My Assignment This Time Around

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It’s beautiful, cool, and refreshing in the Smokies. We’ve had a lot of company and I’ve enjoyed it. But I’m feeling tired these days. I caught a cold from one of our visitors and spent most of Monday and Tuesday in bed. That’s why I didn’t write a post last week. For the first time in over eleven years, I simply forgot. When I took Izzy out for a walk on Tuesday I leaned heavily on a sturdy walking stick, laboring every step of the way like a very old lady. I haven’t felt that badly in years. Physically or mentally. I’m mostly over it now, but still…I’m tired.

It’s got me thinking about my age, and, of course, the inevitable outcome of my aging.  Probably some of the tiredness is a mild form of depression. I’m working less, stressing less, have fewer challenges and less adrenaline surging through my body, all of which leaves me more down time to reflect on my life. In my case, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Sometimes I fantasize that when my time on Earth is done my soul will return to its source. I’ll be met there by my wise mentors from the Cosmic Wisdom School who will say, “Well done, oh good and faithful student. It’s time to rest from your labors. Let us know when you’re ready, and we’ll start planning your next assignment.”

But I wonder. Would my imaginary teachers really be proud of me? Have I truly fulfilled my assignment this time around? What was I supposed to learn? Have I learned it? What was I supposed to do? Have I done it? I’ve loved writing with a passion. I’m proud of my blog and books. But I’m more than the me I share with the world. The me inside occasionally thinks I’ve done a pretty good job of fulfilling a lot of my potential. But mostly it’s riddled with self-doubt. Self-criticism. Cluelessness.

Was self-knowledge my assignment?  I’ve worked hard on that, but I still know so little about myself. Or I should say my selves? One part of me thinks this. Another part, that. Usually I straddle the boundaries between this and that, never knowing which I’ll choose next. Until part of me chooses. Then I question the choice. Didn’t I choose the opposite way just last week?

What about love? I’ve worked very hard on that too. I always thought I’d get there one day. But right now I feel like I’m nowhere. Just here. Still seeing the ignoble motivations behind the benevolent actions. Still struggling to know how to love. Still waiting for compassion to flow naturally, unreservedly, both for myself and others. If learning to love was my assignment this time around, I hope I still have several years left because I’m nowhere near that goal post. Simply noticing my shadow’s impulses, thoughts, and feelings over the last two hours proves how miserably I’ve failed in that endeavor.

Selflessness?  Ha! Just writing the word brings flashes of memories of my shadow’s self-centeredness.

Maybe I was supposed to learn guilt. If that was my assignment, I can happily say I’ve succeeded. Of what am I guilty? So many things I’ve said without realizing the impact my words could have on others until it was too late. So many things I’ve not said for fear of being misunderstood or judged, or of annoying someone, or of revealing my unworthiness.

Why unworthy? I don’t know. It’s just part of the mystery of my personality. I haven’t suffered one one-hundredth of the emotional and physical trauma so many others have. Compared to their unspeakable pain, the unimaginable misery of their lives, mine has been a vacation. A walk in the park. A free pass to Disney World. And yet I suffer. I act and think in ways I don’t like. I’m full of paradoxes. Most of the time It’s difficult to feel comfortable being me. I still see so much I don’t like, and I don’t even know who me is.

Please don’t worry. The part of me that’s feeling tired and discouraged right now could disappear tomorrow and a confident, serene, peaceful part could arise to take its place. Or maybe it will be an enthusiastic part. I’m all these parts and many more, and honestly, I’m okay with that. For me it’s a way of life. And I love my life. Beneath it all lies a rock solid foundation of something I can’t quite name that knows without a doubt that, in the words of Mother Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Maybe this is all I was supposed to learn this time around.

When I checked my Facebook page a few hours ago, I found this reassuring quote posted on the Carl Jung Depth Psychology site:

“I observe myself in the stillness of Bollingen and with all my experience of nearly eight decades must admit that I have found no rounded answer to myself. I am just as much in doubt of myself as before, the more so I try to say something definite. It is as though familiarity with oneself alienated one from oneself still further.” ~C.G. Jung, Letters, Vol. II, Pages 162-163.

He sounded tired too.

I wonder what my assignment will be next time around.

Note: Lewis Lafontaine just alerted me to another quote from Jung about his discouragement near the end of his life. It’s from his memoir, Memories, Dreams, Reflections on page 355, in a chapter called “Retrospect.” I don’t have my copy with me. If anyone else does, maybe you could send me the quote in a comment! That would be lovely.

Image credit:  Pinterest. Drenched in Reflection, Artist Danny O’Connor

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Her Wilbur Award-winning book, Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new Nautilus Award-winning book, The Soul’s Twins, is at Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.

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24 Responses

  1. Dear Jeanie,

    First of all, how liberating to forget to write a post! I often take weeks, even months off posting “above” as I like to call it, while I scribble away “below” in the pregnant darkness of my blog, unseen or noticed by others. Ha-Ha! The ego doesn’t like those times but the soul sure loves them! Nor does the ego enjoy the times I pull the plug on social media, but at times, I simply must do so in order to regain some kind of balance and find deeper meaning.

    As you know my mother recently died aged 77, so I hope to have those same four thousand weeks of life (“Four Thousand Weeks” is a new book by Oliver Burkeman) that the average human has … much like my brother-in-law at 80 who knows he’s at the “fag-end” (as he calls it!) of life and is making the most of these years by loving others. I guess we all look at age differently, especially as I remember friends who sadly didn’t even make their forties.

    Thank you for writing this beautiful, meditative piece and sharing your mind’s pondering, heart’s yearning and soul searching. Exquisitely written! No Disney Pass here, just a daughter’s neck that lay next to the onions, as I like to describe my childhood and yet, in growing up to become a poet and a psychotherapist was just what my soul needed … just as it must’ve been for you my dear friend in becoming the writer of four full-bodied, inspirational and beautiful books.

    Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Dear Deborah,

      Yes, it was liberating to forget to write a post! I couldn’t believe I did it. It was so easy and stress-free. I just thought, “Oh well. I’ve been sick. They’ll understand. No big deal.” That’s new for me. And most welcome. I also took an effortless week off from social media. Same feeling. It just happened. Meanwhile, there was a lot going on “below.” Lots of death awareness, some mourning and preparing myself for the worst, etc. You know how it is when you’re really sick. Every symptom is ominous and it feels like you’ll never be well again.

      I hope you are beginning to heal from your mother’s death. My mom died 13 years ago and still visits me from time to time in my dreams. In one dream, she had a new boyfriend. I was thrilled for her. I’ve only had one dream of her that featured anything negative and it wasn’t the real her, it was a witchy Death Mother who didn’t look like her but was nevertheless my mother. In the dream she was trying to hit me with her belt to punish me for standing up to her when she was being mean. It came the night after I made a keynote speech to the International Association for the Study of Dreams. My human mother was nothing like that. At least not overtly. It was extremely enlightening to realize that I carry around a Death Mother who wants to punish me for standing up for myself and speaking my truths! I’ve not heard of the book “Four Thousand Weeks,” nor of the author. But what a great title! It sounds really interesting.

      Thank you for your kind words about this post. And your comment, “No Disney Pass here, just a daughter’s neck that lay next to the onions.” Wow. What a dark, poetic, thought-provoking phrase that is! I’m still mulling over it. Yes, I believe becoming a teacher, writer, and mostly self-taught Jungian scholar was just what my soul needed too.

      Blessings to you for your understanding and friendship, Jeanie

      1. Wow, what a joy it is to read through such rich, heartfelt and insightful responses to your beautiful post here Jeanie! In pure synchronicity I’m studiously re-reading “The Crone” by Barbara G. Walker, an incredible book published in back in 1984 and one thought that came up immediately for me was … are there any good “Age-ing to Sage-ing” (as I call them) books out there, apart from our wonderful friend Susan Scott’s “Aging & Becoming: A Reflective Enquiry” of course, that explores the archetypal Crone and Wise Woman … viewed through a Jungian lens in particular? If any of your readers know of any I would love to hear about them.

        Where is the Crone in our writing? As KFP2023 writes, where is the Self in Old Age? I’m so tired of reading about midlife now and hungry to know of what’s to come? Here at 57 years of age, I long to know the Hag. I long to learn how to move towards Her, not a goal, but a way of being in my next twenty years. So let me join in with the Divine Feminine chorus here and sing that path, under the leaves of a woman’s life, into being, to be revealed and revered … for us to follow. What a gift that book for yourself and others at eighty that would be, and to do so with other like-minded soul-sisters and Crones would be an incredible legacy, especially for us who are coming up behind you!

        The Crone, Her time has come, let us celebrate Her second coming! Wow, I can feel a new poem stirring in those living waters below! Thank you so much for the inspiration and your kind words about my mother … slowly I’m getting there! My words, “just a daughter’s neck that lay next to the onions” is a line taken from one of my earlier poems, in my first collection. Wow, I’m buzzing! Love and light, Deborah.

        1. Hi Deborah, I haven’t read The Crone by Barbara G. Walker but I have two of her other books on feminine symbols and myths. I loved Susan Scott’s book, but other than that, I don’t know of any others. I believe you are not alone in your wish to know more about a new way of being in the next twenty to 30 years — between 57 and 87 and beyond. And I’m definitely getting inspired to think about writing one, probably with a little help from my friends, which includes you, and my other dear writer friends here, of course. In fact, I thought of a title this morning. But I need to think on it more before I start something I’m not ready to finish…I’ll be in touch about that….. Thank you for your excitement, encouragement, and inspiring words. “The Crone, her time has come, let us celebrate Her second coming!” Another great line!! Hugs, Jeanie

  2. Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts It all sounds very familiar and is reassuring that we are all on a similar path though it can feel lonely at times Sharing love and light 💜🙏

    1. Dear Ciara, (I love your name),

      It’s true. Reflection, self-awareness, and seeing your shadow puts you on a very lonely path. Most of us just don’t want to go there and it can be very hard to find someone who does. I think that’s the main reason I’ve been writing this blog for over 11 years. And why I love to write in general. My writing helps me understand myself and my blog has brought me friends from all over the world, as have my books. Writing connects me with my tribe. There’s so much more to me that I don’t show the world ‘out there’ in my daily life, but here I feel much freer to be me. I think it’s a good thing that I have access to both me’s. Connecting with my unconscious self and sharing parts of it in my writing has been extremely therapeutic. Thank you for writing. Sending love and light back at you! Jeanie

  3. Thank you for this honest appraisal of the state of your soul. Like so many, I can truly relate! I believe it is our soul’s mission to do what we’re called to do. In my estimation that is exactly what you have done. A long while ago having been blessed to be in your dream group for years set me on a journey to always explore my dreams. And for that I am most grateful! You truly changed the course of my life.

    1. Dearest Shannon, I always love hearing from you. The opportunity to be your dream mentor has been deeply satisfying to me. You are one of the few who really tapped into the profoundly transforming power of dreamwork and self-knowledge. Knowing I was instrumental in helping you discover that will always be a source of pride for me. With you, I know I did something good! Love, Jeanie

  4. Dear Jean, You have just opened up the Prologue to Your next Book ….. The Self in Old Age … Maybe it is an anthology with other writers …
    millions (baby boomers) are coming this way and they need a candle lit on how to make sense of these feelings …. if no one scans those last pages of MDR … yes this is what Jung talked about … this is what ”I”” experience .. (78) … where do I go from here … what more is being asked of me …. this is
    all particularly true for single women …. widows or those that had no children …. have lost connection to family …. etc. etc. Jung also says somewhere that you must participate / prepare for a conscious dying … Murray Stein says last tasks are engaging and living your creative self. As painful as it might be …. keep writing to us … this is has been for me one of your most meaningful posts. Thank You

    1. Dear KFP2023,

      You’ve read my mind. Sunday night I lay awake for a few hours nursing the idea for a new book about this phase of life and wrote several of the lines in my head for what I thought would be the first chapter. At some point in the wee hours, it occurred to me that the next day was Monday and I needed a topic for my Tuesday blog post, so I decided to try the idea out here. I was going to call the book, “This Time Around,” but maybe you’re right. Maybe that’s only the title of the prologue! I love the idea of making it an anthology with other writers instead of doing the whole thing myself. This is seriously interesting to me. Thank you. I hadn’t expected my daimon to rouse itself quite so soon after my last book! Although I love it passionately, it wore me out like a difficult child and now that it’s gone out into the world to fend for itself, I’m still recuperating.

      So at 78 you experience this too? I’m also 78. Very interesting. Are we touching on something archetypal here? It would seem so. In The Soul’s Twins I write about the Queen archetype who symbolizes the height of feminine power, (whether in males or females), and how she eventually merges into the Crone, or Wise Old Woman. You’re absolutely right. This does need to be written about.

      I agree with Jung that we must prepare for a conscious dying. And I adore Murray Stein’s comment and believe it is absolutely true. Wouldn’t it be lovely for us to be able to do that this time around?

      Thank you very much for the inspiring thoughts. My daimon is all ears! Are you by any chance a writer?

      Blessings,

      Jeanie

      1. Thank You, Jean, for your response. I am not a writer’s writer. CG Jung has been my spiritual path for 40 years … I have an extensive library … I have had decades of successful analysis … all with Jungians trained in Zurich which I feel makes a big difference. I work and live deep from the unconscious.
        I do dream work with young women in their 30’s who cannot afford analysis. I continue to study. If was to write a “last” book …. I would most want to channel the Divine Feminine for both to die in her arms with a death doula and to bring a message for the young women bringing forth the new Aeon.
        Glad You are feeling better. Being a deep introvert, I am very careful how I extravert my waning energies. I lived in Cashiers for decades until my husband’s passing …. then moved to Asheville to work with an analyst and then stayed. Best, Karen Paddock

        1. Dear Karen,

          I see we are similar in many respects. CG Jung has been my spiritual path for 32 years and I too have an extensive library. I wish I could say I’ve had decades of successful analysis with a Zurich-trained analyst, but in the 90’s there were no Jungian analysts anywhere near me in Florida and no one had heard of Skype or Zoom. My only recourse was to read/study, meditate, analyze my dreams, write, teach classes at the local Jung Center (I did a year of analysis with the founder who had a Masters in Psychology with a Jungian emphasis and and had done 20 years of analysis with a Jungian analyst) and lead dream groups…all of which I found very therapeutic.

          What a gift you give young women who cannot afford analysis to work with them on their dreams. I’ve worked with a few women too.

          The subject of your “If I were to write a “last” book” book, sounds divine! If you write it, I’d love to read it. Even a chapter.

          I’m an introvert too, but apparently, an extraverted one. I nonetheless protect my alone time time and energies carefully.

          Two final similarities — our place in Highlands, right next door to Cashiers as you know, has been here since 1984. Also, I know and admire two Jungian analysts in Asheville, and know “of” two more. What lovely synchronicities. I’m very glad you’ve found my blog. I hope you’ll drop by again. I find this space to be an introvert’s idea of heaven: the best of all possible venues because we’re totally in charge of the time, duration, and intensity!

          Warm summer blessings, Jeanie

  5. Jeannie, you have somehow channeled my own soul in this beautifully vulnerable post. I have been helping care for a dearly love, long-time friend in her dying. But even before that. I was questioning myself and whether anything we do ultimately matters. Every word of your post could be mine. The sense of unworthiness, guilt, doubt in the difference ioutsidd from what remains hidden within, the questioning of my ability to love as I wish and intend. Thank you for sharing this vulnerability. You give me courage to share mine. And the comfort of knowing I am not alone.

    1. Dear Diane,

      I am so very sorry about your dear friend. I have lost a dear friend and am soon to lose another one. Being with those we love as they move through this passage is such a bittersweet gift, such a heartrending act of love, such a holy rite. The very fact that you have committed yourself to being with one you love is proof of the quality of your love. Whether it’s as good as you wish or intend, is probably not the point. I believe the point is the fact that you have chosen to do it. Thank you for sharing this. Responding to you is making me realize that I need to say these same words to my doubting self! Your thoughts and kind words her are also proof of your love and a beautiful gift to me.

      Are you taking notes as you go through this experience with your friend? I encourage you to do so. As I write this it occurs to me that as a sister writer, perhaps you and the other writers here would like to contribute to an “Anthology” on This Time Around (or whatever I decide to call it) that I think I may have just committed myself to writing and editing! If you’re reading this from your email instead of this blog post, you’ll know what I mean if you come back to the post and read the comments that came before yours. I think I’m almost committed to the idea already, especially with the help of my “tribe!”

      But back to your comment and your last lines. You are most welcome, Diane. I’m convinced we women of this age need to share our vulnerability with each other. Knowing we are not alone is a very powerful and beautiful gift to give the world.

      Thank you, Jeanie

  6. I leaped to my copy of MDR – the very last chapter called Retrospect is contained within pages 389-393 which I’ve just quickly read. There’s no real mention of ‘discouragement’ as such, though his writings here very much touch on what you have written. The 3 rd last para reads ‘I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once, and cannot add up the sum. I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness; I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about….. ‘.

    I know (too well) those moods and musings for myself about life and myself in it. You’ve expresses them so well thank you. Glad to know that you too keep on asking the most times unanswerable questions. Jung too!

    Hope this finds you and family well, and enjoy the quiet/er times. With the change of seasons and each hemisphere experiencing different climates, I think our bodies do call us to rest every now and then, however long. Love, Susan

    1. Thank you, Susan! This is great.

      I see that a more apt word for ‘discouraged’ in my post would have been distressed or depressed. I too, feel astonished, rapturous, and pleased with myself at times too. But I’m not really discouraged. Although it may seem so to me at times, I know I have the courage to face what I need to face and do what I have to do as I grow into this aging time, as did Jung. Yes, I have definitely experienced the down times, but I also experience the extraordinary ups. It seems that the deeper I’ve gone into my pain and suffering, the higher I’ve soared into the joy and bliss. Plus it convinces me that for each step I take toward self-knowledge and authenticity, there is a compensatory reward! It’s Jung’s theme of enantiodromia, the pendulum swing.

      Thank you for sharing your vulnerability too. Seeing your honesty in your posts has been very helpful to me too. Thank you. If you read through these comments you’ll see I’m actually contemplating starting a new book, an anthology of essays from my writer friends on these themes. You are invited to contribute if you’re interested! This could be exciting and fun.

      We are all well, thank you. I spent the morning driving Fred to the Atlanta airport so he could fly to Orlando for a trial, and only got back here a couple of hours ago…six hours roundtrip. It’s very good to be off the roads and back in my place of quiet and serenity. I do need a rest. I’ll sleep well tonight.

      Love, Jeanie

  7. This is – hands down – my favorite post. Life is cyclical, ever changing, never settled “once and for all.” As you said, tomorrow you may feel differently. Sometimes I find it only takes one meaningful encounter, often with a stranger, to make me feel “real” again. A poem came to me once that spoke of the condition you describe. It was actually liberating to settle “at the bottom” for a while. Here it is: Let me rest / Let me be lonely / Let me be without hope / Let me languish / by day and by night / No dreams to chase this / despair away. / I am this / let me be.” Bravo, Jeannie!

    1. Oh, dear Diane, you have been such a gift to me these last years. Your poem is exquisitely honest and real and poignant and resonant! I had shivers upon and down my spine as I read it. I have them now. This tells me I’m on to something big. And important. And sacred.

      I’ve just spent two and a half hours answering comments to this post, and in this brief time I have been so inspired that I am ready to help birth one more book. Most of the people who responded here so far are women writers, and they all confirm what you are saying. In them I think I already have a large percentage of potential contributors for my anthology on this theme of This Time Around/Next Time Around. Or whatever I decide to call a book about women and aging and spiritual reflections on living and dying. If I do this, will you contribute? Let me gather my thoughts and I’ll get back to you and others with a plan.

      Thank you.

      Love, Jeanie

  8. Jean – as usual, thoughtful, authentic and vulnerable. It’s fascinating how the parts of us can take dominance in our thoughts, feelings, and emotions so quickly. Love your insight – love you. Jen

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. It is interesting how we can feel and act from different parts of ourselves so quickly. The least little thing can totally change a mood from dark to light, or light to dark. It helps a lot to have a Mindful Observer part that can choose what impulses to react to and what to let go!! Thanks for writing. Love you too. Jeanie

  9. I’m glad you’re in a healing place and hope you don’t have guests coming for a while. I hope for gentle walks and time to watch the wind in the trees and the sky. Time to keep reflecting on memories and dreams. I’m not worried about you, Jeanie, but I certainly identify. My “to do” list made when my body felt sturdy and reliable has dwindled and withered since Meniere’s Disease hit me. I was full of “This is catastrophic, but I’ll find a way to thrive,” when Vic died. I grieved, but I was healthy and in my early 60s. I hoped to do something wonderful with my last years, get to know myself better, spend more time with Marion Woodman, meditate more deeply, and write an opus or two. Writing ‘Leaning into Love’ was meant to be one of many, but then came a physical collapse.

    I had to learn a skill that has always eluded me. How to rest. How to let go. How to stop pushing. How to accept that I’m enough. I’m still working on it.

    From my perspective you are so much more than enough. You’ve accomplished so much in this life and as to love? You and Fred and your family are together loving each other and that’s rare in our world and a big soul achievement. You’ve followed your heart’s calling and written incredible books and explored deep dreams. There is more ahead for you (and I hope for me), but I hope you’re taking many deep breaths and telling the voice of doubt, “I am enough–and I’m tired.”

    I’m re-reading Marion Woodman’s ‘Bone’ to give me more skill in dealing with the “Death Mother.” When I first read the book many years ago, it didn’t capture me, probably because I felt so healthy then. It captures me this time in the best of ways. Much love to you, Jeanie, including much self-love for the struggling parts of yourself. Blessings, deep relaxation, and gratitude, Elaine

  10. Thank you for your words of wisdom and helpful encouragement, Elaine. I’m grateful for you and others here who have done the deep soul work to see themselves honestly and objectively and maintain the necessary balance to continue on in ways that work for them…..not to mention, to share their wisdom with others. The next guests will be here in August, so I’m in good shape.

    There is definitely a book waiting to be written about this phase of life. I’m thinking if the ideas keep coming and the inspiration I’ve received from the comments to this post continue to simmer, I may move forward on it. If I do, you’ll be among the first I’ll ask to contribute. There is definitely more ahead for you too.

    How to rest! I may still need to learn that one…. though I’m happy to say that today my energy and motivation are coming back. I took Izzy for a long walk this morning and thoroughly enjoyed this glorious cool day with gentle breezes scented by roses and hydrangeas. When we got back I gave her a bath, dried, and groomed her. You can’t believe the amount of fur that dog has…layers upon layers and layers of thick fluff that shed like a maple in October! Places where no flea or tick has ever been! Then, just because I felt like it, I swept off the porch and steps and shook out the outdoor rug she was standing on when I groomed her. I wouldn’t have had the energy to do any of that last week and I did it today just for fun, not out of duty! I’m resting now though!! Blessings to you too. Jeanie

  11. Dear Jean, your reflections sound all too familiar. Thanks for sharing them. My website posts only appear once or twice a month, usually about some lingering theme, never planned ahead. When a friend called two days ago, lovingly inquiring why I had not posted anything for weeks, I realised how my posts are a sign of life for people I’m not regularly in touch with. I instantly connected to a phrase I woke with that day… without sleep and dreams we’d go mad … which then turned into a short post, relating to one of my Rilke sonnet translations I had unearthed the day before.

    The media circus alternatively arouses head-shaking and sarcasm, makes me laugh out loud, or, from emotional wells, brings up depressed feelings about the world. Yet after a night’s sleep, even if I don’t remember my dreams, I find some subtle changes have restored my spirit. A mini rebirth 🙂
    Today I offered the first supervision session in many months, surprised to re-discover my skills of listening and guiding, confirming, as if this was necessary, that I’m of some use to others after all.

    In any case, I think it’s better to feel guilt, unavoidable really, than feel shame for not having attended to one’s potential, which I’ve done in various different settings during my life so far. .And I sometimes I marvel, did I really take on this and that challenge? Did I really have the guts to raise the energy to such levels?

    You’ve certainly worked on what you’re capable off to high levels, with more potential to unfold.

    The last two years taught me patience, with myself, and with others.. Although forced on us through a virus, maybe the slowing down of energy has something to teach us, especially as we get older. Meanwhile I remain a mystery to myself.

    1. Dear Ashen,

      Thank you for letting me know you’ve written another post. I love your waking phrase, “without sleep and dreams we’d go mad …”, and the fact that it related to a Rilke sonnet you had unearthed the day before. These synchronicities are affirming on so many levels. As this one did for you, they almost always inspire creative new directions in my thinking and writing. I look forward to checking your post out, and will when I finish this.

      I’ve meant to read it and write back ever since I read your comment, but last Weds. I sprained my wrist in a backwards stumble and fall after the stepping stone I was standing on (I was on a low slope pulling stubborn ivy fines out of the hinges of a garden shed) shifted under my weight. It’s been too painful to even consider typing. It’s also been a good lesson. and a reminder I had no idea how difficult it is to do most things with only one hand. Fortunately after three days and a new removable cast, I can type without much discomfort. Naturally, I see a plus in all this. Resting became less of an option and more of a necessity until Fred returned from his commute to help me out. Unfortunately, he’s hopeless with my hair! 🙂

      I’m glad to hear you’ve had the opportunity to be reminded of your supervisory skills. Perhaps we do need these reminders after lengthy times of withdrawal from social interactions, whether forced, like the Covid-19 quarantine, or simply because we have less energy for it and feel the need to slow down a little. Sounds like another good chapter for the book idea simmering around in my head based on this post. If you’re interested in submitting something I’d love to read it.

      I agree it’s better to feel guilt than shame for not having attended to one’s potential. I also marvel at some of the challenges I’ve had the nerve to take on. We must have had more gumption than good sense in our early years, although thankfully for both of us, there were no negative consequences.

      I’m still learning patience. I hope it’s not a lesson “too late for the learning.” as Tom Paxton wrote in his ’64 song: That Was the Last Thing on My Mind.

      Wishing you peace, from one mystery to another.

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