I have been known to do too much, whether it’s recovering from an injury (and pushing my limitations), saying “yes” to multiple tasks, following something new and shiny (ideas for a new course, event or ritual comes to mind!) or just wanting results now!
But of course, my wise inner self also knows that we can’t force so many of these things. And that we shouldn’t force them. The journey is part of the process, allowing wisdom to rise through to our awareness, our consciousness. We can’t see what we can’t see. The changes and progress roll out dynamically, organically, in their own way, and in their own time . . . as if they are separate from me and I am just their protector, cocoon, midwife, nanny.
When I’m in that place of overdoing things or overextending myself, I find decisions can be more difficult. I can lose my grounding, and my connection to Self. I’m focused on the dance of the spinning plates, rather than what is on those plates that will nourish and sustain me . . . and the spinning itself does not deliver what I need, instead just the opposite.
And then I read this poem by Louise Erdrich from her book of poetry Original Fire (© Harper Collins Publisher, 2003) which Dr Sharon Blackie had shared in her The Art of Enchantment newsletter last month.
Erdrich’s poem reminded me to focus on what is essential (hmmm, why do I keep returning to that lesson?) and not on what is “nice to do” or even “expected” to be done. Make your own rules. Choose what you need now and leave the rest behind. Connect to what is essential. Connect to what is sacred. Connect to your Self.
Advice to Myself Leave the dishes. Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor. Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster. Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup. Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins. Don’t even sew on a button. Let the wind have its way, then the earth that invades as dust and then the dead foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch. Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome. Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry who uses whose toothbrush or if anything matches, at all. Except one word to another. Or a thought. Pursue the authentic-decide first what is authentic, then go after it with all your heart. Your heart, that place you don’t even think of cleaning out. That closet stuffed with savage mementos. Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever, or weep over anything at all that breaks. Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life and talk to the dead who drift in through the screened windows, who collect patiently on the tops of food jars and books. Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything except what destroys the insulation between yourself and your experience or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters this ruse you call necessity. by Louise Erdrich from Original Fire. © Harper Collins Publishers, 2003 (republished in 2018).
To hear Louise Erdrich read this poem, and briefly discuss the poem, click below or click here to visit the page.