It’s windy today—the sort of wind that announces springtime. The sort of wind that lulls and gusts. The sort of wind that howls and rattles windows. The sort of wind that whips through rooms, scattering papers.
As it has here:
The wind has scattered page proofs that I’ve been pushing myself to review, responding to an email that came out of the blue, asking for proofs to be returned in under a week. On the one hand, these proofs represent good news: a chapter written years ago is finally moving to print. On the other hand, they represent the sort of “always on” attitude that’s part of why I burned out in higher education.
I feel frustrated with these page proofs because they’re indicative of the constant pressure to work that characterizes life these days (the “more, better, faster” drive of capitalism, which dehumanizes and makes cogs of us all).
I feel frustrated because these page proofs, like this wind, arrived in the midst of pandemic: a time that’s asking us to interrupt these sorts of pressures. To name and change patterns of structural harm. To dismantle “business as usual” and the conditioned states of being it represents.
* * * * *
As the wind physically shakes the building around me, it seems to articulate all the tension that’s held quietly within. It interrupts attempted work and heightens my inability to focus on the scattered pages. It physically manifests chaos and, in doing so, somehow releases what I’m holding, allowing me to wail along with its howls.
With these realizations, I speak words of appreciation for the wind and its lessons on grieving as part of releasing and restructuring life:
I appreciate the wind for its disruption,
for its rhythm.
The wind takes its own damn time, settling and storming as it will, not on any schedule.
I appreciate the wind for its insistence,
for its volume.
The wind cries loudly, shaking and shattering what it touches, not tempering its voice.
I appreciate the wind for its boldness,
for its willful strength.
The wind asserts its presence, shaping the environment, even as it’s shaped by it as well.
When the wind simmers down, it does so on its own.
Not because there’s pressure to “get it done.”
Not for “business as usual.”
Not because “others are expecting it.”
The wind radically takes up space and takes its time.
It breaks up, breaks down, and breaks through.
What would it mean to do this, too?
This post is written by Beth Godbee, Ph.D. for Heart-Head-Hands.com. For related posts, you might try “Living in a Global Pandemic, Reaching toward Collective Responsibilities” and “It’s More than End-of-the-Year Exhaustion: Semester Rhythms and Recurring Burnout.”
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