Coming Out of Survival Mode

by Rachael on April 14, 2011

The Buddha should be raised, and the little vase of gerbera daisies keeps tipping over, and really the whole thing should be on a table — but at last, my altar feels complete.

For about two weeks through last Friday, I was operating in what I call survival mode, my being focused on little more than Critter care, the most basic self care, and getting the work done. Then, on Friday afternoon, I finished the manuscript, delivered it, and headed off to sesshin. On my way to sesshin, I noted how I felt after all the work of the previous two weeks: left with a wasteland of a soul. There’s not a little drama and self pity to that phrase. But there’s some truth to it, too.

How does one restore oneself after days — or weeks — of disconnection? Apparently it can be just this simple: light the candle, burn some incense, make the bed, raise the shades — to the sunshine, to the rain — and get back to work.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

lucila April 14, 2011 at 6:08 AM

I feel your pain. Working on the last very intensive phase of the PhD, with barely any sleep for months, left me wasted, empty, disconnected too. But somehow, I still feel I haven’t recovered, and crave intensisely some time to recover, dreaming of spas and days when I can just doing what I want, cleaning and de-cluttering, but of course, it hasn’t happened yet, so maybe I shoudl try small simple things like what you suggest here…
lucila recently posted… Rhythm

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Seonaid April 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Wow. It’s nice to be reminded that it can be that simple – because it can. Sometimes, I am trapped… 8 of swords-like, in a prison of my own making. Lighting a candle, opening the windows, and getting back to work is often enough.
Seonaid recently posted… Sunk Costs – More About Nuclear Power

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Amber April 18, 2011 at 2:05 AM

The familiar, every-day rituals of life are so powerful.

We forget that, I think. But then, once in a while, something makes us remember it.
Amber recently posted… Talking to Happy Mom Meagan Francis

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mumsyjr April 18, 2011 at 10:10 AM

That is a beautiful alter. I could just sit here and stare at the picture for a while and THAT would be restoring.
mumsyjr recently posted… thoughts on my fifth mommyversary

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