Awakening © 2009 Lisa Rough
In a dark time, the eye begins to see.
— Theodore Roethke
Well, I woke up this morning still a bit shaky about how I’m going to manage the logistics of my reading deprivation week, but suddenly, I’m a lot more eager about getting into it. Since I’ve done it before, I am finally remembering how light, airy, and gentle this time can be.
The resistance, even indignation, of course, can be intense. Julia obviously has the scars to prove it, writing, “At least one student always explains to me – pointedly, in no uncertain terms – that he or she is a very important and busy person with duties and obligations that include reading.
“This information is inevitably relayed in a withering tone that implies I am an idiot child, an artistic flake, unable to grasp the complexities of an adult’s life. I just listen.
“When the rage has been vented, when all the assigned reading for college courses and jobs has been mentioned, I point out that I have had jobs and I have gone to college and that in my experience, I had many times wriggled out of reading for a week due to procrastination. As blocked creatives, we can be very creative at wriggling out of things. I ask my class to turn their creativity to wriggling into not reading.”
So. No reading at all? Except for safety (don’t be silly — yes, of course you can and should read road signs and the directions on your prescription medicine!), no reading of words. (As opposed to, say, the images on Tarot cards!)
And I promise you, you can get to sleep at night without your bedside reading. And yes, you can get through your morning ablutions, too. If you are really going nuts, get out your morning pages and write!
By the way, I would advise you not use this as an excuse to numb out for hours and hours in front of the TV or on mindless phone calls you would not have otherwise made. The point here is NOT to find new ways to zone out or distract ourselves.
The point is to be more deeply present. You will begin to hear your own thoughts, not those of others’ opinions and views. This is nothing less than a vision quest; a journey in which you can dwell with awareness and appreciation in the sensory world of your body, see the beautiful interconnectedness around you with fresh eyes, and at last, hear the profound voice of your most intimate inner Beloved, the Creator within you.
In fact, in my morning pages today, I began listing all the things I might do while my computer is dark, and my books and magazines are gathering dust. And I instantly felt grounded and very happy to think about them:
Clear off my desk, play with my Tarot decks (but not look anything up in books), start an art journal, make up lots of herbal magick bundles, repair the roof of my shrine to the Baba Yaga, finally get around to shopping at our local bead store, do some serious weeding and gardening (to hell with the ticks!), visit the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke (free for Durham residents!), change the strings on my guitar, explore a consignment store I’ve had my eye on … the temptations are delicious and infinite.
My work duties have not vanished, of course. I have appointments with clients next week, and I will be on a call-in radio show on Tuesday morning. And I will see about my World Tarot Day one-card reading requests. But I might not actually email folks’ answers till I’m finished with my week.
So. This weekend, instead of video or poetry selections, I’ll be posting the exercises that Julia suggests as we do this work, so please check in for the next couple of days, before we all check out for a bit.
I can already feel the fresh breezes of possibilities and adventure.