Yesterday was not the best possible day I could have imagined. I’m happy to say it was not the worst possible day, but something happened with work in the morning that got my mind going pretty good with all the things — the things I wanted to say in response, the things I wanted to do in response, the things I wanted to shout at the universe for treating me so unfairly. It was all swirling around in there fast and furious. I was red hot and steaming, and it took a while for me to calm down.
Not as long as it once would have, I’m pleased to say. The source of the discomfort was over fairly quickly, but my mind hung on for a little while after it was over, trying to make what happened everyone’s fault but my own. The truth is it wasn’t my fault, and, despite my desire to make it otherwise, it wasn’t anyone else’s, either. It was just something that happened, was fairly easily remedied, and really was not deserving of all the space it was taking up in my head. So…I reached into my bag of tricks, and rooted around a bit, until I found the solution to my busy brain.
I decided to start the day over.
I did all my morning things again, even though I had just done them a few hours before. I meditated. I wrote a gratitude list. I read a page from a book by the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn. It all took about 15 minutes, and by the end, I was calm and focused and could resume work. Fortunately, I was working from home, or I would have been a little more hard-pressed to calm down as quickly, but it still would have been possible in a different way. Because really, all I needed was to find myself. I’m the only necessary part of this recovery process. I quite literally “lost my head” and I just needed to find it; to find me.
I had to begin again.
This is a concept I’m fairly familiar with in my life. I used to deal with depression quite regularly and I would lose myself for days or even weeks at a time. Self-compassion was something I didn’t cultivate until I was quite a bit older and had been through a lot of therapy, but even when I was younger, I understood that beating myself up about something over which I had no control was not a way to move forward again. Often, I couldn’t pick up where I left off exactly, because I had changed or something in my life had changed, so I started over.
Often, I would have to dip the bucket pretty deep into the well of myself, as Bukowski calls it, to find the resources there to go on, but I did. Every. Time. No matter what, often with a deeper appreciation of my own inner strength, resilience, and sense of purpose.
And now here I am, older than I ever thought I would be, and happier and more confident, too. Time is a beautiful thing, a healer and a teacher. However, I’m sure I’ll always be knocked off course momentarily by life – the universe is not a respecter of our desire to remain safe and happy in our belief that we’ve got it all figured out.
Not even close! Turns out that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t usually feel like it. All we can do is try again when we get knocked over. Get back up and begin anew. It’ll probably never get easier or less painful, but it is always possible to return to ourselves and who we know we are, no matter how long it takes.
We just need to drink from the cool clean waters of our deepest selves.
PS: the background graphic above was generated by AI, based on the prompt “begin again.” Pretty cool!