Years ago a friend gave me a book of Hafiz poetry called I Heard God Laughing. When he handed me the book, I noticed a beautiful wooden bookmark neatly tucked inside the first few pages. When I opened the book to retrieve it, it sat atop a poem called "You Don't Have to Act Crazy Anymore."
I looked up at my friend - a person with whom I shared a complex history - and I said: "That was on purpose, wasn't it?" His eyes and whole face smiled as he winked out his reply: "Perhaps."
Tonight as I was counting the ways I have been making things more difficult - more insane - for myself, I recalled this poem. It's hard work to feel as fractured as I do; it takes true effort to be this stressed and overwhelmed (by work, family, friendships, etc). It takes effort to keep it all inside, all the while acting the martyr insteading of either asking for help or giving yourself exactly what you know you need. Time. Relaxation. Care. Quiet. Letting go. (And, okay, maybe a massage.)
Last night I went to the gym after an epic cry session with my therapist. I don't normally allow myself to cry in front of other people - even my damn therapist - so I arrived at the gym in little, vulnerable pieces. I did thirty minutes of cardio, a bit of strength training, and then totally came undone in the sauna.
Which actually translated to me just letting myself feel what I was feeling - a literal sitting with it. I sat in the sauna for nearly thirty mintues - until my eyelids were sweating and I thought okay, that's probably enough - but I stayed because even though the feelings were rough, ultimately I got to a good place. It was symbolic I know, but also something more basic: letting all the toxins out felt good both emotionally and physically. By the time I got up and left, I was drenched in it. I was also ready to wash it all away and let go.
I left the gym knowing that all I wanted and needed when I got home were a few nourishing rituals. So I did just that. I slowly ate a beautiful grapefruit, took my vitamins, rubbed good lotion all over my body, and crawled into my bed - freshly washed sheets and all. I fell into a peaceful sleep for the first time in a long time. And today at work, I was in a much calmer place. I worked slowly and deliberately, and told many people No, I can't, I have too much on my plate. The honesty of where I was at lifted the weight right off of me. Funny how that works.
I don't have to act crazy. I also know the ways to be well.
You Don't Have to Act Crazy Anymore
You don't have to act crazy anymore -
we all know you were good at that.
Now retire, my dear,
From all that hard work you do
Of bringing pain to your sweet eyes and heart.
Look in a clear mountain mirror -
See the Beautiful Ancient Warrior
And the Divine elements
You always carry inside
That infused this Universe with sacred Life
So long ago
And join you Eternally
With all Existence - with God!