Wednesday, March 14, 2007

after the storm

Wow. Well. Here I am, after a full month of not posting. It feels surprisingly good to fire up the ol' Blogger again, to click on "New Post", to put tentative feelers out into the blogworld --and the world in general-- again.

I can't believe, in some ways, that it has been a month. Each week has brought a fresh batch of challenges, a fresh batch of decisions to make, and feelings to sort through. The "grubby details", as Marlo called them, belong to me and a few close friends, but the truth is simple: I've been sick, am still sick, and am taking time off from school in order to rest and get my strength back. I burnt myself out, more or less, and have had to deal with the consequences, which have been more than I bargained for.

My life has changed since I posted last. The things that remained the same are physical location (Fredericton, New Brunswick, the East Coast of Canada), and the dear friends and family who support this old bean. It's really funny, surreal actually, to stand at the center of your life and watch it change around you, watch yourself stop doing things because you can't do them anymore, and mourn your losses. It's like traveling to a foreign country, not knowing the language or the currency before you get there: you see what happens one day at a time, sometimes one hour or minute at a time, even one breath at a time.

This makes for a more intense experience, for better and for worse. I have certainly become "hyper-aware", as one person put it, of my self, my feelings, my needs and my desires. Having this awareness does not make it any easier to put such needs into practice, but it helps. It also influences what I have to talk about, necessarily! I can't wait for the day when I have a conversation with someone that doesn't include my own issues. But in time, that will come, and I know that having been there for a number of the people who are holding on to the corners of my "safety net" right now means they do, actually, want to be here for me. I'm not a burden as much as I'm just taking my turn at leaning.

What I'm doing right now (along with the physical acts of resting and no longer attending classes, taking a break) is what Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs calls "homing" or "returning to oneself". She writes about the necessity of this in her bestselling "Women Who Run With The Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" (New York: Ballantine Books, 1995):
What is homing? It is the instinct to return, to go to the place we remember. It is the ability to find, whether in dark or in daylight, one's home place. We all know how to return home. No matter how long it's been, we find our way. [...]

For some, home is the taking up of an endeavor of some sort. Women begin to sing again after years of finding reason not to. They commit themselves to learn something they've been heartfelt about for a long time. They seek out the lost people and things in their lives. They take back their voices and write. They rest. They make some corner of the world their own. They execute immense or intense decisions. They do something that leaves footprints.

For some, home is a forest, a desert, a sea. In truth, home is holographic. It is carried at full power in even a single tree, a solitary cactus in a plant shop window, a pool of still water. It is also at full potency in a yellow leaf lying on the asphalt, a red clay pot waiting for a root bundle, a drop of water on the skin. When you focus with soul-eyes, you will see home in many, many places. (pp. 283-6).
So I'm homing. I've come through a storm, and now I'm sorting out the mess it left. I'm resting, I'm making good food for myself, I'm taking up things I haven't done in too, too long (writing for myself, drawing with charcoals, pencils, pens, inks, reading a book that isn't for class). I'm mourning the losses, and trusting in something --faith? life? the way things tend to go?-- that the voids will be filled. I'm seeing that indeed they are, one breath, one moment, one day at a time.

Oh and, the picture was taken by Marlo. I like using her photographs to illustrate my writing, because they tend to be of subjects in my immediate environment (since we're room-mates and fellow Fredericton residents and explorers), and she takes such thoughtful and striking photographs. At least, I think so. I also thought that this one, called "iceplants", is both fragile and strong, the kind of strength that comes from remaining, and therefore pertinent. I also really love the colors.

What do you do to go home? What are the endeavors, actions, creations and thoughts that bring you back to yourself? Have you done them lately?

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