Back to blog
Heart finally calm
Share your work with family and friends!

I wonder. Is this it? Is this all? A calm heart. Is that all that I need to make it through with some sanity?

You see. I’m a bit obsessed with being good. I’m obsessed with not making mistakes. I think about it a lot. All the time. I think about how good it would be to accept that I make mistakes. That itself becomes a new form of being good. Acceptance of making mistakes as the highest good.

Just as I was walking over to this cafe, I thought, but how do I know that I’m not just as problematic as Trump? Really? How do I know? I have tantrums like him. I melt down like him. I try to control what people think of me like him. I’m narcissistic. Is that why I’m always looking for validation? Someone, just tell me that I’m not as bad as him. Someone, anyone, tell me I’m not causing others to suffer. So I know once and for all that I’m on the side of good, whatever that means.

The persistent thought is that I use my writing to try to get someone to like me. Maybe that’s the whole reason I want to be a writer, just so someone will hold my novel in their hands and say you are okay. I see you. God, I hope not. But it’s probably true. I write to give my imagination a purpose besides tormenting me.

My mind plays this trick. Just when I start to feel confident. Just when I start to find some calm and serenity, it goes — but you might be (insert my worst fear). You might be that. How do you know you aren’t? Then I start spinning and clam up again. I fall for it every time. The fears change but not the basic narrative. Today it’s Trump. As a child, it was being a thief. I could go on. My psyche knows what I’m afraid of in every moment and just sticks that in. It thinks it’s protecting me. It thinks it’s keeping me safe.

It says—So you don’t go too far out of your shell. If you are confident, god-help-you you might go too far and I need to keep you safe. I’m going to invoke your worst fear and torment you with that thought until you believe me and shut down again. Believe me. If this fear doesn’t work, I’ll try another one. I know. Goddamn it. I know what your fears are because I am you and you have an awe-inspiring imagination, so I have every trick up my sleeve.

The more I tell people these fantasies, the less power they have. The more these delusions get into the open, the more I can get a little breathing room from their horror movie screens.

Imagination — it serves me well when I give it a creative task, but tears me to shreds if I let it.

Then I hear an inner urging— remember stillness.

Then I remember I have a body.

Then I remember that at this moment, my breathing is shallow.

I notice my back is slouching and my heart beating quickly.

I am looking down and staring at a spot on the floor.

I feel my feet on the ground.

I notice the tree in front of me. It is blossoming with small pink flowers on fresh green leaves.

I think “We are dancing in an empty sky”

My mind flashes, “But remember that time in high school, you were the worst! Don’t forget it”

Really? High school? Wow.

I take a deep breath. Yesterday I pulled a ripe blackberry from a thorny vine looking out across a river near where my grandfather was born. I held it to my heart and say outloud “Blackberry, I give all my worries, I give my unsettled heart. I give you my unkind thoughts. I give this tense and frightened body. I give it all to you. Thank you for taking me this far, dear earth-body. Thank you for receiving me. Thank you for holding me. May we all jump up and live again.”

I tossed the blackberry into the river that is streaming past, the waters dark and rushing.

Just breath. That’s all. And that is everything. Deep. Slow. Into your belly. And again. Keep going. Just keep breathing. That’s all you have to do. Forever. It’s the only place to start.

The words fade out for a moment. I remember this is the same river where my great grand-father and my grand-grand mother once walked and loved each other. I hear the bird singing over a dark and storming sky.

The heart finally calm.



Leave your comment...