Tuesday, January 10, 2017

On holidays from growth

On the weekend I went to a women's circle, where one of the rituals was to speak our desires for the year out loud. We were asked the question 3 times, in different ways.

The first one was easy, for the mind: "what do you want?". I heard words like love and dancing and creativity and exuberance exiting my mouth. Talking about how I already had so much. The woman who was witnessing me pushed a little: "so do you want a partner?" I admitted I was a little afraid to ask for that. When I'd finished (or rather run out of time), her reflection was "wow, you want everything".

The second question was for the heart, and made me feel a little uncomfortable to begin with: "how do you want to serve?"  This time I was witnessed by a different woman, a radiant friend. My answer: I want to bring beauty into the world. I spoke of wanting to balance out all the pain I've observed, of being a mirror. Of knowing that words are my gift, of naming the unspeakable. Of letting out all the fierceness that paces, caged in my chest.

The third time, a question for the belly: "what do you want to receive?" This time witnessed by a different friend, one who shares my sensitivity to the world. And this answer, slowest to come, least expected, with a crack in the voice: I want rest. And comfort. Then, through shared tears: love where there has been fear. Peace where there has been battle.

And now that my body has spoken, I can feel how tired I am. How everything from my heavy eyelids in the morning to the dull heaviness in my chest and the uncharacteristic ache of my left knee... all asking for rest.

I have been busy, so very busy, for two whole years. Feeling unfelt feelings; learning to inhabit my body; crying myself to sleep; making connections; relating in unfamiliar ways; excavating habits; understanding truths; loving uninhibitedly; letting go; crying until I grew tired of it; loving carefully. Grieving, grieving. Healing furiously.

I'm exhausted, truthfully. From all the intensity. From first having to find reasons for and then explaining my heaviness; my tears; the not showing up; the too much or too little of one thing or another. From conversations where I am trying to prove to that I am interesting and interested. Puzzling over why someone's words can be so enthusiastic and their actions so absent. From all the self improvement, exploration, trying to be better. The peculiar pressure to be self-aware and accepting and mindful.

All the wants I can articulate are true enough, but they are not what I need. Which is to cocoon. To wrap myself up in restful friendships, quiet sensations, gentle dreaming and the kind of calm and steadiness that can't co-exist with constant growth. Doesn't fit with stretching my boundaries. Clashes with "putting myself out there".

So, halfway through summer, I am hunkering down as if it were winter. What a relief, to step away from all that intensity, all those agendas. In its place, quiet. More writing and reading. Creating and soaking up art. Dancing without intention and focus, for the mere pleasure of it. Lounging. Cat naps. Picnics under trees. Floating on water. Rest.

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