I’ve been absent from this space for the last couple of months because I’ve been hibernating.
One of the definitions of “hibernation” is “to withdraw or be in seclusion.” Every January, I try to remove myself from the daily insanity of connectedness to discourse with myself and ensure that my life is proceeding in the direction I want and need. I intended this year to be just the same, but as I moved through the holidays and January to jump back into my routine, I realized I needed to make it different.
I needed to evaluate and to reconfigure my life for renewal.
Since August, I’ve been working on completing my novel and revising it in accordance with suggestions received from agents and editors. It’s some of the hardest work I’ve done in a long time, but at the end of every session, I feel cleansed. I feel wrung-out as if I’ve just finished a hot power vinyasa yoga class.
My life has been overflowing with the hours spent on my yoga mat and my meditation cushion, trying to calm my mind and become less stressed, less cacophonous. I wanted to expand my presence without making more noise.
Books have been my constant companion, especially a number of the meditation and life balance texts and exercises that are part of my on-going Path to a Better Something Series.
My pens have been burning trails across notebook and journal pages. My fingers have been flying over the keyboard as if enchanted. I’ve written about things that have been bumping around in my brain for a long time, things that simply needed to come out. I’ve also written about things about which I wasn’t even aware I was thinking. I’ve been taking writing classes and working with a wonderful coach to help me define the next chapter of my life.
It was during a class that a friend and teacher informed me all of my writing was circling back to the same place. She demanded that I write about the experience, give voice to my heartbreak, my shame, my embarrassment, my disappointment. Consequently, I’ve spent the last month working on an essay that I never wanted to write.
Friends and family have told me that I should write this essay, but I demurred, put it out of my mind because I knew it would rip open wounds only recently begun to heal. I knew it would make a bad situation worse. So I wrote…and wrote…and wrote, hoping to outrun the predator nipping at my heels.
My first draft ran out past six thousand words, anger and hurt and blackness all over the tear-stained pages.
My friend read my draft and showed me how I could turn that morass into calm and straight-forward language that would not ignite, would not come across as a poison-tipped arrow. She showed me that the things about which I worried were not, and had never been, under my control. I may have acted in one way, but anything related to another person is not mine to control.
The essay is now down to just over two thousand words, and even if it never sees the light of day beyond my classmates and friends and family, I am finally free. I no longer beat myself up over a misstep. I no longer feel on-going disappointment and shame towards myself. Instead, I simply acknowledge my mistakes and try to learn from them.
It’s a funny thing, how we can be so damaged by something and yet convince ourselves that we’ve got it covered; we aren’t affected. While I put events out of my mind, my body and my brain knew the depths of the blackness enveloping my soul, the harm that would result if I didn’t get it out.
Meditation and yoga are not for everyone, but silence and stillness are good for us all. I’ve come to understand that sitting and allowing energy to process itself in natural ways will ultimately lead me to a place where I can deal with it in constructive ways.
So I can come out of hibernation.