After several unsuccessful attempts to blog in the past few days, I made a resolution to sit here until I come up with something to post tonight. My last two entries received a lot of positive feedback. Such encouragement helps me fight the negative voices and laughter in my mind about how naive I must be to think anyone cares what I think. That being said, I used the slight feeling of accomplishment to put pressure on myself, thinking I had to post something reflective and topic-driven every time I blog. I’ve accepted that my ordinary thoughts are just as much part of my experience, if not more–since I deal with them daily.
Today was a sleepy day. I woke up restless before my alarm, but part of my mind remained asleep all day. It was the sort of day where, while getting around this morning, I thought: I need to brush my teeth, only to realize by my minty breath and clean feeling teeth that I already had. That mindlessness occurred all day. I tried reading poetry to ignite my desire to write, but couldn’t stay awake. I can barely remember eating lunch, and I slept a good portion of the afternoon away. I’m thankful I woke up in time for a nice walk before dinner. I was able to practice some mindfulness, and it was miraculous temperatures outside–record highs. I didn’t even have a coat on, and it’s January!
I walked the labyrinth here and wore my thick Columbia fleece: a gift from a friend in the psych unit. I don’t even know her last name or how she recovered. That’s usually the nature of psych unit relationships–probably for good reason most times. This woman had gained a tremendous amount of weight due to some of the medications she took. Because of this weight gain, she couldn’t fit into the brand new fleece she’d gotten at Christmas. She had her husband bring it to me one day, asking if I’d like to keep it. I loved it but couldn’t wear it unless I let the nurses cut the elastic bands around the bottom of it. I didn’t want them to ruin it, so it sat in my locker until my release. It’s rare that I’m mindful enough to remember where it came from, but as I walked the labyrinth this afternoon, I wondered how my friend was doing. I tried to send healing energy her way while I inhaled the fresh, spring-smelling air and listened to the trees.
While hiking with my good friend, Adam, once, we took a break, listening to the trees. He said he believed God to be “the sound the trees make in the wind.” I still think of this quote often. In fact, today, I was thinking about how if I had to pick something concrete to pray to, I’d choose trees. They possess such a divine radiance.
Here, I’m surrounded by more trees than ever. Some of them are older than I can comprehend. I love to think about how huge the roots must be, underground, to enable all the giants to lean and seemingly defy gravity like they do. I have a favorite tree I like to visit here. I call it the “WTF Tree”, because that’s the typical expletive reaction when anyone sees it the first time. It splits in the bottom, making it look like it has two trucks. The one branch splits off into the other direction, only to take a strange turn back into the trunk where it merges back into the tree like it never happened. It’s incredible. I like to step through the oval created by the tree’s strange acrobatics; it feels like the tree holds me in her arms. It takes me back to childhood when I had a tree friend instead of an imaginary friend. I named her “Kristy” after my favorite character from The Babysitters Club series. I’d climb up on her branches, telling her about my day.
This past weekend, one of my best friends came to stay. I’d had visitors here at the convent, but no one has ever stayed enough to really get a taste of what my life is like here. Saturday night, we stayed up chatting most of the night, like she and I have been known to do since we first became friends. Then out-of-nowhere, she said she couldn’t stop thinking about how proud she was of me. Startled, I had to ask why. She said after being able to experience my schedule and my lifestyle, she realized how much motivation, courage, and determination it takes to live a solitary life without the distraction of school or work to fall back on, in addition to not having any friends or family around.
This friend is the same friend who took me to the ER for my hospitalizations and gave me rides to and from the hospital for my day-programs. She’s seen me at my absolute worst, and probably my absolute best. She emphasized how far I’ve come in my recovery and continued to compliment my writing, thought-process, and dreams. When I had a lazy day today, I reminded myself of her words. Living such an unconventional lifestyle, I don’t get a lot of validation. It’s not that anyone is unsupportive, it’s that they need something concrete to focus on. For example, at least one person every day asks me how writing is going. This is a fair question, because I came her to write a book. The writing is not going as planned, though, and the journey has turned into something much more complex than a writing retreat. It’s nice to be reminded I’m accomplishing different types of success–even if I’m not accomplishing the original success I came here to achieve.