When I returned to my office last Thursday, I first saw my door covered in balloons and welcome back signs. I walked into my office and was surrounded by a yarn web – it was strung back and forth, to and fro, all over my office! At various spots on the web there were clothespins holding short messages like, “I missed you”, “You are loved” etc. I was very touched. I could tell the group put a lot of effort into stringing this web of love all over my office.
Unlike a spider’s web, I wasn’t terrified every time I bumped into it! And, I bumped into a lot. Some of the strings had fallen down a bit and were hanging below my face. I had to dip and bend to work my way over to my desk. When someone stopped by to say hi, I had to go back through the same process to meet the person at the door. I didn’t have to worry about any spiders on my back or head, but I did have to remember not to move too quickly or I might get stuck.
Today I decided to take the decorations down. I left the simple “Welcome Back Anne” on my door, but the balloons were popped and the web came down. At first I was going to salvage the yarn and wind it all back onto the two skeins the yarn was still attached to. However, once I realized how tangled some of the spots were, I decided to just get as much as I could and then cut it off. I didn’t have to rescue all the yarn – something was better than nothing.
As I’m returning to work – to faces I haven’t seen in awhile, to conversations that picked right back up where we left them, to expectations and disappointments – I find the web to be a good metaphor of what I’m experiencing. At times I feel caught, unsure which way to go next. Other times I feel a bit lost. It’s all a bit overwhelming and confusing. Even though I had a clear idea of what my return would look like, once I’m back in the same space, at the same desk, in the same office – well, it’s all a bit muddled again.
But, I only need to hold on to what’s useful and let the rest go. I can’t save every part of what I did before and what others thought of me. At some point I need to just gather up what works and cut the rest off. There’s no need to hang on to this web – one I created, maybe one others created – however it got there, it doesn’t need to stay. I have the scissors. I have agency. I can get rid of the web.
I felt a little bad taking down all the yarn today. I know how hard they worked to put it up. (I also know they had to come back and repair it when it all fell down before I returned.) All those little messages that I threw away were written by kids I love. And yet, it’s all gone. I took it down. I just couldn’t walk through the web anymore. Despite the twinge of guilt, I knew it would be okay. I recognized what they did and expressed my gratitude, but that doesn’t mean I need to hold on to it forever. Some things just need to be let go.
I find myself slipping back into my former way of thinking – overanalyzing, anticipating, expecting, spiraling thoughts. I started back on Thursday and today, Monday, I’m right back where I was three months ago. But, I noticed it. My husband noticed it. And, instead of dwelling too much – we talked, I walked, I went to yoga. I came home and felt refreshed. I hit reset. I didn’t have these tools available for myself three months ago. Now I have them and, an even bigger deal, I use them.
Even though I came home feeling stuck and out of sync, tonight I did one of my best tree poses in weeks – on both sides. I was steady and sure. No wobbling. I held it. I don’t remember the last time I did that. So, despite my moments of doubt, I was more balanced and steady than I realized. I wouldn’t have recognized that had I not gone to yoga class.
I think it will feel good walking into my office tomorrow with the web cleared away. I just have to keep clearing things out that don’t work – clearing them out without guilt or blame. I can say no to constant email or social media or catering to everyone’s needs. There may continue to be moments in which my mind feels like one big cobweb, but now I know I’m capable of clearing it out. One more tool to add to my collection…