I’ve had the oddest day! Last night I suffered through a rather unfun bout of food poisoning which left me weak and just, uh, weird today. And disconnected–so I did the only thing I knew to do–I skulked off to the gym to reconnect with my body. It’s amazing to me how DISconncected I can become, really quickly. And it wasn’t just the food bug. For months I’ve put off my daily yoga and meditation practice and ever so slowly slipped into a disconnected world of all brain, all busyness, no body, no integration. Food poisoning halted my brain and jolted me awake. Before the gym, I ran into an old friend at the Co op, who I haven’t seen in a long time and probably thought I was very Off–I was–although she oddly and independently brought up exactly what I’d just been thinking about, which is the subject of this post–dissatisfaction brought on by simple boredom, or worse–balance. But I felt so disconnected I couldn’t really engage with her; I felt like I was underwater. The gym helped. So did walking with my pups through the nearby and wonderful Lavender Heights, where I feel most comfortable in the world. Things began to come to life, and I began to feel integrated. This is my home, and I love it here–I often notice my whole body relaxing once I’m downtown. These are somehow my people, my air, my trees–I felt free.
But after that? Something else immediately pricked at my consciousness: but am I just USED to it here? Do I need to switch it up? The thought made me feel ill again. Yesterday on NPR, I listened raptly to an interview about NASA’s new role, and learned they’re contracting out for things they know how to do and have done well for 50 years. “But some people might see that as a retreat,” commented the interviewer. “No,” the NASA spokesperson intoned–“retreat would be doing the same thing over and over.” Oh crap, I thought–this is gonna do some damage. It was as if I’d been waiting, and I didn’t even know it, to hear this statement. It felt like one of those heavy, destined moments–but really, it just resonated with what I’m almost perpetually experiencing anyway. I have lots of these moments where I question myself: have I stayed too long in my job, this city? Am I fulfilling my purpose in life? Am I using these few years we’re given well? Do I need to move forward, change, revamp, reinvent? Or am I just restless and are feelings of Peaceful and Happy simply translated into Stagnant and Dying in my twisted little brain?
There are so many ways to retreat, to NOT be present, not really live–to cruise-control through life, ego more or less intact (one of them is to do the same thing over and over), and this is NOT how I want to live. In fact, I seem to live in mortal fear of doing so. I’ve been disconnecting, which leads inevitably to a free floating dissatisfaction and questioning everything I’m doing in my life–but I wondered, was I just disconnecting to Rest from the sometimes exhausting task of living open and raw? Or disconnecting to distract myself from a real need to Move Forward? Akk! But then it occurred to me: Rest is different than Disconnect. Rest is renewing, rejuvenating and makes you well. And what I’ve been doing is Disconnecting. The unhealthy ugly stepsister of Rest; the brain spiraling around on itself, where “busy” feels like “important,” but isn’t. When I find myself on my phone, laptop, iMac or with the radio on 24/7 and feeling slightly depressed and dissatisfied and grouchy–I know I’m disconnected from myself, and it’s time to slow down, reconnect, and show up. But until now it’s been tough to know when I’m really dissatisfied and need to move on, and when I’m just overloaded and escaping, and what I really need is to slow down and take a breath.
Why? Here’s the theory:
I had my amazing son at 18, and over the next 23 years worked and went to college–ending up with five degrees, two marriages and three careers I love, raised an incredible now-adult, and grew up. I found myself, and have certainly done the work to get here. But I’m also used to a pace that isn’t my friend right now. Since I’m not in school anymore and my son moved out, my life is very different than it’s been from the previous 20 plus years, and the new life has been an odd adjustment I haven’t quite mastered yet. My second ex-husband intimated the other day that maybe I was afraid to death of being Bored. Well, yeah. Maybe. I’m a die-hard Scanner, and for us, boredom is the worst thing. But I don’t just zip around entertaining myself randomly; I Learn. And when I’m not growing and learning at some specified rate, I feel like life is passing me by. And that’s a bad feeling. So when I feel that way, I sit down and look at what’s important to me; am I doing it? What can I change? Do I need to dream bigger? Or different? And then I do. But this cycle repeats itself every few months, and my friends, agent, partners, family employer and coworkers all patiently wait it out; although I always come around I can sometimes be a real trial to them, I know this. That period of urgency when I feel I must get out, must do something differently is often dark and painful–although I almost always end up on the other side full of gratitude for what my life is, and who’s in it. But it’s sometimes hard to know what’s the signal to get up and move, to learn and grow, and what’s just that empty and incessant need to be charging forward.
But Wait! Newsflash! I think I’ve found a key: Disconnect. When I’m disconnected, I simply need to slow down and enjoy my life–not move, not change jobs, not start a new relationship. Those are things to do when I’m connected, integrated, and well. Because that is when we are most clear. Which is why, my friends, not just striving for connection, integration and wellness, but also relaxing into it, listening to our bodies and giving ourselves what we need is So Important–so that we can be clear and healthy and well, move forward when we know it’s time with all our being, and know that we are very much here, sure that life is what we are, not what is passing us by.