Hammering rain and windshield wipers like Taiko drums compete with NPR on the car radio. Deep puddles wrench the wheel from my grip. The thought “I don’t have to go” is scolded by “it’s only rain.” I keep calm and carry on. As soon as I cross the ridge, the rain lets up. I smile and relax a little.
Lying on the chiropractor’s table, I feel a migraine headache begin. I can pinpoint the precise spot behind my right eye where it is born, and I experience the moment of its inception. I watch it happen and let it happen. There is nothing to be done.
The dog is sick again. Actually two of the three dogs are sick. The stress of worry and the frustration of powerlessness climb in behind that right eye and starts turning the screws on the headache. I know about this and watch it unfold.
I know what life should be for me – for us. For all of us. I know about cycles of rest and exercise and creative work. I know about listening and I know about healing. We all need rest. We all need time to just be together. We need to grow food and bake bread. I’m pretty sure it was in Alicia Bay Laurel’s book Living on the Earth that she offers these instructions for how to slow down. “Plant a carrot seed. Watch it grow.” There is an illustration of a woman, lying on her side, eyes level with the blades of grass. Carrots take a long time to germinate. Good choice, Alicia.
The yoga I practiced through my 30s emphasized asana. It was work, it involved sweat, and it gave me sculpted shoulders and a yoga butt. I am tempted to go back to that practice to once again revel in the physicality. Bringing the whole universe into the simplicity of movement and breath and nothing else: very tempting.
But it is still doing. It’s adding something. Healing can’t expand into the empty space if there is no empty space. I find myself fantasizing about lying still on the flat rocks on Slide’s summit and I get the message: I am craving stillness. Ok: stillness. Add it to the list.
I am afraid and overwhelmed. That seems to be a universal constant these days. Every aspect of my life feels tenuous, at risk: threatened. Most of the time, that tape runs on in the background while I multitask the day away. The threats are still there. I see wolves’ eyes behind me in the mirror.
“If you have butterflies in your stomach, invite them into your heart.”