I’ve been moving too fast. Ever since Imbolc, and the completion of my deep Winter creative project, I’ve been rushing forward without a clear sense of direction. Movement for movement’s sake, really. Last week, just before I was set to undergo another intense creative project, my body gave out under the pressure.
Illness struck hard. My temperature rose to 102 degrees with little warning, and my corners and edges began to ache. Sweat to chill and back to sweat again; this would be my pattern for days. There would be no working; no business. I was down for the count.
I did not meditate or practice my morning devotional for the first 3 days I had the flu. It was the only time since I began my discipline that I’ve taken this long away from my altar. I put that work aside, trusting that there would be no severe spiritual repercussions from taking a few down days (I don’t think The Kindred work that way). When I returned to it, I felt weak. Lost. Uncertain of what this setback meant. I was upset that I’d been unable to keep up my pace. And, as it turns out, keeping up the pace may be the problem.
My great grandmother showed up again yesterday. She came with the message that if I don’t slow down – if I don’t rest even more than I think I am – I will miss an opportunity. I won’t be prepared for it. This isn’t unlike her last communication, so apparently I haven’t gotten the message yet.
The idea of releasing the need to make everything move forward is a bit scary. I think I’m motivated to action – in my spiritual work and in my career – by the fear that if I stand still everything will fall apart. Then I get the message from an Ancestor – stand still. I’m not sure I know how to do that.
I call out to all of my friends in the blogosphere with this inquiry:
How do you do it? How do you slow down? Any tips for a movement-addict?
Definitely take a break when you're feeling ill. If you can't meditate, don't force it. If you feel up to other spiritual activities – pray, make offerings on your altar, etc…
Slow down? Gosh, I wish I had that problem. I want to speed up right now! My life is so busy… Best of luck with everything!
Thanks for the words of wisdom. The break from meditation was pretty well imposed by my immune system, and I've slowly been getting back into it.
Best of luck with your busy life, too! 🙂
I have the same problem. I refuse to slow down until I end up in bed for a month with bronchitis. My best tips are to enlist your loved ones to help you (my fiancé has this really effective way of saying, "Do whatever you think is best," in a "you're crazy" voice that irritates the hell out of me but gets the point across), and to actually schedule your slow-down time. If you block out time for rest and quiet contemplation and hold yourself accountable, you'll be less likely to put it off. Trite advice, maybe, but it's common for a reason. 🙂
On the other hand, while I've been sick, I've been doing quiet, receptive meditation and prayer while bundled up in bed. It seems to work.
My husband has been instrumental in keeping me from totally losing it. It's good to have a partner, indeed. I'm not sure I'll encourage his "you're crazy" voice, though. 🙂
I like the idea of making time for rest and quiet, and allowing that time to become a greater and more central part of your day to day. The bed-work seems right, too. Although… I did spend a good bit of sick-time in bed watching old Buffy re-runs. Not exactly meditative, but it was still good medicine!
Yes! Buffy is absolutely necessary for getting over the flu, like drinking lots of fluids and staying warm.
When I was in my 30's, I started doing a lot of dreamwork and Jungian active imagination work. It was fascinating, and I felt driven to plumb the depths of my soul. Then one night I had a vivid dream.
I was wandering in a large office facility, somewhere deep underground, lost in a maze of bland carpet and identical faux oak doors under fluorescent light, with the anxious sense that I was somehow late to an important meeting. At last, I found the right door. Inside, I could faintly hear a heated argument taking place among many people. I knocked lightly and stepped in.
Sitting around a long boardroom table was the most bizarre collection of people and creatures you could imagine: talking animals, fairies, gnomes and gnolls, wizards, witches, demigods, mixed with people from all walks of life. The sudden silence in the room was electric with faint echoes of the din that had been taking place a moment before. Every eye in the room was focused on me. They weren't unfriendly, but they were impatient: "Yes, what is it?" is what their eyes said.
I stood there for one very awkward moment, then grinned an embarrassed grin, stepped back out, and closed the door. As the door closed, I heard the roar of discussion resume.
When I woke up the next morning, I started laughing. I realized that all my "inner work" had already done everything it needed to do, which was to bring all these disparate parts of my soul to the discussion table. "They" did not need or want me — my ego-involvement — at that particular point, thank you very much. Indeed, my ego-presence at the table was counterproductive.
We are much deeper and richer than our egos, and it is the ego that brings us to the altar to "do" something spiritual. Sometimes we keep trying to "do" the thing that we've already "done." It's like continuing to apply paint to a painting that is finished, or to keep adding salt and spices to a stew that just needs to cook. Your work (so far) has opened a door. You don't need to keep opening it, inspecting the hinges, closing it, opening it, inspecting the hinges, closing it, ad infinitum.
What a brilliant insight, Themon. Thank you. This speaks in a way that I can understand.