“If you took a blue spruce tree and planted it in the desert, it would obviously perish. How do we forget that we too are living systems, and each of us have unique environments, needs, and conditions within which we flourish or wither?” ~Dawna Markova
Although we are far from desert conditions here in the Midwest, the last couple years of hotter, drier weather has taken a toll on the blue spruce trees in the area. I have four of them in my yard. One didn’t make it through last summer, and the other three are struggling despite the fact that I have been watering them in the dry spells. My trees are far from alone, though. I now notice other blue spruce trees everywhere I drive around town, and I’ve seen many others that are dead or struggling under these conditions.
Therefore, this quote from Dawna Markova really resonated with me. There are conditions where it is obvious that a given living specimen will not be able to survive, like a blue spruce tree in the desert or a fish on dry land, but there are also conditions that are sufficiently stressful to an organism that even if it does not kill it, it will stress the organism enough that over time it will begin to show the ill effects.
“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.
So after my message yesterday from the synchronicity rabbit, I spent last night dreaming of koala bears. I don’t remember much about the dream(s) except that there was constantly a koala bear in it. Either I was carrying around the koala bear on my hip like a small child—or someone else was carrying it—at any given time in the dream. Even in the dream, I kept having this nagging sense that the koala bear was important for some reason, but I didn’t know why or what it meant.
“To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves — there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.” ~Joan Didion
Over the last couple months since I left my full-time job, I have been spending increasing amounts of time alone—more time alone on an ongoing basis than I have probably ever had in my life. Some of this has been imposed by the job change but much of it is entirely by choice. All of the standard advice would say that this is unhealthy for someone dealing with the amount of loss and of change I am dealing with.
I’m not normal, I guess, because I am finding the exact opposite to be true. I am loving every moment of the solitude because it gives me the space to process, ponder, and heal in peace.
“Follow your heart and be true to yourself. Never live the life of another. You have to create your own road.” ~James Van Praagh
This is amazingly simple advice, but it’s also one of the hardest things for me to manage to do, especially as a co-dependent. I have a great deal of practice in being true to those around me; I have very little in being true to myself. I cringe in guilt at the very thought of being true to myself when doing so brings disapproval or criticism from those around me.
And then there’s the whole concept of creating my own road!
“I have sought rest everywhere, and have found it nowhere, save in a little corner, with a little book.” ~Thomas à Kempis
This indeed is my experience of the world as well. There is nothing like a good book in a quiet corner on my own to bring rest to my often restless and anxious soul. There are many days that I find myself thinking that I have been born into the wrong era and would have been better served to have been born in the days when books and careful study of them was held in higher esteem.
“Whoever cannot spend two-thirds of the day alone, doing what he pleases, is a slave.” ~Nietzsche
With the ice storms of the last several days, I have not seen another person since Monday of the this week. I’ve had a few short telephone conversations in that time—one to a friend, two about rescheduling of my hair cut due to the storm, and one wrong number. I’ve had the usual emails, instant messages, and Facebook interactions, but even those have been drastically decreased compared to normal these past few days.
So I have spent my days completely and gloriously alone, with only the company of my two cats (who are delighted with the extra attention). I have no television, but have not even turned on the radio or other music. The silence is heavenly; the solitude, healing. And it has been a particularly blessed time because it is entirely guilt free; there’s no where I could have gone anyway in this icy mess even if I had wanted to.