On getting quiet and making choices . . .
This week I’ve been listening—to my body, to my sense of connection with the world, to the deep, wise rhythms of being. And, okay, I admit, I also had a few teensy moments when I might not have been tuning in all that well.
The week started with regrouping after a whirlwind of fun visitors. This particular regrouping day ended with staying up ‘til the time that counts both as late night and early morning and me making one of those phone calls that leaves a person with a crying hangover when she wakes up. The kind of call guaranteed not to satisfy, but rather that is urged on by a perceived need, a vast aching loneliness that feels like a glacier has moved in and carved out a Grand Canyon in the chest. Need that can override a deeper, softer voice of wisdom.
Nonetheless, the call confirmed some things for me and gave me a powerful reminder that I don’t need to be begging for crumbs from a place that turns out to be a tire factory and not the bakery I want it to be.
Perhaps you’ve also made calls like this. Asked for things from people who couldn’t give them to you. Put your heart on the line and found that it couldn’t quite balance there. Discovered that hearts are actually fragile and bulgy and unwieldy organs, and putting them on a line either leads to a clean slice down the middle or a cringe-worthy splat on the ground.
So waking the next morning after six hours too little of sleep and with a split and splatted heart, I found I’d also created the perfect breeding ground for some sex-crazed bacteria to give birth to some sort of cold—sore throat, congestion, general fatigue and achiness. And I had to let go of my big productive plans, including making a dent in the latest draft of my new novel.
By the time it got to Thursday, I also had to cancel two sets of plans I’d been really excited about. While I’m not glad to have missed those plans or spending time with good friends, I am glad I listened to myself. Which I realize I didn’t so much do earlier in the week—I had ignored that voice that whispered under the noisy need to not feel so lonely, the voice that said: “Put down the phone” and “Go. To. Bed. Now.”
But perhaps better later than never, ‘cause I listened on Thursday. I went to my bed and my couch like a champ the rest of the day. I ate enough raw garlic to sear through Vlad the Impaler himself. I drank tea. I watched the Fellowship of the Ring. I claimed Ian McKellen’s Gandalf as my own personal wizard and decided something. However much I might doubt his wisdom in gifting me my own nasty ring—the pure suckiness of a dissolved marriage and the richochets of grief that hit me in the face like racquet balls, leaving me like Marsha Brady with a bruise that no amount of hair brushing can heal quickly—well, I don’t have much control over any of that. It is, however, for me to decide what to do with the time that is given me.
And I decided to listen.
Come Friday, I was feeling much better, as evidenced by the return of my desire for coffee. And I was able to keep my appointment with a lovely man who generates and reads astrology charts for free, just because he loves doing it. So I went to Northeast Portland and allowed myself to listen to the patterns that existed in the heavens at the time of my birth and explore how things are playing out now.
And I suppose it wasn’t a huge shock to discover that the last few years, all of the stars and planets have been aligned for me to experience a death of the life I knew and a complete rebuilding of my world. Or that now is a particularly rich time for me to let go of that which isn’t working for me, to do some serious cleaning out of baggage, and to allow myself to grow into the fullness of self that is possible.
On Friday night, at the end of a nourishing gathering of fabulous women for a Soul Collage adventure (facilitated by the lovely Anna Lam) I’d arranged to have at my apartment, I sat with a few friends sharing a glass of wine. And I had the rather unfamiliar experience of really, truly inhabiting my space and realizing I had been doing just that all evening long.
Not the space that I live in, although I happened to be there. But the space that is taken up by me, my energy, my skills and hopes and dreams and my physical self. By the me who has been listening to the wild call of my heart and building my life and community from the sound of it. One arm was spread across the back of my couch, the other resting on the more solid couch arm, legs stretched out in front of me. My lungs were extended to full capacity, and I felt comfortable and self-assured in the woman I am, in the beautiful company I had chosen and who had chosen me. I was spread out into myself.
Have you had this experience? It’s really incredible. I’m sure I’ve had moments of feeling accomplished and satisfied, at such ease with me, but I’m having trouble remembering them. Maybe it’s a proclivity for focusing on the crappy times. I don’t know, but again, my own personal Gandalf has added that to the list of things that I needn’t focus on.
In many ways, the structure of my life is brand new—poised on the eve of a career as published writer, running a business just eleven months old, learning again what it means to be single and sufficient as such. I still could use insulation and storm windows and maybe an electrician and a plumber to work out some kinks, but I find great comfort in being at home in a way that feels fresh—in the structure I’ve built, in the most authentic version of me to date, inhabiting myself.
And I’m listening. To the kid visiting the neighbors who has decided to throw rocks against the side of the building, to NPR news, to the knowledge that it’s time to turn NPR news off, to the cramp in my lower back that tells me to sit up straight, to the wisdom that there’s no need for me to settle, to the drive to get some good work done, and to the call to lie down and rest.
In the time that I am given, this is what I choose. How about you?
Thank you so much for reading. You might notice that I don’t have a space for comments, but I’m certainly open to conversation about what’s written here. If you’re so inspired, feel free to start a conversation with me via the contact form on the homepage of this site.