…in the last several years this sorrow opened wide enough in the center of my life that I could no longer ignore it. This black hole, to which I’m drawn inexorably, like a planet in orbit, is the brutal truth that it all passes, every single moment, gone even as I live it.
When the daily email arrives from Lindsey Mead’s blog, A Design So Vast, I move it immediately to the folder marked “Today”. I wait until the busyness of the morning has eased, and I can clear a window of unscheduled time. Then I turn greedily to her words, and allow myself to be transported.
It happens every time. Lindsey shares the heartbreak of watching children grow up, the unimaginable joy she experiences in the in-between moments, her dance with light and darkness. I find myself nodding and grateful for way she puts words to unnamed emotion I have been carrying around.
I appreciate her writing because she’s brutally honest and willing to tackle the thorniest issues. Again and again. She shares conversations she’s having with her kids; big life-shaping conversations about being safe in the world, about vulnerability, about courage and about truth. She also writes about books, and poems, and people, and experiences that move her to tears.
She’s a writer whose topics, even the most disparate of them, have a common thread that runs right through the center.
This thread is her unfurling.
Lindsey’s unfurling is about understanding and exploring the incredibly tender perspective she brings to the table. You’ll see in her words, below, that she’s pierced through by the experience of living life. As she says, she’s “brought to her knees by the sheer pain and brilliance of it”.
She’s constantly grappling with the agony of watching time slip through her fingers. This makes her acutely aware of what is, and of what was. This is the root of her sorrow.
We are so very lucky to have Lindsey bravely blogging through this sorrow, as the art she produces as a result is sheer gorgeousness. Check out the archives on her blog and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Thank you for your courage and your clarity, dear Lindsey.
What’s unfurling in you right now?
The last few years have seen a gradual but insistent internal unfurling of my understanding of my essential wound. For so many years I tried to outrun my sadness and sensitivity, but no matter how fast I went it trailed behind me. Everything I experienced was suffused with a sense of loss and an awareness of the fleeting nature of life. Finally that caught up to me, and in the last several years this sorrow opened wide enough in the center of my life that I could no longer ignore it. This black hole, to which I’m drawn inexorably, like a planet in orbit, is the brutal truth that it all passes, every single moment, gone even as I live it. No matter how hard I try, how hard I cling to it, I cannot hold onto my own life.
My understanding of this seam of sorrow that runs through me is unfurling and, at the same time, my ability to live with it.
Who (or what) are your allies as you unfurl in this way?
There are a few deeply trusted kindred spirits who I feel are walking beside me on this road. Some of them are “in real life” friends but others are people I’ve met here, in this ambiguous and marvelous ether. One of the extraordinary, unanticipated gifts of blogging for me has been finding a handful of people with whom I identify intensely and who have become extremely important to me.
Perhaps my greatest allies in this process are, however, my children. It was their arrival, and their rapid growth, that really initiated my unfurling. They simultaneously inhabit the moment with a stubborn insistence and unavoidably track time’s passage. This contradictory but powerful set of observations has shaken me awake, made me realize that waiting until some mythical “then” to be happy is a way to waste my life. I want to be here now.
Finally, the words of poets, writers, and lyricists are with me as I unfurl. They help me articulate my own experience, which is in many ways still quite inchoate. They also make me feel less alone.
How do you get out of your own way?
I’m not sure I do, very well. I do have days when I feel like I’m going to crawl out of my own skin, a spiritual restlessness that makes me unable to sit still or focus and feel a sense of despair that I’ll ever find calm. I’ve learned that the best way to make it through those moments is to go outside and walk. I do this now no matter the weather; just last week I went out in a downpour and walked, walked, walked, until I could breathe and inhabit my own body (and home) again.
What’s the soundtrack?
Truthfully, mostly, silence. I prefer quiet. So the soundtrack is the tapping of keys, the patter of rain against the window, my own breathing. And then in the late afternoon, it explodes into fireworks of noise when my children get home.
Who are you becoming?
I wish I knew. Sometimes I am jealous of those who are less porous, who can walk through life without being so frequently brought to their knees by the pain and brilliance of it. My every conscious moment is filtered through this prism of my piercing awareness of how fleeting it is. My dearest hope is that I can become someone who lives with this truth with grace.
Lindsey Mead is a mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, and writer. She is also a runner, a sometime yogi, a disillusioned MBA, a reformed nailbiter, and a proud natural redhead. She struggles mightily to find a coherent sense of self in all of these splintered identities, and writes about that, as well as her effort to be present in her life, her clumsy grappling with faith, and books she loves at A Design So Vast.