Saturday, August 31, 2013

Panic and Pauses (Road trip day 4)

I love the pauses, the breaks in busyness. Breathing happens there, allowance happens there. I've been listening to The Lord of the Rings on audio book during my trip and I find I have to pause it occasionally or allow my mind to drift and wander back. Tolkien was not a concise writer; the “and then” style of story telling can be long and exhausting as the reader or listener begins to count how many times “it seemed to be” and “as if the” and “felt as though” are used in a chapter.

When I was a kid I would read two chapters of that trilogy per night. I look back on that now and offer my younger self an impressed, congratulatory slap on the back. Over time I get used to the language and overabundance of words and description, but the initiation back in can be painful.

My point is, pauses are important if the norm is excessive flow. The reverse is also true. The mindless mental vomit of a “stream of consciousness” style of writing feels amazing, very much like puking when I have a migraine (sorry for the image, but the comparison is accurate). Pressure and tension are suddenly released, and a jumble of mental jargon escapes. After that release though, is another pause.

Friday was tough. I woke late. At first I enjoyed the laziness offered to me. No specific plans, a unique hotel suite (with not one, not two, but three beds), painting supplies perched on a side table, and a damned crick in my neck. You know the kind. “Oh, you want to look over your shoulder? Well, I think I'm going to make that movement as restrictive and painful as possible. When will I back off? Psh, like I'd give you that information. No, no, carry on through your day. I'll be here.”

I found myself in dark emotional spaces. Eventually I painted a bit. I ordered Thai curry from the restaurant on the corner. I tried yoga to release a body loudly complaining about long hours spent in a car. Then menstrual cramping kicked in while the road noise outside inscreased as the evening hours drew closer.

I could not describe what I felt in simple terms. My skin was crawling, I was panicking, I started to cry. Planning anything for the following day/days seemed pointless; I didn't even know what I wanted to do. I didn't want to be where I was, but didn't want to run anywhere. I didn't want company but I didn't want to be alone.

The couple people I texted that night, bless their hearts, wanted to offer support and help me figure out what was going on. I felt irritated; I didn't want to analyze or figure anything out. I don't think I could have. Eventually, after peeing of all things, I walked back into the bedroom and remembered that I didn't have to hold this anxiety so tightly. I could relax into it and open up the space. I didn't have to focus intently on it, staring through cages, but I could permit whatever It was to sit next to me on the bed. Allowance happens in pauses. I don't have to like you, I don't have to hold your hand. But you can sit with me.

Time and sleep claimed my eyes and night breezes blew gently into my hair. As far as pauses go, sleep is truly a blessed one.

I expect I will gently peel back my trip's significance over time. The harsh shift between spacious wilderness and crowded suburban/urban towns seized my body and spirit just as harshly. This is the importance of experience: we understand, first hand, what our needs are based upon evidence and comparison. I'm not yet certain of the deeper implications... I yearn for solitude, quiet, and direct connection with earth and trees unlike any passing fancy. I also find great ease and creativity in all these things, which surprises me. In the past I've clung to companionship and lost my center to insecurity in relationships. Now I enjoy my own space and do not painfully miss my loved ones or general company of people... yet I still greatly look forward to coming “home.” To miss something or someone and still be content with where I am in the moment... that blows my mind.  

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