I am young and healthy, and soon will be forty. I feel tired, so I have removed myself from some of the cumbersome social media in favor of clinging to exercise and presence, and to keep writing.
I’m tired because Cole’s wakefulness pounces on the 2 and 5 am hours, and then I work, where, with clock as faithful companion, I sit, listen, reflect, and offer – until my sparse energy is dim. The day complete, I walk home to the warm place, where my family waits. Each step a vow to concentrate – more or less unsuccessfully kept. Arriving, I feel somewhere ahead of, or far behind myself. Too often, my daughter, behind wisdom and thick defense, guards the hope that I will not be too dim.
She’s on to me, for some time now: I once found her covered in elaborate marker, including “tattoos” on her hands and the bottoms of both feet. Riding the magic inherent to “almost 4,” her proclaimed age at that time, she shared “I’m a Hutlin. Hutlins help the helpers! The doctors, the police, also nature – trees and flowers. They have special costumes, nature costumes.” She shared far more, and it is documented fastidiously in her baby book. Indelible in memory, however, is the knowing that fluttered from her tiny, brave frame. I stared into this deep, indigo well of love and everything beautiful in the world, and realized painfully that she needs me to be awake, vibrant, strong, and capable. I am a mere mortal, but I can do that.
So tonight, a simply strewn collection of words I am resting on these days, renewing mantras – things to build and bolster against my fatigue. They allow me some comfort, and mostly assuage my desperate need for perspective when my sleep is crafted poorly by the care and love for these tender vessels of humanity,
and my (also mortal) spouse and I are intermittently incongruous,
and my deep well of genuine love for everyone and everything is full of pebbles detailing elaborate escape.
– Never too late, never too old, never too bad, and never too sick, to start from scratch once again. (Bikram Choudhury)
– Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us, so be quick to love and make haste to be kind. (Amiel)
– Traverse the day with conscious choices.
– Using yesterday as an example confines. That illusion of improvement, via ever more tedious overcorrections, is too much a challenge. Breathe each day new; anything is possible.
– Live your epitaph. Choose wisely. Take nothing for granted. Be only here.
– Actively enjoy the good things about the present, and avoid scheming to create a better future. If you are in the midst of tough times, you know today’s circumstances are not ideal or even desirable. I do not wish you to disregard goals, dreams, or desires, nor discomfort, pain or distress. Rather, invite grace, playfulness, patience, gratitude, courage, and peace in times of trouble. Shaking off the defenses of escape, malcontent, and numbness, we can find a moment of stillness, and the shifts will come automatically. Eventually, the preoccupation over a “better future” will melt away because today is more subtly bearable.
There is a zen to tedious tasks, comforting and familiar. On occasion I remember this, and it helps – an accessible everyday luxury amidst the mundane and burdensome things one cannot avoid (of which there are far too many).
Sleep well. Maslow’s hierarchy. Simple.