I find myself in a state of listlessness or of acedia as the Christian monks would have called it. My inner rhythm has been thrown off since returning to work. For quite some time, I held on to the vision that I would be a runner and enjoy running, but I never did. I would get stomachaches every time I tried to run (except perhaps when I was playing soccer because I’d have rest periods). And then I discovered yoga a little over 10 years ago, and I fell in love with the slower pace that let me breathe deeply but also got my body moving and stretching in challenging ways.
I realized the other day that my present work feels like I’m running everyday. And it only dawned on me after going to Zoey’s school for a parent meeting in the middle of my day. We sat down around Zoey’s circular lunch table to felt little mice for our children for Christmas. We talked and shared ideas and thoughts about gift giving and there was a sense of stillness and rest. And then I returned to work and felt the difference in the energy at my office. We should be a place of healing. We work with children who are traumatized, yet the energy feels frenetic, agitated, and restless. What kind of healing place is that?
About a week after Thanksgiving I was called to my supervisor’s office to explain why I was late on several reassessments for clients which resulted in lost billable hours (meaning our agency lost money). Last month was rough. I got sick for about a week, Zane was sick for a week. I took almost a week off for Thanksgiving. And as much as possible, I try not to do office work at home. As much as I would like to think I could turn my office work into a yoga rhythm, the truth is that I would just fall further behind in my billing, and would feel the need to keep running to catch up.
I recently finished reading Circle of Stones by Joan Dahr Lambert. Towards the end of the book, she writes this paragraph that seemed to sum up how I feel, but on a larger scale seems to also reflect the condition of our world: “There will come a time of imbalance when the dark will blot out the light, when the strong will brutalize the weak, when men will rule over women, force Akat upon them and make them bear young they cannot feed. In all that I have created, there has been a balance, between strength and weakness, between predator and prey, between that which is female and male, between the coming of new life and the resources to nurture that life, between the joy of birth and the release of death. But when the Mother’s ways are lost, the balance will die with them. So terrible will be the imbalance that the earth will no longer be able to renew itself but will strangle in its own decay. All of you to whom I have given life will be trapped in a chaos of your own making.”
I think it comes more naturally for women to be more in tune with daily rhythms and monthly cycles, but often women, too become disconnected from those rhythms. To work non-stop from morning to night without breaks feels more like imbalance to me than balance. My inner Wild Woman called out to me, so I started rereading yet again Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. She writes: “Don’t be a fool. Go back and stand under that one red flower and walk straight ahead for that last hard mile. Go up and knock on the old weathered door. Climb up to the cave. Crawl through the window of a dream. Sift the desert and see what you find. It is the only work we have to do. You wish psychoanalytic advice? Go gather bones.”
The bones I’m gathering tell me what I’ve already known–the best part of living is talking to others, soul to soul talking, sharing meals/breaking bread with others, digging down deep in the earth, moving my body, making something beautiful with my hands, breathing deep, sitting still, and listening. This is what I want–in addition to some really good loving–I mean body on fire, tingling loving.
I haven’t found my way yet, but I’m hunting with my nose to the ground.