-verb (used without object)
1. to have or suffer a continuous, dull pain.
2. to feel great sympathy, pity, or the like.
3. to feel eager; yearn; long.
4. a continuous, dull pain (in contrast to a sharp, sudden, or sporadic pain).

On New Years Eve, Mum went around the table to ask everyone to make a resolution. I had been planning on not making one but—after Mum had resolved not to say anything about anyone that she wouldn’t say to their face, and Ashley resolved to have a better semester than the last, and Dana resolved something sort of goofy—I chose to share aloud an idea from Jen Lemen that I had already decided to borrow: I resolved to listen to what my heart was aching for, and then to follow that Ache.
It’s a two-step process, really. First, I have to actually hear what my heart is saying, which is a definite challenge. Never mind actually listening to It.

I’m finding what I already knew: that It’s easier to hear when the world is quiet and my body is still, like at night. (This is part of why I hate being alone with nothing with which to occupy myself, but that’s another topic.) At those times the Ache feels so strong that it is amazing to me that It is the same Ache that quietly permeates my days. Like breathing, my heart’s Ache is always there but goes unnoticed until I turn my attention towards It. Only unlike breathing, which we all need to live, it’s hard to believe that a person can survive with such subtle and silent pains and dreams being whispered all the time inside of them.

Even harder to believe is that we are all surviving like this. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one whose heart is aching, which makes me ache even more. Worse still, it seems that even if we follow our Aches, more will develop. I’m starting to suspect that most people will live their entire lives aching in some way, including me.

I suppose we need to ache so we continue to hope and dream and strive and desire; it’s also important to have compassion; and if we don’t know pain, how can we ever know pleasure? I suppose as long as we ache we’ll have the capacity to grow.
But that doesn’t make this resolution easier, and it certainly doesn’t make It hurt any less.

On Blowing

I imagine this is what it feels like to be a balloon.

I feel so empty and limp. I want to be filled up and whole and beautifully curved in completeness. I want to soar, to be weightless, to break free of the earth and get closer to the limitless sky. I want it so badly.
I keep asking myself what is it that will fill this void in my chest, who's breath is going to give me shape? I keep looking around, how this is going to be done?

But here's the thing: A balloon is filled with air. I don't want to be relying on something or someone else to make me feel taught with completeness or uplifted. I want to feel whole and to soar all by myself.

So I keep reminding myself to keep blowing.
You know that hard part, just before the balloon starts to swell? The part when you're red in the face, and you think you might pass out or just give up? That's where I am. I'm out of breath, but it will be easier once I get past this part.

Deep breath, puffed cheeks, pursed lips... b l o w

On Sundays and Why I Hate Them

Christianity says that Sunday should be a day of rest. But just because a third of the world's population identify themselves as Christian doesn't seem to have any effect on what the world does on Sundays. In fact, I think this whole "day of rest" thing makes me hate Sundays more because a lot of things are closed on Sundays, so there are fewer things to be distracted by (like the mail, the mail can distract me for a long time... we get lots of catalogs).

On Sunday it feels as if one should spend the day getting ready for the week: I need to do laundry so I have clothes to wear to work, tidy my room so I can find what I'll need tomorrow morning, make a to-do list of what I need to accomplish this week, write some emails....
Or it feels as if one should spend the day doing things that you don't have time to do during the week: I need to vacuum up the mess the dogs made, paint my nails and shave me legs, grocery shop, make my bed up clean, while I'm at it I should make Mum's bed up clean because she's been sick, and I really need to work on my grad school application essays and write thank you notes.
It feels like it should be a very productive day. Even if you do rest, it feels as if it should be productive rest: I should read a book or do a crossword puzzle, and I better shower and get dressed first; or maybe I should go for a walk or do yoga.

I just want to stay in my pajamas and lounge all day. I just want to watch crappy television or maybe not even get out of bed. I just want to sit in a comfy chair with my little old iBook and chat with my friends or play on Flickr or read the internet. I just want to take a long hot bath with candles.
But if I do those things I feel like I'm wasting the day, like I'm not utilizing all this potentially productive time.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way: The other reason I hate Sunday is that any chances of having any fun with people have gone by. Apparently, fun can happen Friday night or any time Saturday, but Sunday is out of the question. Everyone is busy at home, trying to force their id into submission so that they can be productive, and then feeling guilty when they spend an hour watching the Food Network.

Here's my point: Isn't spending an hour watching the Food Network productive? Don't we need time to lounge, time to nap, time to take a bath? Let's not not see doing nothing as time wasted, but instead as time spent fortifying ourselves - time productive to our well-being. Time to wind down and cool off and find a little peace before throwing ourselves into Monday morning and our week. We also need to spend time with each other. Let's get a cup of tea together or go to a movie. We're so busy during the week, and the weekend is so short. This is important and productive stuff.

It's noon right now, and I've spent my morning stretched out in bed and wrapped in a blanket on the couch watching TV. I've had two cups of tea and I've only gotten up to let the puppies in or out and to get some left over Thai food out of the fridge.
I am going to go get dressed now. I will do some laundry and go grocery shopping and vacuum. I might work on my essays and write some notes. But I'm promising myself right now that I'm not going to tell myself that I could have cleaned my room if I'd gotten up a little earlier. Or that if I didn't watch Everyday Italian I could have done an extra load of laundry and painted my nails. I needed this time to relax.

No guilt here.