Homing, returning to oneself (12 January 2010)
I’m really feeling like today is the first day of the rest of my life. Yesterday, my doctor wrote me off sick until the end of February. This open vista has already had an impact on me – I realise how much my life has been looking like a tunnel, because of my feelings of obligation around going into the office day after day.
So this time will partly be about getting a taste of what life could be like, so that I have a basis upon which to choose.
The other night, when I couldn’t sleep, I started reading the chapter in “Women who Run with the Wolves” about homing, returning to oneself. There, Pinkola Estes says “the pysches of women also have their own cycles… being of the world and returning to the soul-place”. To fail to recognise and honour these cycles “causes women to deviate from their natural and soulful cycles and therefore to suffer from dryness, tiredness and homesickness”. The most important cycle is the return to home, the wild home, the soul home.
This is the journey I am embarked on. I know that I must rediscover and reintegrate many repressed parts of myself. I know how much of my creativity I have suppressed over the years, partly to ensure the approval of significant others (particularly parents) and partly because professional work has crowded out so much – and the ‘life of the mind’ has taken up much of the space that remained.
I note also the deep longings I have – for unstructured time, for domesticity, and for nature. Not just to go walking in it – as if it’s ‘out there’, something to consume when I feel like it – but, as Ria puts it, to ‘weave myself back into it’, to become part of it. To live and grow within a garden. To be able to participate in the design and development of my living environment, as an organism living on the face of the planet, not as a little boxed automaton, who must choose from a selection of ready-made solutions invented by a mechanistic system.
The soil is feminine
As I was waking up yesterday, I had an image. I was looking out through a glass wall (like the one in my living room) and I saw that all the soil was gone, and that I could see down into all the structures of the earth – for miles and miles, through the diaphanous capillaries, organs, membranes, bones, sinews and arteries of the globe we live on. Rather than finding this enlightening, I felt the loss of the soil. And I understood that the soil is feminine. It nourishes, it receives back the dead, and it covers. It hides the the inner workings of life, clothes them in darkness and mystery. You can feel it, and smell it, but not see through it.
Life of the appetites (22 January)
It’ll be time for me to return to work when I have appetite for more than just resting at home. There are now moments where I can see that happening.
‘Appetite’ is a key word for me right now. I am relearning to follow my own impulses. Do what I feel like, when I feel like it. The other day I had a crashing insight – that sounds utterly simple and obvious: life is complete in the living of it. Moment by moment. There is nothing to achieve, no need to make progress every day or any such thing. Seeing all the assumptions and injunctions running through me, I can see them as the different developmental memes they spring from – in Spiral Dynamics terms Orange and Blue in particular.
Now I have moments of deep peace and well-being, just being still. Yesterday morning I lay in bed late (I went back to bed after seeing the children off to school) and just dozed. I felt like an earthworm, popping up to the surface for a piece of consciousness and then pulling it down under the earth to digest it, and enrich the hidden soil with it. It made me realise how much of our knowing goes on in the dark, under ground, unbeknown to the conscious mind. Knowing and yet not knowing, all mixed up together.
The other thing I am noticing is that all of a sudden I am seeing the birds everywhere. I never used to notice them, and now, wherever I look, I see them. Two days ago I saw a crested woodpecker feeding on the neighbour’s lawn. A great fat thing, green with a red head and crest.