This is the first blog post I did. Of course you never get to the end of a spiritual journey but here I had obviously reached some kind of plateau. Other than that I was preoccupied with how I spent my time and with doing too much. I hadn’t accepted as I do now the need to specialise and to have a committed routine for writing. On a more personal note, although I tried for a while I have now let go of keeping in touch with people who either don’t keep in touch back or with whom there isn’t a real connection.
Is fun the final frontier? First published in May 2014
Is fun the final frontier? So what do you do when you reach the end of a spiritual journey? What next? There’s this restless, ‘Is that it?’ feeling. A crackling energy with no clear outlet. It’s the way I feel when I haven’t been swimming for a few days. I toy with using that energy for other things, for work, or conversation but there’s no bargaining to be had. I need to go swimming and that’s that. Even though occasionally I play or experiment with not doing it just to check that yes, it really is that important to me. And I am especially tempted towards this type of experimentation now. I should also add that as well as my spiritual journey, I also finished my spiritual memoir and not for the first time, am taking a little break from writing, or, as I have done before, experimenting with not doing it, to see what that feels like. To check if it really is necessary, or am I okay without it and perhaps meant to be doing something else instead.
Except today I started writing this but this is more a documentation of the ‘what next’, rather than the start of a Grand Project. And whereas before, when I have been miserable and conflicted when I experiment with not writing, right now I have been enjoying the freedom, the sense of space, the oodles of time and headspace and the increased connectivity and participation in the real world.
I look around and see that plenty of people are content, nay, happy with just going to work, exercising, cooking and seeing family. I wonder if I could be too, although I know immediately that the answer to that question is no. As my husband said when I discussed it with him, they are fulfilled by that and that’s fine, but if you are fulfilled by other things, that’s fine too. So I am going to assume that that thing is writing and act accordingly. No big new projects, no grand plans, just this, writing it up, one page at a time.
So, what next? I enjoyed having a rest from my head and from my long and winding journey. I had a massage and enjoyed being grounded in the physical. But then I had a couple of weeks of just… drifting… getting myself into an almost bored state, thinking, wondering about my state of mind. I stopped doing any homework for my healing training and I stopped exercising regularly. I let myself eat a lot and put on some weight. But I didn’t feel at all bad, even when last minute shopping for an outfit for a wedding reception and looking big. I knew I was just doing temporary experiments and I was enjoying it to an extent, but without my rigid rather punishing regimes of exercise, healing practice and writing I began to feel my sense of direction was fast disintegrating.
But until I let go of everything, how can I let go and let God; how can I know what to keep in my life and what to discard, unless I loosen my grip on all of it and entertain, even if just for a brief moment, the notion that nothing is forever? Boredom breeds creativity, is one theory. I considered writing a list, an inventory of everything in my life, all the family and the friends, the acquaintances, the resources, my work, the house, etc etc. I even considered doing a SWOT analysis and a plan linked with regular reviews, just like I do for my department at work. I thought, shouldn’t my life get at least as much attention as my job? But life, at least a spiritual life, doesn’t roll like that. And I want a spiritual life, I really do.
In the last few weeks I went to a family funeral. It made me feel alive and it reminded me which bits of family I actually like to be with and want to see more of, as well as which people I feel guilty about not seeing. It sounds so simple put like this: I will call those people I like and go and see them. No need for a big family do, just see them for lunch or a cup of tea. I will call my sister and invite myself over and then diary it to do again two months later. This is the only way I will see her, as she almost never calls me and I never have a strong enough urge to call her ‘naturally’. Although I accept that we will probably never be close I feel bad about not seeing her, hence, the need to make a plan to do so. Some family relationships are mostly based on duty but a cup of tea after work isn’t going to kill me, especially when I think of what other people do for their family members, even ones they don’t like.
So I have used a work type approach on some aspects and for others, a simple emotional one: I like spending time with those people, I feel comfortable with them. I want to see them more often than I have thus far. It’s the balance between the planned and the unstructured, the disciplined scheduling and the intuitive, responsive spontaneity. Between my plans and the cues and opportunities of the world around me. So, what to plan and what to let unfold naturally? Answer: at every decision fork, simply be aware that there is that choice and then trust yourself to make it. And if an area of life isn’t going too well, review it against these two ways of approaching it.
When I finished my memoir and came up for air, I noticed the house. I finally got the bathroom redecorated after talking about it for months. I began to notice other things that needed doing and got back into doing a bit more housework, honouring the home I am lucky enough to live in. I still want to be a healer as much as ever, I still love the feeling of my hands heating* up if I just so much as think about it. I was just on holiday, that’s all. I will still swim and will probably begin to put a bit more effort in. I am sure I will eat better and lose a little weight, naturally and without fuss or scales and not out of self loathing but out of sensible respect for health.
And my Love… well, if I had to imagine what he might want… it might be for me to be more content with where I am and not so restless and anxious for the next thing. I said to him recently that it would be good to take drugs and it be just about fun and not about exploring the outer regions of my head and he said, Hallelujah I can’t wait for you to get there that’s what I’ve been like for ages. I do feel fun flowing through me, especially when the kids are here; I feel like crawling around on all fours pretending to be a lion, or a gorilla, or making cat noises… Is fun the final frontier? I asked my husband. He replied: What else would there be?
He is reading a book about creating a simple life to hear God better; we debated that and came to the conclusion, as always, just live** life in your own way, in the way in which you feel closest to God. For me: in intense emotion, like after the funeral. Flashes of happiness after doing a good day at work. Being at a wedding reception and seeing all the people being so nice and friendly to my stepdaughter. Driving home with her asleep in the passenger seat afterwards. Seeing my son chat away to my husband and know that it was him he called when he needed some advice. Just being quiet and alone in the house. Life, basically. And writing, knowing that I have this, this support system, that helps me work it all out as I go along…..
*My original Freudian slip typo said ‘hearting’ up. Yes, heating up with love!
** And this one originally in another typo said ‘love’ rather than live, and I considered leaving it, as that is true too.
Postscript Re reading the above I note the following influences and experiences: a funeral, a book being read and discussed, attending a social event. I needn’t have worried about my writing or about what to do next. The lesson I take from the past few weeks is ‘participate in life and wait for inspiration to strike’.