Today I am making something happen.
I am crossing the invisible line between thinking about doing something and doing it.
I am conjuring, creating, drawing something out of thin air into form.
Presto! Voila! Abra Cadabra!
For this, I will need my full attention – and intention.
Because right in the next room of my mind there is a little voice (cartoonist Roz Chast calls it “The Voice of Binky”) warning: You have stood with your toes on this line before. Something always comes up.
In the past, the appearance of Binky would make me increasingly distracted and agitated. I would spend a great deal of time ‘managing my state’ and trying, really hard, to silence Binky while working myself into a lather of self-loathing and despair as deadlines would loom up and then, crushingly, roll over me.
But you get wise to yourself.
Binky is my new best friend. Because I finally understand that Binky isn’t out to sabotage me – Binky is the Guardian that alerts me: You are losing power here. It’s time to wake up. Binky is the Guardian of my Self-Esteem.
When I have a big deadline, like today, Binky shows up to bother me
This weekend, there he was, right on schedule. We watched things collect – disturbances in the force, energetic distractions that, in the past, I would have used as my excuse to sigh, and turn away from the line.
Yesterday, I even tried to build a case for doing that, citing the sudden death of a friend’s father; my mother’s kidney infection; my daughter’s surprise visit; my son’s Skype call. “See,” I told my husband. “Something always comes up to sabotage me.”
But my husband, bless his heart, said, “You are too smart for that. Things come up all the time. Do it anyway.”
I had to kiss him then so the conversation went no farther.
Then, I went to see my mother
I was still wearing my coat when my mother said, “Oh, I feel just terrible for those poor people in Africa. They don’t even know who their president is.”
She’d heard or read part of a news story, something about an undecided election in a far off land and her dear heart had gone out to them – in a vague and general concern for all of humanity.
I understand now that this is not my mother being a worry-wart or borrowing trouble. This is her indirect way of saying, ‘I feel vulnerable – undefended. I am really scared.’
I made her a cup of tea. Then, I pulled out the mantra that’s helped Mom get through open heart surgery, recovery, a broken thigh, recovery, several systemic infections, recovery… all year.
“Hey, Mom,” I said, hugging her. “So what?”
“Oh, yes!” she brightened. “So what?”
When Mom and I say this, we both understand that we are really saying: There are things we can control; there are things that we can’t.
It’s like this cartoon my daughter found and posted to her Facebook wall: When things get really out of control I remember that one day, I am going to die.
For some reason this helps us feel better.
Later, as I drove home from Mom’s, Binky and I had a spirited discussion about perfection and imperfection; chaos and order; fate and destiny; worry and ‘so what?’
I came home, expecting to go right to sleep and found my daughter in my bed, watching Slum Dog Millionaire.
Binky said, See, you’ll never get to sleep now. You’ve got to get up early…
And I smiled.
I lay down beside my beautiful daughter and together, we watched a dirt poor Indian kid win 20 million rupees by observing the way that his entire life had been orchestrated to lead him to this moment – these few questions on a game show.
Here we are. There is no other way this could have turned out.
This is what we’ve made – what we have.
This morning, I flipped on the radio and there was a piece on NPR about Pranayama, yogic breakthwork.
So I did some – all the way here.
Then, I came into the cafe and before settling into my table – I tried three different locations, like a wild animal searching for the perfect cave/spot to give birth.
And now, here beside the fire, I’m gonna make something happen.