Sunday, April 13, 2014

'Tis The Gift

'Tis the gift to be simple.
'Tis the gift to be free.
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be.
And when you find your self in the place just right
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight
Till by turning, turning, we come 'round right.

I love this old Shaker hymn.  The Shaker's themselves were somewhat creepy.  But they did beautifully express the joy and peace of simplicity.  The tune is exquisite, haunting.  Aaron Copeland borrowed it to craft the centerpiece of his Appalachian Spring  It makes me want to sit out under a tree and ponder the meaning of life.  

Or clean out a closet.  

Same difference.

Both help me achieve a sense of inner harmony and feng shui.

Man, I have got to stop eating fortune cookies!

A month ago I took a personality test.  I have taken these before, no big deal.  It certainly wasn't life changing.  This time I took a Briggs-Meyer type test, looking to see what sort of a career I might be suited for.  Not that I'm looking for a career other than Full Time Mommy.  I guess it's just the Postpartum Identity Crisis I seem to go through every two years.  Anyways, I took several tests and they all came back the same.  I classify as an ENFP.

I know that just rocked your world.

Seriously, if you would like to take the test, HERE is a good place to take one.  They explain after the test what the alphabet soup classification means.  Here is my analysis:

ENFP - Journalist
ENFPs love novelty and surprises. They are big on emotions and expression and their life is an exciting drama. They are good in sales, advertising, politics, and acting. 5% of the total population.ENFP's have a tendency to overextend themselves in both their physical and emotional commitments. Their proclivity to procrastinate and to overlook details complicates their circumstances. ENFP's often move on to new ventures without completing those they have already started. Their charming personalities can show signs of irritability and over-sensitivity when their desires to please different people come into conflict. During times of stress, ENFP's feel alienated. They then engage in deceptions that serve to obscure what is occurring within themselves. 

I am just beginning to realize how often I overextend myself.  Procrastination and overlooking details definitely complicate my circumstances.  I'm usually late just about wherever I go because I am trying to cram "just one more thing" into the day.  Often just one more thing is necessary because I didn't do it earlier.  And it's usually harder because I don't have what I need because I either didn't put it on my list or I didn't see it on my list at the store because I was in a rush because I was late for the party because I didn't shop for a present earlier because I didn't put "present" on my list because I was rushing to get to the bank before it closed because breakfast was late because we got in bed late the night before because dinner was late because I had to go to the store at the last minute for a key ingredient that I missed from my list because . . .

You get the picture.

Another personality test site (can't find it now) revealed that ENFP's, though extroverts, also have a need for quiet, space and personal down time.  Just like classic introverts.  I knew it!  I've always known that I wanted down time.  Now I know I need it.  In the old days, like last month, if Miss Velma offered to watch the kids for me I would take the opportunity to stay out all day running errands like a chicken with it's head lopped off.  I would return home cranky and worn out.  My "day off" had virtually no effect whatsoever.  Granted, one can't drag 5 small kids through the lingerie store in order to redeem the free underwear coupon one received in the mail.  Especially when 3/5ths of  said children happen to be militant masculinists.  (If you have boys under the age of 12 then you are familiar with militant masculinists)   Leaving the kids with someone in order to run errands is nice.  But it does not qualify as refreshing.  At least not for me.

It's hard to admit, but this Stay-At-Home-Mamma longs for more time at home.

By. My. Self.

That is when my best ideas happen.  While I sip my tea under the tree, pondering the cumulonimbus clouds, (and patting myself on my homeschool back for knowing that word) I suddenly get The Great Idea to tear apart and rearrange the School Shelf.  While returning the books to alphabetical order I ruminate on why 3/5ths of the toys wind up under the couch cushions and thereby resolve to put into effect The Great Minimalist Movement.  The Great Minimalist Movement involves splitting all toys into fourths.  Only 1/4th of my young slobs toys will be accessible at any given time.  Hopefully this will make cleaning up 3/4ths easier, giving me and the children more time to pursue Meaningful Activities, like gardening and violin lessons.

A few other ENFP analyses  explain why I dress in a rather (to put it kindly) "eccentric" manner.  It's because I just don't care about that kind of stuff.  Of course, my mom could have told you that 27 years ago.  But she doesn't have a Doctorate of Psychology behind her name, so I just kind of ignored her.  Sorry, mom!  It also explains why I don't pre-treat my kids laundry stains, why the next door neighbor took the socks right off my kid's feet and gave them new ones and why I'm not willing to pay for a haircut.  I thought it was just because I was a noodle head.  But, nope!  ENFP's are too busy being creative and contemplating the next earth shattering blog post to worry about deep cleaning and purging holey socks. 

Another challenge, I don't know when to stop.  I am so full of energy looking for ways to simplify my life so that I can meditate on Shaker poetry, I just run myself into the ground.  Here it is, a rainy Sunday at home with a sick child.  I can't wait to start relaxing.  First thing to do, make a list of all the refreshing activities I want to engage in.  (you can see where this is going, can't you)

It's no wonder I suffer from moderate adrenal insufficiency.  The last time I went to church camp I literally climbed the walls.  The climbing wall at the playground, the cliff at the swimming hole, the mountain behind camp.  I couldn't stop moving.  I was determined to make the most of Every. Single. Second.  It's no coincidence that trip precipitated my Great Depression of 2012.  I just can't keep up with myself.

The spring weather and postpartum stir craziness are in my bones.  I'm a rampage waiting to happen.  But now that I know a little more about myself, I hope that I can use my energy and resources a little more wisely.

I need to remember 'tis the gift to be simple.

'Tis the gift to be free.