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Day 68: Beginning to Slow Down...

A good Artist’s Date kind of day, facing the emotional weather of slowing down after intensive weeks of a final retreat, course preparations, then the holy output/immersion of intensive teaching days. The first gift was a walk by the river with an eldering friend. Both the gift of her time, but also shared presence in a place that used to pull her there but does not any longer, or any longer in the same way. Each person in my life is unlike any other, but this one is moreso. Know that impish saying? Red headed women are like all other women, only moreso? Like that, with her own signature.

Landing in a coffee shop with protein breakfast possibilities, I notice my tenderness, feelings of insecurity, hyper-storying with anything and everything that contrasts with my expectations, conscious or unconscious. Nuances about this phrase she said? Heightened second-guessing for what I said there? Nothing real in the storying, as I’ve come to trust Connection, but worth noticing all the same. Probably not the best time to have chosen what I did for this day, but also the opportunities before me felt lively…so perhaps a fine time to choose what I have.

I didn’t name it openly, as I’m simply following my next breath…but I’m leaning toward visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It’s been on my viewscreen for a long while, but way has not opened for me to go. Something feels significant for me in going by myself. Site of such an obvious-unseen wound in our country’s culture(s), I have deeper appreciation of how differently & viscerally human bodies ‘receive’ or ‘encounter’ this present history. I’ve wanted the freedom/responsibility for myself alone, I guess. Certainly not visiting with Brian, whose emotional weather and reactivities I’m so attuned to, can take on within me.

A blessed and significant way to breathe into the next hours. Moving exhibits. Heartfelt pains throughout. Spent some time ostensibly looking at the historical signage while I was actually attending to the high-school aged group of African American students encountering the spaces. I smiled to see a couple filling out the worksheets required for demonstration of learnings upon leaving. Gut punches too, entering into the Anderson ‘slave pen,’ reconstructed from Germantown, KY. The restorationist used the phrase “temple of pain” that will travel with me for a long while. Slave narratives, a puzzle from the gift shop, as well as a book of poetry written by refugees came home with me.

Driving back home, realizing I would pass right by the retreat center where Women Writing sisters would be gathering at 4 p.m. today for the annual retreat, I swung through to visit the space that holds SO many memories of the last decade. Was good to drop off a book of poetry “for the mother school,” greet and hug the two leader sisters preparing the spaces. Was also good to leave, aware of gratitude and detachment.

Freedom is pacing herself in me today, I guess.

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