So I get off the 90-minute conference call with my immigration attorney and I am EXHAUSTED. Wiped out. Drained empty. Talking about the most private and intimate details of your relationship in the context of how they fit into a government formula and whether your truth will hold up under scrutiny because your hearts are true but many details of your choices might be considered unusual plus knowing that the person you’re talking to has seen some of your most private correspondence with your beloved and OHMYGODINEEDANAP.
Most women I know need a nap.
That was only the 74th time I felt exhausted this week.
Forms. Paperwork. Bills. Laundry. Email. Taxes. Documents. Tickets. Dishes. Passports. Visas. Lunches. Doctors’ appointments. Not to mention the farce unfolding every day in the news.
How do we keep going when we’re so tired?
How do we stay the course when we’d like to just hide under the covers?
How do we fill back up when life sucks our juice out again faster than we can fill back up?
Well, dearhearts, as you well know, we just effing DO!
We just do, that’s all. We keep going because we have mouths to feed and promises to keep and people to love and work to do. We do because we are women of integrity.
I know that you probably show this kind of gritty courage every day.
So here’s to you, epic fucking badass.
I think you’re doing GREAT.
(And also while we’re at it I think I should mention that your hair looks fantastic.)
So what I’m trying to say here is that LIFE IS EXHAUSTING!!!! Sometimes it feels like it will take every last bit of us, every ounce, every teeny tiny drop of our strength to get through it.
And yet get through it we shall.
Life is going to keep exhausting us. But we are going to keep filling ourselves back up. And it’s this filling-back-up part where so many of us run in trouble. Because we can’t soldier on when there is nothing left in the tank. We can’t keep climbing through the mountains without fuel.
This fuel comes in two forms. We can find it in the world around us, or we can find it deep within ourselves. Today I’m going to talk about the fuel we find deep inside our own inner world. This is the precious energy we carry with us even when everything external falls away.
Cultivating an inner world
The past year has been extremely externally oriented. There’s been so much to do to take care of the busy bouncing world around me.
But now I feel a deep yearning to turn inward. To tend to my inner world.
As women we can dip into a deep inner well within ourselves.
We draw on energies bigger than ourselves when we’re tapped out.
We cultivate a space inside ourselves where we can find some peace even when everything outside is such a shitshow.
But this doesn’t just happen on its own.
We have to deliberately nurture this precious energy inside us.
My inner well is running low and it’s time to replenish it. I’m going to share with you some of the things I’m doing right now in order to fill it back up, and on Monday I’ll have a brand-new free resource that I’ll share with you on this very topic.
- I’m going away this weekend to a hotel. By myself. Leaving husband and kids and house and everything. Many people find this extremely scandalous, but I told one of my clients the other day that I periodically go away on my own, and she said in wonder, “You know, I think my whole childhood would have been different– better– if my mother had let herself do that.” I know that for me, total solitude is the most restorative thing for my soul. A big white hotel bed, my journal, and maybe some piano music….ahhhh. I’ll come home to my beloveds filled up.
- I’m pouring my heart out in my journal every morning. I do a version of Julia Cameron’s “morning pages,” which is three pages of longhand stream-of-conscious rambling. The idea is that you aren’t writing so much as clearing the decks of all the crap that’s on your mind so that then you can think (and write) more clearly. If you’ve never read her marvelous book The Artist’s Way, I highly recommend it.
- I’m searching for new sources of nourishment. I’d gotten highly skilled at taking care of myself in Portland, a place which literally drips with flowers this time of year. Trees are budding, crocus and daffodils and tulips are blooming, cherry blossoms are flying around– you can’t take a breath without ingesting the magical juju of springtime. I knew the most soulful coffeeshops and the masseuses with the most healing hands and energy. And I had a wonderful circle of friends I’d see almost every day, when we walked our kids to school in the morning and picked them up in the afternoon. It’s different here, and I haven’t found new energy sources to plug into. And I realize that I must stop looking outside myself for that nourishment and create a space inside myself where I can dwell in beauty, no matter how brown and bleak it is outside my window.
So I’m hard at work tending my own little bit of earth and stardust– the one inside my mind, body, and heart.
Sometimes this all goes swimmingly. The morning pages are basically my form of meditation. They keep me connected to my own heart in the midst of all the noise around me.
Other times, of course, it’s all a disaster, like this past week when I planted a bunch of pansies in pots in a defiant act of joy and celebration…and since then it’s snowed Every Single Day on them.
But that’s sort of the point, really– to create “that stubborn summer” within myself that is stronger than any weather in my physical world. I’m working on cultivating an entire world inside myself that is stronger than anything the world can throw at me. You might even call it the path of the mystic…a heathen mystic.
I hope you’ll join me, dearheart.