I thought I lost myself for a minute.
Inside the pressing needs of blending a family and all of the space that came when leaving a job that no longer served, a pandemic swept me off my feet and into a deep forest where it was all I could do to gather wood and tend to children. Motion restricted, the whole world treaded molasses while we waited for instructions and answers that will probably never come. Having no choice, I settled in for a rest, for a long summer of endless days wherein I questioned nothing and resigned myself to an endless stream of afternoons that were as indecipherable as a million masked faces.
Struggling against the monotony, I prayed for hope, for answers. What came was a reminder of what was forgotten. I discarded for a time the wildness that lives inside me, left her behind like laundry left on the chair in the corner. The busyness of business reduced my life to a burst of short staccato moments with no space to tend my own fires. But slowly, over minutes and hours and days, I remembered. I breathed back in so many moments from the last ten years, took stock of everything I created. I saw me again, the world travels, time spent on mountains dancing with wild medicine women, the magic seen and created in jungles and in my office, the servant who lives tucked just under my heart and keeps my hands spread wide and open.
For three and a half years, I’d lived under the thumb of an organization while also running a nonprofit and caring for my family, seeing clients, winning the bread for all of us. Worn as an old whetstone, my body was tired. My hair was falling out and there were days headaches kept me bedridden. Because as I child I absorbed the message that to produce and perform was to be loved, the thought of laying fallow for a season, of having no Big Plans, was unthinkable. And yet the siren song of rest called to me and then a virus with a crown demanded it, and I fell into a long season of nothingness as if it were my grandmother’s large, comfortable bed. I sank deeply, Goldilocks tucked into a pile of down, surrounded by the knowledge that everything was just right.
The awareness that comes when we sit with ourselves allows us to meet the essence of who we are, to greet the child within us and call her back home. The gift of doing nothing is that we’re able see everything. Allowed to put my life under a microscope, I found places I needed work. Wounds needing to be healed are now bandaged and clean again. The fences of my boundaries are repaired and strong. There is a brave new line between what I’m willing to give and expect to receive. Taking stock means stepping back and I gazed down upon everything I’ve built with an unwavering eye.
Sometimes we accept other people’s messes or judgements as our own. The dust of another’s disaster creeps in under the door slowly and we begin gathering it up with our own. And then more and more dirt comes in and we keep sweeping, not fully realizing the heaviness of the load we unwittingly took on, not aware that our backs are breaking under the strain. In the tedium of daily work, we forget to examine how we are serving and being served. This is where stillness comes in. Stillness is the place to feel what is hurting and remember joy. In the quiet, we hear God within us whispering, “Put down the broom. You were made for more than this.” In the quiet, we ask, “Is this mine, is this mine, is this mine?” So much we carry is not ours. We must be willing to leave it by the side of the road.
As I discard what was and become new again, standing in the truth of my power and all I came to do, I’m most deeply grateful for rest. Not lost on me is knowing I’ve taken nine months to slowly gestate a new beginning. There is a woman inside me I haven’t met yet, but I can sense who she is and where we may be headed. She is beloved and brave, full of promise. Soon we will meet and blaze a new trail, sit under new moons, breathe in a thousand sunrises.
Here is the truth. In this season of deliciously doing nothing and letting go of everything, what I thought was lost was found. I am a fallow field, rested and ready to plant seeds for a new harvest, laying strong under a giant sun, waiting patiently to rise.