The last few months have not been productive. As you’ve perhaps noticed, I haven’t blogged very regularly. No great piece of textile art is in the offing.
I seem to be stuck in neutral these days. I go about doing a little of this, a little of that, but nothing is grabbing me by the shoulders and saying, “Whee-haw! Here’s the thing you’ve been waiting for!”
“Not good, not good,” my head and heart are nattering at me. “Don’t just sit there, do something.”
Rule of thumb: when stalling, check Facebook. There I find a meme, one of those posts that consists of a lovely photo with words superimposed on it, words that are supposed to make you sit up and take notice. The meme goes viral – apparently it’s hit a nerve. This one says :
The post is by Elizabeth Gilbert, she of Eat Pray Love book fame. She’s quoting her mother, who bemoans the fact that too many of her friends seem to be shutting down, acting as though their life is almost over. These older men and women are just putting in time until the final bell rings. Don’t they know that adventures await around the corner, if they’d just stop sitting around? “If you’re not dead yet, you’re not done yet. Get your butt in gear and DO something.”
It occurs to me that our society likes this message. It meshes nicely with “You’re only as old as you feel.” “60 is the new 40.” Ads show grandpas playing football with their grandkids, omas climbing mountains. If we keep moving, keep doing – well, that’s proof, isn’t it, that we are still alive and well?
I have no quarrel with the idea that “If you’re not dead yet, you’re not done yet.” In fact, I think it’s wonderful and inspirational. I’ve always been a restless person, eager to find out what’s around the next corner. To have a fire burning in your heart for something that is fulfilling, stretching, and growth-inducing is a feeling like no other. It gives energy and focus to your day, purpose and meaning to your life.
But sometimes, the fire dies down to a flicker, producing hardly any light or warmth. Programmed to believe that if you’re not productive, you’re not worth much, you might be tempted to do anything, just anything, to see if there’s a smouldering spark that will ignite if you stir the ashes.
I’ve been in that space lately. Some people might call it a depression, but I don’t think so. I have many blessings to celebrate, much joy to feel and love to savour. Life still has colour and vibrancy. I still want to stomp in the puddles with my grandgirl Gracie.
Yet something is missing, and from past experience, I know that what I’m going through is an AAGH!*#@. AAGH – Another Agonizing Growthspurt Happening.
An AAGH*#@ experience is when your soul tells you it’s time for change. The nice little life you’re enjoying is too small, it doesn’t quite fit. Take the next step– stretch! If you’re not dead yet, you’re not done, yet. AAGH*#@ is a normal part of life. All living things go through their stages of dormancy. The cycle of life includes times of quietness and rest, and times of activity and growth.
But a growth spurt in your spiritual and emotional life hurts. It’s uncomfortable, and it takes patience and waiting to grow. Imagine a dormant seed in the cold wet earth, splitting its skin to let out new life, pushing down to form roots in the soil, and pushing up through obstacles like pebbles and grit. There’s a lot of tough slogging that happens before something green and beautiful appears above the soil.
What do you do when an AAGH!*#@ creeps up on you? Like a hamster in a revolving wheel, I could keep running – and I will, just to get things done that need doing, to keep the fabric of life unfurling smoothly. And I enjoy that -- working on unfinished projects, digging in the garden, getting together with friends. But in truth, continuously running in a revolving wheel will get you nowhere – at least, nowhere that you’d like to be. You also need to take time to get off the wheel and wait. It’s the equivalent of hunkering down in the dark soil until the conditions are right to sprout with new life. Who knows what happens down there in the dark? I don’t. It’s a miracle, for sure.
But I have faith that in the AAGH*#@, there will come an AHA! There’s a spark of new life, a new direction, that is waiting, just for me.