close to the ground

I felt today hour by hour — nearly minute by minute. I was present in a way I’m both not most days but aim to be. Horrible feelings seem to force you to do that. They ground you in them and we try all sorts of things to wrestle free. I spent nearly half an hour simply putting on my shoes and jacket only to take them off shortly after upon being unable to decide what it is I should do, repeating the process a few times until a friend called and I had enough momentum to hurl myself into the day.

A part of me wanted to declare the entire day horrible the moment I woke up, my planning brain taking over. “Today is bad. Let’s adapt the entire day to these bad feelings.” Even as I was called to be present and open, my mind would have rather chosen known pain. I nearly just wrote: I don’t quite know if how I spent today was right or helpful for my mental state. I forget that not everything needs to be intentional. Some days are simply to be present for and to test the muscles of your imagination.

Midway through a bike ride I somehow found myself on, I caught myself smiling feeling the sun and wind on my face. I couldn’t have predicted that. I love that I couldn’t have. I love that I have the awareness and time to feel any of this at all. I love that there are always moments of reprieve and little happiness on tough days if you allow yourself to be aware of them. I love that I have people to turn to on days like this. I didn’t always.

“Some other presence takes over in times of intense grief, and we are humbled, brought to our knees. We live close to the ground, the gravity of sorrow felt deep in our bones.”

Francis Weller

The last two days have been close to the ground kind of days. Days where I can only think about big questions yet struggle to feed myself. Yesterday, I wandered besides the waterfalls along an icy path in Silver Falls State Park and felt myself mesmerized by how calmly relentless they were. I found myself wanting to be too.


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