“Pain (any pain—emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: “We would be more alive if we did more of this,” and, “Life would be more lovely if we did less of that.” Once we get the pain’s message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away.” ~Peter McWilliams
I’ve found myself struggling again more than I had been the last few days. I wouldn’t call it pain exactly, but there is a definite sense that things are not as they should be. I’ve been able to observe these feelings without getting sucked into them (and without losing sight of how joyous life is), and I think Peter is right; there is a message for me in this feeling.
There are some specific things that I know have contributed to my feeling less settled, including a bad sunburn that is more painful than any I have had in recent memory. (I have very pale skin, so I am well acquainted with sunburns, unfortunately.) Therefore, some of the messages (spend less time in the sun and wear more sunscreen) are rather obvious. Others are taking more time and attention to sort out.
I think I have decided that the biggest message for me in this is about balance, particularly with how I spend my time and energy. I have spent a lot of time alone over the last few months, so I was more than ready to get out and start spending more time with other people and going and doing. I think this has really been good for me, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I’ve realized that what I am really feeling is tired.
My going and doing has put me behind on homework for yoga training, on yard work, on other household chores and tasks that need to be done, and this is leaving me feeling overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed is a guaranteed recipe for leaving me tired and out of sorts.
In addition, as an introvert, I need lots of alone time to recharge after spending time with people, and I have not been managing a very good balance in that area lately. All of my alone time has gone toward frantically trying to catch up on my growing chore list lately, so I have had none of the quiet, reflective, rejuvenating times of reading, writing, and pondering that bring me so much joy and sustenance. I call this my stare-at-the-wall time. I don’t always just stare at the wall—sometimes I do mindless chores, or I read for fun, or I journal—but stare-at-the-wall time means I have permission to do nothing but stare at the wall and allow my brain to process, ponder, and rest if that’s what I need. It means I get some solitude.
I had some time tonight working in the yard—finally getting some herbs and veggies planted in my garden, doing some pond maintenance, trimming some dead limbs out of trees, tackling a little bit of weeding—that allowed for mental down time even though my body was actively working. I needed that time to process my struggles (pain) to even realize what the message behind it was. Having deciphered the message, I can clearly see the accuracy in it, and I am grateful that my being has the ability to alert me this way.
I need balance. I am looking forward to this weekend when I have only one activity planned, and I have decided to safeguard the rest of my weekend to allow myself time to catch up on all the things that are leaving me so overwhelmed and to get some of that rejuvenating stare-at-the-wall time that I need. I can’t wait!
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.