The Gift of Cave Days

Are you bone weary and overwhelmed by your days of obligations and responsibilities and chores? Do you wonder if you can get through the long, dark winter, while supporting those you love and care for? Are you just plain running on Empty?

Me too. We all are, one way or another. Several weeks ago, I hit a wall. I was “done,” cooked, and at the end of some rope.

I decided to give myself a few days of rest and quiet. Maybe three days, I thought. A long-ish weekend. There was nothing radical about it. I was not imagining a retreat, as that would just add more structure. I needed less. I was hoping more for a “go slow” gift, with much less email, less news, fewer long phone calls, and less “reaching out” to those I love. Just a pause, I thought.

The first morning I received my instruction: Just Be.

That turned out to be really hard, as radical a piece of advice I had ever gotten. I wasn’t even sure how to approach that. (More on that in a future post.)

The next morning, I received a second instruction: The only “shouldyou are allowed is “No should’s.”

I recognized that one instantly. Every task, every single task, was a “should.” I had to marshall enormous will power to do the simplest of chores. No wonder I was tired all day. That’s exhausting.

With only a few exceptions, (eating, sleeping, making my bed, tending my dear dog) I ignored every “should.” I only did something if my heart wanted to do it. It was amazing to witness the shifts in my energy. Slowly, that structure of “should’s dissolved, and simple energies began moving again. My Cave was not only taking care of me, but it was teaching me a better way to live.

Three days expanded to four and five and six. Joy peeped in. I began to write again, and take short walks. I was glad to talk with a friend. And now, two weeks later, I am still enjoying the relief and the sense of well being. I continue to be alert to those ancient patterns of “should.” I’m practicing kindness to myself, and I’m startled to find it is easy.

6 thoughts on “The Gift of Cave Days

  1. dearest penny,
    it seems important for anyone living in this mysterious bardo time to take a pause. And essential for those of us who are “emotional sponges”. we are clearly absorbing the unprocessed feelings of many in the world. Your “cave days” is an absolutely brilliant move, and quite revolutionary in our culture of “doing”. following your example, i shall be on alert for any signs of “should”, and avoid those I notice. I look forward to hearing more about “just be”. With palms together, louise

  2. This makes me so happy, Penny, and deeply resonates. I try to take one day during the week and one weekend day to allow myself time to just roam wherever I am drawn. And when people or things get in the way of that, I really miss it! And what’s been differently lately in my life is that I can finally let the energizer bunny that I live with, (you know who I mean…) be the way he needs to be, while I do my retreat days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *