We’re between a rock and a hard place. Summer, this year, has been a summer like none of us have experienced before. If you’re like me, we’ve been spending half a year trying to get this thing right. Six months trying to balance school, work, family and community while tectonic plates of justice, poor leadership and droplets of infected breath smash together, crumbling the core of our institutions.
And we fight, for both normalcy in our households and systemic change in our societies. We are exhausted from loving our homes and our world so freaking hard – all together, all alone. Our villages are social distanced by necessity. Exhaustion and loneliness have become our closest acquaintances, because we love our friends and family so much we are keeping our distance.
We’re not meant to raise our children alone. “It takes a village” is a proverb oft repeated because it rings so true as it echos through our empty insides. We’re also not meant to work alone, our partners in our passions and professions only being seen through the computer screen. They are our teammates, our confidants and our mentors.
We’re also not meant to play alone – our sports, our entertainment, our nights out are not meant to be masked and 3 feet apart.
We’re simply not meant to be alone. At least not like this.
But right now, we have to be.
Usually when I feel my heart or other hearts hurting, I turn to inspiration, meditation and love, seeking ways to help lift us all. But this feels different. It feels more desperate, like prey running through the woods, seeking a tree, a burrow, or a cave. Finding a place to hide and recover is not a choice right now, but, rather, a matter of life and death.
So hide. Really. It’s okay.
Sit quiet. Take a moment to release all you’ve ever known summer to be. Let go of the beach and the barbecues and the pools. Let go of the crystal blue waters and reach inside for something deeper, something ancient, something to anchor you. Close your eyes and find a truth.
Summer Mountains Let the mountains surround you. Breathe in their cool, crisp breath. Release the heaviness of summer - Sweat dripping down legs of swimsuits that never fit quite right. Tomato plants curled and brown Too busy tending to our children to water them quite right. Children, bored and tired, we’re too busy cursing the tomato plants to play with them quite right. Too busy taking vacations to places of crystal blue waters that only remind us that our kids don’t know how to swim yet. We are bad mothers. - But, here, high, in the valley, the mountains circle unmoving like the most intimidating of emperors. Somehow, causing you, too, to stand still. Breathe - they whisper. Release the heaviness of summer. We are not here to hold you, they tell you We are here to free you. And you believe them. Somewhere beneath the jagged skyline, the mountains rest, sheathed in millions of years of truths shimmering to show themselves to you. Fog slides over the cliffs and across the trails, gently challenging whitewashed expectations bestowed upon you, splitting empty ladder rungs desperately held on to by you unbuilding a life you never really belonged to. Breathe in our cool, crisp air they remind you, their whisper resonating through the sheer persistence of their existence. There is no hiding who you are. There is no covering in colors that are not your own. There is no shifting of your soul that will make someone love you. We are not here to hold you, they tell you, We are here to free you. And you believe them. There are mountains inside of you.
Where do you find a truth? They’re hiding in our heaviest inadequacies. They are the insecurities that we put all of our hearts and effort into always doing better, into always keeping under a cover, and therefore always keeping under control. They are in the imperfections we are constantly trying to force into perfect.
Truths are covered in blankets of expectations woven together; a perfect mother’s children are always happy, a perfect wife’s husband never leaves, a perfect employee is always awarded with the promotion, a perfect house holds a perfect family and a perfect teacher will sacrifice her life for her classroom. Perfection blankets come in all shapes and sizes.
Pull a thread and let it all unravel. Breathe deep through the panic. Your truth lives under all of the false expectations.
There is no hiding who you are. There is no covering in colors that are not your own. There is no shifting of your soul that will make someone love you. You must love you. Your unique voice matters. Your unique gift is worthy of giving.
Let the blanket unravel. It’s too hot right now to be stifled.
Once you hold yourself bare, you may just be able to move mountains.