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23 June 2011 @ 02:06 pm
Stasis at the Ridgetop Retreat  
I left Eugene Monday and have been in residence this week in my house at Colton. My plans are to sort through belongings and pack them effectively, and transport them to places of donation, discard, and into storage and use in my new residence in Eugene. I'm also assembling repair and maintenance checklists.

On the way up I met a friend for lunch and another friend for dinner, and I forayed forth to meet friends for dinner Tuesday night, but otherwise I have been here.

I have been looking forward to this time to resolve my former residence here, but had been delayed by a need to finish up school in Eugene and not split my efforts too broadly. My pattern in Eugene has been daily moderate to high output: three classes completed along with time in the lab at the college, home furnishings set up, music and media areas configured, books unpacked, tasty meals made, dahlias planted, housekeeping accomplished, roombas supervised, and lunch breaks taken with Katrina. I ride my bike, rarely feel achey, and am relatively active. My diet and activity levels and sleep are healthy.

Here in Colton, I've been underwhelmed by the progress I have made this week. I have sampled a few boxes of Kathryn's clothing and packed another half a box of stuff. Instead of the planned activities, focus has been outward, on the Internet, researching and reading. I feel the wages of avoidance and distraction, legs ache from disuse and awkward postures at the end of the day. I am almost at a standstill. Darkness comes, and I sleep, hoping for a more productive day which doesn't really come. The stasis feels familiar: it recollects tracts of time before my relocation to Eugene.

Stasis seems momentarily adaptive, but starves me of progress and health in the longer term... so why do I do this? I am pondering the nature of the powerful subconscious forces inside my head. Ultimately, I believe these patterns are ones of avoiding the pain and triggering memory... the patterns of avoidance and stasis are triggered and strong for me here because the environment encourages me to re-live memories, as well as strategies of waiting, hanging on, accepting little day-to-day progress or change. When Kathryn was sick, it was sometimes enough for me to go through motions and make only small amounts of progress in order to just get through the day and get rest for the next day - a day when she might be able to communicate. After she was gone, there was grief, and while I was quite productive on work things and some hobbies at times, in contrasting areas more focused around the house care itself, I felt somewhat halted. I'm very isolated here, and I have no one to share my hourly plans and accomplishments with, so they don't feel very real to me. So, in some ways, I just hunker down and wait... wait for something to change (things were always changing and not always positively when Kathryn was around, so my agendas tended to be set by others and that was familiar for me).

Predictably - things don't change. I feel somewhat annoyed at this week of avoidance and distraction, staring at the computer amid unpacked home things. I don't think I can overcome this merely by pushing myself harder and continuing down this exact track... I feel that I need to work smarter and find a way to flow around the part of myself that is my own obstacle.

My new approach is this:

1) ask for presence of a friend for support,
2) focus on evacuating this house's contents, and
3) leave sorting for a more supportive environment

Having people around will give me the encouragement for meaningful hour by hour progress. Emptying the house now will allow me to move forward on repairs and listing, and make it less comfortable as a place to sit and do nothing. Leaving the emotionally complicated sorting for later this house will prevent me having to take that bullet now, which still feels like more than I can emotionally deal with all alone, and I can do it in a more supportive and convenient environment later.

So, not all is lost. I've had a week of rest and stasis. I reconnected with some of the emotions, the pain and coping I have had here, and the sense of isolation and lack of progress. I have more compassion for the person who was living that way full time. I have contrast with a more productive, happier, fuller life I have had since I moved from here three months ago - a more essential and effective 'me'. No schoolwork has been sacrificed for this experiment. To sum this up, I have a more complicated but perhaps less emotionally taxing approach for making forward progress.

I recall the intense beauty and facility of this remote place to live, which I strongly recommend for those who love rural living - which is great for me to visit on vacation, but to which I am less well-suited as a daily home pattern.

I'm ready to go home... home to Eugene. While I have been away, my girlfriend has become a grandmother, and I want to celebrate with her, and connect with my developing life in my new home... I will also need to secure the resources I need to succeed my evacuation of the old home where I'm sitting now.