My Book of Hours entry DOES have a quote written at the bottom of the right page.
To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.
– Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others
I am grateful for Week 4.
For the last few months, my husband has been confused. His calendar goes off like a warning siren to move to DEFCON 1 and he races to grab the children to usher them into a bunker, bracing for what was once inevitable nuclear-like explosions all over the house.
But much to his surprise, instead I quietly sip my tea while grooving to beats. The children are happily frolicking in mess and chaos, playing volleyball inside the house (with a real volleyball no less) and some sort of crafting which I gather is just an excuse to play with the glue gun.
There is no yelling. No ranting to myself in the kitchen. No snippy retorts. No wanting to curl up in bed all day.
The first time that Week 4 passed by without notice was at the beginning of summer and my husband and I assumed it was an anomaly. The summer sunshine had overridden my wretched hormones. The Vitamin D was a miracle cure, a magical lullaby of warmth and sweetness that put the dragon to sleep. The next month, week 4 came and went again without much pomp and circumstance. After my last week 4, my eldest remarked that she didn’t notice it at all, a faded memory of Mama Hyde.
This month would be the true test. October is cold. October is grey. My husband and I are in the midst of a temporary gut cleanse. For the last three weeks, I have given up caffeine (yes, my beloved coffee!), sugar, grains, eggs, nuts, legumes, fruits (except citrus and berries), nightshade vegetables, and dairy. The first week was rough – withdrawal symptoms and overall fatigue wiped me out. It has been life-changing to say the least. Never mind the physical changes including zero pancreas issues. But I was most interested in how my body would react this week. Week 4. I didn’t have access to my go-to crutches: chocolate, coffee, and warm sunshine.
I have been reading a lot this week. These are the books on my nightstand:The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself The Folded Clock: A Diary Entering the Castle: Finding the Inner Path to God and Your Soul’s Purpose The Red Tent: A Novel Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art Book In a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition
I have been buried in a book every time we get in the car when my husband drives. Yesterday he turned to me and said, “You are very introspective this week.”
Yes. I guess I am. As I look back over my blog posts and Book of Hours entries, I notice a pattern. The writings, reflections, and artistic output was heightened during Week 4 over the last few months. I was inspired to draw more often than not. I created with abandon as I painted or layered pieces as opposed to simple layouts. I went deeper into subjects as I delved deeper into my reading material. I finished books at a breakneck pace.
Reading my morning pages, I have opted not to wake up at 5:00am. And I have been ok with that. My only physical symptom of Week 4 is hot flashes and night sweats for 5-6 days straight. I am up multiple times during the night. This morning I felt I had run a marathon through the night or spent it in a sweat lodge – my hair was matted down and I was spent. I read in my pages that when I have tried to get up at or before 5:00am, I have felt terrible for the rest of the day.
I have not craved sweets or coffee. If I were to describe this week 4 in one word, it would be clarity. I am not walking through a fog, impulsive and reactive. Yes, I do feel slightly less energetic and enthusiastic. I feel a bit quirky. Yesterday we had a 80s dance party in our living room. I really rocked it out to some good old New Order and Duran Duran. There have been moments when I have felt off. And I grab a book or grab a paintbrush or bust out the pastels and go nuts. I call it colour smashing. I play with palettes and tones and media.
I have found a way to transform and harness my rage and irritations. Week 4 is my week to reinforce the deep connection to myself by engaging in all the activities that bring me joy. It could be the self-care practice that I have adhered to for over 5 months or the clean food we have been eating or the music that we play all day in the house or the fact that I don’t get uptight about mess because our house is so easy to tidy now or maybe my hormones are levelling out.
I still feel the heavy sometimes and don’t try to stop it. I am conscious enough to keep my mouth closed when I sense a twinge of something bubbling up. I will stop and sit. I breathe and let it go. I breathe and read my Book of Hours. I breathe and watch the feeling fizzle out and evaporate. I breathe it all out.
42 days of gratitude…giving thanks to it ALL.