To lie fallow

Fallow field in winter. Mark Pouley/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Around this time every year, when daylight drips away and cold creeps in, when the heft of previous months have worn my shoulders sore, I find myself wanting to lie fallow. Plowed but unsown. Arable but uncultivated. Remembered but ignored.

Because by this time every year, I have scheduled a thousand appointments, completed a million tasks, and dashed about in a billion circles, but I have scarcely moved an inch on whatever I said I would prioritize at year's start. So I vow to begin again. To strip away non-essential distractions. To allow my brain, body, and mind the rest of a tired, overworked field that has no nutrients left to give.

Yet shortly after this time every year, I have an aggravating habit of fencing off a field, then buying the neighboring farm. "SPACE!" my doer brain shouts, and before my better judgment catches up to it, my brain has started twirling in Sound of Music-like circles around the fresh new territory, convinced that this time, this year, the results will be different.

And every year, my brain is wrong -- this year in particular, because I mastered, moved, married, and mourned ... not the lightest of lifts individually, and when combined, utterly exhausting.

The cumulative result? I am tired of doing. I am tired of giving. Which is terrible timing, really, given the direction in which our world is currently headed. But if the nutrients aren't there, how can I hope to share them? How can I keep sticking seeds in spent soil and watering weak sprouts, begging them to grow into something bigger than what I've put into them?

In Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg says, "Our senses by themselves are dumb. They take in experience, but they need the richness of sifting for a while through our consciousness and through our whole bodies." So there is the real question: Am I willing to trust the future potential yield of a rejuvenated mind and heart, or will I instead let fear -- fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, fear of not growing anything at all -- drive my output? True, I'm not guaranteed results from a fallow period. But I will almost certainly fail if I don't rest the ground where I plant.

Prayer #307: Leave Me Alone

Leave me alone, God. Let me be. I am dormant, I am dead, I am no longer home and awaiting your call. I'd say I moved on to greener pastures, but let's be honest -- green is the last thing I feel like being right now.

I want to be uncropped. Unplucked, unpicked, unharvested. Left beyond the borders of your consciousness so that my own consciousness can let earthworms frolic through it, uninhibited and uninterrupted.

I want to be un. Just un.

Sow later, God. Please. I promise you bounty if you leave me unbound.