Time was when being stuck at home due to bitter cold or snow meant I would dig in to projects that I had procrastinated on. I would turn on the music. The house would get cleaned. Furniture would get rearranged. Paper dragons would get sorted through. Life would get re-organized. Nowadays it seems there's little motivation to dig in anywhere, no matter the weather or the season.
Back in the day I was a "doer". I took great pride in all my doing. My identity was all wrapped up in how much I could take on, how much I did and accomplished, how well I could multi-task and manage so many things. It was all I knew to be the measure of a person's worth. I didn't realize the shadow of that "doer" at the time. I was just doing what I had been taught and what I had to do to survive, that is true, but looking back I can see the imbalance. I rarely did self-care, watched a movie, read a book or "played". I saw the glass half-empty or when I acknowledged it was half-full, that appreciation would quickly pass. I also judged myself harshly as lazy or irresponsible for "not doing". I held myself to impossible standards. Of course that would get projected unconsciously to others to a degree although I was always harder on myself than anyone else. I could be a martyr for all my abilities to push through, take on and "do" what nobody else would or even perhaps "could" do. Underneath all of that, however, the truth was, I wasn't "keeping up". Life was complicated. It was too much. It was impossible to keep up and something had to give. I was paying a huge price for the "doership" and "the something" that had to give was ME.
("Duality" by Patricia Ariel)
The pendulum swung the other way.
I was humbled by chronic illness, age and life circumstances that forced me to STOP. I had to let go of the "doer" and all the identity I had wrapped around that. I didn't let go very easily. Still working on it. Life doesn't stop even if I need to. I still had to "do" things. I still tried to show up for others when the chips were down. I don't look the part but it's there. I don't look sick. It was well hidden to everyone but me. I faced it "in the shadow mirror" every day. I had to face and accept the shadow in me of being "lazy, undisciplined and unstructured" (sick or not) - things that I never thought I was.
I AM THAT.
I am as lazy, helpless, undisciplined and unstructured as much as I am the "doer, the survivor, the responsible, structured and disciplined one".
I AM BOTH/AND.
I have a warrior spirit. I am still in awe of how I managed all that I managed and I bow to that part of me who had the ability to "survive" and be very responsible and show up for whatever comes my way. I needed her and she served me well. I know that part is still in me - she's a part of who I am - and I can tap into her if/when I truly need to. I will never toss her aside. She has great value and worth.
I also bow to the One who knows how to do nothing, who can rest in peace in the silence and relax in the void and the space between.
I HAVE BEEN CHANGED.
I AM STILL CHANGING.
I feel suspended right now between the paradox of the "doer" and the "non-doer". Where's the balance? I don't quite know how to reconcile them in a way that changes me and my life, not just internally but also externally. I want to "see" the change on the inside and the outside. Both/And.
In this suspended space, I'm learning patience. I'm learning trust and faith. I'm learning to be humble, kinder, more loving, compassionate and forgiving of myself and others. I'm learning to let myself off the hook of "doing" and allow myself to just BE. The waiting feels like an eternity - "the never-ending story" of "nothingness" and "no change" - and it's easy to lose faith when I know it's only "up to me" (and my HP). Nobody else can "do" the "doing" or the changing for me. I also can't change others. It's definitely not easy but the paradox is that the part of me that has carried me through from day one, the part that never gives up and trusts and has complete faith in a power greater than me to carry me through will keep my feet to the fire, keep me humble, and will show me when to take action and when to rest and just be. "Me and my HP" will get me through. It's always been that way and it always will be.
It's a noble thing to be a warrior and to survive. The true warrior also knows when to surrender. That's the part I'm learning to trust now. 💖