Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Listening

It's been a long time since I took a serious break from the computer, and for the last three days I haven't touched this machine. It was part of an overall retreat that I didn't know I needed until the impulse became absolutely insistent. For a couple of weeks, I've felt myself withdrawing. I've worried about it, but it was just what I needed.

Over the last few days, I've done as little as possible, meeting only my basic responsibilities. Laundry is piled high, waiting to be placed in closets and drawers. I've just about run out of plates and glasses, and I haven't touched a mop in days. Housework, however, will wait.

What wouldn't wait any longer was the need to refuel. When I realized that my most pressing problem was solved, I thought the feeling I had was relief. I was only partially correct. I've invested so much time and energy in only one or two aspects of my life that the others had nearly withered. When I realized that I hadn't read any compelling fiction in a couple of months, I was honestly shocked with myself. I looked at my bookshelves and stacks and was struck by how much non-fiction had taken over. I love learning, but my need for stories, for imagination, for a step into a different world has taken back seat for far too long. So, I finally picked up The Mists of Avalon. Over the last few months, it's moved from the basket in the bedroom corner to the shelves in the dining room to the stack on the antique cedar chest in the living room. Now, I'm a visitor again in the land of The Lady of the Lake and Merlin.

I've slept more than I have in years. This is the first night in over a week that I haven't been in bed by ten. My nights have been filled with dreams, most of which have left me as quickly as I've woken. I'm still wondering about the one though where as an athletic and agile priestess, I was shepherding a pack of wolves through a mountain pass on a moon bright night.

Because I know that Paula will want to know, I did listen to the silence. In a house across the street from an elementary school playground, with 16 cats and dogs, a teenager, a news junkie husband and multiple phones, it was harder to do than I thought it would be. I did manage some time alone and heard a glorious nothingness. One of the first things I learned about newspaper layout was the importance of white space. When surrounded by nothingness, the significant items gain attention.

The void led me to be able to truly pray again, not to speak, but to listen. Tonight, at church, good portion of time was given to silent and solitary prayer. I was casually attired but still had my hair pulled back in my usual workday French twist 'do. I opened my prayer with one request only -- that I receive what I truly need. What I got was "let down your hair." Honestly it felt silly and weird. I thought it was an interrupting thought and dismissed it, but it came back. I blew it off again. The third time, I gave in, removed the one pin that held the coil of my hair in place and gently shook it loose. I then thought, "OK, now what?"

What I received was Go forward boldly. Put away your unnecessary restraints. Act with courage, wildness and freedom. Celebrate with joy.

My hair is still down, my heart is light, and I'm ready to engage again.




6 Comments:

Blogger beths front porch said...

Cynthia, I love this post. It is a reminder to me of the need for silence and to regenerate. I need this time often! Housework does wait. Taking out the French twists pins from our hair does not (I liked that image). I do so like your blog, and often read it, even if I don't leave a comment. ~Beth

March 02, 2006 5:25 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

Gp forward boldly -- I love this entry. I also think my dd will pass out with envy when she hears you have 16 cats.

March 02, 2006 6:01 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

I'm crying, C--fyi. So happy for you, and for this post.

March 02, 2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

This looks like a wonderful beginning for you. Bon voyage!

March 02, 2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger V said...

Cynthia, Beautiful, refreshing.
V

March 03, 2006 6:07 AM  
Blogger Vicky said...

I am so glad you have taken these few days for yourself, Cynthia. Look at what has emerged! I admire you for taking hold of your time and just listening. It has worked, hasn't it? I am happy for you! We could all take a lesson.

Love, Vicky

March 04, 2006 12:22 AM  

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