Just before Christmas, I jumped on the phone to talk to my friend, and she asked the standard question we all do in those moments:
How are you?
Not being one for small talk, I told her the truth.
“Well”, I said, “I actually feel a bit down.”
I paused for a minute and then went on.
“But you know what? I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with that. I more think what is happening is I’m going through an introspective phase- a few things are reconfiguring. And basically, my inside world is out of sync with the speed we are required to move at on the outside. If I had full choice right now, I would cocoon myself away. I would rest and read. But my reality is I have small children and horses, a business, and people who rely on me that I have to keep showing up for. I could easily think something’s wrong with me, but I think what’s really hard is that my inside wants to run at a different pace to the outside. And sometimes it’s tricky to know how to honour both.”
As soon as I said it, I knew it to be true.
I’m having conversations frequently with people who are beating themselves up or looking for ways to “fix” themselves, simply because in that moment they don’t feel as sunny, buoyant, or productive as they’ve been trained to believe they “should be”.
Think of it this way: Nature moves in cycles. We have the extroverted summer and the productive spring. We have the introspective, deep slowing of winter and the gentle easing down of Autumn or Fall. Nature participates in all of these knowing that each is necessary for the other.
We humans, however- at least in the cultures and the societies that most of us move in- are expected to be existing in an eternal spring and summer. We’ve become disconnected to the point where the experience of winter or autumn in our internal world leads us to believe there is something wrong with us as we marinate in guilt about our lack of ability to “get out there and do”.
What we want is to participate in the expansion and contraction. To be available for the blooming and for the rest. And to find ways to build those into our experience.
Is it easy when everything around us is making demands on us, and holding us to ridiculous and unattainable standards? No.
But even the awareness is a liberation.
You aren’t a puzzle to be fixed. You are part of nature and should be honoured as such.