I am anxious about living through another fire season. Anxious about staying healthy and pain-free into my old age. Fearful for the future of life on planet Earth. Worried about where the political situation in N. America is heading. Wondering if I will ever find a loving partner with whom I might share my heart and the final chapters of my life. Distressed about how humans are attacking each other. Afraid that my access to clean water and acupuncture will end. And, if you must know,
always occasionally catastrophizing over the possibility of losing my mind, and/or my capacity to function independently, and becoming a lonely old biddy babbling to myself, unable to access the internet to blog or to order hair gel.
Fear. Is your name really Ethel? Not that there’s anything wrong with that name. It just makes me chuckle. Which is kind of a good way to start a letter to you, methinks (methinks?). Not that any of this is funny. But this is a love letter. Perhaps, humor doth (doth?) make a love letter more appealing.
So, Ethel, how do I love thee? Hm. I’m not sure. I understand you and see why you are here. These are quite
terrifying uncertain times. And yet, I notice that you tend to thrive on my obsessing about the future. You might not be so powerful if I noticed this present moment. In this moment, I am safe. I am pain-free. There are no fires in my neighborhood. I think I still have most of my marbles. Water is quite accessible. I have an appointment with my acupuncturist tomorrow. I am here blogging. And my supply of hair gel is intact. And, OK, the loving partner is nowhere to be found after numerous forays into various dating sites over the years, but there is still time. I am not a babbling old biddy just yet. And, in the meantime, there are many sources of love filling my heart and nourishing my soul.
So, Ethel! Do you really need to be here? Is there something useful I might learn from your presence? Is there someplace else you might go? Is there a better use of your time and energy?
I appreciate your taking the time to face me head on. If you were to try and ignore me, I’d just yell louder, and that would not serve you. I do have a purpose. I remind you that you are alive. That you care. That you are paying attention. I get you to feel the urgency to take the steps to be your authentic self and make your particular contribution. Right? You are a deeply emotional and sensitive person. (Do you have a rainforest mind??) You feel fear. Grief. Loneliness. These come easily to you. Did you know grief and loneliness are my pals? We often hang out together. You might say we are your support team. Your backup singers. But, here’s the thing. Your songs have been pretty pathetic over the years. No offense. I am getting a little bored with all of those breakup songs. (No offense, Taylor Swift. I love your break up songs.) I have stayed around all these years to keep you company really. You know this might sound kind of cliche but you could consider a different playlist. I don’t have to leave, of course, in case you need me for a while, but you might invite some playfulness, some gratitude, maybe even, heaven forbid, some joy. No need to feel guilty about it, either. There might be some fabulous harmonies that would nourish all hearts. What say you?
I think I can do that. Thanks. Starting the playlist now. How about Jon Batiste. Freedom.
To my bloggEEs: Writing letters to parts of yourself, and answering them, is a pretty powerful journaling process. Let us know what you think and if you try it. I’ve used this technique a lot and always receive helpful insight. This one was just what I needed today! Thank you all for being here. It means so much. Love to you! What’s on your playlist?
(Note: More exercises like this can be found in my new book Saving Your Rainforest Mind–A Guided Journal for the Curious, Creative, Smart, & Sensitive)