I am doing a 30 day meditation series with a focus on creativity. Today, day 11, after the meditation, I was asked to do an exercise where I ‘flash’ the visualisation, which means taking 30 seconds to run it instead of five minutes, and then write a sentence or two on what came to mind. This is what I wrote:
She stood in the centre of a fiery maelstrom, devoured by wind and fire, yet remained untouched.
This what I saw in my mind’s eye: a tiny woman, hair blowing wildly, in a red hot furnace. I find that image both reassuring and empowering, because I know that I am that woman, and that fire has been my life; but still I am here, not entirely unscathed, but intact.
Here in the southern hemisphere, we have just come out on the other side of our winter solstice, traditionally the coldest, darkest time of the year. A week before the solstice, I could feel myself being stretched thinner and thinner, like plastic wrap stretched across a bowl. In the same way that in a healthy joint, synovial fluid and cartilage stops the bones of our joints from grinding together, when I am healthy, I have a buffer zone of good will and empathy that protects me and other people from the jagged scrapes of unskillful communication. In this week, I had the alarming sensation of that buffer zone becoming thinner and thinner, until I was operating in a space that was constantly millimetres away from ‘fuck you, do it yourself’. In my work, where I am a communicator, this is a dangerous place to be.
Fortunately, a few weeks before, I had asked the Bear to book us some time away in one of our favourite coastal hideaways, which enabled me to have six. whole. days. away from work. Of course, there are consequences from letting yourself get worn that thin. As soon as I walked out the door from work, I developed a toxic sore throat, which lasted 8 days, with added headache, earache and cough for good measure. On the day we left, I got my period as we drove down the coast in torrential rain, which cleared that afternoon, but returned in full fury the next day.
Being sick and having my period was a bit of a drag, but I felt strangely unperturbed by it – I accepted it as the price of admission for the 6 month marathon of work, commute and study I had just completed. The rain was a little unexpected, but hey, it was winter, and we weren’t going to be swimming anyway.
So, we bunkered down. We went to the movies (the Bear and I watched Wonder Woman, and the kids watched Despicable Me 3, conveniently on at the same time), we played board games, read, and gazed out at the view, which was so violently beautiful that it was almost as if our senses were assaulted. It took 24 hours to take it in – the vast body of water, changing hourly in that moody way the ocean has, the undulating and rocky shoreline, the dolphins, cormorants and eagles, and the open sky stretched widely above us, a mirror for the ocean below.
The next day, the sun did come out. Sick as I was, I felt an intense desire to be out in the beautiful nature that I had been staring at the day before, so I rugged up and walked up to the nearby lighthouse to watch the sunrise, a spectacular sight.
The cold dry wind blasted my throat, but I felt euphoric. Later on that day we all walked the beach, the kids playing with a thong that they would throw into the waves and rescue, getting drenched and sandy in the process, while the Bear and I gazed at the incredible rock formations, and mini waterfalls running down the cliff face from yesterday’s deluge.
The Bear hadn’t been up to the lighthouse yet, so I walked up there again with him, my body beginning to feel the strain, but somehow still needing to be out in the elements, with the wild mother burning my throat and tangling my hair. There is this amazing feature at the base of the cliff that the lighthouse perches upon: a huge rocky outcrop has been hollowed out by the force of the sea, creating a tunnel through which the water runs in and out. As the Bear and I gazed at it, it suddenly struck me that it looked like the two bent legs of a woman, birthing the ocean. When I showed him, the Bear said, women are found everywhere in nature; that’s probably why men desperately build phallic symbols everywhere, trying to make their mark. Make sure you quote me on that, he said with a grin. I like how he’s getting used to living with a writer.
I thought I might get some writing done while I was away – after all, the weather was perfect for a scribe, and I’m on a university break. But I came to understand that my well was too empty to write. My only job here was to be – to watch, to feel, to experience, to drink everything in with all my senses.
We’re back now, and boy, there is no rest for the wicked. On our first day back, I drove Alani down to Port Macquarie to watch a play, the tickets bought for her birthday two months ago. Then it was back to work for two big days, with a winter solstice gathering after one work day, backed up by a visit of my much loved brother and his family. Still, although the fire is burning, I am untouched. I can feel that my buffer zone is back, and my creative well brimming. I am having ideas about blog posts, and things were interesting and inspiring me again. I have decided to take a semester off from my study – it has been a two year marathon, and while I have loved every minute of it, I need a rest before the next marathon begins, or I just won’t make it over the line. I am also hatching a plan to change how I’m studying – more on that when I know for sure what’s happening :).
Meanwhile, I want to use this next 3 months to focus on my family and house (a mission that crystallised during the recent Cancer new moon, appropriately enough). I want our house to reflect us as a family, to be a place of comfort, harmony and beauty – and that kind of project needs my focus and energy or it will never happen.
So my friends, how are you after the winter solstice and dark moon? Have you had a chance to fill your well? Have you got some fresh sparks of inspiration burning away, waiting to be ignited? Do tell 🙂