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White-Skied Days

Above: An outing in Germany in mid-summer, when the skies were vibrant and laughing.

The news from my corner of the world, of late, has been excited chatter about inclement weather. Roaring winds and thrashing rain are expected soon, the effects of a hurricane making its way north. I do so love storms, and I look forward to watching trees dance wildly, laughing with joy, leaves chasing each other madly like screeching, rosy-cheeked children. The skies have in past days, however, revealed nothing of what is to come. Indeed, the weather has been unbearably nondescript, neither sunny nor truly cloudy, neither warm nor cool; simply overcast with a still, white-grey sheet of sky far above. Time seems to pass so slowly in this white-skied autumn. Limbo, I called it today. Unremarkable. Unchanging.

But these skies, I find, hold a lesson. Reminiscent of a place where time stands still, they echo moments that occur in my life too frequently for my liking. Perhaps you are familiar with them: a gradual awareness that you have been doing exactly nothing for far too long, staring at your computer screen, wasting precious time. And perhaps you blame it on exhaustion or boredom or monotony or perhaps on something else entirely, but you feel out of sorts and frustrated and useless, and you are very ready for a vacation. Do you have moments like this? Please tell me you have these days, too.

This semester has been far too full of them. In the time between classes and volunteering and work, instead of moving forward on my never ending to-do list or doing those things I dream about when I am busy, I sit stupidly in my room, zoning out into some unknown, usually on my computer.

I feel lazy.
I feel ashamed.

And yet, I need to remind myself to practice gentleness. Kindess is essential to my body and to my soul; this includes focusing on eating well and getting the sleep my body needs, and speaking to myself with love. Gentleness does not mean, though, that I continue to allow myself to justify wasted time, but that I – gently – push myself to be proactive: do five minutes of research, or reading, or writing; tidy the desk; take a twenty minute nap; read a book, just for fun. Dance furiously to a guilty-pleasure song with all the energy of a hurricane. Take baby steps towards a goal, no matter how small. Move ever forward. Be the sun, and emerge from behind those colorless, listless, clouds.

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