It’s terrible for me to leave these long silences here.
Every day there are words streaming through my head and I want to write them down and to send out a message to you. It is so interesting to be living through this shift in life direction.
I want to tell you about it but…….
These times of change and uncertainty have brought with them great self doubt and a strange inability to verbalise what is happening.
Normally when I am lost I use words as guide ropes to lead me back home.
Words can help you understand your experiences but sometimes they seem to be a distraction. I write and delete, write and delete. Words form on the page and a few minutes later they seem irrelevant.
Writing at times like this is like trying to grasp the wind. What is true in one moment has changed as soon as I have written it down. Like birds that settle on the branch just long enough to catch my attention but when I try to get close, they fly away.
Of course all this makes me quite anxious. For three weeks now I have had pain in my lower back which makes it hard to do the physical jobs that need doing. There is a constant knot of tension in my stomach. I woke today about 3.30am with all systems alert and slightly panicky.
I am home and yet feel lost and alone.
I have often advised people to let themselves be in these moments of crisis without fighting or trying to escape. To accept the need to rest when your body seems to fall apart. If you can’t write – then don’t write. If you feel vulnerable and self-conscious amongst people – then spend time alone. If you can’t do the garden, paint the house, unpack boxes, clean windows – then do nothing for a while.
But it’s not easy to follow this advice. I know that. It means trusting that life will move on by itself, without my pushing it, and that in time I will feel better. Words will flow and things will get done. Being with people will feel easy again and I will be able to lift and carry and eat without thinking of my back or my stomach.
This morning I watched a snail crawl up the window beside my bed. There were raindrops from last nights storm and as she moved so gracefully and effortlessly up the glass, she seemed to drink each water drop that she encountered. She didn’t go looking for it, but accepted what was there.
I thought how badly we treat snails and how beautiful they are when seen through glass, against the backdrop of wild flowers and a new day. For those moments she gave me the ability to just be present, in touch with the miracle of life in all its forms.
When you can’t write exactly what you want – write something anyway.
When you don’t know if anyone is there who wants to read it – write anyway.
When you haven’t got a clue what is happening – write something anyway and let it go.
Photographs and words are all ways we try to grasp the wind and so in part they are bound to fail, but at the same time, they give form to something that is utterly intangible – life.