A call to armsFebruary 18, 2021
I need to write – that’s what I’m aware of, as I open my eyes early on Friday morning. And though it’s less than convenient after the previous night’s disturbed sleep effort, up I get – at 5:30am.
It happens, this urge to write, and though I can try and ignore it, it never really serves me to do so. Because I get this feeling of being called to something, but until I put pen to paper I don’t necessarily know what.
The call this morning is strong, bold, demanding. And the words that run through me are similarly so – ‘this is a manifesto, a call to arms, an uprising’, I write. And not just to me, but to all of us.
It’s a call to delve deep into the monotony that we’re calling life at the moment. To dig into our inner selves and awaken the parts of us that have been (or are being) slowly lulled towards sleep. To find and connect with a something there that’s vital, primal, animal, wildish. Alive.
[Wildish – an original, natural, intuitive intelligence helping us to live in our authenticity.]
Mary Oliver says it perfectly: “this is what I learned: that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion, that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.”
And Clarissa Pinkola Estes too, who notes that that “reasserting our connection to wildish nature helps guide, suggest and urge vibrant life in the inner and outer worlds”.
Because our hearts are stinging, no? And there is no vibrant life, inside or outside. This ongoing pandemic and resulting lockdown leaves us squashed, disconnected, tired, busy, empty, bored, frazzled, lost…
I know I’m struggling with all these things. And I’m reminded that, though this particular journal entry will make it onto the blog, this process of writing is first and foremost a tool for myself. Because this otherness that Oliver references, this wildish nature of Pinkola Estes – this is a thing that I have lost my connection to.
So what does my sleepy, forgotten wildish self need right now?
An urge to draw. That’s what I can feel in my body. Maybe I’ve been influenced by seeing someone else drawing recently? But no, it’s real. No matter the fact that I don’t have any drawing ‘skills’ (though I did begin to learn last year), I sense a definite urge to put pencil to paper and express.
Roller skating too – another desire that I can feel bubbling up from the depths – despite the fact that I’ve been putting this one back in its box for a while…
It is, I think, that call to creativity, wildishness, freedom, space, expression… A call away from the monotonous, drab, dreary same-ness that seems to pervade every waking hour at the moment. A call to play, have fun, relinquish the responsibility of all this STUFF for a while.
And though there was a time I’d have been fearful of enacting either of these things – afraid of stepping out of ‘my box’ – now I tend towards thinking ‘why the hell not’?
After all, as an adult I’ve learnt to surf, to skateboard, to sew, to garden… even to write. Except (aha!), on the latter it wasn’t so much that I learnt as I gave myself permission.
And there’s a word that hits me hard. Suddenly today’s message begins to take shape… a number of themes coming together – the ones I’ve been teaching with since the year began. Kindness. Beginning again. Otherness. Permission. Freedom. Joy.
I teach from a place of intuition and sometimes my ‘good enough’ voice will question if that’s ok. Shouldn’t I be more structured? Planned? Precise? But the truth is there’s a thread that runs throughout, and that thread will get knitted together with another, and another to form a much bigger picture of where we’re at and what we have to learn.
Which is, right now, that the stagnation in our lives needs to be tenderly questioned, interrogated and challenged. That there’s an otherness out there we must connect ourselves to in order to keep our souls alive. That the fundamental creativity of self must be provided space and permission to BREATHE if we’re to see this through with an ounce of sanity.
[The irony of me – someone who would have once sworn blind they weren’t in any way creative – banging on about creativity is not lost…]
So yes, I recognise, I feel pulled towards drawing something, or towards engaging in this skating that has no other purpose but play.
Just as these things – that in this moment feel as essential as oxygen – start to solidify for me, my head begins to take over. And these essential sparks of life, of essence, of wildishness, of joy quickly become something else – the dreaded list:
- Research roller skates
- Perfect your skateboarding
- Watch those surf tutorials
- Plant those seeds
- Print that paperwork
- Tidy that cupboard
- “Oh, I wonder if we need a food shop?”
- …and on and on and on.
The spark, vitality, essence that was there is quickly snuffed out and I’m left with an overwhelming list of ‘to dos’ (despite knowing deep down that had I just opened the front door there and then, and done some twirls down the empty, quiet, still, dark street I’d have been 100% fulfilled).
Watching this happen, I realise how important an awareness this is. I have just put myself back in my box. I’ve put just enough barriers in the way for that spark of expression, and the perceived risk that it presents to me, to be stopped in its tracks.
Except I saw it happen.
[For those of you who come to WRITE already – I fell down the hole, but my eyes were open]
So what comes next but Kindness, Beginning Again, Permission, and Trust. Kindness as I stumble and pick myself up to begin again. Permission to explore my instincts (without needing a perfect outcome!). And trust that those voices deep inside of me know more than the voices on the outside – even if the latter might be louder, shoutier and more persistent.
I’d love to know if you’re experiencing some of the same – and if there’s a call to your wildish side that you can hear right now, but haven’t quite yet acted upon…