road weary

The strongest have their moments of fatigue.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

A few weeks ago, I drove up to the foothills of Virginia to visit with a couple of good friends who are pretty intuitive. As we were talking about this and that, one of them suddenly looked at me and said, “Where’s the exhaustion coming from?”

Busted.

I was and am—and have been for some time—exhausted, though I’ve been trying my best to ignore it. For the last year and a half, I’ve been trying to find my way back to my core/authentic/true self; trying to create a life that allows me to live honestly from that self; trying to keep a roof over my head in the meantime; and trying (not always successfully) to maintain an optimistic, relatively cheery attitude so as not to sink in the quagmire of impatience and frustration and discouragement that follows me around these days like Pigpen’s cloud of dirt in the Charlie Brown comic strip.

My major struggle right now is an internal one. I’ve lived a life that’s been fulfilling in many ways, and I feel that I’ve made contributions and left the world a better place, especially through my teaching work. Yet I find myself looking at my current life and thinking, “What now? What is it that I’m supposed to be doing now? How do I make a contribution now?” I feel a yearning for…something I can’t quite bring into focus. On a deep level, I know that I’m moving towards it, but on a conscious everyday level, it feels like I’m maneuvering through heavy fog, constantly operating in hyper-focus in order to see my way ahead and avoid obstacles and pitfalls.

Keeping up that sort of intense focus can be tiring. Years ago, my then-husband and I tried to outrace a snowstorm on the way home from spending Christmas with his family. We lost, and a (usually) four-and-a-half-hour trip ended up taking nine hours. He did the driving, but we both spent the entire trip with our eyes glued to the road, watching for slippery spots and out-of-control cars. When we finally arrived safe and sound, we were both completely wrung out.

That’s pretty much how I feel these days, and I realize that it’s taking a toll on me. So I’m trying to do what I can to rest, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. I’m trying to cut myself some slack, trying to let the vacuuming go for another day, the DIY projects for another week, trying to let go and not push so hard for the answers, trying to find small ways to renew my spirit.

Luxuriating in a bath instead of rushing through a shower, puttering in the garden without pushing to tick things off the long to-do list, making a cup of tea and sitting down with a book, even if it’s only for a few minutes…all of these things help to fill the well a little. They don’t push back the tiredness completely, but they sustain me enough to continue along the next leg of my journey, the next bend in the road.

For in spite of whatever weariness I may feel, at my core, I’m an optimist. I know I’ll get there eventually. I know I’ll learn what I need to learn. I know I’ll find the answers I’m seeking. I know I’ll have my “aha” moment. I just have to keep myself nurtured and nourished until I do.

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