I have started to write this post several times and couldn’t quite get the angle right, like when you can see the perfect photograph just beyond reach but you simply cannot physically get into a position to snap it without levitating.
I am essentially an introvert but you wouldn’t know it since for many years I did extroverted work – social work and then community development – but that is not that unusual among us sensitive, quiet types that can’t abide the suffering and injustice in the world. And because I can’t abide suffering, my inner voice often roars up and asks to be expressed so you might find me speaking up at town meeting or leading a community group in some collaborative action so that more children might have a chance at rising above poverty and claim a piece of the American Dream for themselves. For extroverts these actions come easily and naturally and may even feed their energy, for us introverts they can take a lot of energy and we need down time to recover. Most of the time I found time in nature, gardening, doing photography or being home with my family could recharge my batteries enough to go out and do it all again.
Then came Lyme Disease which bluntly put, kicked my ass. I found myself having a hard time to walk around the block, my brain was struggling to hold onto details and to put words onto paper and the pain made me want to curl up on the couch and stay there. I was deeply afraid of falling further into the depths of this disease and clung on for dear life and continued to work. It became harder to recharge. The journey back from illness forced me to pay far more attention to what my inner voice was saying about what I needed to heal. You can read in my Lyme posts about how I slowly fought my way back to a state of reasonable health.
I was incredibly grateful for the vast improvements I made when others I knew were still struggling with severe illness. But my powerful inner voice was forcing its way up and it said, “I want to feel better than just reasonably healthy. I want to have energy for more than just work. You can’t get to the next level of health while spending ten hours a week commuting and doing a job that takes so much energy.” So like they tell you on an airplane to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others, it was time for me to get more oxygen. I was still operating just one step from the edge of holding on for dear life and didn’t have enough spare energy or spare space to even imagine what my next career step should look like.
I am taking a big quiet time right now having left my job a few months ago and am now working with my husband in our family business. The best quiet time for me is doing Yoga or taking a long walk in the woods, paddling my kayak or working in my garden – those are the times my inner chatter stops long enough so I can really relax into the silence. This space is where my inner compass resides and if I am quiet long enough my best wisdom and creativity emerges. I am working on being more intentional about how I use my former commute time by spending more time in nature, doing art projects, cooking healthy food or reading. It’s too easy to let things like Facebook or reading on-line to suck up this precious gift of time.
I am so grateful to M for letting me invade his man space and have discovered unexpected delight in working on projects that have helped to move our business forward. I have found that taking photos of metal objects is far more exciting than I anticipated when those objects have been created by your man’s own two hands and I can help the world to see how beautiful they really are.
I am looking forward to a year that is more gentle to my introverted spirit and can’t wait to see what emerges from the silence.
Thank you to Rarasaur and her post “The Smell of My Silence” that helped me to find the right angle to finally write this post with only a few moments of exhilarating levitation required. 🙂 (Not all time reading on-line is wasted!)
If you are curious you can see the WordPress website I have been building for our business and the products that we make here.
Have a great week everyone!