One of my favorite things about Lindsey Mead’s blog (about the way she sees the world) is the poetry she finds and shares. This week, there were two in particular that made me pause, that I keep going back to. The first —
Be a good steward of your gifts.
Protect your time.
Feed your inner life.
Avoid too much noise.
Read good books,
have good sentences in your ears.
Be by yourself as often as you can.
Take the phone off the hook.
Work regular hours.
~Jane Kenyon, A Hundred White Daffodils
I read this and thought, “could that be it? could it be that simple?” As you know if you’ve been reading my posts lately, I am trying to find some sort of “balance” in my life, balancing my effort with ease, but I’m not doing a very good job — and the fact that I would end that statement with that judgement, that I’m judging myself at all for how “well” I’m doing with this dilemma is at the heart of the problem. I don’t take very good care of myself, push too hard, don’t make room for rest or joy, and then make it worse by beating myself up about it.
I got a massage yesterday, and when my therapist asked me if the work I’ve been having done on my right hip was causing any issues with the left, I told her “no, the entire left side of my body is ‘normal,’ healthy, it’s just the whole right side that’s a mess.” She said, “well, there’s energetic reasons for that, that would make a lot of sense.” I asked her what she meant and she explained that often when we have issues with the right side of our body, it’s because that side is associated with work, working too hard, being busy, pushing ourselves, not getting enough of a balance between work and rest. Believe what you want about the validity of “energetic reasons,” but that sounds like a pretty accurate description of my current situation.
Add a heaping dose of anxiety, a bad night’s sleep, and three straight days of wet and gray, and I’m kind of a mess. I think about the too long to-do list for my day, feel the weight of it and want to crawl back into bed and hide. Then I go back and read A Hundred White Daffodils. Could there be another way to do this? Which reminds me of the other poem Lindsey shared,
The Thing Is
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
To be honest, ever since Kelly died, I find myself getting trapped in a panic, a sense that no matter how fast I go or how much I do, it won’t be enough. I haven’t yet forgiven myself for the time before that now seems wasted, for the “mistakes” I’ve made. I’m still struggling under “an obesity of grief” that manifests in my physical body as well. I’m still trying to find my way in a world where so many bad things happen and so much goes undone no matter how diligent I am and no matter how hard I try.
For today, I’ll take out the trash, finish the laundry, put clean sheets on the bed, work on my Something Good list for tomorrow, read a little, go out to lunch with Eric, and the checkbook won’t get balanced, the windows won’t get washed, nothing will be dusted, the garage will remain a place to be avoided, and the weeds in the flowerbeds will live another day. But most importantly, I won’t give up.