The Elements We Need

After two weeks away from home, I take the mornings slowly. Coffee. Wool socks. The chimes on the meditation timer that prompt me to move from one asana to the next.

I am trying to turn softer.  – But all this quiet – juxtaposed against a background noise of fear.

I think I’ve convinced myself that I can only “keep it all together” with a kind of strangle-hold. I’ve twisted all of my shrink’s suggestions for coping into a length of to-do boxes that have to be ticked off every day. Before I “start” my day.

It has become the measure of “good enough”. A form into which I’ve tried to pour myself: a literally prescribed identity. It’s like I fashioned myself a contract with the Spirit of Neo-liberalism and all things Manifest-Your-Destiny, buying into the age, despite my professed faithlessness:  if I live up the the terms, I will succeed. 

Yesterday I ran in the afternoon instead of 5 am. In the daylight, I noticed that the open spaces along the trail were colored by crocuses blooming in neat,

though randomly placed


I expect spring is there, all the same, when I pass in the darkness of 5 am. Maybe focusing on running through my to-do list each morning is the wrong way to go about it. That is, it is the wrong way to go about the task of accepting the world as it is – taking what comes. Or at least taking accepting what I need from what comes, when it comes.


Oh, the “sound and fury” of ambition. Praise of one’s potential can truly be a curse.

My guess is that most trees do quite well – ignorant of their own genus and species. Along the creek where I run, some of them are boasting shockingly bright buds on their branches already. Some are still sleeping.

The book I’m reading explains how roots absorb what is needed from the soil, from other roots, from the fungus – and let the rest go. If a tree is too ambitious it will become water-logged and its trunk will burst like a water pipe in a sudden freeze.


More than to write obliquely, I will strive to live obliquely. Cross my heart, and swear to the muse.

Is it a deal?

2 Replies to “The Elements We Need”

  1. Today, thanks to you, I will remember to “soften.” And be “at least… accepting what I need from what comes, when it comes.” To stop striving—hard for me. Thanks.

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