I have hit the moment in Tucson where I breathe a sigh of relief and realize I've lived through another summer. For some reason, though, this shift in season has been accompanied by unsettled feelings: irritability, confusion, inability to focus on what exactly I'm doing in the now.
I spent last year really grounding myself in my space and place and making my life exactly what I needed it to be. And now I recognize, as we all do, that at any given moment we need any number of things that will not be what we need at a later point. A friend of mine reminded me that self-care is a moment to moment process. And to be really honest with ourselves, we need to always acknowledge that change is part of the equation.
Unfortunately, the past month has been one of ants in my pants...I want to move and I want to move on NOW. I've had this before. I'm accustomed to these feelings surfacing recurrently in my life. I am. I also know I need to finish what I started here. I want to finish what I've started here. And so, this next month is data collection for my dissertation. I'm alternately excited and completely overwhelmed by the prospect of the next six months of my life. The excitement wins and I launch. (Not without some feet-dragging and procrastination in the process, however...and the Saturday of, "I know I'll be able to focus if I just ride up Mt. Lemmon a ways on my bike...I know I will...")
What I do know, though, is that when I leave the present, when I try to leap forward to a place I don't actually inhabit yet, I can't function fully. And I realize how much work it takes to remain grounded in life. I have been talking myself out of falling into the trap of believing that just because I lived through a rough time in my life, that everything from here on out will be couched in a blissed-out state of enlightenment. If only. The work in life, I think, is taking what we learn in the hardest times and not losing the insights gained as we slog through the minutiae that makes up a lot of our daily life.
My goals right now? Another purge and clean. Organization. Clearing space for a new challenge. Remembering that I am doing what I do because it's what I truly want, and not because I'm being told to. And not one person is watching to see if I pull it off successfully but me. I like that, but I also know I'm my toughest critic. Maybe I'll learn a little more compassion through this process.
And I let myself fall into this period of reflection, of time, of space, of movement and of stillness...and I try to shake the need to jump ahead before I have the opportunity to enjoy exactly what I'm doing. Because even in stillness, there is a lot of forward movement.