Friday, 24 May 2013

Straw into Gold

The non-Spring continues. The days are endlessly damp and grey. This is weather to be sad in. Skies to buckle under. Instead, I brim with joy, with light.

In the mornings, I brew tea and gaze out of the window, stunned by my luck. I watch the squirrels skitter up and down the pines, the delicate bluebells shivering in the wind. I look at the tree trunks, soft and wet, barks peeling to reveal the gleam of newer, whiter wood beneath. And I feel such simple happiness. Such gratitude. Such calm.

My life is far from perfect. In the last few months, my social circle has shrunk from a wide open hoop to a small, tight band. I hold it close to my heart, shielded, close, like a widow who hangs her wedding ring at her breast. My responsibilities at work have increased, which brings both pride and uncertainty: until I am totally competent at a task, I tend to feel incapable and small, and because there is a lot of technical learning involved at the moment, a lot of questioning and learning from mistakes, I feel clumsy, incompetent, cotton-headed.

In the past, I’ve seen these kinds of quiverings as a failing. In my head, they were giant, rocky obstacles to surmount: sheer-faced, not a foot-hold or hand-hold in sight. Now, I can see that they’re exactly the opposite. That they are, in fact, stepping stones to knowledge. Ladders to growth, and grace.

I don’t know what, precisely, has changed. I wish I did. I’d paint the formula in neon pink on every blank stretch of brick, scribble it on scraps of paper and scatter them to the wind.

I’ve been reading a lot about radical acceptance recently. I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable. I’ve stopped trying to heave myself over obstructions, puffing and panting, and tried meeting them head on instead, with recognition and a cool head. I have watered new friendships, even as old ones have wasted and browned in the known confines of their pots. I have cooked good food. I have written every day. And each of these things has contributed to this new sense of well-being, this quiet, consistent pleasure. Like the individual components in a charm or a spell: plain and simple in their separate parts, but combined, they’re pure wonder, pure magic.

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