01 Oct October: Mind the Gap
This letter has felt impossible to write, yet impossible is where I’ve been living this whole year since my mother was diagnosed with cancer. It was impossible that she was sick, impossible that she was taking chemo, impossible that she was just healthy enough to climb a mountain and became so weak she could barley walk, impossible that she would die, impossible that I would be here writing without her to read to.
We’re often told about achieving the impossible, but I don’t think this is what they meant. Every step of this journey, I have thought to myself, ‘surely, this is not something I can do’, yet somehow every step was made. The impossible being made possible, unravelling before me. I still don’t know how this happens, only that it does and continues to do so. In that vein, I will write, I will continue to do the impossible, which, today, means to live without her.
This moment is the still point around which everything turns
October generally asks us to hold a lot. The swell of nourishment (harvest) the mystery of the unknown (halloween/Samhain) alongside the honouring of the absence of departed loved ones (the Day of the Dead closely following in November.) With so much already on our collective plates, the guidance I’m hearing is for us to do something that may seem counterintuitive.
Stop. Linger in the Gap.
How often do we hear the wisdom of our inner voice telling us to stop doing, and rest? I would say you hear this ALOT, maybe even on a daily basis. It may be that quiet whisper in the back of your mind warning you against overextending, saying yes when you mean no, filling the empty space with noise, picking up a device when you could be picking up a moment of quiet. It’s a quiet, and yet, persistent request in the face of all of the “very important reasons” we could never actually heed such advice.
It’s ok to acknowledge that we don’t know how to stop, in a culture so devoted to doing, that we speak in order to fill the silence. We run from one thing to the next, to soothe the worry that we simply are not enough as we are.
This is the real fear that dogs us, that in simply being we will cease to be important, or even to exist in a meaningful way. October has always come with the invitation to face what is frightening, maybe this year we face the fear of stopping, even if only for a moment.
In a world of perpetual motion, when we may be feeling sick of the ride, can we be courageous in our willingness to be in emptiness, unknown, in the gasping silence?
Stopping doing offers reset and retreat. Unplugging from our daily routine disrupts toxic patterns so that we can then re-choose direction from a place of consciousness. Stopping allows the body to heal, and reform tissues. It allows the brain to reset and rebalance itself. Our bodily systems require this from time to time, so that it can continue working optimally, and if we don’t stop from time to time, we will wear out until we break down.
Silence can be deeply scary, yes. But it is also delightful, joyful, and blissful. You can lean into the emptiness, and fall into the deeper layers of yourself, and the incredible resource of your soul.
Having just passed into autumn and the descent into darker days, this is a sweet place to just be for a moment. Every natural thing has its cycle of waxing and waning. Don’t be afraid to pause.
“Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty .”
― Leonard Cohen
This can be a deep and rich time, full of discovery and nourishment, if we only take the time to shut the door on distraction and take the space we need to come home to our truth—the impossible truth that we can face more than we dreamed—and still walk on with courage, faith and an open heart.
If this letter speaks to you, I recommend making a commitment to yourself to pause.
Some suggestions are taking a day of silence, a social media de-tox, turning off your phone for a length of time that feels doable, getting into nature, closing your door to the requests of others for a day. I would love to hear what your idea of not doing is! Let me know by hitting reply on this email, or better yet, write a comment. I love reading them.
With you in the gap.