This weekend, I read in a Facebook post that the body holds onto trauma. If that is true, might it also hold onto pleasure and delight?
Seductively, night draped its dark cape over California. Crickets sang in the bushes outside the dining room window. A soft breeze brushed leaves against the pane. A dog barked, joyfully, down the street. Perhaps someone had thrown it a ball. My brothers and sister had left the table. My mother was fussing in the kitchen. My dad still sat beside me, waiting I guess, for me to finish dinner.
I took another bite. Homemade mashed potatoes. I squished the mouthful between my tongue and palate. The smooth, warm nubbles were a silky textured ecstasy for my mouth. Did life get any better than this?
“Hurry up and eat. Other people have things to do, and you’re holding them up. Honestly, you are the slowest person I know,” snapped my mother as she started clearing the table.
Slow. It was a word used often to describe me. I was slow. Not intellectually, I knew they didn’t mean that, but I moved slowly through the world. There were other words used: “Get your head out of the clouds, daydreaming again, why does it take you so long to do anything, you can’t just sit there, get up and do something.” Why was how I moved through the world so hard for them? Granted, all those words described what others saw in me, and they were true, but I took offense to “slow.”
I was a dreamer, creating worlds in my head, dreaming about imaginary people that I had yet to meet, sensing the world around me. My skin felt each breeze, each stroke of fabric, sometimes even sound as it rumbled past me. Scents filled my nose, throat, and sinuses with a rush of pleasure, or revulsion, both of which stopped me in my tracks. Everything I put into my mouth created what as an adult I would name an orgasmic experience or I never put it in my mouth again. And the world was loud. It was so loud, I found it difficult to decipher whether or not someone was speaking to me because of the sound around me. The one sense that wasn’t acute was sight. At seven I saw green leaves on the trees for the first time with a pair of thick lensed glasses. The world that I “saw” sensuously became so much more, and consequently, I spent more time observing.
Why use the word slow? Why not observant, meticulous, contemplative, introspective, and a dozen other words that do not connote slow?
In my group of friends, we have declared February as Self-Love Month. I realized this week that I use the term “slow” on myself. I worry because it takes so long to pound out a novel, and then I spend months rewriting while others I know are publishing a book a month. I am lucky to be publishing a book a year.
The graphic novel I am working on will take forever. It is daunting. It is daunting because I am slow. Shouldn’t I be able to whip out a page a day? It takes three, working fast, I assure you, to get one drawing done. And while I sit here typing my thoughts for this blog, my attention is arrested by flashing beads of light strung along each tiny branch in the winter trees outside my window. Rain left them as a reminder that the sun still lights Earth. A memory sings across my awareness. A perfectly placed sunbeam turns dew into diamonds that flash and spark on the delicate filaments of a spider’s web. I am riveted. Time loses all meaning in one long moment of wonder. How long have I been sitting? A minute? Twenty?!? Does it matter? Has time been lost or added? It is this very reason I am so damn slow. I need to retrieve some body memories of all those childhood years I spent gathering timelessness. Back then, every day, all day long, I was deliberately attentive as the world enveloped me with thousands of little pleasures or signals that captured me just like today. (Wow, this cotton shirt floats against my skin. Lovely. I am never getting rid of it.)
Dang, another moment lost or added?
Do other people have this issue? In the United States, it feels like we rush around as if we are constantly battling a fire. Most of us burden ourselves with incredible industriousness trying to reach status quo. Because of this, do we ever take time to notice what is around us?
What have I noticed lately? The plush throw blanket I added to my bedding for extra warmth is so fat and fluffy against my palm. I could rub it all day long. The house ticks and creaks as the rain patters against it. In this light, there seems to be a vibrating halo around each leaf of every houseplant in this room. It reminds me of spring when each petal of the red geraniums sports a shimmering green halo. I see ghosts of figs on the tree to my right, as it plans where to place its fruit this year. A cat is purring in the living room, grateful to be inside. She must be dreaming, because she squeaks every so often, and her feet rub against the grain of the chair’s fabric. Is she remembering the hunt? What does that feel like to be so focused, on task, and persistent?
When later I draw, the pencil will scritch-scratch against the paper like a welcoming relief for an itch. My keyboard clacks in percussive rhythm with my thoughts and visions. Everything around me is music.
At night, the dark will shroud me in velvet silence. My blankets become a comforting hug as I sink into the mattress under their weight. The house will settle as the air cools, and I will remember how it ticked-ticked as the old wood warmed up in the sun just yesterday afternoon.
I don’t know when I stopped feeling so aware, but I am returning to this state of wonder. I suspect it had to do with adulting in America, completely convinced that I was slow. In this society, we aren’t putting out fires; we are fire, busy as hell, conquering whatever profession or lifestyle we have chosen. We are all striving to be “Not Slow.”
As a retiree, I return to myself. I have discovered a deep pool of quiet energy I had forgotten. I believe that is what confused the people around me when I was young into thinking I was slow. I prefer to consider that I am deliberately attentive, savoring little moments of pleasure that offer themselves multiple times a day. I am collecting them, storing them in my body, building muscle, tendons, and fascia with delight. I wish to become a bottomless pool of quiet strength and energy as Earth constantly delights and renews me.
What are you collecting? I invite you to join me when you next eat. How does your food feel as you savor each mouthful? Did the taste of it sing to you? I hope so. Are you sitting in a room where the light creates luscious shadows through which your eyes can dance? Are there soothing sounds around you? How does the napkin feel on your fingertips, against your lips? How is your food settling? I hope you feel full and happy. I hope you find your own deep pool of quiet energy.
Happy February. Happy Self-Love Month
2 thoughts on “Deep Pool of Quiet Energy”
I never thought of you as a dreamer…….. just a neat young lady doing well in life, You are, however, a creative writer.
Thank you for reading my blog and leaving a comment.
I do spend a lot of time daydreaming….oops, I mean creating worlds to write or draw.