“Who am I?” is a question I ask myself several times every single day. My entire life I have leaned towards being very introspective. These days it is a near obsession at times to be trying to figure out who I am. Because the person I was before Russell died is no longer the person I am today. The things I believed to be true for myself a few weeks ago don’t all ring true anymore. There is a thread of truth still but it’s all shifted so much that I am not quite sure who I am. And that is quite disconcerting at times, well actually most of the time!
Here are some of the things that I am experiencing as not quite me anymore.
*Time awareness – being aware of the passage of time, both mechanical and natural/seasonal time, has always come as easily to me as breathing. I’ve actually worked hard over the past few years to become less aware of time as it can sometimes get in the way of me simply enjoying the natural flow of an event. I can easily lean towards becoming so aware of a start time (to the minute) that I don’t allow things to happen with ease as they will. I have lived a life being almost always aware of what time it is.
The last several weeks have left me with a much foggier, shaky sense of time passage. Everything feels like it just happened and also that it happened ages ago. I find myself unable to guess at what time or even what day it is. things sneak up on me because I just can’t track time very well anymore.
The funny thing is that this is how Russell often explained how he experienced his own time awareness. I have a much better understanding of how challenging this might have been for him. Especially in contrast to him living with someone who leaned towards time obsession. Most odd to be viewing the world through a lens that he often wore.
*Observational skills – One of the reasons that things run so smoothly at Avalon most of the time is that I have highly developed observational skills. I can notice almost everything all of the time. I can drive into the farm after being gone for a few days and immediately see everything – things, people, animals, etc – that are out of place or different. While this can be a both a blessing and a curse, it always means that I am aware of changes very early on in the process. This is extremely helpful, often life saving, when paying attention to subtle changes in the horses that might be early detectors of injury or illness. It’s also helpful in being able to quickly determine what changes need to be made to make things run more smoothly for the entire farm.
This heightened awareness of all within my universe is is getting kind of lost in the fogginess of my reality right now. I find myself missing a whole lot, even things going on right in front of me. This leaves me feeling very uneasy and more than a little incompetent. I fear missing something that is vital for either a human or an animal in my life. I long to get back to working more at the farm but am so scared that I won’t see something that must be done to keep all safe and healthy. I am thankful for the ongoing commitment and work of Avalon’s Co-op team and all who are stepping into fill the void I have left. I am trusting their eyes and their instincts to keep us all in a sheltered space as I struggle to make my way back to myself. As much as I try to figure out a way to return to work on a consistent basis, I fear taking the reins back of running the farm on my own again. I do not trust my eyes to see all I need to nor my brain to be able to connect pieces that must be connected to run the farm smoothly and safely. Everyday I speak my gratitude for the Avalon community and I speak my hope that I will be able to see it all clearly again someday.
*Finding hope and joy in all situations – I am still doing this in most situations and times. However, I have lots of moments right now that all I can or want to feel is anger, confusion, utter lethargy, sadness and despair. I don’t move forward with hope or glimpses of joy simply because I don’t want to. In many time, in many moments I don’t want to feel better than I do in that time, in that moment. I want to wallow in the ickiness because it is real and the most authentic thread within me right now.
Though even as I write this and believe that staying in the rawness of my reality right now, I am realizing that it isn’t about not finding hope and joy. It is about staying in the Now, no matter what the Now is at this time, in this moment. The very fact that I am doing anything right now besides crying and screaming and hiding from the world is the thread of hope and simple joy. So it is probably more accurate to say that I am experiencing a lot more darkness and stiffling thoughts than is part of the me I have always known. I am sitting in the Now feelings no matter what they are or how long they last without feeling a need to always be speaking of something positive and light. Hmmm, sitting with all of this a little bit more. 🙂
*Taking action towards wellness – Over the last couple of years I have been making more choices to focus upon my personal wellness – emotional, mental, physical. I’ve become fairly good at making choices each day that help me feel better and get a little healthier. I know the things that are good for me and help me feel better about myself – gardening, riding, cooking healthy meals, walking with my dogs or kids, dancing. These days it is much more challenging to do the things that will raise my energy. It’s the floopiness of this time that the very things that will get me moving take too much energy to even get started.
*Staying calm through the little things – In this time, in this moment it is the little things that can set me spinning faster than blinking. It’s very odd to have something that I may have barely noticed occurring a few weeks ago now cause me to spin almost out of control. I chalk this all up to underlying unsettledness I experience much of the time. I try to just take a deep breath and move through the spin out.
*Understanding what others think and having others understand me – For those who know me well, it will come as no surprise to hear me say that understanding (and communicating this understanding) is one of my highest needs. I long to learn all I can about a situation, about people, about the world around so that I can understand all the ins and outs as much as is humanly possible. I long for others to understand why I do what I do. This leads me to communicate A LOT. I often believe that if I just explain myself well enough and I understand others well enough I can avoid a bunch of conflict. PFFTT – so not true. Nothing can be controlled that much (yes this one is tied to a need to be in control as well – smile).
Every December I set my intentions for the upcoming year. Not really resolutions, but more areas in which I am going to focus some energy to see what change I can bring about in myself. Interestingly one of the areas I set forth last December was around this notion of understanding. I wrote in my journal about my desire to remain radically open to walking my life without the need for clear understanding of everything and everyone. I wrote about my desire to let go and trust that, even if I didn’t understand something, all would be well.
The early work I did this year around remain open and letting go of my need to understand and control is serving me well right now. I cannot understand so much of what is happening right now, nor how it’s possible that it even started when Russell entered the hospital. That whole first day of testing is still such a confusing – how the hell did we get here? – blur. And I am trying to live into having this be okay.
I am also trying to live into the fact that I do not need others to understand why I do what I do for myself or for my children. It is really no one else’s business but mine. Just as how others choose to live their lives is not my business. Each of us is walking a path no one but ourselves can see. To believe that we can truly understand another’s journey is a great fallacy. We can walk with others and reach out to them as we see them struggling or we see them wanting to celebrate, but we cannot every truly understand another’s personal journey. There is too much that remains hidden no matter how much we try to share with each other. Not always easy to live in this belief. But when I do, oh is life sooooo much easier.
*Having a clear language – I am, quite obviously, a verbal person. I use words to express, to create, to communicate. What I find one of the weirdest parts of this journey right now is the fact that language I have understood to mean one thing most of my life no longer makes sense. The words/phrases “Okay” and “I’m fine” are the strangest to say. Even when I am having a fairly settled day, saying either of these things is just weird. Even when I am “okay” I am not really okay. That underlying thread of being off balance all the time makes many of words make little sense.
*Thinking of others and being faithful to my responsibilities – I am a huge caretaker – sometimes in how I physically care for others; always in how I energetically create space and care for others. I naturally, without thinking do things all the time to care for the creatures and humans around me. Even if I am not physically providing something, I often find myself breathing more deeply and slowly when I know others are in distress. I have learned how to hold sacred space around me and do this as naturally as breathing most of the time.
I am still doing this but am also finding myself consciously saying “No, can’t do this right now. I must take care of only me and my kids.” As much as I then long to be at the farm working, teaching, being, I find that it can’t always happen right now. I have to say no and cancel things at the farm and in my broader life because I want to being a radical YES to myself and my kids when opportunities arise for us to be together. I love the work I do at Avalon. I love being with my family and friends. I love being active in springtime – hiking, riding, gardening. I love teaching. I love dreaming of new opportunities to provide for healing and learning.
Most importantly right now, I am trying to say YES to doing things with my kids that we most want to do, even if that means saying no to other responsibilities that I have. I am trying to say YES when people ask me our for coffee or lunch or a walk, even if that means not getting through all my tasks for the day. Opportunities for travel, connecting with others. playing or simply being are my highest priorities right now.
Who am I?
I am lost and I am radically found.
I am wife and I am widow.
I am Kraken and I am Dragon.
I am alone and I am being held up by the world.
I am lethargic and I am jazzed with dreaming energy.
I am the burnt up old phoenix and I am the newborn phoenix growing in the ashes.
In this time, in this moment I am me and not me and the me I will be. Some days this is okay to experience and other days I just want to scream at the frustration of not knowing how to sort my way through. Everyday, in every time and in every moment I keep taking at least one step forward.