I've been in a kind of extended liminal phase since leaving Bluestone Farm, living in the guestroom here, boxes all around me. I'll move into the farm's attached apartment next week--it's currently occupied by Barb, a friend of the farm, who's sharing animal/household/carpooling duties with me while Emmy (the farm's owner) is traveling. I wondered how I would respond to being in-between for a few weeks, and I am pleasantly surprised to find that being in limbo can be kinda interesting.
I haven't been able to dive into setting up my space, getting subsumed with unpacking, rearranging, and putting everything in its place. The ground here has been too wet for working the soil, which has prevented me from diving into farming, and exhausting myself with outdoor work. And this farm has a somewhat slow internet connection, making it difficult to stream TV or movies. I'm left with watching myself in transition, and learning what I can in the process.
In addition to taking care of the animals and carpool duties, I've been cooking up a storm, which is like meditating in a way. I get so much pleasure out of making good food! We've used up some of the farm's stores of meat for Shepherd's Pie, meatloaf, breakfast lamb chops, Hoppin' John with ham, and spicy sausage ragout. And creamed kale, roasted root veggies, and lots of butternut squash everything.
And it's while I'm standing there, chopping vegetables, pots simmering away, that I mull over what happens each day, my reactions and hesitations, my enthusiasms and doubts. It's a challenge to pick yourself up and start again with a new group of people. But it's also an opportunity, a chance to peel back another layer or two of the onion, to try to be the best self you believe you can be. I think, in my heart, that I can be more easygoing than I have been in the past, that I can learn to let things go, that I can live well with uncertainty and things in disarray. I think that I can learn new things without a lot of guidance, that I can figure out how to fix things, use tools, find my way around, see what's needed and respond. And that I can finally stop trying to win people's approval, and just be. I've watched myself, in the last two weeks, bump up against life-long patterns--my desires to control things, to make sure people like me, to make everything good and safe. And I've watched myself deal with long hesitancies, the holding back, feeling insecure, not wanting to make a mistake. In this liminal space, I can see that getting beyond these things is the key to my opening up creatively.
Being in limbo has given me just the right amount of discomfort, and the quiet hours, to bump into all these feelings and take a good look at them. Walking in the woods, in the slippery snow, I see my fear of falling down and "looking stupid," and how much that actually stiffens my gait, makes me totter. Standing in a well-used kitchen, with jackets and homework and hay on the floor, I sense my desire to create order, and I can feel how that desire can actually distance me from what's happening with the people right there in the room with me. Getting a lesson in pruning trees, my need to "do it right" nearly gets in the way of being able to make any cuts at all. Seeing the pile of winter squash in the back room, I can feel a compulsion to pack it up and freeze it, in the hopes that doing so will "win me points" somehow, from someone, I don't know who. Being in limbo makes me see that I'm having a whole conversation in my head about falling, cleaning, pruning, the squash--and that it's all just projections, phantoms, the same old demons.
Rather than trying to be the good girl, the neat girl, the one who doesn't make mistakes or look foolish, I'm working on letting go, just being me, and remembering that the more interesting my life has grown, the more I've fallen down and the messier things have become. So here I am on the waning of this liminal phase, seeing glimpses of my better self, and feeling ready to start. I'm going to grow these gardens, build some things, get confident with the animals and the tractor, and make some art.