this morning I suddenly feel better. I didn’t expect to feel better, still not having done the Big Things on my sword of damocles to-do list– but apparently I have done other things and other things have rolled around somewhat– and there is, I think, a lesson in this which I offer up to you out there in case it gives something good at a time when you might need it.
some of us, who knows, maybe many of us, have a lot of monsters in our heads. all sizes and shapes with very pinchy snarly teeth. sometimes they get the upper hand and you see all the world through their grinchy little eyes: you look up into snow falling under streetlights in the evening, and you do not think how beautiful— instead you think I am as fleeting and insignificant as one of those flakes of ice. you find no consolation in the complex architecture of frost. you say to yourself I MUST pull myself up by my boot straps! only to argue physics and logic with yourself.
there are different kinds of forward propulsion. I had some significant figures in my younger days show me a lot of the fist-down-on-the-table variety. boom boom. you WILL do x or y! to which it was all too easy to conform on the surface while underneath saying no, I WON’T— thereby splitting myself in two time and again.
I am trying to learn another kind of forward propulsion: the loving open hand on my own back, propelling me forward; the hand in my own guiding me, walking with me. and, yes, I know how late it is in the game to be learning, to be studying these things, and there is shame and embarrassment in such an enterprise– but by golly I’m fighting for my life.
and so the lesson I am taking this morning, once again and all over again for the hundredth time as if for the first time, is this: gentle steps. rather than setting up the To Do list monumentally in such a way that it will make me, once again, dig in my heels and retreat under the covers with a book, going la la la, I’m not listening— instead. small steps. like writing in the paper journal every morning, once again. (it’s been much much too long.) allowing myself some timeouts without belaboring the self-recrimination. keeping getting up in the morning and going to work, where sometimes I do some things that feel good and right and leave me feeling stronger with important realizations about myself. keeping looking up at that snow under the streetlights– in time I will see it again in all its glittering splendor and realize I am breathing and breathe.