When the Heart Waits
Midway this way of life we’re bound upon,
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
Where the right road was wholly lost and gone… .
It is so bitter it goes nigh to death.
I have felt stalled out on writing. If I believed in writer’s block, I would call it that. But doing so feels to me like an avoidance of something deeper that wants to be recognized and embraced.
What is happening here? I am no longer teaching and after carefully organizing all the material I have for my novel, am not writing it. In fact, I have been procrastinating writing this piece for the newsletter and also keep pushing writing the blog to one side. I write weekly with 3 friends and that’s about it.
I keep saying I’m waiting to discover what I want to be when I grow up. I laugh when I say it but I know it’s no laughing matter. I don’t know what is next. I only know I can’t continue teaching on the schedule I had developed. I love teaching, love the presence of all you lovely, lively, intelligent women in my life, and look forward to the two retreats scheduled later in the year. Yet I can’t go back. I must go forward–but to what? Retirement is not an option; I need purpose in my life and I find it through work.
“Wait.” That’s my body’s message, and my soul’s. I recall that I spent much of 2013 until very recently dealing with medical crises–my own and my family’s–and that I do not have total control over the nature of “recovery” or its duration. Still I feel I “should” be able to manage it.
How do we wait when everything in our culture tells us to press on, grab the bull by the horns, and make a splash.
Wait and Observe
Maybe it helps to think of “waiting until the time is right.” If I treat each moment as the right time for whatever is appearing, then the right action must become evident.
From the book shelf, I retrieved When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd (Secret Life of Bees) and have begun opening my heart to the message. At the same time, my husband and I are re-reading Women, Writing, and Soul-Making together, (sometimes it is necessary to retrieve one’s own wisdom!) reading again what I wrote about letting our writing rest, trusting the process, and leaning on our intuition. I have, it seems lost myself in my own life to discover, as Dante says, that I have stepped off my right road and blundered into the dark woods with the right road lost from sight.
What is the underlying fear? I open Women, Writing, and Soul-Making to Audre Lorde’s words: Maybe this is the chance to live and speak the things I really do believe, that power comes from moving into whatever I fear most that cannot be avoided.
So what is the fear? Perhaps that I won’t find the road again.
I now recognize this place. I have lived long enough to celebrate this as a “late-life crisis,” a time of facing anew the transitory nature of life and its preciousness. An opportunity to spin a chrysalis and embrace the process of metamorphosis. Who knows the nature of the butterfly that will emerge?
Ranier Maria Rilke wrote, “Patience is everything.” I believe him. I will wait with an open heart. I will listen to the water in the fountain and for the song of my soul. Already the writing of this is opening me up to possibility.