felt very un-cut-out for it. I wanted to lament about loneliness and how I’m “over” The Angle – this rural, remote community where I live.
I wanted to whinge and whine and cry a river. Until I read that quote. “If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good…it will all come back to you multiplied…”
I certainly haven’t been sending out much goodness lately. Not even to the people I love. And I haven’t been giving myself much grace either.
In the minutes I was reading the book, my anam cara texted me a song, “Just another Manic Monday” by The Bangles. It made me smile. We relate so well. And even when we’re out of touch for several days, we’re still somehow in sync.
The song and the quote helped me change my tune at that very moment. I sat down at my computer, made another Star chart for the coming week and wrote this. The little charts with colorful star stickers harken back to a nurturing childhood time of simple achievement and reward. I like doing them. I named this one: Do Better to Feel Better. Because every little action will help and every little star recognizes that I made a decision to take better care of myself and my life and, as a result, those around me.
I’m the owner of my mental health, no one else. And darn it, I want to feel better. Unless I check myself in somewhere (not an option), no one is going to hold me accountable except for me. And I want a life that feels robust and pleasurable, hopeful and worthwhile. I want my kids to learn happiness comes from within, even though I’m still learning that on the daily.
Perhaps it’s focusing outward, giving goodness to others, that will help me become my own anam cara. I always thought I had to heal everything broken about me before I could give. Which had me focused on all the lack in my life, instead of the goodness. And if I’m focused on lack, of course that’s what I’ll project.
So, here’s to the anam cara relationships with others AND with self that remind me to send out goodness, even if it’s only shared songs or little stars on a chart.