I slept poorly last night, or perhaps I was just up earlier than I wanted to be, for reasons that are too mundane and yet too weirdly specific to acknowledge or explain here. It feels like it will be a long day.
I’m reminded of what practice it takes to manage stress and anxiety. I’ve gone through periods in my life where I have been terrible at it, where I mistakenly believed that outrunning those things would take care of them. Now I am much more skilled; I am much better at taking conscious action to mitigate those strong emotions. Still, though, they can wake me up at night, keep me up even when my child sleeps soundly, even when the world outside is quiet.
The last few days, I’ve been working to keep in mind that I do not have to be bothered by others’ actions or beliefs. I can feel hurt, sadness, disappointment. I can carry those things as I move through them. But I do not have to take on another person’s anger or frustration. I do not have to be pulled into their maelstrom.
Several months ago, I started keeping a five-year journal that requires just a line a day. I’d seen these types of books on the shelves for years, always intrigued by them, but hadn’t actually purchased one for myself. (As a side note, I just purchased one as a gift for a friend, and I think it’s possible I gave her the same gift a few years ago. Ah, memory. At least it was and is well-intentioned.) In any case, I’ve really taken to it; it’s become part of my bedtime routine.
Every night, I write something of gratitude, though that is not how I start out my words. I write after checking on my child, who sleeps soundly at that part of the evening. In that moment, in that action of putting my hand on his back, seeing the steady rise and fall of his body, I feel such immediate perspective for what matters in the world. I can’t help but write with thankfulness after that. I can’t help but feel my full heart, the depths of my good fortune.
The challenge comes hours later, when I rattle around in the echo chamber of my mind, worrying about the things that are ripe for worrying.
So this morning, I try to give myself some extra kindness, some extra space. I take a deep breath; I choose the mug that speaks to me for reasons I don’t have to understand or justify. I blindly select my Angel Card for the day, as I do, to give myself the additional invitation to meditate on something specific. Appropriately, the word today is: Peace.
I think of the gift it is, to be exactly here. Sometimes it feels complicated, but that’s all right. There is nowhere else I would rather be, and it’s very good for me to remember that, too.