Tonight I have been thinking of women I know and like. Some are fighting cancer, several are going through a life-changing heartbreak, and one recovering from major, major surgery. And each is hardly complaining, although each could be shouting from the rooftops how she did not sign up for, deserve, or envision this happening to her.
And I am at a loss of how to help. Partly because I am not good at helping people. Partly because my focus has been on my own fears. And then I thought that maybe I don’t need to worry about the things that aren’t happening. About the wounds that don’t really matter when all is said, and all is mostly done. There are conversations I will never have outside my own head. There are wrongs that will never be made right. There are goals that will be left untouched.
What if I wake up tomorrow and my first thought is not the three major projects I am late delivering? What if I don’t step on a scale or look in a mirror? What if blueberry muffin crumbs remain on my floor all day? What if I don’t go to the gym, and I don’t feel awful about myself all day for it? What if I do own too many shoes?
There are moments when our world is reduced in a heartbeat to the basics. And then there are lifetimes in which we can choose to reduce our world to the very basics. What if I don’t win a prize–what if I never know what the prizes are? What if I don’t wait to be happy and unashamed?
So what if my best friendships are forged through tears and laughter and wine? What if I take a nap? Could happiness really be as simple as this moment?
And a quiet calm, the absence of guilt or pressure started to gel in me. And I thought, still, what if, dreaming, I am on a train to no known town, only to discover, eventually, at the end of the line, that I never existed? Oh no. What if I hadn’t watched that Twilight Zone marathon New Year’s Day?
What if every thought I have today could make me smile?
This is such a great post, Wendy. This is like a good Joni Mitchell song. Wait. They’re all good. But, anyway, what I mean is that it says it all without saying too much. It’s specific enough to be meaningful and powerful but general enough that I can apply it to my own thinking, my own life. I feel like I know exactly what you’re saying…feel like I’ve been (may be right now) in that same place…even though, because we’re two different people, that may not be objectively true. This is my long, early morning way of saying I can really relate and those moments when we challenge ourselves to hear our inner critic (or whatever you want to call it) and just say, “Yeah. I’m not listening today.” those are powerful moments, that can stretch into days, that can become weeks, that can change lives.
Sometimes I think my negativity is just a habit…I don’t even really feel it…it’s just a knee-jerk reaction. And it’s not helpful. And I enjoy challenging myself to stay on top of it, and ahead of it, and cut it off at the pass. There must be better ways to spend that energy.
thank you Christine! And yes, it is so hard to ignore the negative voice when one has listened so long. It does seem like the voice of reason. This morning I woke up panicking about something despite my best efforts… this is an ideal; it helps to take it a moment at a time.
Your post is very true. I spend the day stressing about the little things and in the big scheme of things, that stuff is not important. I do always remind myself how lucky we are to have our health, our girls, our jobs, our home, etc. I think smiling about my thoughts is a wonderful idea! Thanks.
It really takes work for me–every moment I am reminded of how hard I must work at staying present and not projecting my fears onto a situation. You are right about our luck. 🙂
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I remember someone telling me when I first found out that I was pregnant, “Treasure every day, because it goes quickly.” I’m 7 months pregnant now and I’m glad I was told that, because time does move fast and I don’t want to regret worrying so much. Life is the ups and downs and we live…
So true! Once your baby arrives you will not even remember your pregnancy! lol. Good luck and congratulations!!
I’m so so glad I stopped by here again tonight Wendy. Your writing has such depth to it and you speak to something that so many of us can relate too. I’m working on my response (and at least acknowledgement of my emotional response to many aspects of my life).
I’m reminded of that mind-body connection lesson, teaching us how our thoughts impact our body. What if you really could make a positive impact on your life, body, and environment just with a positive thought?