My dream desk by Zach Moss at Etsy
It is Winter Break across campus and the cultural center that is my work place is closed until January. It has been quiet this week and today I used the silence to get organized.
I added personal photos to my bulletin board, hung a piece of artwork I found stashed away on a shelf, cleaned up my bookcase in preparation of creating a reference library, and organized all the paperwork I have been hoarding for the past (almost) four months.
And it felt good.
I forgot how much organizing frees me up. It acts as a clearing not only of my physical space, but of my mind. It helps me focus, but more importantly it gives my mind the space needed to create. New ideas flow and energy returns.
This was a good reminder. Forget Spring cleaning. Winter cleaning has begun. (Now, if I can just do the same for my apartment).
Today was an adrenal fatigue day. A day when grad school fallout was in full swing. Only three hours of sleep last night, a cold that has moved into my sinuses, and a public transit trip that included every grumpy person in Portland. Luckily, however, this song emerged to brighten my day. I hope it brightens yours too:
Head cold got you down? Try this:
Mellie’s Magickal Elixir
Brew your favorite tea (I used decaf Earl Grey)
Add cinnamon, ground ginger, fresh grated nutmeg, cloves, star anise, and ground all spice.
Give it a stir.
Add a good squeeze of honey, a squeeze of lemon, and a hefty squeeze of orange.
Stir again and allow to steep for a bit.
Top off with a shot of brandy and an orange slice garnish.
Sip until you feel better or fall asleep.
I haven’t had a cold in years. Years. Even when I tried to get colds during graduate school in the hope of some time to rest, nothing. I couldn’t get sick.
But, today I woke up with a solid, no doubt about it, head cold. I spent the day eating hot and sour soup (which I could barely taste thanks to congestion), watching movie after movie (The Hangover, Part 3 – so so; Paradise – bad; The Way Way Back – good), and snuggling with my cat (who was also sneezing).
Lately, there have been little signs that I need to rest and relax. Dreams, things I read in books, advice from friends and mentors, even my doctor. But, after the intensity of academia it turns out I am not very good at resting. (See last week’s blog about my guilt). What I am good at is being anxious and worried and hyper vigilant.
And now I am sick. I am sick because I didn’t listen to all the hints. I am sick because I ignored the call to rest. And now, my body leaves me no choice.
Rest it is.
I’m going to have a cup of tea now. And get some sleep.
Wolf playing in the snow. Photo by Vasily Fedosenko/REUTERS
One of my favorite stories is Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ telling of La Loba, Wolf Woman. Tonight I read the story for the thousandth time and something new resonated.
About Wolf Woman Estés says, “Even in the best of worlds the soul needs refurbishing from time to time.” Without the help of the Wolf Woman, the Wild Woman instinctual nature of our deepest selves, we will peel and flake like Adobe houses in the desert. We need our creative souls to shape and reshape who we are.
But, how? When we feel dried up, parched, lost, and alone in the desert.
“A desert is a place where life is very condensed,” Estés says. “Life in the desert is small but brilliant and most of what occurs goes on underground…many of us have lived desert lives: very small on the surface, and enormous under the ground.”
So, we must go underground to that place where our inner Wolf Woman resides. We must sing her out of her cave to help shape our lives. We must share her with the world. (Even with the ones who will be afraid of her, who will want to keep her underground. Those people are probably the ones who need her most). We must access her through our dreams, our art, our music, our prayers, our fast moving pens.
We will know Her by the stirring in our souls and by the vibrant aliveness we feel when we meet Her.
And remember: it takes time, effort, patience, and love to refurbish a house. Especially one in the desert.