Calmness is power. It doesn’t have to be stoic, but it is not reactive. You are in control of how you respond, no matter what.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
You will be successful if you show up to your life and live with calm confidence. If you show up, you will suffer and change and have to be honest and you will experience so much beauty around you and in you. And if you show up with calm confidence, realizing that most things don’t need your opinion, that your reaction to anything is your most useful power, and that most things that hurt you have nothing to do with who you are, you will find your freedom
Secrets rarely help. Say your truth out loud. You owe the people who love you that much.
You are good, worthy of grace, and have nothing to prove.
in putting all my eggs in one basket
in blood and promises
and knowing when neither is enough
in letting go
and not letting go
in rearranging furniture
in ascribing the best intentions
in being a good audience
Eventually the future shows up everywhere:
those burly summers and unslept nights in deep
lines and dark splotches, thinning skin.
Here’s the corner store grown to a condo,
the bike reduced to one spinning wheel,
the ghost of a dog that used to be, her trail
no longer trodden, just a dip in the weeds.
The clear water we drank as thirsty children
still runs through our veins. Stars we saw then
we still see now, only fewer, dimmer, less often.
The old tunes play and continue to move us
in spite of our learning, the wraith of romance,
lost innocence, literature, the death of the poets.
We continue to speak, if only in whispers,
to something inside us that longs to be named.
We name it the past and drag it behind us,
bag like a lung filled with shadow and song,
dreams of running, the keys to lost names.
The Book of Men
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“I will be different. I will remain the same. I will still go parchment-faced with embarrassment, and clench my pencil between fingers like pencils. I will quite frequently push the doors marked Pull and pull the doors marked Push [and spill coffee on myself in bizarre places for reasons too difficult to explain]. I will be lonely, almost certainly…I will walk by myself on the shore of the sea and look at the freegulls flying. I will grow too orderly, plumping up the chesterfield cushions just-so before I go to bed. I will rage in my insomnia like a prophetess. I will take care to remember a vitamin pill each morning with my breakfast. I will be afraid. Sometimes I will feel light-hearted, sometimes light-headed. I may sing aloud, even in the dark. I will ask myself if I am going mad, but if I do, I won’t know it.”
~Margaret Laurence, A Jest of God
I spend my life traveling (careening?) between point A and point B
of various cognitive dissonances
With the not-good-enough voice trying to
shout down the “am so” one,
having traveled four thousand
and sixty-two point nine
miles to do what I’ve been
wanting to do
trying to do
qualified to do
for twenty years.
And this pervasive feeling of joy
teetering like a plate on a stick atop the awareness
that it’s only ever as good as my
hormones will allow it to be,
plus that soupçon of fear
that rides, always, just behind my right ear,
and the awareness that we are all,
in some way,
I continue to insist on believing that anything can be fixed if one can just think of just the right words.
I also think that my epitaph should be”she had really good intentions.”
Can’t help but wonder if these two are related somehow.
Only Daughter loves traveling, moving, fresh starts.
I enjoy fresh starts while realizing that I’m probably just going to be bringing most of the same problems with me, but still.
You may or may not know, but we are departing next week for four months in Brazil, where I will be teaching at the University of Brasilia on a Fulbright while Only Daughter does online school, Husband works on book projects, and we hopefully embark on many exciting adventures. You can follow along, if you’d like, at my travel blog here.
Meanwhile, we have been dealing with an extremely disappointing if not outright disturbing political landscape and the revelation of the uglier side of many, and considering different career options for me, while I try to deal with the reality of unfulfilled dreams and seek new challenges.
So, a fresh start, in many ways, and I intend to maximize on it.
Had a lovely conversation with a dear friend over lunch today, as we discussed the need to preserve our own mental health while not abandoning the needs of our society and planet, and the balancing of dreams vs. realities, acknowledging/mourning disappointments while embarking on new dreams, the need to balance our work and families while taking care of ourselves. Many of these a quest for many of us and each could fuel a blog all its own.
But I am embarking on this journey with some vows of my own, inspired by AGV:
- to take and enjoy each day as it comes,
- to focus on the opportunity rather than the obligation each situation presents,
- to stop spending time on regrets of the past and look ahead to the future, and, finally
- not to fret.
Wish me luck!!!