Cold feet

Sometimes (often) I need a brief stretch of silence before I step onto the stage.

Sundays are a good day for poetry. So let’s begin with this one, from David Whyte, which speaks about 'that fierce heat of living'. It feels perfect for me - and perhaps, you - as I ponder the contrast between the fierce heat of living and the chill that sweeps through me as I am ready to begin.

It doesn't interest me if there is one God or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others. I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even the gods speak of God.

Yesterday, all day, I had cold feet.

I don’t mean that I was afraid (though I was). I don’t mean that I felt hesitant as a bride or groom on a wedding day (although I did).

When I say that I had cold feet, I mean that my feet were actually cold, all day, so cold that they distracted me from doing anything I’d intended to be doing.

I had intended to send an email this weekend, describing a new way of doing my work. A steady, spacious, rhythmic sanctuary inside of daily life. And doesn’t that sound lovely and sweet? It does to me. So I am not afraid to step into it. I am ready. It is designed and planned and (just about) ready to launch.

It’s just that all day yesterday, I had cold feet.

I didn’t notice it at first. I moved, without thinking about it, through the steps that I usually take when my body feels chiled. I made tea. I made soup. I took a long hot shower, padded to the sofa and wrapped myself up in a puffy white comforter.

I just could not stay warm, especially my feet.

Looking at this photo, I imagine you’re thinking: Well, how about socks? But actually, no. My freedom loving feet can’t stand how they feel - restrictive, too close. So, slippers? Again, no. I had a pair - but I walked right through them during the 2020 every-day-at-home-in-slippers year of quarantine.

And anyway, I realized eventually, that none of this was about my actual cold feet. It was, as guidance so often is, a metaphor. A symbolic call-out to the part of my awareness that was deliberately, stubbornly ‘forgetting’ that I promised to launch my 2021 program this weekend. In this case, that ‘part of my awareness’ seemed to have lodged itself in my feet.

They would not move forward. Not take the step I needed to take onto that stage. Not yet.

Even as I was lily pad leaping from the area rug by the stove to the area rug by the sink, as if I had no awareness that my physical (and symbolic) feet were cold, I knew.

I knew.

And I had cold feet.

Both of these were true. And so, I allowed myself this day between days. An intuitive wink-wink that allowed me to pretend that I was not quite ready to melt back into the fierce fire of living.

One more day of puttering and silence. a brief interlude to stand with myself and breathe before I step back onto the stage.


Added on 3-10-2021:
I don’t know how I missed the connection between this ‘cold feet’ experience and this dream of two wild feet that I dreamt just a few weeks ago.

Dreams (and waking dreams) are like that. They speak to us in symbols and patterns, vibrating threads that echo and echo through our lives.