Settling back into home after three months of adventuring on the other side of the world has been overwhelming. It has also been amazing, exciting, invigorating, fulfilling, grounding... so many -ing's. But I think the biggest -ing of them all is overwhelming. After the initial adrenalin rush of my first few days back subsided, I found myself completely exhausted, and it wasn't just jet lag - it was (is) everything.
Life moves so quickly here. Do. Make. Say. Think. (great band by the way) Create. Plan. Step. Pay. Earn. Love. Grow. Gain. Move. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
And its all amazing... I want to make! I want to earn! I want to step! I want to love! I want to gain! I want to lather, rinse and repeat! But what if right now, all I can do is simply BE?
People keep asking me, "So what's next?" and "What's your plan?" -- what it feels like they're saying is "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?" in ginormous capital letters.
A few times, I responded with a pre-packaged response... some sort of societal, subconscious construction of exactly how I plan to utilize all the knowledge I've gained over the past months: first I'm going to teach these kinds of classes and make this much money, then I'm going to branch out and expand to this, then I'm going to move here, then I'm going to open this kind of a space, then this is going to happen, then that, then this, then blah blah blah.
Other times, perhaps when I felt safe to be real, I responded authentically...
"So what's next?"
I'm going to let my wings dry.
"What's your plan?"
My plan is to slow down.
"WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?"
JUST BE ME... and see what happens.
Don't get me wrong, having a plan is not a bad thing. In fact, I'm a *huge* fan of plans. I"ve found it enormously motivating to set goals and come up with a game plan for achieving them. But I'm just not there right now. Or maybe I am there, but its just that my goal is better achieved without any plan at all.
So how do I just be me? Well... by singing, dancing, reading, resting, creating, meditating, teaching, laughing, loving, playing, sleeeeeeeping, eating, drinking, and CELEBRATING the incredible gift of my wonderous life.
Sounds amazing, right? Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey - who wouldn't want that lifestyle?
But in truth, I've found that just being is actually really hard. Over the past few days, the powerful realities of money, responsibility, relationships, time, space, expectations, goals (because yes, I do have goals), all joined forces in my mind and swept me up in a Wizard of Oz type tornado... but instead of landing in Munchkin Land, at the foot of a handy yellow brick road, I landed right back in the middle of everything - depleted, overwhelmed and lonely.
I sat down to write the blog today, and I re-read the blessing for the week... As he has done so many times before, my faithful companion for the past 12 months, Mr. John O'Donahue, walked quietly into my heart and whispered... "Don't allow your sense of yourSelf to wilt."
It was nearly a year ago when I posted my first piece of art for this blog. I'm reminded now of the Shawn Colvin lyrics... "One small year, its been an eternity, its taken all of me to get here, through this one small year."
Yup, it has been an eternity. And yup, it has most definitely taken all of me. Preach it, sister!
In the corner of my room in my new apartment is a pile of stuff to be hung on the walls... mostly paintings or drawings from this past year. I found the painting, my *first* painting, towards the bottom of the pile. A grey bust of a woman, a stark white skeleton, and within her ribs, a flower. Not just any flower, a SUNflower - full of light, warmth, fire, and most of all love.
"Don't allow your sense of yourSelf wilt."
I leaned the painting against the wall so as to get a better look at it. As I backed up to take it in from a distance, it fell forwards, revealing a second layer of art that I had completely forgotten about. On the back of the canvas frame, I had written the names of my "gardeners," the remarkable people who, a year ago, were lovingly tending to my hidden sunflower, holding me in my darkness, and never allowing my sense of mySelf to wilt.
So I think my "art" this week is simply the experience of remembering my sunflower and rediscovering my gardeners - its sort of a re-run, and its not really even art... but just think of it as a metaphor! And since spring has pretty much officially sprung, I think I better strap on my favorite overalls, pick up a shovel, grab some seeds, and get my hands dirty. Its time for me to be my own gardener, to give myself the time and space I need to just BE... and trust that by being, I will blossom.