Are your Martha and Mary balanced? Mine are not. Dear Martha has been running the show for nearly a half a century and Sweet Mary has been in prison begging to be released. My Martha is tired – and she is pissed. She’s ready for a break, for someone else to take the wheel. And here’s her squirmy part – can anybody do it better? She thinks maybe not. Who will worry about the bills, the laundry, the meals; who is going to run the house and rule the world? Certainly not Mary with her lazy dazy way of being.
Sweet Mary has been buttoned up tight! She desperately wants out! She wants to sit outside and think! Really think! Ponder! Focus! Question everything. She wants to learn, to listen, to be quiet. She wants to be left alone! How can she ever know what she wants while Martha is there, always banging around. She wants Martha to take the back seat, have a rest and let her run the show for a time.
When Martha runs the show, there is angst, sort of like Henny Penny. Everyday my Martha puts on her tired, old busted martyred hat, and it doesn’t even fit! She doesn’t like the way it looks; she doesn’t even like the way it feels. It’s too tight! Why does she do this every day? Because she thinks she has to. Isn’t that what she is supposed to do? Isn’t that what women do?
Mary is sitting on the sidelines thinking, “Let me out of here.” There is so much beauty in the world. Isn’t time given to us so we can enjoy this beautiful world? Time is such a gift and she wants to use it by simply being! By relaxing, daring, risking, questioning, thinking. What does she like? What does Martha like? Does Martha really like to cook and garden?
Will the two find balance? Yes, I think they will. Both have to give and take. Martha will have her structure and order, and Mary will put her nose in countless books, stare at the clouds and just be still. They both want to be happy, to be at ease, to have peace of mind.
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To honor my tribe this summer, I am taking six weeks for myself, and my Martha and Mary. We are going on a journey of discovery. Martha will have her routine of housework and cooking. She is going to stretch her culinary skills by cooking more vegetarian dishes from all around the world. Again, does she like to cook? What does she like to eat? Now is the time to try a go at Indian cuisine. Maybe with the long slow days of summer, she will take a few deep breaths every day, smile a little more and say thank you!
Mary is tackling a series of books by Henri Nouwen on spiritual life, and studying the basics of Ayurveda and Chi Kung exercise. She is also going to sit outside, open her heart, and listen. If she’s quiet enough, she may hear some answers, all the while knowing they will bring on even more delicious questions.
Go in peace my tribe.
Kathee Dowis lives in South Carolina and is on the path to finding her balance.