I am not even sure anymore how long I have been under this current deluge of work. All I do know is that I am tired beyond belief and the work seems non-stop. As I wrote to my students …”This Fall is turning into a season of too much work spread over too few hours for me. …I am swamped.”
This is hard. I have not been this busy for a very long time. In many ways, I am out of practice and that, in it self, is a good thing. I am now more acutely aware of how much my body suffers, my mind turns to mush, and how the entire outer world seems like an intrusion.
Every conversation, every phone call, every request for advice, an opinion or a commitment feels abusive, intrusive and out of bounds. But at the same time, I am acutely aware of how much I need these people in my life, and how much I crave their crazy weird phone calls and lively dispatches from the outer realms.
I am hunkered down in the salt mines and any glimpse of sunlight is like a jewel. If I could only get these people to stop talking to me! If they could just sort of drift into my awareness and brighten my day then float right back out … so I could get back to work already. It is maddening. If only they could stop being so … alive! Uh oh!
What I want and crave contradicts so readily with what I need and require. I want people in my life but I want them to leave me alone. It is a paradox.
This seems so familiar. I spent a great deal of my late corporate career in this mode. Working long hours, feeling the weight of the world resting on my lonely, tired and aching shoulders. Dragging one leaden foot after another to be with people in order to connect and relate. Along with days, weeks and months of extreme solitude.
And so this morning, as I sat bleary-eyed looking out my front window, I said enough. I need a larger frame of reference. A frame that puts my need for focused attention alongside my need for human companionship. I cannot expect the people I love and who love me to act like inanimate objects, like pet rocks! It is exactly their aliveness that enriches my life.
First I need to comprehend what operates like the law of “gravity” and what is malleable and flexible about my current situation? As an introvert living with an autoimmune disease, I do need more time alone than most folks. This is a core gravity issue for me.
Additionally since my business is irregular, it is difficult to plan for “busy periods” like in retail. The work comes when the work comes. And quite simply, when I said yes to teaching at Cherry Hill Seminary, I had not envisioned having two major web design contracts back to back. My business may expand and contract with very little warning. That is also gravity.
I also lead a school, coven and tradition, which each deserves my time and attention – also gravity. And right now I do not have time to focus on them the way I normally do nor do I have time to do the work required to finish my book. These are also gravity issues for me.
But I am unhappy with my lack of focus in these areas. And it is this unhappiness that is causing me to feel guilty. And it is this guilt that makes me feel intruded upon when the people I love call or come by. I am responding to them as if they are reminders of all I am not doing, they remind me of my sense of guilt.
Ai yi yi! It is *my* guilt that is souring my connections to the very people who can help me to endure this crazy period.
I am the one who does not get just how busy I am. I keep thinking about all I cannot do and the accumulated weight of all this guilt is wearing me down. And truly, the work I am doing is big enough of a burden as it is.
The larger frame of reference I need is the one where I can see myself more objectively. I am super busy, yes. But I want to be available to the people I love and I want very much to work on the areas that give my life meaning and purpose. And sometimes, it is simply not possible to do the things you want to do. And … that’s life. And life is not an intrusion; it is in fact a lot like gravity.
So I sit for a few more moments and contemplate ways to give myself a break. I see the guilt being borne off by the wind to become compost for the creative aspects of my work. I pray for the help I need this week, this day and this moment … to endure and embrace the work that is in my hands.
I thought my eyes were bleary because I was tired, when all along I had been driving blind. Now with my newfound clarity, my wings unfold … and I take off into the bracing air … and take flight. Seeing you, seeing myself, and seeing the world as if it were all new … again.