My daughter and I just returned from a trip to New York City. Usually when I visit a big city, I feel energized, stimulated, almost high on the sights, sounds and textures.
But this time was different.
Although spending time with my daughter exceeded my expectations, rubbing up to the Big Apple didn’t. There were the late night subway rides, trying to figure out which lines were not under construction while people paced and talked to themselves. Add in dashes to museums before they closed and wandering strange streets trying to find something to eat… and what normally I’d frame as an adventure instead felt draining.
Upon returning, as I tried puzzling this out, I saw that my life has been unusually busy with travel, my husband changing jobs, graduation activities and my daughter moving back home to attend graduate school.
None of this is “bad.” However I realized that somewhere in the midst of it all I had lost myself. And one way I find me again is by going into what our family lovingly calls “hermit mode.” A good friend texted last week about an impromptu lunch. Sorry, I responded, but I’m in hermit mode. Our monthly supper club rolled around and I was asked to host – how about if we just start up again in the fall, I suggested? Hermit mode.
It’s not that I don’t love my friends. I do. It’s that the thing calling to me louder than anything else right now is time with myself.
I am realizing that this is one of the ways I consciously weather change. When I have been too “outward” with my life, I can start losing my center. Some people can hear their wisdom while running at full tilt, but most of us can’t.
So I get slower and slower until I can hear that faint voice that is my own. Like cupping a flame to protect it from blowing out, I shelter myself so I can keep my inner light lit.
The creative part of me needs hermit time as well. I can see and transcribe life at a more hectic pace, but I can’t see underneath it, I can’t discern its stunning and sad beauty, until I slow almost to a stop, breathe and allow it in. Then my writing and other expressions have more richness and authenticity.
Yes, there is a time when hermit mode can be escapism. That’s something to be mindful about, when out of fear we fade rather than out of choice we retreat. But there are other times when we simply need a deep retreat from “out there” to access “in here.”
I don’t know how long I will be in this space. It may be another day, it could be a month. It may end gradually or abruptly. But regardless, I embrace my inner hermit and let her have her season. The next season most likely will bring my extroverted theatrical side, and I will embrace that equally. Maybe even in New York City!
Feel free to share your thoughts on the blog in the comments section …
Creative Soul Summer Tasters
Sunday, July 9 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Monday, July 10 at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Save the date and look for more details and registration opening next week for these popular, restorative women’s gatherings!
Creative Soul Women’s Circles
Launching late August, 2017
The next series of women’s circles begin in late August. Look for more details as registration opens in a few weeks.