It’s been a long week. I’m very tired and feeling the bite of extra work from the move… and extra tiredness from all the emotional things going on. I’m feeling a bit run down, mouth ulcers and a headache. I’m hanging out in bed this morning with Zoe.
I keep trying to write blog posts but my mind isn’t quite clear enough to get them structured and polished and out in an hour the way I usually can. That’s okay. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.
Last night we had the first meet of the people interested in being part of a community around homelessness in SA. I was excited about it, but got compressed with admin at the end of my day, then had several small emotional shocks, and by the time we’d made dinner and sat down to talk I was feeling very discouraged. So the catch up turned into something very different from what I had planned.
We talked about the challenges of trying to be part of something new, of the disillusionment, the old wounds from every other project we’ve been involved in that went bad, the anxiety that too much would be asked of us, the confusion about how to best meet needs, the need for bigger picture thinking to link our little concern back to huge human rights issues of poverty and so on, the sense of being overwhelmed by a crisis we can’t fix, of a deep discomfort with the usual way of doing these things – board meetings, roles, subcommittees. I cried. We laughed. We shared and connected as people. From the mess, confidence emerged, clarity emerged, a path forwards, a sense of equality and team and closeness. I reflected and captured the themes, the way I’ve just been taught to in the facilitator training, but not detached: with tears on my face. As one of them. My friends are so beautiful.
And I came away that night feeling deeply moved. Humbled. Part of me that observed the growth, the shift from hopelessness to calm hope, was looking at why it came together, as we always do. What are the principles, the values, that underpin it? Why did it work and how can I capture that for other people to learn and experience, for inclusion in my model about services with heart? For the first time I felt a sinking sense of futility. Maybe it’s simply not possible to capture such an experience in a manual or model. Being human is so… messy, unpredictable, beautiful, how can it be fitted or adequately described?
Then a sense of peace came over me, to let it be what it was and drink from it and rest in it and accept that I cannot count the stars. There will be tomorrow night for star gazing, and the night after, and after that. Right now to accept the gift of a group space that was human and safe and healing.
Something beautiful happened after they left. Our researcher part; brilliant, detached, driven, woke up. She sat trembling with Rose and said it was like having a heart put in her chest for the first time. She could feel our young ones inside her, could hear them as a kind of distant chatter. She inhabited the body and found emotions spilling over. She held hands with Rose, feeling every sensation and feeling the joy in it, to be able to feel touch, the yearning for the warmth of another. She has never lived in her body before, never eaten before, never felt a desire for human contact, never felt strong emotions, never been moved to poetry.
She felt like she had woken up. Every sensation was strong and clear but not raw or overwhelming. She felt like the tin man who had been given a heart, or found it rather, inexplicably alive and red and beating in her chest. Rose was a good midwife for what was being born, attentive and attuned. Rose suggested food to a part who never eats, no matter how many days she’s out for. She turned away from chocolate in disgust but accepted a mandarin.
Peeling the leathery skin and smelling the sweet pungent oils on her fingers was magic. It tasted sweet and mild and watery, bursting with juice in her mouth. She ate every segment, slowly, tasting everything. Then she lay her head on Rose’s breast and listened to her heart beating. Rose spoke with her gently.
She asked Rose if she was part of this family too, if this was her home, her body, if she’d done enough to deserve it.
And she listened to Rose’s heart beating, her head going gently up and down with the rhythm of Rose’s breathing. She thought to herself that Rose was a sea and she was a tiny boat bobbing with the waves, and felt delight in thinking this, in feeling a poem.
And then we slept, deeply. Today we’re going to move slowly, listen to soft music, work on our tax admin. Life is good when nothing turns out how you planned or expected, when you’re not in control and start to find that’s actually better, richer, stranger, deeper. There’s a lot of love in my little house, in my world, in my life. Something very beautiful is happening here.