not busy, focused; not busy, full

this is a poem or a reset
you keep telling me you know I am so busy but…
and then you ask me for something
and I want you to know
I am not busy
no, with all of these boundaries I have space
to write.
to take care of my body.
to hold my loves tightly in my many many hands so we can somehow make it through the rest of our lives

I am so focused
on the imaginary world which is trying to whisper to me
how to write a story that unlocks a heart
to write a spell that makes us bored with punishment and immune to capitalism
I am so full of ancestors and characters and I can’t tell which is who
but they are a chorus
telling me humans are not the protagonist
and nothing I can say is more brilliant than a stand of trees or a mycelial warning
or a newborn’s first shuddering dance
or the grace of the blue heron in lustful prance across this pond
or the continuous sky flood always somewhere storming

and when the clouds are full with pending storm they are quiet
so I am studying that quiet so I can hold that storm
and when the riverbanks flood, the soil forgets it is earth and goes flying through the water and finds a new purpose in the deep or maybe maybe even the vast ocean
isn’t every stream a boddhisatva
didn’t Lao Tzu know it is humble to become the vastness beneath
I was running so fast and trying so hard but what I forgot was the wonder

now my body aches to remember when I was busy
when I was so capitalist in my anti-capitalism, that is to say so productive in my revolutionary performance
but now I am not busy
I am breathing
I am moving at the pace my body allows, ever forward, mentored by a tortoise
I am balancing my vibrant intentions with my bemused body – bones of betrayal, bruised by the busy I once thought was my worth
now I know my body is the sliver of earth I’ve been given
I am healing from the extraction
I thought gave me value
from the toxins I thought of as solace

the freedom I can experience is from the traumatic past and the dystopic future
into the miraculous now
in which I can still find moments of respite
moments to water the garden of my home
to skim the news stopping only to witness and feel the heartache and longing
the beauty of being so connected is that my boundless love has a field without horizon, my heart can gallop on, loving all the people experiencing and shaping humanity, without end

I hope to never be busy again
I owe this quiet breath to my grandmother
I am creating at an astounding rate
and some of it I even write down
some moments I get so still
I can sense how it is all connected
and that the tissue is love
and I know my love could never be wasted
or too small a contribution
I say yes when love leads
I say yes when there’s enough time to do it well
and sometimes even then I am not there
because life showed me another way to love
and it was irresistible

Author: Adrienne

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your uprising against the forces of darkness has got to do more than say "no." A fierce, primal yes should be at the heart of your crusade. (rob brezny, long ago)

13 thoughts on “not busy, focused; not busy, full”

  1. I hear echoes in this of the lovely conversation between you and Rebecca Solnit on the 25th. Thank you for that uplifting hour!

  2. Absolutely stunning. I will read this many times over in the years to come and share it with everyone I love. It resonated deeply with me. Thank you for sharing and creating.

  3. ” I owe this quiet breath to my grandmother” is exactly it for me. Thank you for saying di tings, for letting them out, so we can feel them as familiar all over again.

  4. Come on, adrienne!
    Over tea turning cold, at a kitchen counter later than I really want to be awake, this.
    It’s that alignment thing. That tending the garden of the universe without even knowing I’m moving closer to what its holding for me. Tonight, here a marble countertop, a glass screen and tired hands, and you sharing. You spoke for me and to me and through me. Peace to you sister, I’m glad you write. I think I’ll keep sharing too. ??

  5. How beautiful to find the focus in time/space that includes self care in the love we say “yes” to. I hope to find this “yes.” Thank you.

  6. Dear adrienne,
    I’m Sarah Wilbur and I am a Professor of Dance and Director of Graduate Studies in Dance at Duke University. I am deeply respectful of your important work, as are our faculty and interdisciplinary cohorts of MFA dance students, and I am writing today with the longshot question of whether you are ever open to offering creative strategies workshops to professional dance artists working on interdisciplinary and intersectional topics. We are currently planning six weeks of summer workshops and creative practice space on the Duke campus in collaboration with the American Dance Festival and would be deeply interested in enlisting you as guest artist if you can carve out time to be involved. Sensitive as I am to your existing commitments, I’ll simply leave my email address here and invite you to reach back to me if this invitation to collaborate reaches you at an opportune time. If not, I send you the warmest vibrations as you continue to shift hearts and bodyminds with your crucial work.
    Sarah Wilbur

  7. these words have transformed my life. they have been a mighty rudder in the sea of people who know the old me, the busy me. i point them here and say “last year, adrienne wrote a poem that explains how i’m trying to be these days: not busy, focused; not busy, full.” and then i send the link. the ripples have been glorious. thank you.

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