He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate.Henry David Thoreau
All last week, I felt like I was sucked into quicksand. I found myself in a rapidly changing terrain, where I could find no firm footing. Bursts of positive energy, here and there, provided a sense that I could pull myself out of the pit, but it quickly became clear the more I railed against my predicament, the more I became stuck. Every forward motion seemed to cause me to sink further down into the sand, and by the end of the evening a few nights ago, I felt I was submerged up to my chin. So instead of struggling, I stopped. I went to bed, closed my eyes, and turned off.
Some days, I just cannot. I cannot be positive. I cannot see a way forward. I cannot feel joy or happiness. I cannot think. I feel like I am in a fog, looking outside in to a body that is going through motions. For the first time in a long time, I just wanted to stay in bed. Where I could feel myself safely cocooned in my comforter, the outside world far away, totally disconnected. Of course, I could not, duty called, and I dragged myself out of bed. Foggy. Losing time. Coffee did nothing. I sat at my beachside paradise, and although I felt calm, it was the calm that comes from emptiness, not the one from being full.
Luckily, these days are very rare. If I had to describe it, I’d say I was in a “funk.” Usually, I find these periods come when I am so overwhelmed with too many things changing or shifting at once, like quicksand, that I shut off. Fast forward to this week, a big week in terms of my work, where I’ve only had less than a day rest between trips spanning the southernmost and northernmost states in the US. Back in the south, my island paradise, I feel off. Fatigued, though I slept more than I have in many months, a year(s?), and no matter how many cups of coffee (I stopped at 6) I consumed did they do the trick to shake off the fog. My coworker and I have been saying, half joking but half not, that we need a vacation. Far away, where we can shut down from the real world and rest. Meditate. Focus on the inner calm that we each need to face the next day.
Of course, with the aggressive schedule we have from now until, well let’s face it, the next few years, this is a pipe dream. But tonight, when my boss is here in town, I asked him, do you mind if I leave my laptop in the office? I don’t need to do any work before tomorrow’s meeting, right? And so, with permission, I felt like I tossed off my chain and I am free. For one evening. One night. To not think about work, which is an all consuming passion at times, by choice and by necessity, for a brief respite in time. And so I sit, and listen to the surf, under the stars, and look for falling stars. Today, the meteor shower peaks. Perhaps, if I see one, I will make a wish. And perhaps, if fate is kind, that wish will manifest itself in my world. For that’s how I keep going some days: wondering, wishing, dreaming, while working to make those dreams I have already envisioned come true.