Today, I was looking at two paintings hanging on the wall together and wondering what to do next. My eyes kept focusing on the blank space in between them and the words You are here grabbed me.
The blank space there on the wall, talking to me. It felt like deadness when truth hit me. This is where I am. Maybe you are here too. For me, one side holds great loss and the other side prompts me to move on. Since I'd rather not participate in either option at the moment, I've chosen to stand here--in between options. Where nothing is happening. The point I am going to make from here forward is that this place is a good place. Yes.
because even when nothing is happening, something is happening. That something is called rest.
I am resting from the intense outpouring of love and loss my family experienced this year. I am resting in between moments of grief, prayer, meditation, sadness. I am resting when I shake my fist at the sky in anger. This space is my Emotional House.
Can I find a way to express this that isn't just about grief though? Can it be understandable for all human conditions? Because I think everything from grief to mild malaise takes a huge toll on our well being. And my greatest hope for my husband, kids, sister and friends is that we can all find a way to be well. My mother claimed she was never depressed a day in her life, so to be fair to her, I will state that this Place also welcomes those of you who are bent towards 24 hour happiness. Being "blah" is not a prerequisite for rest. I say this with a tremendous amount of admiration to skippy, happy people. You are as weird and marvelous to me and I might be to you. We all make the soup.
The in between space of rest is a Divine Nation. A hostel for all souls. We rest our bodies every night but we neglect our souls. Deep rest for our souls. I have a hunch that when a soul rests, all gets very quiet. There are few words spoken. Not much (insert nothing) gets done. It may even look and feel like boring. Calories are not getting burned. Paintings are not getting made. Meals become optional. Under all that uneasy nothingness, something really great is happening though. It should be noted that sometimes a rest period can take up a whole entire day of your life (wow.) A rest period can ask you for weeks or maybe even for months. For painter Agnes Martin, it asked for seven years.
We are told to believe all things can be made new again. Is newness being made in rest? The answer I suspect, lies in trying. A great amount of patience is required to stop. We must train ourselves to withstand the shame of being unproductive, the anxiety of severe quietness as well as the constant blabbing and judging of our hypercritical minds. Sounds hard and it IS. I know because I am here.
So stay. Squirm in your discomfort. Get quiet. Sit still. Find rest. Emerge new. Be BIG and loving when you have the energy to awake and take action.
I don't yet have hindsight regarding my time here in rest. I am hoping that when my time is done, I will be wiser about judging the nothingness as bad. I hope that when I regain energy and joy, I will smile at you more often and not have to pretend that I'm feeling okay. I'm hoping when I merge back onto the highway of life I will look back and discover what I earned in my rest. Until then, "I remain here."