Monday, October 27, 2008

The Conveyor Belt Moves Into the Larger World

The conveyor belt I stepped onto in September, pulling my family with me, started its path in a small and tightly enclosed space. In recent days, it has been moving into the larger world, something I’m ready for only part of the time. While returning to the larger world is the much-desired overall goal, it also can be overwhelming and tiring. Mostly, it raises “what if?” questions that aren’t answerable until the effort is made—and succeeds or doesn’t. Uncertainty is not very fun.

The balance that has been lost and must be regained is more than physical, it’s also personal: can I do this again? And if not, then what? The conveyor belt’s current path may be in a bigger space, affording a wider view with horizons that are farther away, but it still goes over bumps and takes sharp turns that are unexpected, for which we are unprepared. In general, though, its consistent direction is towards real life, regular life. The hard and important things to remember are that the shortages of energy and drive are rooted in the physical issues. This turns out to be way too easy to forget in the moment. It took me many years, before this adventure, to learn to trust my own pacing and sense of timing, and that must be regained: if I do not feel like taking on a task, it is almost certainly a physical energy issue, not my inner shirker at work, as my early programming trained me to conclude. My inner shirker, it turns out, probably either does not exist or is so ineffectual that it is almost never the culprit.

Learning to trust the “go rest” and “slow down” signals and to respect them is the part of this adventure that presents the biggest challenge for me. And that turns out to be yet another way of seeking my inner tortoise, a creature I did not know existed and never particularly wanted to know before this adventure. I’m warming up to the little guy. Very slowly. That seems suitable, somehow.

This part of the recovery would be psychologically easier to work on if it had more overt visible physical symptoms. Those are incontrovertible and do not require much calibration or explanation. The internal healing, though, is not so easy to gauge, so just dealing with it is now called for. On with these tasks.

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