(Note: I wrote this piece four months ago, but somehow it never got posted, probably because of the energy depletion noted in this musing. The good news is that my hunch seems to have been right on the mark: the passage of time does indeed seem to be settling me. I’m starting to recognize myself once again, a sense of peace growing within as familiarity increases.)
I have just moved to a new home. If you’ve done this yourself at some time in your life, you remember how much energy it takes to move. All kinds of energies, actually: physical, emotional, logistical, to name a few. I feel like I’ve been living in a state of hyper vigilance for months, worrying about meeting deadlines, getting rid of things I no longer need, and worse, deciding what I no longer need. It’s been a wild roller coaster time, up and down with changing parameters, dicey decisions, all nature of mixed feelings, and exhaustion.
Now that I’m here in my new home, somewhat settled, (there’s a place to sit, I can find my dishes, my bedroom actually looks serene) I’m finding it challenging to reset my spirit, to retune it to relax, to flow with the river instead of fighting to swim upstream. Ironically, you get used to frenzy, and it’s hard to turn it off when you no longer need it.
I’ve been completely goal-oriented, so fixated on completing endless lists of tasks that it’s hard to be still. I begin to realize that the items on my list no longer have deadlines like the lists of the last several months have had. Yes, all the items that remain are either necessary or desirable, but the “when” for completion is now more negotiable.
All I know to do at the moment is to be kind to myself, remind myself that it takes time for such a long pendulum to swing back to center. In the meantime, my hunch is that any slack I can cut myself, any sweet diversion I can accept, any time I can spend simply staring into space, will help ease me back to equilibrium.
Feeling a sense of rightness about my new home does not obliterate a certain pain that comes with having left behind a home I loved. It’s not “either/or,” rather, it’s “both/and.” The older I get, the more things in life seem that way to me. Thankfully, I also seem to grow more tolerant of ambiguity and “both/and.” I can allow the sorrow of leaving and the joy of beginning to coexist, not needing one to trump the other.
There’s another thing going on here, though, something subtler, harder to name and harder to figure out how to deal with. Although I really like my new home and I’m not unhappy here, I have been feeling an odd sense of detachment, as if I am an onlooker, someone watching, not the one living here. I’ve been writing about this in my journal for several weeks, unable to name what is behind this curious sense of disconnection.
This morning, I think I’ve connected a few dots that help me understand what is going on. An epiphany is unfolding, springing from several thoughts that woke me up at 3 AM this morning, thoughts important enough to get up and write down. (The Spirit tries so hard to help us. We need to listen carefully, whatever the hour!)
Here’s what I scribbled almost illegibly on a notepad next to my bed:
- Expect change, and remember that it may feel awkward and unsettling, even when the change is a positive one.
- Know that it takes time to absorb change and feel comfortable with a “new normal.”
- Allow that time to be whatever it turns out to be!
- Meanwhile, be peaceful, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, whatever you’re feeling. Serenity comes from within, not from without.
- Don’t expect happiness, because somehow happiness then becomes another goal to achieve.
- Feel what you feel! Accept both the ups and the downs knowing that they, too, will change.
(This morning’s additional thought: Repeat #4!)
I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes: “The world is full of happiness, and plenty to go around, if you are only willing to take the kind that comes your way. The whole secret is being pliable.” (Jean Webster)
I hereby rededicate myself to pliability and flexibility, without forgetting what is past or denying what is desirable but seems out of reach for the future. With deep gratitude, I will concentrate on being open to what is here and now. I will look for and embrace the joys that are offered to me in abundance, focusing clearly forward. I think this will begin to move me from the sense of watching my new life to actually reinhabiting my own skin and feeling like the one who is living it. I’m guessing the missing piece is time, simply time, so that frenzy can recede, and peace can grow as familiarity increases. Stay tuned!