We all have a threshold--some of us are just able to encompass more acreage than others, covering more ground during our daytime hours. But it's not a race, even if most days it feels like one.
We have remarkable brains and firm boundaries--both are here for our protection, and when we embrace their daily limits, they serve us well, inspiring us to create, to make connections, to embrace color and change and dynamism.
But when we push too hard, we begin to crack--and that fault-line, once opened, will not only swallow us whole, but everyone else in the pull of our orbit.
It's an almost impossible ask, to love yourself exactly as you are, no changes necessary. And honestly, I don't think any one of us can claim they've succeeded at that for more than a few minutes (although props to you if I'm wrong). But I don't think getting the unconditional thing right is the point. The point is in the effort. The point is in letting this sweet body and mind know that you're in this together, that you're doing your best not to cause more pain, but to relieve it.
And relieving that pain is not achieved by withholding love or food or rewards or rest, but by giving this body everything it needs--even if those needs go against everything you've been led to believe as truth.
I was going to start this post by saying, "there are some comforts we can't live without." And then I thought, what? Who says? Who says we should eschew comfort and why? Granted, I'm not talking about wasteful comfort--driving bigger cars than we need to bigger houses than we need, etc.
No, this isn't about waste--we know what waste is and don't need to be told. I'm talking about need. I'm talking about everything we've given up because someone told us it wasn't good or right or perfect for us, and because we're good people, we gave it up, and then spent the rest of every subsequent day wondering what (and for whom) we were doing without for. You know? There is so much I miss and have been missing and I think I'm ready, at this belated age, to start living for myself and for my own good.
I don't know if we can ever truly separate ourselves from the damage done to us by the media, by its loudly projected expectations. And I'm not sure we can ever really forgive ourselves for giving into it, for compromising our health and safety and sanity for so long. And while we can see what it does to us--that devotion, not to gods, but to demons--there's a small, persistent voice that whispers, 'yes, but still...'
All we can do, I think, is stamp our feet and make some noise, drowning out that nagging voice which, I think (I hope) will grow weaker by day. We're in this together, petals--that's a lot of foot-stomping, and a heck of a lot of noise.
We ought, at this point, to stop feeling guilty for choosing rest, for choosing quiet. (We ought to stop feeling guilty, full-stop, but that's another matter entirely.) Feeling restless, feeling the need to move and denying that soul's urging is one thing, but knowing that this rest is necessary to your well-being is quite another.
Learn to distinguish the calls and I think guilt will slink away, bored, restless, all on its own.
I'm not sure why it seems inroads are so temporary, so susceptible to minor disturbances. Maybe some of us are just steadier on our feet than others. Maybe some of us feel the tremors long before crisis point. I don't know, but whatever the case, I've never had that skill, though not for lack of trying, not for lack of determined perspective-shifting.
There are some things lost impossible to return. Once, I suppose I thought I'd have great adventures. I thought I'd have love and art and easy joy. I think we forget how hard it all is until we remember. And then we wonder how we got so strong in the first place.
The deception of the question, "What if?" is that it will always work both ways--'what if I'd stayed/gone/said yes/said no'--and it will never have a satisfactory answer. So why ask?
Of course, the alter ego, knee-jerk response to this question is to project and think and worry and weigh and then think a bit more. But all we're doing is worrying away the time between our fingers until it's stretched so thin it has no hope of telling us anything.
The only choice you can make, the only answer you can give, is based in the now. How do you feel *right now?* You will never know what you might have decided tomorrow because it's impossible to be two places at once, so why try? Why sacrifice another day to 'what if?'
I think I--like (too) many of us--have just one speed: immediate. It's as if I have this micro-manager standing over my shoulder, wondering, if I don't answer that email or that phone call right now, well then, what AM I doing with my time? It's relentless and driving
It's pointless! Good goddess. Yes, we come from hardworking stock, and yes, even they rested and took their time to do something right and in a way that was fulfilling to the soul, brushing aside all the unimportant nonsense that cluttered up the rest of their days.
Okay, then. So here's to slowing down, to living every inch of our days, and to letting the rest of the world catch up to us for a change.
The search is exhausting, so I move we pause for a moment and take a seat. What could it hurt? After all, there's no one waiting for us, no appointments on the books--this is a self-designed, self-mapped course.
There is no X, no buried treasure, aside from whatever we find when decide to start digging.
You know when you find something--usually through seasonal cleaning or moving house--that you'd completely forgotten about? An item of clothing, a photograph, a gift unopened from a long-ago holiday--and suddenly there's a gratifying newness to your life, an excitement that things can drop in out of the blue, that no-strings surprises do exist past childhood.
I think we could have those discoveries daily. I think there are so many aspects of our own curiosity, of our own intelligence and creativity that we've either taken for granted for too long and thus forgotten or that were hammered out of us through disappointment, schooling, or the simple, difficult task of living.
I wonder, if we were just to ease up on ourselves just a little, if some of those forgotten discoveries would float up--bubbles of surprise buoying us through the sticky sameness of our days.