Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life from Both Sides

Though it’s painfully slow, and some of these lessons have required several rounds to begin to sink in, maybe, just maybe, I’m beginning to learn. Once again, the lesson about listening better to my body’s signals has presented itself, this time with increased emphasis. If tired, unmotivated, or both, the reality is that these are signals to be heeded, not shameful impulses to be stomped down. When things are “right,” I’m interested in life and problems and work and people and my level of baseline energy is pretty high. When those things aren’t present, it pretty much always means that something is wrong and needs attention. Patience. Sleep. Grace. I know this today because my brain finally started working again yesterday after having been AWOL while I was under the weather. The difference is stark and reinforces the importance of heeding the physical signals when and as they present themselves.

The main obstacle (other than the sheer density of my nature) is that the depletion state comes around so frequently right now. I’m doing all the right things, getting the rest, taking the vitamins, doing the exercises, etc., and still I just run completely out of energy or get into a state where making decisions is paralyzing. Taken all together, it means this is just going to take time. Much more time than I’d like to allot.

On the one hand, there is something freeing about saying “no, I cannot do that” as often as is required. I’ve never even considered this response before and the experience of doing it is interesting. It’s also reality, which is the part I don’t like. This would be a much more engaging experiment if it was under way by choice. Of course, it’s not a choice I ever would have made, but that’s a completely different topic. Maybe.

I’m on the road, having belatedly realized that traveling a day early was required to be able to present at full energy by the end of the week. Factored into this is that the connections from CU aren’t what they used to be, the more so since so many intermediate airports have also cut back on their available connections. The only way to get here from there was to land at 10 p.m., and it seemed foolish to count on having the energy to be up and at ‘em at 8 the next morning. It might have been possible—but it also might not have been. I paid extra for this lesson, as I couldn’t see charging someone for my own pigheaded mistake.

Getting from the airport to the hotel, I managed to live the lesson of heeding my feelings. Yeah, team! The SuperShuttle guy was texting while he was driving with nine passengers (in a seven-seatbelt van) so the first place he stopped (mistakenly, as it turns out—no one had asked to go to that hotel), I got out and took a taxi the rest of the way. Nothing about the situation felt safe or appropriate and it was making me uncomfortable. The fact that the luggage was stacked so high it was nudging my head every time he braked probably factored into the equation, but the social pressure to stay and be a part of the group toughing it out together was high. Despite all that, I got out and claimed my luggage. So far, the company doesn’t seem too motivated to refund the prepaid fare. We’ll see about that.

Getting back to the main point, this phase of the recovery is hard. Harder than I expected, harder than I was able to acknowledge to myself for quite a while, more difficult than I fully understand. Kearney’s wisdom about feeling the feelings I have—without judging them for validity or weighing them against someone else’s—is powerful. Living in a way that is consistent with wisdom takes permissions I haven’t given myself before. Even as I work on it, I’m still acutely aware of how much worse this could have been and the importance of blessing-counting. The blessings are many and remarkable. I’m a lucky person, all the way around. Just a frustrated one at how complicated this lesson is to learn. Frustrated that it’s taking so long, vexed with myself for being so dense, irritated by the design of the universe. That’s one side. The other is that I’m here, my personality is intact, my life is filled to the brimful with wonderful people, and the energy should return someday.

Patience and grace, we’re holding an open house for you. Your arrival is most eagerly awaited.

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