*Photo of clover in the woods near our home in Nelson, NH.
As the world turns, I seem to have fallen into a hole of get up and work, go to work, come home and prepare for work the next day, go to bed, and get up and work again. On and on it goes, like a hamster wheel. It’s not ideal, and I have hope that I will regain my energy again one day soon, but for the moment I am not climbing mountains. Just thinking about climbing mountains makes me want to weep. Though I had the best intentions of getting out over the weekend to go hiking in the woods, my body simply could not comply. I needed to rest, since I have been so tired and stressed I actually got sick for the first time in years. Not sick enough to stay home, but sick enough to add weight to the existing exhaustion. This shall pass eventually. Until it does, I have been eating the best possible food, avoiding any junk at all, going to bed at obscenely early hours, and staring off into space at odd times during the day. Sleeping, resting, and eating good food. The only recipe for feeling better. Of course, there is also the food for the spirit, and I have been enjoying my return to the wonderful meditation center in Keene, where Monday evenings are like a lantern on a moonless night. They breathe life into the rest of my week.
One aspect of exhaustion which has caused me to ponder is the fact that this feeling of not having control over my own hours, my own time, serves as a reminder of my ultimate goal to truly have the freedom to work for myself. This discomfort of having to rise so early when I am a night owl, spending my days getting down onto the floor to work with young preschoolers (and then having to get up again—I am really getting great work-outs at the school), not always being able to use the bathroom when I need to go…all these things serve as reminders of what I really want. More than anything, I know I work best when I work for myself, or at the very least I work best when I am left to my own devices. Though I do enjoy those moments of wonder when a child’s face lights up with something they just learned, ultimately I know I must find ways to work for myself if I want to be truly happy. For the moment, the pressure of my discomfort will push me harder to find the creativity to make it happen. Rather than allow myself to wallow in misery, I will use the discomfort as fuel to forge ahead into the long hours of the night, writing my little heart out until I pass out in the chair with my computer in my lap. #Goals.
Though I did not find any trails to hike, I still find delight in walking the wooded road where we currently live, and I did take a wrong turn the other day which led to a serendipitous discovery of a nature preserve. I am excited to go wander the trails there, and maybe since I have it in mind my body will give me the needed energy to take the dogs for some fun soon. Our wooded road is lovely, but I require a change of scenery now and then. We’ve had a lot of rain falling lately, though; I hope we can get some respite from it soon. The sun hasn’t been out much, and the waterways in the North are full to bursting. If only we could build a pipeline for water from one side of the country to the other. All the rain of the East Coast regions could be sent to the West Coast to fight the fires and water the produce wilting in the summer heat. As the years wear on, we may have to do that very thing to help save the coasts from their unbalanced weather patterns. Sigh. Why does anyone still believe the propaganda of companies that profit from this sort of thing?
Today, much earlier in the day than I would ever expect to hear such a thing, an owl hooted from the trees right outside our house. It surprised me because it was so loud and unexpected, but I immediately smiled and got all excited that my rather large owl friend is still in the neighborhood. I thought the owl had moved elsewhere because it’s been quite a while since I heard any hooting, but apparently not. We also have a resident porcupine which likes to wander the woods around our house (we know this because we keep finding quills everywhere), and the other night I saw my first porcupine ever in the wild. It makes a very odd sound, a lot like a-dar-dar-dar-dar-dar, kind of like a duck and a goose together, but much stranger. It was fortunate that Michael knew what it was when I heard it that night, because a day or two later I came across another porcupine while I was walking the dogs. The darn thing was rooting around at the base of a small tree, somewhat hidden in the brush, and I didn’t even see it until we were within a couple of feet of it. Somehow the dogs didn’t notice it at all, which was good, because I high-tailed it out of there lickety-split. I had no desire to have to pull porcupine quills out of my dogs’ faces all night. Dogs, after all, are not known for their intelligent choices when it comes to chasing animals. Skunks, porcupines, deer, bears…dogs will go after all kinds of animals, regardless of their own safety. The thrill of the chase is too alluring, and they do not resist. What surprised me was the fact that I noticed the porcupine, but the dogs didn’t—so much for their keen sense of smell. Either way, it bristled as we walked past, and I escaped unscathed.
Once again, my body is drooping. I’ve prepared my vittles, my coffee, my clothes, and my shoes for tomorrow’s scheduled hours at the school, and now I absolutely must lie down. It took all my strength to just cook dinner and take the dogs for a walk, aside from the few things I did to prep for work tomorrow. Eventually I have to get used to this, right? I mean, I know I’m not 25 anymore, but I’m not that old. At some point, I have to buck up and get some kind of vigor back in my step. Life awaits, and I have every intention of living it. With that thought, it reminds me of a promise I made to myself at the last Monday meditation: I promise to live in the present. Something I have noticed about myself lately is that I tend to live for the future too often. I find myself thinking about things I want to do, places I want to go, people I want to meet, and then it seems as though I waste the present moment. Last night I got all wound up about how early I would have to get up, and how much I loathe the early hour at which I rise five days a week, and then I simply reminded myself that right now, in this moment, I am not rising early. In this moment, I am home, lying on my bed, resting. I reminded myself to enjoy the rest and to stop wasting the moment of rest with worry about what I would be doing hours and hours in the future. It helped. Live in the moment. That is my wisdom for today. Even if this moment is not the moment you want it to be, I am sure there is something in the moment that can be savored. A cool breeze. A warm sweater. A comfortable seat. A deep breath. All moments can be this way if we choose. Tomorrow I will endeavor to find those moments between the chaos of young children pulling the wool over the eyes of their teachers, and be grateful I can rise from the floor again and again in a day. I will be happy to breathe deeply when I am tired, and glad when I can use the bathroom. Little things.