I’ve been going through a rough patch. I notice I want myself to be “better” before I am. Now I’m wanting to trust myself more. I do always turn the corner, always come back to being whole and well again. It’s happening already. But I tend to try to make it happen before its time. I try to rush myself. Maybe now I’m learning to let myself be, to have more faith. I remind myself it will pass. I’ll “return” when I am ready. For three weeks I dream busy dreams where I’m working with a repetitive task throughout the night. I don’t remember them in the morning, only the feeling of them. At first I think they are stress dreams, the kind I get when I work too hard. Years ago when I worked in catering in Los Angeles, there would be long stretches of prep for big parties. When I slept I’d dream about 12-gallon stainless steel stock pots at the foot of my bed. All night I would stir them with big wooden spoons. But then I remember two of my current dreams, and I know I’ve been doing healing work. In one dream there’s a kind of mind map I am building. I have a memory of rows of dark shapes and small bits of text with straight lines leading from one to the other. On the top layer are drawings of envelopes. They’re lit up like neon signs, green envelopes with pink hearts at their centers like seals. I check on them during the night. Sometimes there are two envelopes waiting, sometimes three. Their lights wink off and on. I think I am sending myself love letters. In the second dream, the moon is hanging in the western sky above the mountains. I wake up to it sometimes like this in the night, a beacon shining through the sliding glass door. On this night I drift in and out of sleep, the moon waning but still almost full. In the dream it’s almost dawn, and I’m taking sips of this luminous disc, again and again at regular intervals, like medicine.
The Friday before last I grumped my way through my morning chores. I felt like I had to rush now that things had amped up again during the first week of the semester. I had to hurry up and get the basics out of the way so I could work on school stuff. I was cranky about not being able to take my time, whether I was pouring hot water over herbs for the cats or sweeping the patio. I hate rushing, don’t know how to do it without getting tense. I could feel myself resisting having to hurry. “So much for sneaking up on high gear and keeping my peace,” I muttered while I washed the dishes with quick strokes. Three nights ago I had bad dreams. In one I came home and found the door standing open, my dog missing. I went out in the rain to find her, stood in the dark and saw someone else’s pet lying dead on the wet street. I remember waking in the night, lying there worrying about whether or not the toilet might fall through the floor, then trying to figure out the best way to approach some temporary online data entry and editing work I’d just begun. My fingers were making little noises as they moved back and forth against the down blanket covering my ear, inadvertent motions, the scratchy sounds of my stress.
For this last week I’ve been struggling with wanting to get more done. Coming off of vacation is never easy for me, and now I have a week to get ready for the next semester. I tell myself, too, after this past summer when I fell so spectacularly apart, it’s been a long time since I worked steadily at my peak. Last semester I did what I needed to do and little else, letting myself retreat to Netflix or a book when those must-dos were done, glad to just be functioning at all, I think, and precarious in it. I tell myself now it isn’t fair to expect to be able to flip a switch, to begin doing not only all sorts of extra things, but to be doing them all quickly. And besides, I point out with a wry grin, it just ain’t happenin’. But I’m not giving up hope. And maybe this is a good experiment. Because I’ve never figured out how to get into high gear without engendering more stress than I want in my life. So, maybe if I keep making this transition like molasses, I’ll get where I want to be without bricks for shoulders. When I begin cataloging what I need to accomplish my body clenches, even though I know I’ll get it all done. Still, my mean voice mutters about all the other things besides schoolwork I’ve been neglecting, nags me about the weeds in the driveway, the dirt from the construction site that’s piled up on the little shelf in the shower where the spray doesn’t reach. My mean voice has a long list, but I don’t want to listen, don’t want to even let the voice live in me. I pause with my pen above the page, take in a deep breath, let it out again. I see the hunter green umbrella poking out above the back fence, a happy reminder my neighbors are back from Canada. I hear a house finch singing in their tree, but I can’t see him. I scratch my head, yawn, grin. I’m going to focus a bit more on my writing today, then move on to some school prep. I’m going to sneak up on this full throttle stuff, I tell myself, and find a way to keep my peace.