It’s all I have to bring today
This, and my heart beside
This, and my heart, and all the fields
And all the meadows wide
Be sure you count – should I forget
Some one the sum could tell –
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the clover dwell.
~Emily Dickenson (1830-1886)
This weary soul of mine succumbed to social media early in the morning, as some days, scrolling is all I can muster. My hand, even too exhausted to lift the pen to my notebook page.
On this particular day, a teacher-writer-soul friend, Mary Lee Haun, was also having a weary kind of day. Her #poemofpresence whispered to the quiet corners of my dissonance:
today I am sad
please don’t try to cheer me up
there’s nothing for it
My fingers typed a few words to let her know that I felt her angst as well. I shared with her a word I’d recently learned, one that named this kind of tired – a word in Tibetan: ye tang che. The ye part means “totally, completely”, and the rest of it means “exhausted”. Altogether, ye tang che means “totally exhausted”.
Devendra Banhart taught me this word, while listening to him on a recent episode of the On Being podcast. The lovely language and voices of this podcast are healing, so I turn here often in times of need. The word, ye tang che, Devendra credits to have learned from Pema Chadron in his book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.
I had jotted it into my notebook to bring up in moments of despair. Like this.
A lovely dear friend of us both, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, swept in to save us on this dreary day. My heart sang just seeing her name and an image of her responding to our short conversation.
She offered a gift: a recommendation of a book.
The Wild Remedy ~ How Nature Mends Us by Emma Mitchell.
With a slight surge of new energy, a quick exploration brought me to the contents of Emma’s book. Emma suffers of “the grey slug” or depression, as some know it as. She shares her journey through nature as a balm to lift the grey from her days. Winding paths through the woods, drawing and painting the discoveries along her way fill her illustrated diaries. Month by month, she charts her highs and lows and the neuroscience of how our bodies, minds, spirits and hearts receive the natural healing benefits of plants and wildlife when we step into the wild.
Her book arrived on my doorstep yesterday.
All of a sudden, I’m witnessing more bees, and fields and meadows wide.
~ from my morning walk ~
And . . . my heart is beginning to mend from all of this ye tang che.