Anne Lamott says to write a book one must take it bird by bird. To build a nest a bird must do it twig by twig. We will do it the same way this little bird did – with love and perseverance, brick by brick, stone by stone, and heart by heart.
I have had some breakthroughs during quarantine. It is as if one part of my psyche said to the other parts, “Her distractions are gone y’all. She’s doing great right now so this is the best time to bring up all of our issues. Let’s meet tomorrow, make a list, and present it to her over the next week.”
This week I came up against the same block every day and I was terrifically frustrated. I dug in and gave it all I had but that only seemed to make it worse, with stilted words cracking across the page in wont of meaning. I cannot write with heart when the walls are up and I was reminded of that this week.
I think it is because we know, and the knowing is becoming louder. I think that there is sorrow at the calling that we are not answering. When we know enough to hear the call but not enough to have a plan, that is when comfort, apathy, and terror keep us there in the place where everything turns grey. To leave anything can be terrifying, even a move down the street.
With such a lack of distraction these past weeks, I have been curious to see what would arise in my now smaller world. All of those excuses justifying the endless reasons why I did not write every day, prioritize meditation or prayer, take a walk in nature, stretch, spend an hour on the phone with a friend, were atomized overnight.
I wrote this because I see myself in you, especially my younger self. Wrapped in beautiful things but filled with such interesting juxtapositions of dark and light. Behind the scrim, a woman on her knees in gratitude, wisdom, strength, sorrow, love, and depth. Such depth.
Are you growing weary? I have had my moments too. As the sense of security slips away and the illusion of control transfers to a very clean kitchen and too many loaves of baked bread, I have had moments of a sort of existential tenuity.
What has come up in this time is an investigation into my urge to help others versus my human need for self-preservation and the wish to fulfill my own obligations to myself and do my work. When can I be selfish and when should I be helpful?
What is calling you in this time? Can you make a clearing for the hearing to catch those subtle sounds, the ones that require you to be quiet enough to hear? I implore you to listen, especially right now.
Why would one want to engage in this internal battle? Why would one want to face the demons, the self-destructive thoughts and tendencies? Why would one want to see the parts that have been suffocated? There is terror there. So then, why?
I was sappy this morning, full of a sort of emotional reckoning that seeped into my bones overnight as I slept – a settling of the many thoughts that passed through my brain yesterday as I searched into my history, into their lives. The gratitude is too much to contain and I do not seem to have the vocabulary to properly express it. There is a debt I owe, best paid back by living as well as I can, keeping in mind the privilege bestowed upon me, mostly by chance. The privilege of being able to turn over the stones, look beneath and bring to light what I learn there.