I’ve been more than usually aware of the way my mind always seems to have something to chew on, something to churn away at, some puzzle to solve, some logistics to tackle or project to complete (or, as the case may be, avoid completing), or some tension between family members, or when I’m going to get everything done (how’s never? is never good for you?).
In other words, it could be anything. The what doesn’t matter. The point is, my mind does this thing, and lately I’ve been noticing that the byproduct of this thing is anxiety on my part. Now that I’ve been noticing this more consciously for the past several days, and talking with Greg about it, I’m beginning also to see that the anxiety is only a byproduct when I believe my mind, when I engage it, when I go in there and pour a cup of coffee and roll up my sleeves and say, why yes, this is clearly something we need to work out.
So the answer is obvious, isn’t it? Don’t listen. Detach, disengage, just notice. So easily said. The practice requires so much vigilance, it is like another full-time job. But I’m realizing that I need to take it seriously, this practice. Why? I ask myself. Why does this matter so much? Well, it has nothing to with being good, thank God we’ve gotten that cleared up. What it does have everything to do with is being available, being able to access more of myself and my surroundings, being able to experience life rather than just prepare for it, get through it, and then start worrying and working on the next thing.
Because there is always, always, always a next thing, and a thing after that, and when I let my mind sit up in the Air Traffic Control Tower, all we will ever do is fret and prepare and anticipate and defend, look for the coming collisions and storms, anticipate every possible iteration of weather, never looking out the window – much less stepping outside – to observe, to experience the day as it is, the sky eggshell blue, the wind not so threatening at this very moment, no matter what may be coming.
And there it is. What May Be Coming. We do not know What May Be Coming. I could stay up all night working myself into a lather about those words, so grave and menacing they deserve capital letters.
But What Is Here is pretty good. Yes, there is so much work to be done. Yes, there are so many clothes on the floor upstairs to be folded, and pink toothpaste caked onto the sink. Yes, there is a snarl of logistics to untangle. And there is this: I came home with my girls today and we three piled into a steaming hot bubble bath together, which my post-half-marathon body was aching for. We laughed in there and I sang a little Sinatra “Heaven, I’m in Heaven” song, which Pearlie parroted as she gave herself a bubble beard. After, the girls threw on their cozy pajamas and raced up the street to their friends’ house and I found myself with an unexpected window alone. And there is Greg just now walking in the door, having just walked up the hill, all creaky himself.
What Is Here is good enough. Whether it’s better or worse than What May Be Coming becomes a moot point. Quiche is waiting and I’m excited to go eat it. I’m going to feed myself, my body, my tired body and my fierce spirit, so that I can be rested and strong enough to step away from the mind, and do it my way.