Sunday Morning ~ Mindful Movement
Mtunkha-tunkha udatayitsa lipande. ~ Moving all the time spilled the pounded maize.
~ Chewa proverb
March 14, 2021
Among other things, the pandemic has forced me to stop moving around. It is unfamiliar but I’ve tried to embrace it, and I’ve had some success. I’m more settled, take more stock in what I have, what I need and what I don’t. I’ve connected with many distant friends, read a lot, walked a lot, written. I’m still in motion but the circle has diminished to my kitchen island. I thought about this as I paced around it today, eating cornbread, wondering why I can’t sit still to eat anymore. Someone, somewhere said that’s not good for you, to stand and eat, but I don’t believe it.
It’s been a year since this enforced homestay began. A year in a long life is a blip. I think of the years in school, wishing them to be done so I could move on to exciting things. I could have, should have, relished those years more. My constant motion always had me looking ahead to the next adventure, planning another before I finished the one I was on. I think of the years with babies, loving them but also wishing for the days when they could buckle their own seatbelt, carry their bag, zip their own jackets. It always seemed like life would be easier around the bend. And so, I have tried to relish this year of being home, knowing I am so much more fortunate than many. I am trying today, the day when the time lurches forward, to sort through my feelings about this year.
Guilt crops up. I’ve felt guilty about having so much comfort and security. Not immobilizing guilt, I’ve worked hard for what I have. I know many people who would blame my Catholicism for this guilt, which always makes me laugh, since they don’t say this to guilty-feeling non-Catholics. I experiment changing the internal dialog from guilt to gratitude. I’m grateful for what I have and wish others could have the same. We all make choices and I chose a road that led me to a comfortable life. But I was also lucky. I had parents who worked hard and paved the road I walked. I was lectured at length as a kid that hard work was the only way to a comfortable life and I learned that lesson well. I also acknowledge there was much more circumstance to that end. I chose a profession that allowed me to work anywhere around the world, there being a universal need for nursing. I recognized my calling fit well with my need to move. While friends were reading What Color is Your Parachute? I was moving closer and closer to my career goals and always found moving an exciting prospect. Settling in to new places and creating a new life has always been my default setting: when upset, move.
Once settled into this house that took so much of our resources, heart, and mind, I vowed never to move from it and it has been my mooring ever since. Moving and returning has been my pattern. Until now, however, I’ve never spent this much time in it. I’ve traveled or spent days away at my workplace, returning to this anchorage in a whirl of accomplishment and relief. I took this place for granted. Now, day in and day out, I’m here looking around at ceilings and walls, decor, window latches, door knobs, floors and newel posts. I watch the angle of the sun coming in and have been analyzing it’s progression. It’s given me an attention to detail new in perspective. I haven’t decided if it’s good or bad; I’m still thinking about it. Sometimes I think I’m going crazy, and sometimes I feel smart and handy. I move through the house this time of year when the light is a tease, the temperature deceives, and lose myself in details and what to do about them.
I look out the window and feel I should be outside. But more than any time of year, I want to be in. This is not new; it’s my reaction to spring. I’ve always resisted this but I’m not a spring fan. The light says, “Come out!” But when I do, the air is like a cruel boyfriend who teases and lies. It tortures me when I step out. I think, “This isn’t what you promised!” Your light said, “Lightweight sweater! No long underwear!” But in reality, I must bundle up and watch my step because the going is hard and dangerous. It’s not easy or fun. And so I admit to myself that I’m out of sync. This season does not love me and I don’t love it back. I cling to my beloved winter, knowing it’s leaving and won’t be back for awhile. I pick my skis off the dirty snowbank, toppled after a fleeting thaw, and hope for another go on the white trails, the soft scene surrounding me with happiness and gratitude. It’s so fleeting. It’s like an affair, a lover you know you can’t keep. It’s that ugly time when the affair is over but you’re still fighting. You know it is right to end things, it’s best. But you only half believe that. You want things the way they were and now need to sit with your grief and find pleasure in other things. A thaw is around the corner now, but it’s only to mess things up before freezing again so the softness is turned to a treacherous dare.
Eventually the sadness will fade. As the forsythia start to bud I’ll anticipate the next lover, and one day I’ll open the door to a welcome breeze that says it’s real this time. Then I’ll leave the bitterness behind, barely remembering how I ever felt anything but joy. Those days are coming.
Mindful movement, keeping this dramatic year in perspective.
Love to all,