Thursday, June 7, 2012

Should vs. want

I've been working at finding some space for my writing. Not physical but mental. My world lately is consumed by thoughts and concerns about caring for an elderly parent. I've noticed that space in my brain for more ethereal ideas is easily taken over by the need to worry about things over which I have no control.

Nobody really wants to worry. It's compulsive behavior. And so often we feel trapped and ultimately defined by our compulsions. "If I'm not a worrier, than what am I?" 

For the last few days I've been contemplating the power of the spirit. To me, no brain - not even one as perfect as Einstein's - can hold a candle to our intuition and inner voice. I would use the term "soul" but so many people go straight to traditional religion when they hear it and that's not where I want to lead you.

My friend Tiffany said to me recently that we use the word "should" too often in our language. "I should really get my housework done." "I'd like to spend some time with friends but I should get to work on my volunteer responsibilities."

Tiffany suggests that a shift to the word "want" changes not just the sentence but our attitudes. I do want to have a clean house and give back with my volunteerism. So, why do I use the word "should" all the time?

When it comes to writing, which is how I get in touch with my inner voice, I don't want to get in the habit of using the S word. I truly enjoy finding the pearl that lies within a moment. And I enjoy thinking about the wisdom that each of us gains as we go through life. Mostly I love putting words around that wisdom and feel that this is the one true gift I have to offer during my time on this planet.

I'm finding space and, at the same time, finding me again. I should and will do a lot of things but I want to stop being a slave to my compulsions. Worrying about the next thing I will have to do. I will replace the worry space with the want space. 

What will you put in your want space?


  1. I've recently become involved in elder care, at my parents' house in western New York, near Buffalo. My mom is not able to function without some kind of supervision (she keeps falling and breaking bones). I'm learning how to be her health care aid, pill dispenser and loving companion. The last part is, by far, the easiest!

    1. It is such a change in priorities, isn't it? The role reversal we are all dealing with at our age is a tough one. I'm sure your mom is glad to have you there at this time of her life.


  2. Kathy, I'm finding the same solace in writing. Even if I write about worrying, I can find my center by putting words together. I've been rambling a lot on my blog about faith, about defining a life, about the goofy things that happen - and I have found myself better able to face each day.
    And, it's helpful to hear from others experiencing similar straights.
    I'm going to keep helping my Mom, keep worrying, keep working, and keep writing.

    1. I love fellow writers who get that same feeling as me when writing. It makes me stop and think about what I'm doing and what the implications are. As a caregiver it is so easy to just plow through the tough moments and then want to put them behind you.

      But there's a lesson in everything we do. Finding the space to reflect actually makes it easier and less stressful than squashing down the emotion.

      Your mom is very lucky to have you.