Last week I wrote a post about Dread. It wasn’t too uplifting, but it was real. You know by now that I’m determined to be honest about this process of living. My history with seasonal affective disorder always renders October a trying month, yet each year I am baffled by the crumbling of the spirit, the wavering of the will. Really, this is still happening? Really I am still this weak?
Last week’s post was an attempt at changing that perspective, breaking that familiar pathway of decline. I wondered if I took an inquisitive, thoughtful approach to the personal darkness if I could get it to recede and perhaps retreat. This week has been about slowing down and listening. Tuesday I stayed home and didn’t see patients all day. I sat in my study at home and looked out the window and questioned what I need to move past this exhaustion, this stagnancy.
The answer was unexpected. I always focus on self-care when I get like this. Often shutting down life for a few days, holing up under the covers, digging in the garden or washing all the windows. But this time I realized it wasn’t self-care that was required. It was self-appreciation.
I’ve talked a lot this year about sevens. How every seven years life tips us upside down and reinvents our lives for us. I’m in one of those years of turnover. It seems everyone I know and everyone I treat is right there with me. It is tumultuous and exciting with the glistening future as palpable as the muddy, sticky present.
With two legs knee deep in the muds of change, self-care isn’t going to cut it. I don’t need to go get a massage or a facial. I need to appreciate the seven years of progress behind me to invigorate me for the fight ahead. I need to appreciate the innate skill sets and the years of education that make me the person and professional I am today.
Life is never fully as we want it to be. The second we finally get everything we want it is fun to begin building and fantasizing about where we might go next. It is the human spirit, it isn’t necessarily grasping. This T.S. Eliot quote from The Four Quartets was read at our wedding as I find it to be true of life, love and work.
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate.”
2014 seems to be a year of beginnings, “a raid on the inarticulate” within each of our lives. For me it has already included a new understanding of my practice, new website, new office, new trainings and new ideas of future projects. Practically speaking it has meant tons of work, lots of money spent on expansion, the inevitable fear of newness and the exhaustion of always living outside of my comfort zone. These are all good things, but not easy things.
This last week of reflection and self-appreciation has stirred up new feelings of desire that I didn’t expect. I want to be teaching more private yoga lessons. It is my greatest strength and it is tons of fun. I want to be writing more and providing my writing in different venues and forms to my patients and students.
I wonder if sometimes the qi stops flowing simply to slow us down and force us to look at what isn’t working in our bodies and our lives. The world is in flux at the moment and you can either be swept up in the whirlwind of change or you can cling to the stagnation and be still. Movement requires effort and all sorts of emotions and sensations arise from existing outside of your comfort zone. It is easy to assume those are negative sensations and to stop your progress. It takes a good deal of guts to continue the fight and see what is out there just around the bend.
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