Today is the last, last day. After nearly two months of sorting, sifting, clearing, moving I will return the keys for the old house. A new chapter then.
As the dust begins to settle something is clawing at the corner of my mind (like the cat at the door as I write, desperate to walk over the keyboard and watch birds on the telegraph wires). This sensation has been with me almost constantly for the past decade or so, but in the past I have been better at evading it. It is a disquiet, an unease, a restlessness. Something uncomfortable, like a stone in the shoe, or a splinter, just below the skin but avoiding extraction.
In the past I have identified this with divine promptings, a feeling that I need to be looking elsewhere, moving on. Over time though I am coming to wonder if it isn’t within me. I feel now that this feeling, which has had me seeking new life paths and employments repeatedly over many years, is a desire for escape. I don’t know what yet. What it is I am running from. Or wish to avoid. But now I feel the answer is with sitting. Just being. Already the intensity is threatening to overwhelm. A rising sense of panic from my stomach to my head.
I have a lot of “air” in my character. In elemental workings air is to do with the head, with thoughts and ideas. For me my inner world is often more real than the concrete one, and frequently feels much safer. My ideas and imaginings are often so real that they hang around, created ghosts, long after a particular project or plan has passed or been discarded. It gets pretty hectic in my head at times, noisy with the buzz of ideas, old and new, an overcrowded waiting room. They lounge around, arguing, these thoughts, contradicting and disputing, waving their agendas at each other. It’s no wonder I get dizzy some days.
It takes conscious effort to bring myself back into the real, and to really “be” here. With so much changing my levels of restlessness are almost off the scale. If I can have a new plan then my mind will be busy with that, I will feel a greater sense of control, at least over this thing I am creating and putting in place, and the discomfort will be dissipated, for the time being. This helps me to understand, at least in part, my love of studying. Keeping the restless child of the mind occupied so I can have some peace.
But as we know these are only temporary measures. There will always be the unoccupied moment, the enforced wait of a delayed train, cancelled plans which free up time, and the mind begins its persistent itch once more.
I am good at thinking. I’m good at planning and executing those plans. I am good at reasoning. I am sensible and seek to live by my principles. That’s all good.
But right now I feel that’s not the answer. In spite of all that something else is needed. The situation can’t be fixed that way, it is an old paradigm. In the new I have to learn to sit. To feel the discomfort, and then feel it some more. I have to learn to be in the day, not tomorrow, or next week, or “one day”. I have to deal with boredom. Mundane.
Perhaps once I have done this, squirming like a three year old left to sit too long, I will notice something. A woodlouse. A mote of dust in sunlight. And remember that life is centred elsewhere. That wherever the centre of the universe lies, it is not in me. That I can let go and be here with the same freedom and flow as a sparrow bathing in dust. Perhaps then I will remember what it is to live in grace.