Part 1: Freedom cry
There's more to come ... I just needed to get that out of my head so I could breathe.
Part 2: Purging
I clean. I sort. I drive to the thrift store depot to send what I no longer need to someone who does. I delete 12,000 (!) emails. I throw away 10 years worth of journals. I lather rinse and repeat. I do yoga. I write. I wander the beach, secreting beach glass in my pockets to remind me later how beautifying the process of refinement can be no matter how harsh it seems at the time. I smile, though the smile does not always reach my eyes. I promise, and wonder if I can fulfill the promise. I meet, and nod and bite my tongue and head home early.
And then I rage into the wind.
And I begin again – cleaning, sorting, simplifying, streamlining, setting free the space and the stuff and myself. I question and clarify. I look in corners I’ve neglected. I re-purpose and re-frame and re-organise and reflect and recommit.
And still it’s there. I cannot wash it away. No amount of flooding sunlight – no expanse of ceramic tile floor – no open room to twirl to my own rhythm can get rid of it. That doubt. That questioning. That mental misfire that turns excitement to fear and back again.
I lay on the floor in savasana, willing my tumultuous mind to quiet with the repetition Hahm-sa - ‘I am That’ – the ancient Sanskrit so close to what the Lord says ‘I am the Great I am.’ Reminding me I’m made in God’s image. But I don’t feel Great. I just am. Yet my mind settles like a child at the beginning of her first live play. She will not stay this still for long, but for the moment, Hahm-sa.
My bunny checks on me. Sniffs my ear. Hops onto my belly. Reminds me I am alive even in the corpse pose. He wonders why this person who normally moves so much is so still for so long, then goes on his way. And I stay. Hahm-sa.
It doesn’t last long. Thirty minutes in snippets and fits and starts. Sometimes my mind and heart and breath race before I notice and begin again. Hahm-sa.
I am that. Imperfect. Flawed. Questioning. Growing. Beautiful. Creative. Loving. Hurting. Keeping on. Undeserving. Forgiven. Learning to be gentle with myself. Broken. Healing.
Part 3: Deep Breathing
I’ve had time to think and diffuse the last hour. Washing dishes can do that for me. It can calm my soul and give me time to exhale. And I’ve realised that my drive to publish every thought – to obsessively update my facebook status, or tweet, or post to my blog – is a remnant of a conversation that no longer serves me. I believe I am alone here, and yelling into the ether to be heard, to be recognised, and ultimately to be acknowledged in some form. My insatiable ego craves attention, and then rejects it when it’s received.
I’ve spent a lot of time the last two weeks questioning the near-consuming drive in me to have a man convince me that I’m desirable. And I can see now that that subset of behaviour is part of a larger pattern – an infinite mandala of approval-seeking. I need a second opinion when I buy new clothes, or for my girlfriends to perform a happy dance when I achieve a goal. I seek awards and accolades and promotions and prizes, and am crushed when I appear to be ordinary, an also-ran.
I am often drawn to the image of the willow – deeply rooted yet flexible. Giving to the motion of life without bending and breaking. And I wonder, what would it be like if I were to truly know? To know that I can make right choices, and am strong enough and brave enough and smart enough and loving enough and capable enough to stand strong while the winds howl around me. If I have faith in my own ability to choose, then the rest is just chatter. The crows outside my office have as much impact as the disapproving sighs and glances or – worst yet – the silence of those I care about.
So colour me verdant green and watch me dance in the wind of life. I am a willow, and this is me breathing again.