Project Reverb prompt: “Free writing | Write for five consecutive minutes on the word ‘jump’ as it pertains to this past year. No editing. Set a timer. Just write.”
I suspect that this prompt is supposed to inspire movement, leaps of faith, madness even. You think “jump” and a cliff comes to mind, or you in an airplane with only a pack stuffed with a tablecloth looking piece of fabric and some string. I think we are supposed to infer that jumping = brave.
I get the same feeling when encouraged to go beyond my comfort zone or to believe that what I’m afraid of is the exact thing I should be doing, the place I should go. All of this implies that comfort can’t be trusted, that fear is a liar.
I understand why people think that, and see the damage we can do, the suffering we generate when we hole up in a cocoon and refuse to come out, to open up. And yet, I don’t think that means the antidote is always to jump, make a big change, a grand gesture. Sometimes what is best is to simply open a window — no need to jump out of it.
Reverb13 prompt, from Rachael Maddox: “I’m a big fan of muddy experiences. They become our greatest teachers when we’re wise enough to exfoliate with them; roll around in the deep until we finally feel ready to get clean…Today, identify something muddy that kept recurring for you throughout 2013, and then ask yourself this: What’s the clear truth underneath this damn mud if I finally wash myself clean?”
The muddy thing that keeps occurring, repeating itself is I take on too much, try to accomplish too much. I am trying to do everything you want, what the whole wide world expects and needs, and at the same time to live a second shadow life fulfilling my own desires. It doesn’t work, it’s unsustainable. To come clean would be to finally start living in a way centered in honoring my own hunger and fullness, understanding that the best I have to offer comes from there.
Besottment prompt from yesterday: “Did you form any new, or strengthen any existing, relationships in 2013? With who? How did you go about it? If you didn’t, why not? Was something holding you back? Was there someone you wish you strengthened your relationship with?”
I’ve already talked about meeting people I adored from afar, deepening those connections. What I’m thinking about today is the relationships formed with the other women attending workshops and retreats, being involved in projects and groups with me. It’s medicine to be vulnerable in a group of women who are also opening their hearts, showing up and being brave, telling the truth and making a mess together.
The other relationships strengthened this year were with my tiny little family. Because Dexter had cancer and we knew our time together was limited, he and I became closer than ever, I loved and appreciated him more than I ever did, just before I had to let go. Going through this experience together, again, Eric and I couldn’t help but lean on each other, get closer — no one can understand the particular nature of loving and losing our dogs, no one else’s tears could mirror mine in that same way. And, because he’s the sole target now of all that love, Sam and I are getting to know each other better. I am falling in love with him more deeply than I was able to before, he can be my favorite dog for awhile before there is another one to share my affection and attention.
Besottment prompt for today: “What was something you planned to do in 2013 but didn’t? What was it, and why did you not accomplish it?”
Ha! I have a long list of what I planned to do, but I think we’ve established that this is the problem — I take on too much, create an impossible situation for myself, set the bar too high. I think instead of so much planning, I’m going to pace myself, be at peace with where I am, honor my limitations and open myself to more joy, more quiet and stillness, focus on quality of life rather than the quantity I get done.