There can be times in a life when torpor sets in. Or so I am discovering. Perhaps it begins with a yawn one morning when noticing a floor needs sweeping or when what to eat for supper is of little interest. Noticing such a fledgling state of mind at this stage might bring on an internal slap, a ‘get up and get on with it’ admonition spoken out loud or in silence, the voice sharp, matronly, critical, judgmental even. But if, as in macrame, this torpor is permitted daily freedom to build one knot into a pattern, it soon becomes an accepted, if not acceptable, un-presence of mind. And before I know it, I am its obedient servant. Perhaps such times are allowed now and again. Too many of us (and too much) are driven by expectations, our own of ourselves or those of others or worse the ones we think others demand of us, most of which are imagined and therefore not real. However I am not one to just allow torpor nor stupor to dupe my mind, at least not once I notice what’s going on up there inside my skull. I sense the danger of ‘can’t be bothered’. It smells of metal and lemon pith. ‘What’s the point?’ is another one. This one smells of sleet and cold porridge and comes with a shivering wind. I can turn from both, berate this inner crazy and perform a task of beauty which may well be the preparation of a delicious but simple meal or the sweep of my mindful brush across the kitchen floor. It might be a gentle wander through the woods or just the opening of my ears to birdsong, my eyes to the brave tulips about to bloom, or perhaps my ears to the miraculous sound of my own breath, in and out, in and out.
I can’t always manage it of course. Who on earth can? Life is not always a daring, bold adventure but sometimes a battle to just get through the long hours of a single day. One day can awaken fresh and happy in an unexplainable way. The next doesn’t really want to wake at all, again for no obvious reason. I am learning to accept this conundrum knowing that the happy and unexplainable day, within which I felt light on my feet, full of energy and laughter at pretty much everything, is a gift and the other is a reminder to love myself no matter what, to be kind as I would to anyone else. To love oneself is, of course, is the hardest thing to do and not just for me. So much about loving self sounds like arrogance, self-importance, narcissism. And therein lies the problem, the reason a person might never even try to love the broken adult self, let alone accept the possibility, no, probability, that loving oneself can heal every wound, eventually.
And it is simple. Not easy, not at all, but simple. How simple it is to someone else, after all, without judgement, wanting only that they are warm, safe, secure, free and unconditionally loved. Yet we seem inept at best in gifting all of these to our own selves. My way of rising from the sunder of my past is to actively silence the inner judges, all perceived, imagined, long dead and of no use to me at all, not in my present life. I doubt they were ever of much use to me. To be reprimanded for a ‘crime’ at any point in my life came, after all, from outside of me, loudly, angrily, thence some punishment or other would ensue and I would survive it. It was done, over, behind me. Why on earth would I continue the punishment within and for years, perhaps? What lunacy! What lunacy indeed. Knowing this, seeing it now, I can laugh at the addles in my brain, the old wiring, the macrame knot pattern and with loving fingers, unpick the whole thing, bit by bit. I can notice the triggers that tug, no, yank, at the ties that bind me to my long ago and then I do something for myself. I might listen for the birdsong, step out barefoot onto night grass or even sweep the floor. Something, anything, that tells me I am here, I am important, a part of a very long and beautiful story, one that I can add to any time I like. I make mistakes, poor judgements and many failures and I know that I can wither at the perceived enormity of the mountain they make in my path, or I can laugh at the mountain, turn away and head in a whole new direction where the sky is wide open and the fragrant wildflowers tickle my bare legs as I walk.