This is not at all how I imagined this challenge, to write a post on this blog everyday for the month of February, beginning. I pictured myself starting solidly, spending a few hours compiling things I've been chewing on into a cogent and insightful piece, leaving the later days of the month to let the stream of consciousness rush toward the sea. Instead I've stolen a few moments away from my family, who are taking advantage of my power still being on or stuck here from grounded flights, to do right by my commitment, without any further promises.
Once, not too long ago, I cooked a letter for at least several days, letting all the flavors melt into each other, seasoning each sentence just right. It is a sacred thing, to let the Muse brew, to give oneself the elbow room to really feel into a thing, to comb over it, until all the tangles are worked out. Yet equally as sacred is what comes right off the surface of the heart, in the moment. That's how my letter was returned, preciously. And that's what takes more practice, in my experience.
I won't be able to polish all these posts. Perhaps I'll finally learn the meaning of a rough draft. Meanwhile, I've already read over those two paragraphs several times, which is not it.
In person I can manage this easier, if the conditions are right. There is something about authentic sharing and authentic listening, shoulder to shoulder, that opens up a channel. Suddenly I am able to connect to a deeper source of myself, and poems drip off my tongue, as if drawn by capillary action from my roots, up to leaves warmed by sun. I don't care anymore, about anything except for what I'm feeling, and I'm not thinking, yet somehow still speaking. Council: the simple practice of sitting in circle with others, each one sharing, all the others listening. It will change your life if you let it. Or at least it changed mine.
In the earlier days of sitting for this practice, I shared a council with fellow wanderers on a vision fast program, my first program with the Animas Valley Institute, in 2017. Although I had signed up for the quest rather desperately, I sprained my ankle two days before the program began, and had to postpone. While my ankle healed, scared parts of my psyche did their very best to smooth out the edges of my wanting, soothe the death rattle of the life I called my own, so I arrived "put together". By the time the council made it to me, I was undone, in a way that completely bewildered me then, and that I only now understand.
I've spent most of my life not letting people happen to me. Or not letting me happen to them.
When I left my marriage, my mentor said, "Welcome to your life, Signe."
When I started digesting my trauma, my brother said, "You are making room for yourself in your life."
Every time I come against my shortcomings, my need to be polished and perfect, the sharp ache of feeling that deep well of authenticity beneath me, but unable reach it, I am caught by this, held by the knowing that I am finally happening to myself, finally feeling.
Right now I'm feeling frustrated. Each sentence a thread I try to follow, that then disappears into the land of another world, as if this post is the presenting dream of the analysis of this challenge, too big to really record.
The children are crying. The fathers' rumbly voices are wriggling past the dam of my earplugs.
I went out for a walk in the freezing rain this afternoon. The trees are splitting open from the weight, spring buds, flowers, frozen in time. It is carnage, truly. And so beautiful.
*The title of this post is the first line of Mark Nepo's poem Adrift.