So many times I have paused, inspired to write. So many times my thoughts have been seized, overwhelm crashing through the partitions of that very inspiration. So many times since the 14th of August, I have collapsed into the carefully wrought stories of others, instead of weaving my own.
I am a writer. This act, of creation and confession, is a part of me, at my very core. As a child, I kept a diary, dutifully. I have stacks of journals, filled with my hand-written accounts of life as I have seen it. The practice has always been one of great comfort, honor, even duty. Definitely one of ritual. I have gone through spells, however, of neglecting my journal. Falling into bed at night too fatigued, too guilt-ridden, too drenched in denial to express in true light what life was like at any given time. These spells were few and far between, but they happened. They did not lessen the potency of my journaling practice, my self-inquiry, the necessary check-in (and sometimes check-up) brought by silent time with pen to page; heart expanding, and sometimes breaking, mind churning, right hand dancing. In fact, I returned to my journal with a keen and fervent need to express truth; a penchant for what once eluded me. Denial is a beast that blinds us; compassion is the champion that delivers our vision unto us once more, lifting the veil of ignorance so that light may illuminate its rightful scope.
Just as I have been on a hiatus from this gentle space for nearly seven weeks, so too I trust my absence has been one of merit. One of need. One of expansion.
When one hasn’t the words to bring together something of sense, one needn’t write at all. My thoughts these past weeks have been tumultuous. My journal carries a burdensome 70 or so pages of fresh ink. I have leapt, urgently, into the novels of great authors, seeking refuge in their carefully constructed vestibules of creativity, escape and wonder.
There has been movement (literally – I moved for a second time in 3 months) and there has been stillness. More stillness than I have allowed for several years. There has been fear, there have been moments of deep despair – the ones that drop you to your knees in prayer – followed by cavernous, swallow-you-up-whole dances with the very Grace that is gratitude herself. There has been an experience so foreign, to me, that I was knocked sideways by its newness; the uncharted territory of navigating struggle alone. Not alone in the deepest meaning, but highly aware that my troubles would only further burden my usual confidant, and acutely sensitive to not spilling my worries into air already polluted with chaos.
It is a great learning experience to gather forces – namely, one’s journal and a pen – and support oneself through a transition, through the lifting of ignorance’s veil, through the painful and obsession-laden process of understanding one’s own journey of healing, step by step.
There have been moments of lightness and moments so leaden that the change in altitude was exhausting. There have been moments, as a woman of 27 years, that I have felt so suspended in time – so utterly perplexed by the simultaneously painful and EXQUISITE experience of being a human, alive on this planet – that the feeling of it all just made me weary.
Have you ever felt weary? I thought I had. But I have truly felt it this past summer. If anyone has ever doubted for even a moment the mind’s power over the body, doubt no longer. I fell ill for the first time in years. I slept 14 hours a night, my body weakened by my mind’s running circles all day long. The marks of emotional and psychological stress making themselves present in a debilitating week of intense fatigue.
But I believe that everything is Divine. I believe that in the shadows and struggle, we are reborn. With the onset of the Autumnal Equinox last week, I found my deliverance. I found, through the watchful and attentive self-care I had administered in the weeks prior, that I have begun to see myself through gentler eyes. Baring all cliched implications, I speak freely in saying I see, and loving hold, my inner child in a way I have never before been able. I am weepy with softness, fortified without having hardened, completely alert to every fixation and the purpose it has served.
I have found the long-misplaced courage to look my neurosis in the face and, rather than cower from its sullen expression, inch closer, seeking understanding.
There are so many of us in the world, and we experience so much of the same joy, the same suffering. We call them different names, we separate them by classes, we claim possession over the misery that we are convinced could only be grasped by our own wretched hearts. But we are mistaken.
In sorrow we are united. In agony, we are made one. This is the human experience. This is the communal cross we bear. This earth, this human life, is a battlefield utopia. Peppered with corpulent grief and stippled with incapacitating rapture. It would behoove us to realize that, while a solo flight, we are part of a grand team. We are all navigating the same ocean.
And, while it pains and shocks us to suffer, these experiences are Divinely poised for our transmutation. Our own transcendence.
There is no accident in the timing of my recent, gradual awakening. Autumn is my favorite time of year. The waning of the light, the inherent urge of Mother Nature to slow down – my own personal battle, that of moving slowly, that of balance and moderation, that of thwarting the temptress that is excess and over-achievement. The sweet, beckoning call for rest and recalibration that Fall brings with her is irresistible. There is harvest, there is the onset of night. There are leaves dry and curling, burnt and blushed, beneath our heels. There’s a slow waltz of warmth and cool, a harbinger of hibernation well-lit by the glow of an Indian Summer.
There was the Blood Moon Eclipse, several days ago, that laid yours truly flat on her ars. Utterly wiped out by the sheer energy swirling overhead and underfoot. There was the sweet release of surrendering to this, to all of it, the beautiful and delicious flavor of allowing what is. So often we fight our innate instinct, our responses to the realms articulating around us, and this causes resistance. We all know what happens when resistance, uninvestigated, is allowed to build.
Life offers us many, many opportunities to turn the rigid gaze of guilt and loathing upon ourselves. Why must we bolster its efforts? Why would a lapse in writing, or art, or work, or dutiful practice of whatever it is that you do, be yet another reason for us to cower in shame at our perceived inadequacy?
We have the power, the capacity, the URGE to heal. We, and we alone, can heal ourselves. All the powers of the universe are poised to facilitate this evolution, even the moments that shatter us to bits. They are all part of the process, down to our very cells. This miraculous scheme is so beyond our comprehension. All we must do is surrender, and be carried.
These lapses, these dances with the void, are not flaws. They are the sanctified act of surrendering to God, to ourselves, to the Divine essence of the most fragile present moment. They are consecrated invitations to inquire within. They are holy opportunities to heal. They are portals we must walk through, if only to lean against the door once it’s closed, and rest.