Those of you who go away, for retreats, for conferences, for vacations, know that it can be tough to come back. On Tuesday, most people commented that I looked rested and refreshed. Despite my 10 hour drive on Monday, I did feel rested and refreshed. I had a plan for my memoir. I had poems. I knew just what I had to do.
Yesterday, I struggled to hang onto that purpose. We got some projects done around the house. I started to feel tired by early afternoon. Then I went to work.
Some days at work are just fine. Other days are full of negative energy.
Yesterday was one of those kind of days where I recoiled from the tone of many of the e-mails that came zinging across the network: such barking demands, such defensiveness, such belligerence, such anger. I wanted to hide under my desk.
Still, I had parts of the day that brought me joy. I was able to help some students who had questions about why credits weren't transferred in. I got the transcripts of other students evaluated. I tried to be a helpful presence.
I tried to remember the Candlemas lesson: we carry the light of Christ within us, the way that Simeon held the light of the world in the form of a tiny baby in his arms. We are to be light, not darkness.
I've done a lot of thinking about the lessons I've learned from my February time at Mepkin. I wrote about Candlemas here and about my need to be patient and to move on monastery time here. I love the way that the simple music of the monastery has gotten into my head, that I wake with the hymns of praise echoing in my memory.
When we first arrived at the monastery, we learned that Saturday Eucharist would be held in the solarium of the senior wing. My first reaction was panic, as I didn't really know where the senior wing is. What if I wandered into the wrong part of the monastery?
But I knew that I'd be fine, that a friendly monk would help me find my way. And in the end, I needn't have worried. I just followed everyone to the solarium, which was visible from the sidewalks, although I didn't know it.
I try to hang onto that knowledge as I travel into secular life: everything will be fine, and I'll find my way, and there will be guides, and the universe smiles on me. I try to let go of my anxiety and my drift towards scarcity consciousness.
On Tuesday as I drove home after spin class, I realized that I could still see a bit of sunset staining the western horizon. The light returns to us, minute by minute each day. Last night, I noticed that my neighbor left the Christmas lights twinkling on the mango tree, and my mood lifted, despite the day of withering e-mails.
I will continue to look for light, to be light.
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
1 month ago