Home / Blog Posts / Fatigue and the Black Dog / Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 57

On the clear and gentle path at last

Today I am in solitude and rest. I slept in. I wrote in my journal. I took the weighted blanket to my therapy pod and closed my eyes beside my indoor garden, feeling the Spring breeze blow through open doors, and I breathed. I knew today was coming, as I worked solidly and steadily through four long, full days this week. Days full of people and tasks, care and dreaming and planning. I built solitude and rest into each day, and I trusted in the longer more open spaces ahead of me. The discipline and learning of the past few years has embedded practices and rhythms I know hold me in well-being. I knew this was where I was heading. To turn the corner out of the tangled, difficult path to a clearer, settled way is joy beyond description.

weighted rest

Calm and balanced energy

Recently I was able to spend a week with family in South Australia, and the gifts of that week’s constant embodied presence with my loved ones was all I hoped it would be.

It was, still, a week of constant company with other humans, which can tip my balance out of kilter somewhat. If we consider ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ tendencies as an indicator of how we are energised, in solitude or in company, I have come to understand myself as something of an ‘ambivert’. I seem to be healthiest with a reasonably equal balance of time in solitude and time in the company of others. Perhaps because of the Chronic Fatigue, though, it’s not quite equal, as solitude, stillness, and rest are so important for my well-being, and giving attention to other people more likely to drain energy than replenish it.

So, when I spend a week in constant company with other people, I become quite depleted with energy. Usually.

This time, however, it was nowhere near as drastic as it’s been in recent years. In the past week since I’ve returned to Canberra, I’ve also spent a lot of time with other people, in various meetings and conversations online and in person. And yet. I am not entirely depleted, as I was concerned I might be by now.

There’s a change unfolding. A growing wellness I am experiencing.

The change is a deepening calm and peace, a developing trust in the process, a gentle and assured energy I understand better and better all the time.

I understand now that for me to be ‘energised’ need not mean I am popping like a firework. Instead, for me to be replete with energy is to be able to fold the sheets at the end of a full day before I stop and rest. It is to call the tyre repair place, accept the booking slot an hour from now, and adapt to the unexpected with flexibility and calm, sit in the waiting room and complete the task I had planned for the morning anyway.

Knowing I’d not had much solitude in several weeks, I declined the invitation to dinner before the speaking gig in order to spend another hour alone, to not feel rushed, to conserve the people time for the event itself. I trusted the process, that the stillness and solitude would prepare me well to be present with the participants in the evening gathering, that my energy would return.

The wellness is bubbling up gently, I can feel it, and I welcome it. I welcome it’s gentleness. I am grateful for the calmness of my energy. I trust the sustainability of it this time, and the joy tastes sweet indeed.

Practice, practice, practice. It’s in my sinews and bones, my breath and my heart beat. The practice of calm, gentle, sustainable well-being.