I popped in here last night and was surprised to see that I hadn’t posted anything in more than a week—not even a quote du jour. Then again, my schedule the last couple of months has been morning til night, seven days a week (plus a house guest for ten days)—and this coming on top of a 6- to 8-month period that’s been pretty intense emotionally. No sudden, earth-shaking events or anything, just a lot of emotions coming up, recognition of patterns and realizations about my life, about where I’ve been and where I am now and where I want to be. Big life stuff…yet outer things have demanded my attention and left me little time to sit and sort and assimilate these thoughts and feelings.
When I finally got past a big deadline on the 12th (opening night for a show I’d choreographed), it all fell down around me, so to speak. I felt heavy and sad and listless and overwhelmed, depressed and unable to focus. The ice storm and single-digit weather last week didn’t help, keeping me mostly indoors for several days running, layering cabin fever on top of the cloud that was already hanging over me.
Now, ten days later, I’m finally feeling a bit more normal, but there’s still a sense of “Now what? Where do I start? What do I think? How do I feel? How do I sort this all out?” I’ve been pushing hard the last few months, but now that the pushing is over and I have some breathing room, I don’t know how to act.
So…I’m trying to give myself some time to adjust, to find my center (which has been AWOL for some time now) again. I need some long(er) walks in the woods, less time on the computer, more time reading and writing, a lot of time in the garden, and a lot of time just being. I need to find my inner rhythm again, to find the middle ground between fast forward and full stop.
Thanks for your patience in my absence. I am (sort of) back now, and I’ll be posting quotes du jour and sharing random thoughts on a regular basis soon.
There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.
~May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
I figured out while I was still in my twenties that when I spent a fair amount of time around other people, I then had to spend some time by myself to recharge. At the time, I never would have called myself an introvert. After all, I liked being around other people. I was a performer. I choreographed and taught dance. I went out disco-dancing with friends till the wee hours of the morning.
Back then, the generally accepted image of an introvert was a painfully shy person who could barely look you in the eye or have a conversation and would rather stay home and read than be around other people. (They certainly wouldn’t be comfortable getting up in front of people to perform!) Nowadays, however, introverts and extroverts are a little better understood, and I’ve come to realize that, although there are people who would be surprised to hear me say so, I’m a classic introvert.
There are a lot of articles out there these days about introverts and extroverts. You can take any number of quizzes to see which you are. One article I read a few months ago observed (correctly) that it ultimately comes down to energy: introverts give or expend energy when they’re around other people, and extroverts receive or absorb energy when they’re around people. This is why introverts feel drained when they’re around other people for too long without some alone time to refuel and recharge.
“I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces.” Continue reading
I am sitting in quietness.
The winds of my life
Are blowing around me
And within me.
But I am quiet,
Breathing in the quiet place…
…Breathing in the quiet place
Of my breathing
Is a gentle ocean
Moving within me.
My inner being
Lies silent as the sands
While the waves of my life,
The waves of my breathing,
Rise and fall upon it.
~Ira Progoff, The White-Robed Monk
There are clearly times when quieting down and bringing our energy back into ourselves is a step toward inner peace. Yet the most powerful life is not one in which we bring ourselves back to our center when we have spun away from it, but rather one in which we seek to live from that center at all times.
~Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace
Photo by Lisa Tate
It is the fullness of our attention
to whatever is near
that has birds fly out of God’s mouth.
The months relax and the ice enclosing a bent-over branch thaws, and the snow drops and the branch springs back up after its deathlike sleep. The tree coming into spring teaches us how to let go into renewal. For this is how the freeze around a broken heart thaws. Continue reading