Are you a sponge?

Take What You Need ProjectI'm a sponge.

This week I am saturated, sour, and a bit wrung out.

For those with sponge personalities, words both wound and revive.

( How do you know if you're a sponge? If you are unable to apply this phrase to your life: "Let it roll off you like water off a duck's back" — you are likely a sponge, unconsciously absorbing the emotional tremor of every room you enter. )

But it's not all bad. In this state, the best solution after saturation is to retreat, absorbing what fills you, not depletes you.

We can't stop the world and simply get off. There are, after all, jobs to do, deadlines to meet, dinners to make . . . but we can choose to take a mental break (as in pause, not to be confused with break down) from resistance.

And so, this week I was absorbed by a radio interview with poet Marie Howe. How refreshing it felt to listen to intelligent, creative people exchange ideas without showmanship or banter, just genuine and mutual respect. And it strikes me now how sad that this type of conversation feels refreshing, rather than normal. The interview is here: On Being with Krista Tippett and Marie Howe. Click on radio show/podcast in upper left.

Also this week, I retreated in books, absorbed by:

The Dinner — a riveting novel by Henry Koch.

Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Trandscendence in Competitive Yoga — an engaging memoir-experience by Benjamin Lorr.

Just This, striking tanka poems by Margaret Chula.

It is reminder, these ideas thoughtfully written or gently spoken, that words will almost always restore my faith and spirit, my energy for life.

What restores you?