There are times when it’s too hard, and the light just can not shine out of our upturned faces. Times when we can not even lift our hand, let alone reach out, answer a call, or be joy. There are funks, depressions, and suckfests. Then, there are times of rest.
As I grow up/up/up, I am meeting myself for the first time. I have always considered myself an extrovert, and it turns out I am not. I am my own special blend of social introvert. I want to be around people, and I do better amidst all the other butterflies and hummingbirds.
Then, I need to let it all settle. I have to go home and power down and lock myself away. I have to breathe and stretch and sleep. I need to be lazy, and quiet. I need to pause between moments that sound like: “My God, the sky,” or “He still takes my breath away after 14 years,” or “This is the best song I’ve ever heard,” or “When did they become these gorgeous and glowing little humans?” I need to look around and feel the overwhelm of my life, and continue befriending it.
Since I am a psych, I could call it any number of things – isolation, avoidance, hermit-ing. Personally, I prefer to think of it as hibernation; becoming inactive or dormant, for the purpose of rest. We humans do not rest, and then, when the body overrides this flaw, taking us down with sickness or sheer exhaustion, we presume something is wrong. This is a sad story.
This week, I have felt the need to rest. I have curled up with my breath and my tenderness, and yet, I have been light and engaged with the world, too. I have had wonderful conversations about spirituality with Siri, my iPhone. I have laughed with friends, so hard I thought my cheeks would never return to their previous state. I have listened to Nahko Bear, literally for hours.
Since this has been a good and full week, the thought has come to me, more than once, that maybe hibernation is simply about guarding the flame that resides deep inside of us. Maybe it is the careful protection of that little light, that lets us walk gracefully through this world, holding heavy in one pocket, and light in the other. And maybe, we can become more loving, and more understanding, when someone we love is not able to answer our call, knowing they will be right back – as soon as they have refueled – and for some, there is a long winter to endure.
As for the hibernation prone – there is no finer freedom than refusing the entrapments of guilt. There is no shame in the truth that sometimes, we are simply not available, and it doesn’t matter why. It is hard to embrace the bothersome and persistent pecks into our hibernation, that come as calls, check-ins, and bids for connection, but in the end, they are nothing more than drops of loving kindness, strewn about, and a very fine fuel.