When things are broken, it’s easy to fixate on the fix. You get consumed by what should be, and start to imagine things that way, overlooking the cracks, the stains, the dead light bulbs, the mess. Much of the time, we live in denial of how things are, right now. We press forward into perfection, buoyed by craving and delusion. I think a lot lately about the concept of renewal, and what it means in the face of brokenness—broken relationships, broken plans, broken pasts.
We believe that labor will cure what ails you, whether it’s physical or mental or emotional—it may not be the quickest path, but it’s a righteous one and it feels good. Zizou and I hike together, in matching gear and early in the morning, through the forests of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The tricky thing is discerning when the work is a process of mourning and when it becomes a process of avoidance. But it pulls me out of bed in the morning, it requires a cup of coffee and some clarity of thought, and it gets my feet moving underneath me.
Somewhere in your body
there is a hole
full of memories…
A panic followed me into the St. Mary’s River where I’d hoped for a clear-eyed, early morning canoe trip on glassy water. I rolled up my pants and pushed off the sand with my left foot, the other inside the boat on its center line, my hands steadying me on either lip of the canoe’s thin walls. Paddling up the bank, I looked down into the muddy water next to me at the occasional stones. I steered clear of the channel’s current, never going too deep, yet both the murky unknown and the riverbed terrain, where I could see it, were frightful, one mysterious in its opacity and the other bone-chillingly undisturbed, like a graveyard. I trained my eye on the shoreline ahead, paddling assiduously, keeping up pace and imagining my grandmother’s petite figure on the bow seat as it often was, once, a Velcro back brace stiffening her posture, laid over a white turtleneck and hidden by a woolen sweater. This imagined scene didn’t much calm me; a haunted canoe ride wouldn’t soothe my …
Amigos! Saxiibo! Les amis! Friends! How’s the week going? You’ve nearly reached the end, hope you’ve got something smashing planned. I’ll be… working, but working on new and interesting things, so I don’t mind so much. But first… out to the kitchen to make bread pudding with half a loaf of leftover Irish soda bread I baked for St. Patrick’s Day. Because everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, including Americans in the Horn of Africa. Here’s a few links to keep you bobbing along into the weekend!
Set the meditation timer to five minutes. Consider whether you set a low bar for yourself in all aspects of your life. Set the timer to ten minutes. Remember that you have 14 things to do before the day officially begins, and set the timer back to five minutes. Allow all the nagging thoughts of errands and obligations and forgotten tasks to simply fall away… so that deeper fears of self-doubt and wasted purpose can really come to the fore and shine. Glance down at the timer, notice you’ve winningly achieved 43 seconds of mindful bliss. Add the State of Nirvana to your dream destination list, pack it in and get on with your day.