ripples & folds
a season of changes
I hope you are all finding a gentle landing these days. I know I am leaning into what it looks like in this season for me with intention.
The image above of a pocket watch floating on the water reminds me of how time feels right now. It moves forward, often ticking counter rhythms alongside my anxious heart. I wonder if it has ripples and folds like water. I wonder, if time moves differently while I float…it certainly feels like it does.
I also find myself looking for what is true between the ripples and folds. Here are some practices and experiences shaping this moment of life, as I reach for things worth holding:
I now live next to this beautiful greenway and I have been enjoying the sounds and smells of nature along its path. All around, people run, pedal their bikes, and speed past it—perhaps a mixture of familiarity and the need for aerobic exercise factor here. Often, I felt my meandering was met with suspicious eyes—perhaps a mixture of concern, curiosity, and racial stereotypes factor here. I hesitate to go too fast or too slow in a space that would mark my body as dangerous—keeping in time with the movements of white supremacy is an act of survival. Finding my own rhythm, affirmed by the pacing of the things that dare to bloom in their own time, though?—is the beginning of thriving.
I am playing guitar almost every day. It has become an outlet for expressions I feel would be trapped inside me otherwise. It is a reminder for me that there is a reward to be found in pushing past discomfort. It is a safe space to play and experiment.
I am journalling almost every day. Though I have been journalling most of my life, I have rarely kept up a daily practice. What I am finding is the space to trust my own self-understanding and the space to safely explore what haunts me. There is room, always to circle back to a thought I am not done yet since in that space I am not forced to advance and erase. In this practice, I can write out the ugliness and embrace beauty in my own time.
I have been reading fiction. Some of you nonfiction readers may get this—I struggled to finish a fiction book for a long time, with the exception of Octavia Butler's books. In a season of so many unknowns, something about reading fiction has opened up a space in my mind that is receiving the world with wonder. In a deeper, more self-compassionate way. Most recently, I read and then watched A Wrinkle in Time—both for the first time. I came away holding the truth that my anger, confusion, and fear do not have to completely disappear for me to take my next steps.
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I wonder about those of us who write, and if time ripples and folds the truth of our lines.
Some part of writing is an exercise in letting go of things that cannot withstand the distortion of these ripples and folds…and some part of it is embracing what you find to be true at the moment and letting it hold you as long as it can. There is a phrase, “All writing is rewriting.” I think it points to a process of getting to perfect.
For me, I work hard not to let perfectionism influence my ability to create. I can’t say it doesn’t always impact my ability to share. Mainly because I am unsure how deeply those who read my words understand that I take an apophatic approach to “all writing is rewriting”—I’d prefer it if all writing is unwriting.
The parts of me that long to hold on to something reach for the security blanket of creeds and doctrines long-believed. The deconstructing doubter in me politely lets things go or forcibly throws them far away. The whole of me stands looking at my hands, looking at life through prayerful eyes that long to hold something—even if it’s only for a moment.
Something true that still makes sense in the mo[u]rning.
A practice that works right now. A song that fits so well for me to sing. A book that awakes my imagination and inspires a verbal trickle.
For now, I do not put away the parts of me that long to hold on to the truth with a depth of devotion made for sinking. I do not shame the writer in me who struggles in this season, not with finding words but with sharing them.
For now, I am reminded of the in-betweenness we witness in nature—the rejection of our human-made timetables. I can acknowledge the capacity they have to unravel what is sacred in my world without denying that some are meant to hold me in this season of changes.
What practices, experiences, or moments in this season of life point to the emergence of a truth you are embracing in this season? What emotions surface when you think of this truth? How can you hold it faithfully, while embracing the inevitability of change—in time, in yourself?