Whenever I've taken a Myers-Briggs test (and I DO love that way of checking in with the evolving self), one constant has been that always I wind up somewhere on the border between E & I - not consistently an introvert & not consistently an extrovert, either. So I have to listen in carefully, in order to understand what is actually happening, and what self-compassion looks like in any given moment.
This Pilgrimage project has offered amazing opportunities both for fulfilling engagement with a wide variety of people, and for solitude. My last full day in Sewanee, after much teaching & meeting with old friends, I realized I really needed some alone time, and so I donned my full rain suit, and headed down into Shakerag Hollow, a perennial place of solace.
Wet. Tired. I sat down under a ledge and slept with my back against the belly of the cliff. I slipped down rocky steps level-by-level, rubbed foreheads with a huge mossy boulder, squished my big boots in the mud, and lay down along the spine of a fallen hickory. I watched the rain, listened to it, smelled it, saw its children growing everywhere. I kept on stopping deeper, and the forest's roots mingled with mine.
Then, on the way to teach again, I stopped in to see Carlos & Sarah, in their beautiful purple house, with the naked girl still in the bathtub on the porch. I found I had room again, to see them.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.