I’ve been getting a lot of messages from the Universe lately. Little ones, but deceptively important. Meghan Brondos’s nudge to find stillness. A random social media post admonishing everyone to stop pretending everything is okay. We’re in that groggy space after getting up in the morning but before we’re fully awake. The days after an illness when we’re no longer sick, but not fully well, either. The in between when we try to do too much, push too hard, return to normal too quickly.
There isn’t a name for this place. It’s neither here nor there, and not really a transition, either. Just a lingering.
I try to honor this space. To rest when my body needs rest. To stop when my mind is full, when I feel the first twinge of ache. It’s not a time to push ahead and test our limits. We’ll find fortitude again when we’re ready.
I tend to default to thinking it’s only me who feels this way. That everyone else is happy and busy and going about their lives. But when I really look, really listen, what I sense is an undercurrent of weariness.
And of course there is. Emotions use energy too. That underlying thread of anxiety depletes us when we aren’t looking. A slow drip, drip, drip of our resources. We’re not fully sleeping, or not sleeping deeply. It all subtracts.
Perhaps we power through for a time, but it’s pure adrenaline. Any surge forward makes us extra tired at the end of the day. Any burst of energy requires an equal and opposite inaction.
My work is still at less-than-full speed – I try to tell myself to use my newfound free time wisely. But what if using it wisely was not using it at all? What if it meant quietly sitting in the emptiness? Absorbing the stillness, letting it seep deep into my skin?
I’ve been trying to let myself work differently lately. Work, sure. But then, dream. Linger a little. Pick up a camera, sketchbook. Notice the world around me. Creativity through absorption. Try something new. Have a hobby, for god’s sake. Do something, anything that doesn’t feel heavy. Or do nothing at all.
It feels like a guilty pleasure – undeserved. But when I actually did it, it made me feel something I hadn’t felt in a while: optimism. I almost didn’t recognize it at first. But there it was, this tiny wisp of a feeling. Like the whiff of a scent that reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Just the sensation that I’ve been here before.
And I have been here before. I’ve just forgotten.
Forgotten what it feels like to wander. To put down my to do list and loosen my grip. To wander through fields of goldenrod. To linger in the journey.