Thoughts are energy gates.
I’ve been thinking about my thinking. Unlike Charles, whose vitality rivals the energizer bunny, I’ve been feeling tired lately. When I think about it, I’ve been tired for a couple of years. I take nutritional supplements. My eating habits, which were always pretty good, are even more simple. I enjoy silence immensely. I get plenty of sleep. And I’m still tired. The doctor says I’m healthy. Okay — I should probably get more exercise but like I said, I’ve been tired! And ridiculously busy.
So I’m tired. And aside from the fact that I like feeling energized, I need every edge I can get because I frankly have too much to do and too little time to do it in. Which is why my writing has slowed to a trickle: competing demands. I’m falling behind on emails. Projects are taking way longer than expected. Even routine tasks seem to go haywire and my mood on too many days ranges from frustrated and cranky to sad. I really don’t think I can blame that on Mercury’s months in retrograde or the Feng Shui of my room.
So I’m thinking about my thinking.
My thoughts are like gates for my energy. Worry, sad, angry thinking — body feels so heavy I can barely move my arms. Let all of that go for a minute and focus on the breath, the music, the beauty — my arms feel light and the movements are easy. Worry again, heavy again. Present again, light again. Parlor tricks. And even though I saw it clear as day in Kai Chi Do, I hadn’t really given much attention to how these mental gates were operating in my everyday — well, you know — life. Gates. Do they swing open or closed? Are they barriers or passageways?
It’s not easy to change your thinking—until it is. I mean when you finally do it, you wonder why you held onto the hard way for so long.
I worry. Charles doesn’t worry. Perhaps he doesn’t have to worry because I do that for both of us, or perhaps there’s really nothing to worry about. At any rate, worrying doesn’t seem to actually help anything. It used to be that anxiety could motivate me. I think I exceeded that threshold somewhere around 1995. Yes I think it was ’95. The year I left an extremely stressful job that I had been pouring my heart into. Or maybe it was ’96, the year Shanti was born. Does worrying go into overdrive when you have a kid? I think even Charles worried for a moment or two when Shanti was born, but it quickly melted into his faith. Faith in a benevolent universe. Faith in her. Faith in us.
So today I’ve just been trying to find a better-feeling thought. And the revelation and relief I was hoping for came in the form of three words: I don’t know.
I don’t know how to get the wild duck off the aluminum patio roof where it has been making a racket every night and keeping me awake. I don’t know why the chicken (no relation to the duck) didn’t cook after two hours even though the oven feels warm and the light said the temperature in the oven is 325 degrees (is this some kind of magic chicken? Sigh. I don’t know.) I don’t know how to stay serenely relaxed and stop gripping the door handle while teaching our daughter how to drive. I don’t know how to find the time to give my friends the attention they deserve. And I certainly don’t know how to do my taxes.
“I don’t know” is today’s better-feeling thought. An open gate and my energy lifted. I may have to find a different relief thought tomorrow, but this is a good one for now. Do you think that not knowing is a kind of faith — that things will be okay without our heroic efforts?
I don’t know.