Contracts and (Re)negotiations

renegotiate |ˌrēnəˈgō sh ēˌāt|
verb [ trans. ]
negotiate (something) again in order to change the original agreed terms : the parties will renegotiate the price | [ intrans. ] she asked to renegotiate after signing the contract.

If memory serves, the attached note was composed by a seven year old Reid. One day at summer soccer camp pick up, the young YMCA director – with a firm hand gripping my son’s shoulder – approached me with a “concern.” My boy had not only been side-talking while coaches were instructing, but Reid had declared during a match that the officiating “sucked.” Clearly this kid was a trouble-maker, and if he intended on returning to camp the next day, a letter of apology would be necessary. The terms were non-negotiable.

Sitting in the car together, Reid explained all of the reasons he was not at fault. He declared that, despite his obvious innocence, he would “write the stupid letter,” but only because he really wanted to keep playing soccer and not because he was admitting guilt.

As a still-novice mother at that point in time, I’m sure I was bugged by Reid’s seeming lack of willingness to accept responsibility for his actions. Now, I look back on the incident with amusement and appreciation for the way he “sucked up” (pardon my language, Coach) and re-negotiated within his own heart and mind so that he could stay in the game that he loved (and  continues to love) so much.

Sometimes, in order to get what we want – or serve the greater good – or make amends – or simply make a shift, we have to accept different terms and conditions. Every day – from business to personal, from political to spiritual, from children to adults – agreements change and new contracts are drafted. It’s maddening in many many ways (just ask any attorney), but it’s part of the human condition. Sometimes the easiest way to accept something that is non-negotiable, is to work a little inner renegotiating and healthy surrender.

This morning, my desire to stay in the game is so great, I am about to back down from the covenant I made with myself to blog continually for ninety weekdays in a row. Since I am the creator of my blogging contract, my own boss – so to speak, this renegotiation has not been a simple or necessarily peaceful process. I’m a tough boss to myself. In the end, I had to call out my inner mediator to successfully seal a new bargain between Martha, the writer and Martha, the hard-assed boss lady. True story.

The result of these new terms: I am taking the next two weeks off from public journaling to make a couple of geographic trips and hopefully, a multitude of creative intangible journeys. There’s essential business and play to attend with my kids and myself during this break, and I want to give each moment my undivided attention. I will return to this written account of my wild untamed life on purpose on Monday, March 29. Meanwhile, I’ll be out there living in it, and I invite you all to do the same!

About Martha Phelps Studio ~ creative on purpose

...a meandering journal of a changing life and the unexpected graces it brings. Earlier posts may provide some history, but this series of writings aren't likely to follow a straight line as I explore topics such as raising kids, making choices, self discovery, the impact of change on a family and how to (hopefully) live with balance and purpose. www.marthaphelps.com
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