I got to the office early this morning, in anticipation of a day filled with chaos and deadlines and meetings. I wanted to ground myself before it started, so I jotted down my 5 Most Beautiful Things:
- Sunshine after an overnight rainstorm
- My cute new sweater, with its unexpected buttons snaking up the back
- The smell of pine emanating from the Christmas tree in our lobby at work
- The angelic sound of the carolers who serenaded me while I waited for the elevator
I often choose things I can see, because it’s so important that I remind myself to actively SEE the beauty around me. I can easily forget otherwise. I HAVE to see them. Smells, sounds, these come naturally, with their unexpected delights. The music in everyday sounds, like hearing my own voice echoing back at me in the amplified acoustics of my shower, or the percussive thuds of feet jumping in near unison to the front of the yoga mat. And smells….ah, smells. I can smell the change in the air when I cross Centinela, coming home to Santa Monica. The hint of salt mixed with sand and sun and memories. Of making jellyfish hospitals and bodysurfing the waves in Beach Haven, down the Jersey Shore, in 1986. These senses of mine always heightened, able to transport me to my childhood in an instant. It is no surprise they would be included on my beautiful things list.
What was unusual about this list today, for me, was the last beautiful thing.
I have never been able to describe myself as an optimist. With my overly analytical, overly critical mind, I have always been quick to see the problems, the pitfalls, from miles away. I don’t see the glass half full–I anticipate being thirsty. I need the full glass to feel full, to be comfortable. Always thinking one step ahead, not trusting that I won’t be thirsty at the end, not having the faith that the drink will be there when, if, I need it. Restaurants that continually replenish my water glass, sometimes after just one sip, actually make me feel safe. Like I will never be without.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to (consistently) focus on the positive, without questions or endless analysis? To know that the sun always comes back out after the rain, and that it’s already on the way? To recognize all of the good in the world without thinking that it will come to an end? Yeah, my mind just doesn’t work that way.
It came out before I had a chance to second guess it. Before I could question why it popped into my head and out through my fingers onto the keyboard. So unlike me and still so honest.
I am hopeful.
I read all of the comments on my last post (“Confession: I Am Stuck”), and then re-read them, then again a third time. I had written about how I was feeling stuck with writing, and that I was having the difficulty getting to the deeper core of what I wanted to write because of fear. Same old fear that always creeps up and stops me in my tracks. But, in those comments, came exactly what I didn’t know I both needed and craved: permission.
Permission to take my time.
Permission to give myself a break.
Permission to keep some secrets for just me.
Permission to BE me.
How beautiful that these people who cared enough to comment, most of them strangers, could release some of my stuck-ness just by giving me the permission to be stuck. How often are we given the permission to just be exactly where we are? To have it now, even for a few days, is enough. Instead of dreading what comes next, I can pay attention to this moment alone. With that, “stuck” doesn’t feel like a prison sentence anymore. It’s more of a rest stop, like those on the NJ Parkway where we stopped to get TCBY before continuing on to the shore. Temporary, fleeting, a quick stop before we got to where we wanted to end up, toes in the sand, faces turned towards the sun. Free.