BY CRYSTAL JACKSON HOLY FIRE

Trying To Find A Place Of Comfort For Our Wild Grief & Hungry Hearts

new normal change life

BY CRYSTAL JACKSON

I’ve been here before — creating a new life from the wreckage of the old one.

Only this time, I didn’t burn everything to the ground. No one else did either. There is no one to blame.

Life has changed utterly, and it’s no wonder that I have been rendered silent lately. I’ve been busy trying to trace the shape of this new life, to figure out its borders and make a life within that careful perimeter.

I’ve spent the last several years removing limitations. Having them placed back in my life — even for reasons as natural as a public health emergency — is a struggle. But I have always been resourceful. I begin crafting a new shape.

It’s smaller now — my world. And quieter. But I still create art and seek out beauty. I nurture living things — myself, my two children, and a garden of plants struggling as much as I am. I keep returning to nature to find a stillness that doesn’t feel so unnatural.

Some days, I press my hands against the walls. I lean my forehead against the glass. I break at the sharp-edged borders of this new existence.

I miss my old life with a longing that is equally fierce and wild. I pace the length of my cage impatient — but waiting still to be set free. The cage isn’t my home. In the past, it’s been my mind.

So, I search the corners for it — the dark spaces as well as the incredible light. I search for ways to make this new life comfortable, to make it feel like home. I think of how easily I once traveled, settling into new spaces with ease. As long as I had a room of my own and a laptop or journal, I was good.

So, why then, am I not good now?

I bought a globe before this happened. It’s pink and gray to match the careful color scheme of my room. I spin the little globe and watch the world as I know it turn on its axis.

I reach to trace a line from my home to where my love lives. A few steps of my trembling fingers and I am there. But I am not there. I trace a line from my home to the place I have always wanted to visit and feel the ache of canceled reservations after waiting so long to take this trip. Dreams disintegrate, and part of me fades with them.

The world was only just now my oyster, and now it has clammed up, snapped shut, and home is a place that seems to stand still and never stop spinning at the same time.

I have an impressive collection of movies at my disposal — both streaming and neatly ordered on a shelf. I have an even more impressive collection of books that I have loved or will love, or I may send to someone who will if it doesn’t suit my tastes. But my eyes wander when I watch movies, and skip like stones over words on the page. I am capable of writing only a few. Reading them takes more energy than I can manage some days.

I lie down on the floor or sit in the sun, trying to find a place of comfort. I try to remind myself that I have crafted beautiful worlds out of less than this — a home I made cozy, happy children, and work that I love. I try to draw on my inner resourcefulness, my undeniable grit. But I’m too tired.

What, then, do we do now?

Our world has shifted into an unrecognizable shape. Borders are closed to wanderers. Our hearts are alternately curled inward in self-protection and flung open wildly in desire for connection. Our energy surges and drains away, all in the space of hours, sometimes minutes.

I’ve been here before. Here and yet, not here. The transition can draw so much from us.

So we lie down and let the change happen. We sit with our wild grief and hungry hearts. We miss what’s gone and reach inside ourselves to imagine the possibilities of a new life taking a new shape. We don’t fight the struggle; we become it.

We allow wings to emerge. We let the world outside our walls shift and change in the ways that it will while we focus on our own journey through it. We stay still and quiet when we need to, and we reach out when the need for connection arises, even if it’s just to hear another voice in the darkness. We practice gratitude, feel grief, and grow.

One day, we’ll emerge — ready for whatever comes next.

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Heart Minded.

Sip a little more:

Stop Settling For Less — Don’t Choose Illusion Over Magic

Love Potion: A Recipe For Opening Yourself & Letting Love In

Think Of Gentle Ways To Give Yourself More Holistic Care

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Crystal Jackson

Crystal Jackson is a former family therapist who's evolved into a spinner of stories and dreamer of dreams. She writes across genres encompassing blog posts, poetry, short stories, children's books, and literary fiction. When she's not chasing around two wild and wonderful children, she's busy creating alchemy from words and feelings, constantly seeking ways to transform struggle into ecstatic beauty. When she's not writing or chasing children, you can find her practicing yoga, meditating, running, reading, advocating for feminism and social justice, plotting and planning adventures, or sitting in a blanket fort with her nose in a book. You can connect with Crystal on Facebook, Instagram or Patreon.

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