Tread Softly

At a yoga Workshop last fall with Carrie Owerko, she read a poem by William Butler Yeats, that ends

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

At the time that she read this– last fall– I was navigating a number of converging and difficult moments in my life. A long time work relationship was transitioning (otherwise known as falling apart/ending/not looking so great); I was realizing what the last years of movement, moving, and transitions had done to my own life and where I was finding myself. My second son was just over one, and the school I founded when pregnant with him had officially taken over every nook and cranny of my life not dedicated to my children (something that is not unrelated to the other work life falling apart). The short version of where I found myself was: overwhelmed, unclear, no longer in touch with the higher vision/calling/connection that I feel I usually can connect to. When Carrie read this poem, I felt it like a protective blanket for me– one I wanted to hold out before me, place between me and everything else. I was at the start of a long stretch of feeling like crawling under something protective and hiding.I wanted to wear the lines from Yeats on my face, so that folks would see them as a warning, a caution.

In reality, what I needed was a retreat– not a hide out–A week off from everything might have been the medicine I needed. But I didn’t take it. I retreated from the practices and people around me. Now, not quite a year later, though I still have the metaphorical sensation to keep my blanket near-by, I am not wishing to hide there. I think that, for awhile, I lost faith in my own capacity to make it, to hold up, to get through things– and, for a time,  I lost this faith in a way I have not before.

At this point, I am facing the result of my unplanned recovery retreat. Now, when I read these lines, what I think is: wow– I sure need to remember this when I approach other people– . In a state of overwhelm and “i am just barely making it”, I  dropped (though not consciously) the oh so important habits of treading lightly around other people’s dreams. A new idea from someone I work with or who works for me, became a threat: another responsibility in an already overwhelmed system. As  a literal container too full to hold it’s contents, any drop someone else might try to offer me or any project I was working on, caused the contents to leak out. For the first time in my life, I was dropping things, forgetting important things, and  feeling angered by suggestions for evolution and vision around me.

As I returned to the intention to write again–and opened this site, I found these lines from Yeats in an unfinished entry. What a nice gift I left myself here before I entered the winter now passed. What a gift and a reminder. Now, my work is to own the heavy steps I have taken these last months and, yet,  still manage to stand in grace and love and forgiveness.







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