I have to say that I’m not really sure about this ME TIME thing we’re having. I have spent a lot of time solo, leading up to this month. I feel it’s my job as facilitator to dig in just ahead of you so that I can make fresh observations to add to what I already know. For this purpose, I have spent a lot of time alone and sitting very still. What I’ve noticed most is that it is quite uncomfortable to just sit in the ME. I know that God is present, I clearly perceive him. However, so is my ego. That part of me that isn’t spirit is in charge of my safety, my logic, my measurable worldly success. It’s the part of me that knows better than to play in traffic. But it’s also the part of me that keeps track of my errors and those of others in an effort to keep my heart from breaking. It’s a sneaky grudge-holder at its worst. My ego sits quietly with its list of dangers and waits for a still moment to start hurling warnings and rules toward my mind, in an effort to keep me from risking anything. In the quiet space, that little ego wants me to know that I can stay intact and safe if only…as long as I….don’t forget to…
Glennon Melton calls this the Hot Loneliness. That’s a good description for it, because it’s prickly and uncomfortable and all mine. My fears and experiences aren’t like anyone else’s. You guys probably aren’t terrified of maple syrup like I am. You probably don’t swear that you feel a sticky spot behind your elbow when you’re just trying to get your prayer on. This worry is mine alone. And though it’s funny on the surface, it’s sets me apart and makes me sweat. Hot Loneliness. Time and again, I am squirmed right out of quiet by my ego’s insistence that I take care of something threatening. And though I “know better”, I lose my focus to it. Every time. No one likes to be nagged. What happens for me is that I leave that space of quiet and want to eat. I leave that space of quiet to watch TV. I cannot stay there because I feel like I need a glass of wine…a walk…to make dinner…anything not to be nagged by my over-protective ego.
Logically, of course I know better than that. I am and evolved woman, after all. But I have gained weight in this hot loneliness. This is truly unfortunate and unarguable. So for the past couple of weeks I have chosen to sit in wonder with it. I have asked my ego what she’s up to and why this is so hard. Here’s where I am with this after the wondering:
It’s been so long since I had only myself to care for that I can longer easily discern what my individual needs ARE. My own needs are quite tangled up in the needs of my family, my work, my Girl Scout troop, the PTA…..the list goes on and on. There are “need to” things and “should” things and “errand” things and “school” things. I have learned to prioritize so many OTHER things ahead of my OWN things that I truly don’t know what I want for dinner anymore. This past week, I got two whole days off from the kids and Allen. And do you know what I did? I’m not sure, really. I could only come up with one goo thing. I think I am stark-raving mad. Either that, or I have completely disconnected from myself and my desires. It’s a little bit heartbreaking. And oddly, my previously distant relationship with God was easier to repair that the one with myself is. Sigh. It’s like I am no longer married to myself. Maybe it’s a middle aged thing, and me and myself have simply grown apart. It’s not that I don’t love me anymore, I just don’t know why there’s no more Dr Pepper and Funyons snacks or why cigarette smoke is so GROSS. I feel like I am waking up from 9 years of altered reality….because I AM. This is really the strangest thing I’ve ever been through.
But here is the final score for me as this exploration comes to a close: my needs aren’t as complicated as I thought they were. And, in fact, they are quite a bit easier to manage than they were those 9 years ago. I get hungry and angry and tired. I need support, I need food, I need sleep. I need hugs from my fairies, people I can count on, and a constant dialogue with God. I need permission to screw up so that I can correct as soon as possible without shame. I need permission to be messy in an effort to keep moving ever forward rather than getting mired in the slog of perfection. And, most importantly, I need pants that are forgiving. Life is simply too short for uncomfortable pants. Period.