Down Time in the Desert.
Since I became unemployed I don’t think I have sat down. I mean I have been going! Lots of projects, things that I was too busy or too tired to do before. Yesterday was a whirlwind of stuff but it all got done and I am so grateful. I feel like my life is slowing its whirl and settling down into whatever this new life brings. And when this newness lands, it will be mostly free of the debris of the life just past. Mostly.
I say mostly because I am human. As much as I would like to eradicate from my life certain things, people, events from the distant and not so distant past, I can’t completely do that because they all live on in my mind. My mind will not let me completely clean the slate. Humans are masterful remembers and forgetters. Odd really. If you think about it. How much we remember and then compare that to how much we forget. All without intention really. Just a randomness over which things remain and which things leave.
Trauma has something to do with it. Those traumatic events do not really ever leave. They remain and are activated and cause us to live lives that are sharply curtailed and often hollowed out because of our inability or unwillingness to deal with trauma.
And I can see that this need of mine to clear and clean the slate is somewhat of a trauma response. When I am upset, I clean. When I am sad, I clean. It provides me a feeling of control usually at a time when I feel out of control. Like now. Everything that I knew and believed about my life, work life anyway, has become unmoored. Completely upended. I was working for a place that I thought meant the world to me, and yet, I had to leave. Had to resign and move on. It was and is hard. Something that I gave so much of myself to and then in very short order, just turned and walked away.
There is joy there for sure, but there is also a lot of sadness, pain, loss and grief. Moving from true believer to something else is not an easy journey. Moving on is hard. Letting go harder still.
But I am learning lessons. Lots of them. About work. About myself. About who I am. One of those lessons is that I will take a much more careful inventory before I commit to something in the future. I will do the background work. I will walk around the job and kick the tires before throwing myself into it with all of my usual vigor. I will ensure that my commitment and efforts will be appreciated, valued and reciprocated.
I guess this is just another version of me being a leaper before being a looker. Fuck! Still? I mean, I just jump in and then it is go! And I have this tendency to be so far in that I lose perspective and ability to inventory what is really going on, with me, with the job, with the tasks and daily living.
As much as I do not want to do this, I need to allow the down time to be actual down time. I need to stop running around doing shit and just be still. Write. Read. Relax. I know that this is what I need to do and yet, I feel like there is no time for any of that. And I know this is only in my head. And that everyone, like every single person who knows me, would all agree, when they do not likely agree upon anything else, that I need to slow down so that I have time to feel the loss. The gain. And everything in between.
If you scare me and hurt me badly enough, I will become so fucking busy that you can’t even keep up with me! You are left in the dust of my fervent and compelled activity. I am a being in motion. A whirling dervish of productive activity that produces things. I get shit done!
But at this time in my life, I am not so consumed by the doing that I cannot see that the doing is also an exit strategy. A manner and way for me to leave the moment, the present and access a future time where I feel better about myself. Where I do not feel used up and thrown away. Where I am not overwhelmed again about how much I gave and how very little was actually valued. Fuck, I will do a lot of shit not to sit with that.
Except, I have to. I have to sit with that. I have to allow my part in all that has happened in this life to permeate my busyness and learn to sit idle with it. And while sitting still is not an easy or fun thing for me, it is excruciating really, I will do the work because I know what happens if I don’t. I don’t change. And if I don’t change, I will make the same mistakes again. Over and over to my own demise. And I will not do that. I will not participate in my own self destruction anymore. Not with drink. Not with work. Not with relationshiping. Whatever time I have left in this world, will be spent living. And living requires growth and change and I cannot change the world to suit me. So I must change myself to fit the life that I wish to have, the person I wish to be and to be always willing to grow toward God’s best version of me.
So I am calling myself out here. I am owning that I am not being still because it is painful for me. I am owning that I am staying busy to avoid feeling. I am moving my ass in a million directions in order to not feel the loss, the pain, and the heartbreak of dedicating myself to one more thing that wasn’t good for me.
I will do the down time. The endlessness of minutes and hours where I just live and reflect and do very little activity. Where I allow my feelings to exist and the space to feel them. I can and have been so busy for like decades that when I finally slowed down long enough, I was overwhelmed by the level of misery I felt. How did I let it get that bad?
Fuck, I wish I could say that I don’t know how that happened. But I do. I got busy. And that was all I needed to escape. And I am doing it again...I see that. I feel it. Or rather, I do not want to feel it, thus all the busyness.
Next week I am going on a solo road trip. Four days in the desert to reflect, feel, think and just be. I will be driving which is not sitting still but it is the best I got. I can pull over and cry if I need to. I can pull over and write and yell and scream if I need to. This is not my first retreat into the desert. This is not the first time I have taken my leave of my normal life and run to the desert for solace. A place that welcomes and in fact invites the closer examination of things. If you look at the desert, to the untrained eye, it seems like there is a vast nothingness. But to those of us who have come to know the desert well, we know that there is always a lot going on within that nothingness. And I get that. I really, really do.