10:46 PM (1 hour ago)
I have been noticing clouds again lately, because it’s that time of year. This late-summer-air-alive time of year. It was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, and the clouds were tremendously formed, with wisps and angles and perfectly spaced compositions, all hanging up there, drifting up there. A bird in flight I swear it was, a kneeling figure, head surrounded by what might almost be smoke or almost be symbols, depending on whichever parts I loomed at more closely, and what I imagined them to be, what sort of story might be in the arrangements of the clouds.
It was overcast on her birthday 7 years ago…when she was still so little, and her mother was taking photographs of a balloon drifting away into the heavy shadowless sky, awkward at a birthday party, the mother who was losing her mind, being friendly enough, but distracted and quiet, peculiar. Smiling too widely, or not at all.
It’s a long story. I don’t intend to tell all of it here.
It does, however, make a lot of sense that I might associate this time of year – this feel of night, the thunderheads in the afternoon, fog in the morning – with noticing clouds and that that association alone might be enough to prompt me to notice clouds.
Also, it may be that the clouds themselves catch my eye, my imagination, engage that different way of seeing for a moment, long enough to believe – just a little – that maybe the sky is alive and that maybe everything is alive and bending and twisting into forms and ways that…mean something, or that mean nothing, but only prove that we are connected to everything in the very forms of our arteries and our lungs and even our language…that maybe it came from the sky…and it is such a fantastic and strange world to inhabit, that the forms we codify and weave into myth, the relations between line and space, bulk and vapor…that the earliest humans, our ancestors, may have found meaning in these forms that are rivers and whales and angles and birds and figures and snakes and the glint of even our own human eyes…that if they saw this, all of this and infinitely more, in the sky…that surely they would believe that something bigger than they were was speaking to them, showing them things…and then, oh, the awe . . . oh, the fear…the wonder…the raw human humility and the mystery of it all, the power of it all…surely that would be writ upon our bones, writ into our bones, writ into the sequences of what we have inherited.
What a thing to imagine, that we might carry the intergenerationally imprinted proclivity to see what, thousands of years ago, must surely have looked to be God.
Maybe it didn’t mean anything?
Maybe it was just weather, doing what weather does, which is shock and awe in quiet and storm?
We are captivated by weather.
Here is a recording in which I badly emulate my father’s weather radio.
…and maybe it was just a matter of the clouds sometimes looking very much like other things and that, hey, in an early world, without televisions and all the other visual distractions of modernity, what else is a human going to do in between the hunt and the move, the packing and traveling, the slow wait for fire, for food…what else is a human going to do, but watch the sky?
Wouldn’t what was happening in the sky be important? Wouldn’t it really, really important? Like life and death important, all the weather events of today unfurling with the only warning being what the wind feels like, the smell of salt, of ozone, the haze of sand and snow in the distance.
Even if the clouds meant nothing, were simply conforming to the physical laws which impact their shapes and movements, which are the same physical laws that define the formations of our landscapes and bodies…even if they meant nothing and only indicated, writ large and backlit, that we are connected to everything . . . well, isn’t that something? To be connected to everything?
I am sure that early humans felt something when they saw a particularly stunning array of clouds. They probably told stories about them. Like I said, what else are you going to do…?
Maybe they didn’t know the stories they figured were stories?
Maybe they described what they saw as happening, with real dragons and real gods bleeding out the golden light of all the heavens?
…and, I guess, depending on where people were, and what was going on in their landscapes and ways of staying alive, and depending on the stories that had already been told, the characters who’d been named, the battles that arise every so often, recognizable in their compositions and features, the symbols that accompany, which were not symbols, but just the geometry of wind currents and the tendencies of condensation, though some were curious…right angles and the crisp edge of high altitude ice, punched out places, the proper proportions of a figure in supplication, the curvature of a snake, the look of animal eyes, staring from the white…they became symbols…these shapes that used to mean something.
It is 10:10. I have at least an hour of work to do before I have to go to work tomorrow morning.
I don’t know why I want to keep noticing clouds. I don’t feel what I did before, but I still feel something, if only a deep appreciation for patterns in nature and the play of light. I don’t cry at the sight of it, like I used to… when I was obsessed with finding a plausible possible interpretation of atypical cloudforms and emotional response…
(At the time clouds and feelings were considered a relationship of direct causality, i.e. that the clouds and the meaning I made of them stimulated a powerful nervous system response, huge sensations in my body. I now recognize that my nervous system and experiential emotionality was more likely the result of the fact that my life as I knew it was falling apart and I wasn’t handling the situation well, and I had been put on a high dose of venlafaxine, and it was messing me up, but I didn’t realize – nor did anyone else – that the medication was messing me up. I just thought I was messed up…and it’s true, I was messed up. I was trying to make sense of what I was going through. The correlation between cloud shapes and emotion might have been spurious at first, in that I was feeling things in response to my life circumstances at the time and I incorrectly attributed the power of the feeling to what I was looking at, which was – most days during that time – weird looking clouds. Then, I did start to feel something in response to the clouds, something that was not what I was feeling before, a gigantic burning feeling of beauty and truth and fear and bewilderment, wonder, because of what I believed was happening, the meaning I made.)
Seeing things in the clouds that I had never seen before made feel better, because I believed – in an instant – that I was part of something bigger and older and way more beautiful and powerful than I could even imagine, and that beyond my weeping on the porch and pacing around my house, there was a whole world, there was the sky and all the places it covers and all the history of all those places and even all the way out into space.
When my oldest child was very young we read a book that sent an armadillo out into space on a golden eagle and when we turned the page to see the earth suspended in a field of black with just starlight and planets spinning out to the edge of the page, my child began to cry, a confused and keening crying.
I think it scared him, to understand all of the sudden, that we live on a blue and green sphere out in the middle of space and that the tiny sun we see is an incomprehensibly massive ball of fire.
It makes a lot of sense that I would somewhat lose my mind when I started to see the sky as meaningful and beautiful in ways that ultimately began to pull and push at the borders of my understood reality and gradually revealed a different way of seeing things, a different way of making meaning.
I don’t know that a lot of people have had the experience of sincerely and genuinely believing that they are seeing something like God.
I was utterly unprepared for that.
I didn’t even believe in anything like God before I started noticing clouds. I never wanted to see God…and then I did…because I wanted proof…and couldn’t let it go, because the moment that I first had the notion that what I was seeing looked like classical compositions and scraps of early language, that the gaps between white and grey and variations in density made shapes like eyes, that birds were everywhere, those classic wings, the number 3…and wondered if the origins of some early language might be in patterns in nature, and if some patterns or shapes or relations between forms might catch our eye more than others, as baby gulls respond to a red dash like the one on the mother birds beak, that maybe that’s why some forms are persistent, some compositions classic, some sea-washed beaches like canyons and our veins like rivers?
…I only believe for a second that some sentient force in the sky and in the world was trying to say something, because why would there be symbols, shapes that mean things, if there was no meaning. Just a second was long enough.
My logic was flawed then, because I was freaking out and flooded with dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline and my life was very fragile…i was in survival mode…probably not-all-there…i definitely lost track of my internal sense of reason for a moment, though maybe not, because my reasoning then was that, whoa, if this real, like if this really might stand up to inquiry and comparative analysis across ancient languages and classical art works…what would that mean?
It seemed like it might mean something to somebody, so I reasoned that – in spite of the risk and immediate humiliation, the trouble I was edging into, that it was too important to try to forget…not just important for me, though it was important for me, to me…because it taught me a new way to see the world, which I prefer to the old way of seeing, devoid of meaning or appreciation and awe that anything exists at all, but that it was, you know, important to other people, or might be, that it might…?
They said I had delusions of grandeur, and – it’s true – I definitely did . . . but, it wasn’t so much about me as about the idea and the powerful effect it had on me, how it changed my worldview and experience.
…how could people seriously expect me to forget it?
To just accept that it wasn’t real…when it was the most real. To forget it like it was nothing. It wasn’t nothing. It was months of everyday, waking up and seeing God, and taking thousands of pictures of clouds, because I did not know what else to do, but to try to show people…at first I just wanted them to tell me if what I was seeing was really there, but they would not, even though it was there…that three, that triangle…those wisps of blue light…but, they were nothing, just clouds. Sometimes clouds look weird, right?
Then I wanted to show them, because I thought it was beautiful, the way the sky can look like so many different things.
I was never a kid who saw anything other than ice cream and occasional sleeping rabbits in the clouds, maybe something that looked like a bird every once in a while, but not really.
The clouds were just clouds, and I watched them, sure, but only because they were pretty and they were something to look at while I was sitting in the back of a boat, or riding in a backseat, or laying out by the city pool, or driving from some state to another. Right before the clouds began to look auspicious, I had written, on my blog – on this blog, but a different blog, with a different host, and a different name – that I liked clouds because they were never the same twice, and by all my reasoning, yes, that is true, given the number of variables and possible combinations in the formation of what we see in the sky. I had already started taking pictures of clouds, but only because they were interesting to me, pretty or dramatic, just sitting there in the sky, but doing something, holding rain, becoming water.
It was in the early summer when I started to see that some clouds do look sort of the same. Sort of. All those W’s. Triangles. That 3 with its perfect curves that I started to see at the edges of shapes that looked like bodies, stooped or soaring.
I just wanted to know what it meant, if anything, and – if it didn’t mean anything – why did it feel like it did?
I think I felt the feeling of awe, because of the idea that ancient people might have written down the shapes that didn’t seem to follow the force of the wind, the lines that kept showing up, that stood out, these quirks of metaphysical force…and when they felt awe, they felt God?
I felt awe at the idea of it, and of imagining what the sky might have looked like if I had never watched television, what I might see if I was looking for meaning.
What it might have felt like to wait for the earth to tell you something?
The feeling of waiting for the earth to tell you something, and to find yourself in the parking lot of the grocery store with what feels a lot like an answer sprawled in vapors and held rain across the same old blue of summer.
…all the bizarre things that people have believed make sense if one considers the possibility that these stories came from the shapes of clouds.
It doesn’t matter, I guess, that eggplants don’t grow on vines.
Mindfulness is not doing nothing. I could be sitting at the service down the street and be drawing, and still be listening, still looking around. I was thinking about this as I was sweeping the floor.
The troubling trend of people becoming stressed in such a way that they edge into a trauma-response (fight-flight-freeze), which leads to them participating in the _____ environment in a way that undermines the feeling of safety in the space, both for the individual and for other folks attending classes and receiving other _____ services.
It does not feel good to get triggered and overwhelmed in class and it does not feel good to come into class triggered and overwhelmed.
I come into the ____ with a hope that we all hold an understanding that people have really tough lives, and that all our lives have their own unique challenges…which sometimes push us to the point of behaving and communicating from a place of fear and distress.
It is absolutely okay to be experiencing whatever one might be experiencing, to feel however one is feeling. I make an effort to suspend judgements and see people with compassion and humanity, respect. It is difficult to not feel sensations of reaction to some situations, and I have to use skills through the day to navigate what I am thinking and feeling, how I am responding.
When I ask a person to shift attention or re-focus on the purpose of being in class if they are sharing their personal, individual experience this does not mean that I am invalidating or silencing the realness and the significance of what one is experiencing.
It simply means that I am perceiving the personal sharing as potentially triggering to other students or “going down the rabbit hole” of a trauma-response and trauma-narrative…in a way that might not be helpful or safe for the person sharing, not to mention others in the class.
I don’t think the classroom ought to be a trigger – free environment, because triggers help us to understand what gets us upset and create opportunities to practice skills in responding to triggers in ways that support our individual goals…and it’s impossible to make the classroom trigger – free, because human beings participate in that space.
I also totally get that support within a group can be a helpful and vital resource in people’s recoveries.
If you recognize that you are triggered and upset, if you are having a difficult time grounding, please reach out to staff or trusted students for support and one-on-one time.
If you become triggered while in class and need to leave the space, you are totally supported in doing so. I expect other students to respect people’s choice to take a break.
It is not solely the responsibility of the facilitator to uphold the classroom comfort agreements. We all share that responsibility.
If a student feels that another student is compromising the comfort agreements, please understand that we encourage people to practice speaking up, and to communicate their experience / perspective calmly and assertively…and I want to support other students in receiving that feedback calmly.
Please let’s talk about this more, either in the common area or one-on-one. Thanks so much for everything you all bring to the _____ and being a part of this process of learning and growing. I hope the day is good!
“forget yer father’s job.”
The words were scrawled in the upper margin of the page she had sent a few weeks back.
He’d recycled the letter, wrote her back on the blank sides of the printed pages she had sent a few weeks back, before she went to the beach.
She had simply folded and stuffed all the writing efforts she’d recently made, her attempts to set a goal, an outline of potential content frameworks, free writes about the time she’d found the burlap sack full of drowned baby pigs in the woods near the house she grew up in. It was a shitty substitute for an actual letter.
“Forget her father’s job.”
This, in response to a memory of waiting to see her father come home from work on the Cumberland Queen, with his grey and green uniform, his National Park Service hat. His gold-colored badge.
She doesn’t know what her friend’s father did for a living.
The statement bothered her.
Forget her father’s job.
Forget the person she was when she was a child, the feelings of caring about the things she used to care about. The sensations of youth, of that kind of simple happiness, the warm sulfur smell of the water, the Marsh, the little speck of white on the horizon that was the boat carrying her father?
She thinks she understands why her friend, who is alternately moldering and hyperprolifically producing stunning architectures of words, somewhere in a locked up place out west, would tell her that these things don’t matter, that they are not what is most real now.
Butterflies drinking the tears of turtles.
How my dog taught me to unlearn fear.
I haven’t thought much about writing lately. There were some moments here and there, during which a phrase or idea rose up in me, but those moments passed.
I am not feeling the typical restlessness that I have come to associate with not writing. The urgency just isn’t there. It’s a good feeling, this *meh* – this willingness to be contented with throwing a volleyball to my daughter in the narrow strip of grass beside the driveway, running to get the returned ball before it rolled down the street into the bigger street.
In spite of my contentment with *meh* and the feeling that, “Hey, I don’t feel like saying anything right now.” I do recognize that – like running – writing is probably something that is good for me to do, even when I don’t feel like it.
The other day, I felt terrible – exhausted and logey, foggy in my head, like I could sleep for days.
“My body is exhausted,” I told myself. “I need rest.”
…but, instead of resting I decided to see how it might feel to take the dog for a run, gave myself permission to turn around if I truly was physically exhausted and could only miserably shuffle.
I hadn’t run in a couple of days and the dog needed to go out, so I gave it a try…running even though I felt exhausted and – like most of the other times I have gone running when I didn’t feel well, when I was fighting a slight cold, or had a fit of allergies, when I was tired and a little “depressed” – I immediately felt better, like within two blocks, and it was an amazing run, full of wind and light feet.
Sometimes when I run, I say the phrase “I am loving, I am loved” in time with the cadence of my footfalls and steps. Sometimes I say, “I am healthy I am young I will be one hundred and one.”
This is an assertion of my will to live into old age, which is an effort to counter the near-constant fear of an early death, a lurking illness, an absurd accident.
I grew up listening to old ladies talk about cancer.
As I breathe, especially in the forest or near fields, places soaked in green-smelling air and the scent of earth and water, I picture my lungs being filled with fresh air, the cells healthy and bright, any damage being dealt with by the air I breathe.
I don’t listen to music when I run. I feel my muscles and bones, adjust the work that some muscle groups are doing as needed, scanning the ground for places I might stumble, and on flat stretches of road I gawk around at the tops of trees, the stretch of light.
I drag my left leg a little, a habitual accommodation of an old knee injury. Even though I am left handed, my right side is dominant and I can see and feel in the muscles of my calves and thighs that my left leg is not doing as much work as my right leg.
So, I have to remind it to run, to not be scared of the impact, to get stronger.
When I am running with both legs strong, I can actually go pretty fast.
For the first time tonight, running in the forest with slight rain that I didn’t even feel because of the thick canopy, I had a few minutes during which I was running very fast and breathing hard, but was okay – was not getting out of breath or slowing down, and my head got that clear blank feeling that I sometimes get while running, and I forgot for a second that I was running. I was just running, and I was breathing hard, but it was okay.
I think that, for a long time, the running feeling of mild hypoxia and breathlessness created a panic in me, because my body remembered not being able to breathe when my chest was filling with blood after I split my spleen open on Christmas Day when I was six. I used to want to stop running, and to breathe easily again. Now, I want to run faster, at the edge of losing my breath, and to feel that I am okay.
There is more to say. I have written for 21 minutes, and – oh, yes – I remember why I do this.
Aug 3 (13 days ago)
In my speaking voice I am slow and hesitant, I am hitching and fumbling, dropping into a slur at the end of words, forgetting that I am speaking. I want to keep my voice neutral when I am trying to say something, to let the words do the work of telling, but I catch myself putting a gleam around some vowels, making some words soft, others sharp.
I forget what I am saying.
I was in speech therapy for five years, all through elementary school. Conquering the r that I could not say. Bird. World. My own last name. All these words collapsed in my mouth, under my tongue, without the rugged r to give them shape.
I could not say the word fur.
So, it makes sense to me that I should have some difficulty, at times, in speaking. Not because of some vestigial impediment, but because of the awareness of speaking, the effort to say something, to wonder how I might sound to someone else’s ears.
The pressure to be articulate, but accessible, to be sincere, wary of the lilt of sentimentality or the naive sweetness of saccharine leaching into the most important phrases, the ones I want people to feel, the phrases that I feel…
There is a nagging sheepishness, not good enough, not good enough.
I picture rolling eyes, smirks. Sensations of humiliation.
I wonder, how does what I am saying now, which is the beginning of a story, fit into all the other stories being told?
How many bajillion times have people spoken earnestly and with great passion about why it is important that human beings share the stories of their human experience?
Why do I feel so bizarrely embarrassed to care deeply about something?
Is that my fearful mind trying to protect me from doing something that it believes is dangerous?
Or is this feeling, and the chorus of discouraging advice that corresponds to the sensations of fear…are these responses to me speaking simply the echo of haters who laughed at my voice.
The two are interconnected, that fearful mind and the echoes of haters.
…but, I am not going to talk about that now…not yet…
For now, I am just beginning. Speaking about speaking, seeing how this feels.
I have a beautiful voice. I really do.
Aug 4 (12 days ago)
They didn’t much notice that their mother had all but stopped laughing. For years, she hardly laughed, and if she did make sounds in response to something that might be considered funny, those sounds were mostly a tight abbreviated HhhuhHhhhhhn, pushed up from her chest with only the slightest roundness of real laughter.
We didn’t know it was fake. We thought that was what laughter sounded like.
We only fully realized that our mother had hardly been laughing, until she began laughing all the time.
Unexpected bursts of wild, keeling laughter that wobbled into tearful gasping and a leaning, reeling mother, tears slicking the circles under her eyes and her face contorted.
Then, all of the sudden, she’d be quiet and calm again, bland even.
Aug 8 (8 days ago)
Well, my plan to adapt to sleeping only 6 hours per night Monday – Friday, and to continue to run my few runs per week, continue to maintain all the things that I am – albeit poorly in some cases – maintaining, and to spend at least a little bit of time every night writing, working toward the specific goal of producing some finished work (at this point, it doesn’t even really matter too much what the format of the work is, so long as it is adequately representative of the potential for there to be a finished work and other potential finished works. I am primarily interested in creating a means by which I might find the people – whom I know are out there – that might provide me with the real and functional, productive mentorship that I believe may be required for me to do justice to my intention to use the story I have been given to actually try to do some good in the world.
To help a person out, you know?
The way I see it, there have been – throughout history – all these people who are brilliant and who have seen and lived through terrors both subtle and abject, atrocities really, be they slow or sudden, silent or as loud as bombs…be they in bedrooms or schoolyards or factories…these people, all these people…who are brilliant and bungled and blighted both by what they have seen, what they never chose to see…and by what is seen in them, by how they are seen, and what they are made out to be in economies that were born of atrocity…
It has been a long time since I experience a wave of feeling, my heart pounding, that pressure in the head from the sheer feeling of it…the feeling of them, all these people…
I have known so many folks who have died, and so many more who will never, ever become what they might have been. Not in this lifetime. Not in this town.
All day long at work, I talk about recovery.
“What does recovery mean to me?”
I usually bring up the term “reclamation” – “reclaiming of something lost or left behind.”
…and, yeah, for sure…reclaiming something lost…a sense of dignity, self-worth, hope, purpose, connection…that all can be, and is – everyday – recovered, and recoverable.
It’s not easy to get these things back, to re-nurture and retrieve, to revive. Nonetheless, it is way easier to learn to love yourself than it is to reclaim lost potential while living in an exploitative capitalist economy.
As I am writing this, I am understanding, that – nope – whatever comprises the core of one’s potential may still totally exists. It was never lost.
The context and containers that define how potential is expressed might be significantly impacted by the circumstances and insults that shape one’s life, but the potential is still there.
…and I argue with myself, about how – no, seriously, if someone could have been a stellar biologist, chances are good that – if their potential was to be a stellar biologist, and they deeply felt that potential, that calling…that maybe volunteering at the forest isn’t going to exactly satisfy or do justice to one’s innate potential…then again, maybe the person goes to the library, and studies, and observes local species, and then one day, late in their life, they notice an alteration in coloring of spots on a certain salamander in a curve of the creek and then is able to discover that (some critical factor in aquatic health) is seriously askew, and engages the help of the faculty at the local college to expose a regional pollution scandal that a) saves the salamanders and b) closes down a toxic plant, whichever opens up land and buildings that – once rehabbed – are a prime space for a local sustainable resource and craft cooperative to make all kinds of amazing things, and fund all kinds of wonderful new programs at local schools and…and…
Okay. Fine. I get it.
Everything we could have been is not everything we could be…and life is surprising…but, more and more, I know that it can also be incredibly good, that it can make sense, and have meaning…and that even the hideous things cannot stop beauty from being with us and in us.
…which brings me back to the outset of this long parenthetical string of thoughts, which is that my plan, to work on a project that will become a finished project within the next several seasons, and to only sleep 6 hours, sometimes only 5 hours…the plan did not work…and after two weekends of being purely exhausted and almost joyless, I have reckoned with the reality that I need to sleep a little more.
Interestingly, I actually wrote less when I stayed up later, and mostly only used the time to do paperwork at home from work, because I don’t have time to finish it at work.
It’s weird for me to think back to last November, when I was doing NaNoWriMo. I mean, how could I string together over 50,000 not entirely terrible words in one month?
What was different then?
I think I am doing way more paperwork at home than I was.
I don’t know why this has happened other than I have incrementally increased my average “direct service productivity time” – the time I am talking with or spending time with human beings – to at least 10 percent higher than it is required to be most weeks. This is due to staff attrition and transitioning of new staff members and the generally destabilizing effect that staffing changes create in a “behavioral health” environment. The challenges impacting the program I work within and the organization I work for aren’t exactly unique in current climate (forecast: very stormy) of the human services industry.
At least once a day, usually about 500 times, I think, “Why am I still here? Why am I still doing this?”
…but, within 3 seconds I know, and I remember…I have an ethical responsibility to work in a capacity that serves people who are vulnerable to harm and who have been harmed…what a luxury, to be able to at least somewhat satisfy my sense of ethics in the work I do, to get to do work that I value…I mean, a lot of people – if they are lucky enough to get a terrible job that they never wanted to begin with – have to earn (meager) wages in disgusting and dangerous and utterly pointless occupational roles.
I am super fortunate.
Don’t call it fortune, call it privilege.
I am getting tired. It is 10:26.
The eclipse is happening soon. I have had the day off for months.
Aug 11 (5 days ago)
Sometimes I don’t need to do this, to write. I need to do other things, and – believe me – I have definitely considered all of the ways that me walking around with this conviction that I am supposed to write, that I need to write, that my story might be important to somebody, that it might help somebody, or help them figure out how to help themselves or how to help their friend to figure out how to help themselves.
I don’t want to write a self-help book.
I don’t want to write struggle porn, or a victim’s lament. I do not want to write a best – seller.
Okay. I will be honest. I do want to write a best seller, but I don’t want to write my story for the purpose of selling books, being a name, branding myself for popular consumption. Nonetheless, I do recognize that utilitarianism might dictate that a greater good may be served by making myself palatable to the masses. Then it would be more likely that people who are living in Wichita Falls or Charlton County or Fairbanks, Alaska or even so far as across the ocean…people who feel the echoes of their own voices in the wilderness of their struggle…people who might be planning their own deaths as I write this at this very moment in time…surely months before anything will come of this, which began as a statement re: me not needing to write sometimes…and turned into what might actually be a beginning, or at the very least a preface.
I probably do need to write. I would not feel powerfully if I did not. My chest stirring around, a slight shivering, which is something I do in response to adrenaline, and dopamine.
I remember now, some of the things I have considered when driving to work lately, listening to the radio, listening to the news.
7:33 PM (1 hour ago)
All day, for the past few days I have found my headspace utterly consumed by stuff-at-work. Only when I was running up a mile long hill yesterday evening did I momentarily forget about the stuff-at-work.
Then I noticed that I was not thinking about work and was amazed by how fucking free I felt, running the forest, alive and awake and praying in that way that I do when I run, for all things that are living. My “work stress” faded into the background of my immediate experience, coursing down the back side of the slope, timing my footfalls between rocks, scanning the ground. Pure jubilation.
Of course, it came back…this running string of thoughts about shit I need to do at work and for work and the associated heavy feeling in my body that comes about in association with thinking about work lately…the cascading lists of pros and cons, fears and ambitions, reasons and barriers… I don’t like that I do paperwork almost every night. Like 98 percent of all the nights. There have been two days in the past four months that I have finished my work at work, at least the required paperwork part…the work is actually never finished, because there is so much I want to do, and things I have half done and things I need to talk with people about. It’s consuming.
I want to work in a grassroots, ground-up organization that integrates recovery and creativity and community building, with a strong social justice orientation and a commitment to keeping it real.
…or I want to write and paint and take care of my home in such a way that it may be a hospitable and welcoming place, a space of sanctuary that people may occasionally come to visit. To spend my days like that…at home, writing and creating sanctuary, being in community.