Today, in the aftermath of a particularly tender session with my spiritual director yesterday, I’ve been feeling rather raw. Truth be told, I shed some tears while talking with a friend about it this morning, and then I sat on my couch in a bit of “zombie shock” for a while.
This can happen in spiritual direction sometimes. It creates such a safe space for exploration and discovery that sometimes as-yet-unrecognized truths will surface and be spoken aloud for perhaps the first time ever.
That’s what happened for me yesterday.
So today, in my zombie-shock mode, I had a hard time getting going. I have a work project I’ve been trying to finish, but diving straight into it felt like a harsh way to treat my soul — almost like saying, “You go underground now. I’ve got other things to do.”
Eventually, I decided to run a couple easy errands. Drop off some library books. Stop by the post office for mail. Stop by the bank to make a deposit. So I changed into some workout clothes, pulled on a baseball cap, and headed out the door.
It’s beautiful outside today, so I drove with my windows down and took an easy pace, still feeling mindful of going gentle with my soul. And then, once I was out and about, I remembered that I’ve been wanting to visit a local bike shop for a while now and have had trouble finding the time to do it.
So I headed over there.
The experience of that bike shop visit was so healing for me.
It feels a bit strange to say that, but it was. The gentleman who got paired with me for the sales process was patient and kind. He listened to what I was there to do — learn what I could about what bike style might be best for me, since I’m a beginner — and took time to walk with me through the difference sections of the bike area, explaining how the bikes were different and may or may not be helpful to me.
When it came time to test-ride some of them, he was infinitely patient there, too, letting me try one after another and adjusting which bike he’d wheel out next depending on my feedback about the bike I’d just tested. He answered every single question I had — and I had a lot of them. He looked me in the eye while I spoke, and he looked me in the eye when he answered.
But even more than that was the experience I had of myself throughout my time there.
I gave myself permission to learn. To have an opinion of the bikes I tried. To ask questions. I would test-ride a bike and think, “What do I like about this bike experience? What don’t I like? What questions do I have about it? What feels awkward? What feels right?” I gave myself permission to keep asking for a different bike when I didn’t think the one I’d just tested was “the one.”
It felt so good to do this. So caring of my personhood.
It felt like an alignment of body and soul — taking care of them both, letting them “converse” with each other along the way. And in the aftermath of what came up for me in my direction session yesterday, as I’m feeling tender and raw, it felt like one of the most kind things I could do for myself today. It felt like an extension of what I shared here yesterday: according ourselves a measure of dignity and self-care.
Have you ever experienced something similar, where you felt like you were caring for your greater sense of personhood?