The truth? It has been a difficult month. For a few weeks now I’ve been having that world-is-slightly-off-its-axis feeling more days than not. A soul-level unease that manifests in clumsiness, over-reactivity, and exhaustion. Do you know this feeling? I’ve been dropping eggs and feeling more impatient than usual in various parts of my life, taking things personally (despite my own constant reminders to others and myself that I realize things are almost never about me) and forgetting things, sleeping hard and soundly but never feeling quite rested.
I’ve also been more aware than usual of trust, feeling cautious about where I place it, observing that everywhere I go people seem to be talking about other people. This makes me more and more uncomfortable, this behavior. As I’ve acknowledged many times, I’m a porous person, but lately that aspect of my personality is frankly overwhelming, and I can’t get out of my own way. Every day I am startled by sharp words and sliced by unexpected, jagged emotions.
The parade of glorious sunsets out my window takes my breath away and almost every night my heart lifts as I tuck my children in. There is so much beauty here, even in a month that has been difficult for reasons I don’t understand.
Is this what happiness is, the awareness of all this grandeur even in the midst of painful hours? I don’t know. I told someone recently I’m not sure traditional, unalloyed “happiness” is part of my emotional arsenal. But this feeling may well be contentment. And that, I’ll take.
This is relatively new to me, this thrum of peace underneath all of the emotion. In July I observed in myself a sturdy sense of joy and it’s this that is carrying me now, I think.
Inside me there has been a kind of deep settling and an emotional sigh. Now, when I glance at all the corners of my life I notice both the piles of dusty regrets and the glittering treasures.
I can’t imagine a better way to live my life. And for this, I offer the most profound thanksgiving I know how to express.
I say the only prayer I know how to say: thank you.
I posted this last year, on November 27th, and it’s exactly how I have been feeling for the last several days. Maybe it’s a time-of-year thing. I sure hope so. Can’t keep yelling and dropping eggs!
9 thoughts on “And still. And yet.”
Once the world gets dark and the cold sets in, I feel as if I can’t properly wake up. Seasonal lights and songs, etc, trick me for awhile, but I stare at that vast winter abyss on the other side of December, and it makes me feel hollow.
However. I am practicing a kind of mindfulness and spiritual reflection on suffering and darkness–a form of awareness in hibernation–in which I am trying to will myself to embrace the discomfort. I am trying to cultivate an inner light when there is no outer light. I’m also trying to watch with wide eyes and listen quietly, taking in the things that cause me frustration or sadness, and just exist with them. It is helping.
My critique partner, Kelly, and I have been discussing owls–symbols of wise ones who see in the dark–as guides, and now I seem to notice owls everywhere I go. Not real owls, but in decor, clothing, candles, etc. It makes me smile and reminds me that I am not alone, and once we get on the other side of the solstice, there will be a little more light than dark in each day.
Thank you for this post.
I know this feeling. An undercurrent of disquiet. Sometimes I think this time of year is marked by unsustainable expectations that mount until they reach a fever pitch. It’s why I so love the ordinary hum of the everydays. When that steady sense of contentment is more than enough. Thinking of you today.
You always write so searingly about the inner life. I connect with your words on a visceral level, that surprise and affirmation that I am not the only one who feels this way, who wrestles with the dark side of living as much as I revel in its astonishing beauty. November is a hard month to bear in good years, and in the tough ones it can simply be too much. May we all tap into that deep undercurrent of joy that can carry us through.
There is always beauty. I might notice it more often during times when I’m balanced but I feel the impact more deeply when I’m not. I don’t know about happiness as much as contrast. For me, it’s not “so much beauty here, even in a month that has been difficult” but because of that difficult month. <3
A thousand swirling thoughts, all tethered to a heavy ballast made of sadness and unmet expectations (both of myself and from others). That’s how I feel in November and December, it seems. I always wonder if it’s the change in light or the realization that another year is soon ending that brings on this brooding. Maybe it’s something else entirely (like, for instance, the fact that I admittedly need to re-read the fable of the Fox and the Grapes). But I’m getting more comfortable with my weighted thoughts with each passing year. An acceptance of sorts, I suppose, but one that is matched with profound gratitude as well. Seems as though you are in this place too. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and a dozen unbroken eggs (or at least a sumptuous omelet recipe!).
“Is this what happiness is, the awareness of all this grandeur even in the midst of painful hours?”
Um, YES. Yes yes and yes. 🙂 xo
I just told Bryan yesterday that we should buy one of those lights for this time of year. I totally get it, especially the taking things more personally than I should, which always leads to NO GOOD.
This rings familiar to me. I have been working to not add layers to my emotions, rather stepping gently to the side and staying quiet while one wave, be it happy, sad, or furious travels by. Too often I’ve fed these storms.
Wishing you comfort in your rhythm.
I am delayed in reading this and wish I wasn’t because November was brutal. This would have been comforting then, but is now as well. I felt off balance in all areas of my life.
“Porous” is a wonderful adjective to describe your sensitivity, I am too. I originally found your blog because of your essay describing your personality type INFJ. Thank you for sharing this.
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