While enjoying a lunch break with Michael I began to think about my morning…
My day began with writing in my journal, stretching in my studio, and broadcasting. I haven’t been feeling well going on 6 weeks. My lack of energy and over all ache has led me to slow down, hibernate, retreat. I have been handwriting entries in my journal and realized only in the last few days that developing a relationship with my bodily symptoms will help me to understand their language.
My lack of energy and general disease in my body has slowed me down, helped me let go and schedule time off from some of my responsibilities. I am exploring new options for a healthier living, taking afternoon naps, and drinking lots of water. I am focusing on one thing at a time which is very unusual for me given my love of diversity. Tending to the soulfulness of everyday things is becoming rooted in a spiritual practice that I can’t define but identity as central to my life and life’s view.
Just before lunch after taking my golden retriever puppy, Will, for a bit of outdoors play, I made my way to my upstairs studio to begin the process of clearing out my file cabinet that has remained untouched since settling into our new home 4 years ago. I set my timer for 30 minutes and began to go through the files one by one in one of the large drawers. When the timer went off with the familiar ‘Playtime’ I could hardly move my locked knees. I stretched, moved around my studio, and stumbled my way downstairs to prepare lunch for Michael and I.
Lila, our Bassett Hound, wanted to go outside and Will, who is now over 6 months old, settled in under the dining room table. With each spoonful of soup, I began to think about each piece of paper that I had placed in the recycling bag. I began to associate each dated file, resource, and entry with my son, Will, and the age he would have been during that year. One of the first files I found (remembering its now 2018) was dated 1998. Will would have been 11-years-old. With my recognition came tears and stiff, almost immovable muscles across my shoulders and back. I realized that I have been holding onto these files and other things in my studio. Could keeping these items over the years be a way of holding onto what was lost to me over the years?
For almost 30 years I was in the dark as to my son’s life. It was only last year that I heard from him by phone, was able to meet him in-person, and then less than a month later learned of his death due to progressive cancer.
Recently I began to transfer some of my memoir’s handwritten journal entries in to a computer file. I have started to transfer my newest journal entries. I have high hopes that I will be able to sort through the many other entries I have in multiple journals related to my memoir story. It all seems very chaotic. It helps me to remember that I carried around similar feelings when I was working on my doctoral dissertation, Surrogate Mother: A Phenomenological Naming of Who She Is–Personal Story, Mythology, and Dance. Eventually I was able to put the puzzle pieces in place to create a complete picture of story, myth, and dance.
As I go through my existing memoir journal entries and write reflexively in my daily journal I find myself dragged into the underworld where I am asked to see both the dark and the light, the tension of the opposites. I find my Young, Mother, and Aging Self there.
With my new insights, I am moving forward knowing that it will be necessary for me to continue to breathe into my bodily symptoms and find ways to come to a visceral understanding of the cycles of change and my part in them.
For you, the reader, it is my greatest hope that through the sharing of my story you will find your own unique ways to find soulfulness in the everyday of your life (which is also the soul of the world). More than ever it is important for me to understand that change happens in the everyday moments of our lives.
An almost imperceptible accumulation of daily change ~ Jane R. Pretat