Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Richter scale of my heart

The Richter scale of my heart is through the roof right now. 

My emotional seismograph reverberates with anxious energy. The last leaves have changed around the Ranch, setting the surrounding hills all aglow, which seems to magnify the intensity of whatever mood the sky happens to be in. Today my mood matches that of the sky: brooding, cloudy.

Leaves dance and spin in a small corner near the old barn, and I can't help but feel akin to that spinning. In the last six weeks, plans have changed so many times, it's left my head spinning.

For once, words fail me, but what I lack the words to express, my body speaks for me loud and clear: my neck is stiff and tense from lack of sleep. I wake in the middle of the night anxious about this move. This is a time of transition, and it's certainly not without its challenges. But finally, on Thursday, I am headed north.

I am heading to a small 16x20 cabin in the great northwoods not far from Muskallonge Lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is not unlike what I do every season. But this time, it is different. This time, I'm not coming back.

I've committed myself to 140 days of solitude in this cabin in the woods.

In preparing to move to this small cabin infor the next six months, I have begun the tedious task of paring down on all of my material possessions. I started in July with clothes - bags and bags of clothes from both my and my kids' closets donated.

Then I started going through drawers and cabinets. I found things I'd held onto for years - silly things I simply held onto under the guise of not being "wasteful": oodles of paper clips, old grade books from my teaching days, incense sticks from my college days, old compilation CDs people made for me, endless drawers of scrap booking and office supplies, coupons I'll never use and old receipts, all dusty and yellowed from time.

Here's the thing about things: they pass through us, coming and going, and ultimately there are very few things in this life that matter.  Even things I thought would never lose their meaning have. 

At this moment in my life, I want to live bare bones, to strip myself of all that's unnecessary.

Because, when all the "stuff" and distractions are stripped away, what you're left with is the undeniable confrontation of coming face-to-face with all of the fears and demons, weaknesses and haunts locked inside your meaty heart.

Like many, I've used things to distract myself: from being honest, from looking at the truth.

Thursday, I retreat to the woods for a sabbatical from ... almost everything. I hope to finish my first book in that time, and emerge from the woods changed. 

This is a time of enormous growth, and with that growth has come pain. But, Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living."

Have you examined your life today?

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