Here I sit with that same itching. Undirected anger. Like a sound coming from somewhere in the house. And I sit with the faith that this will too pass without the world falling apart.

What is it they say? Will this matter in three years? As though that is a measure of what is really important. I’d like to see a Venn diagram of the people who say that and the people who say to stay in the moment, that the present is all there is. I guess we do that, though: imagine a future to comfort ourselves in the present. I wonder if this is the origin of storytelling: At least it’s not as bad as that, and It will be better when. But this only works when there was a better time. Or there is legitimate hope for a three-years-from-now.

It’s interesting that the research says that after three years someone who won the lottery, or someone who became wheelchair dependent have the same measure of life satisfaction as before their “life-changing” event.

I am still wondering what all this actually means in praxis. Maybe the advice to ask yourself if this will matter in three-years is more an application of storytelling than logic. We can’t possibly know the butterfly effect of any incident.

And what if the answer is: Yes, it will matter in three years. It will matter in thirty, if we get another thirty.

In that case we push it away. In my case in a very grand gesture like swiping my arm across a desk of papers and whatnots. And the house fills with unidentifiable groaning, and every cell in my body begins to itch. We have our personal stories. And we have our collective fears. I wonder some days if this is what is wrong with the world. All the itching. “Itching for a fight.” There’s a powerful image neutered by cliche.

An email pops in my inbox and asks me if I have measured my carbon footprint. I haven’t. And I am probably not going to. And my arm begins to itch, and there are sounds coming from downstairs, or upstairs – I’m not sure. And what if the world actually does fall apart?

tiny worries swirl
and settle like the sand
into dunes that slip
and smother the pale, greening
tendrils trying to take hold

It’s evening, and I have stumbled so far out of the groove, I seem to be floating through the day. And once again there are things I cannot write here. Things that push most other thoughts into the deep pockets of my mind. I managed to make dinner. To write an email. But honestly, I cannot account for the day.

Things will fall back to earth again, settle somehow. And we will go on. At least I am sure of that now. The chaos – the order – as though a god is shaking dice in a cup and spilling them over the table. Coming back to do it again when the weather moves in. Eh. He shrugs his shoulders and wanders away from the table again. And we’d be foolish to try do anything but roll with it. What does trying even mean under these kinds of circumstances? Most often I find myself wanting to undo a random event. Like trying to wish an earthquake into never having happened. Wishing away cancer. Or even a broken trust.

Roll with it. Tumble with it. I’ve heard that drunk people survive accidents more often than sober people, because their bodies are too slow to resist. (I don’t know if this is actually true.) The wu wei of wine.

Acceptance is a difficult word to define in an experiential way. Accept this gift. Accept this poison. Odd fact: gift is poison in Norwegian.

When we accept the situation, do we hold it in our arms like a blanket with pox? Something that can’t be avoided, something that can’t be undone. We’re in a locked room with cinder block walls that grate the skin off our bodies if we push against them. Better to accept the situation.

Things aren’t really that dark. And they are. It is like a running stitch through fabric: up and down, visible, invisible. It holds everything together – not darkness, but life. Life runs above and below a plane of equilibrium. And there are moments – there are points passing through – of peace.

I think the trouble that I’m having is the letting go. Letting the thoughts go. Slipping through unburdened. Accepting needs to be a matter of not receiving. Or receiving and dropping, like a blanket from your forearms and onto the dirt. Accepting the situation while refusing the “gift”.

I’m angry. My mind is foggy and thickly empty but my body is a coil of snake, muscles rippling. Tight. I should have run sometime during this lost day.

For now, I’ll sit with Leonard until he gets too warm and leaves me for the hardwood floor. By then I might be less “hissig”. I might be looser. I might be able to let go of the fight and spend the evening with E. without dumping anything in his lap that he’d need to accept.

how many animals
fit under your diaphragm
turning heavily
in sleep then in a season
suddenly rip you apart

During my 54th year, I think I figured a few things out. Not everything mind you. Lord, what would I do with myself were that to happen? How dull slow mornings would be.

We crash and burn, and rise again shinier. I’m feeling shiny. At least from a certain angle. I am putting both feet on the ground and letting my full weight fall on them. Eggshells be damned. For all the fear I’ve had with regard to offending people, all the care I’ve taken to “be good”, I’ve done my fair share of offending people anyway.

I’ve made myself ill trying to make myself “good”, bending around expectations, trying to tick off prerequisites for approval, be adopted by “a tribe”. Turns out I am still just not a tribal kind of gal.

I’m going to be okay with that. Writing without a community. And with making things without permission.

A big part of being shiny and new is being full of questions, not answers. When I think of “wisdom” I think of the woman’s voice caught in the tree, or the stiff man sitting very still under it. Wisdom as still and inanimate. And that actually doesn’t jibe with what I am aiming for as I age. I would do well to think more of a laughing Buddha.

Someone commented some weeks ago on one of my meditations, that I was on the right path and encouraged me to continue. I wondered who would presume to know what the right path was for anyone else? Or that there even is a right path for any individual, much less all of us. My intellect and every fiber of my being rejects that idea. And I won’t begin to detail the sexist and racist consequences of charting out life experiences and insights as though they are badges for a boys’ club with a hierarchy based on “merit”.

I have been struggling with my relationship with my day job for months now. How much of this can you swallow in order to keep that? When do things reach a tipping point? And what does one do about it when it happens?

I have taught for years now and thought about quitting often, but it was never because of students. These young people who are so creative and so generous with their perspectives. When they aren’t trying to teach me, they teach me. And I have come to learn (from them) that I teach them the most significant lessons when I am not trying to teach them anything at all.

Maybe this is exactly how life should be, how deep learning should be: effortless. Even if life itself isn’t.

My students have taught me how to deal with grief, how to deal with perfectionism, insecurity, heartbreak, crushed dreams, loneliness. Not necessary in terms of “how to” do things for myself, but in terms of how human beings respond to life in ways that make life richer and more meaningful. In terms of the variations of experience, solutions, resolutions. I have learned to respect people more by spending all these years with teenagers. Conscious that I am growing and changing as much as they are with each year.

The Unusual Buddha on Instagram asked people if they’ve ever thought of how they are the villain in someone else’s story. I am surprised that there may be people who don’t. At the moment I am the Evil Queen, the Fairy God Mother, and the Crazy, Annoying Gadfly simultaneously. I am none of those things. And all of those things.

And isn’t that just amazing?

from how many angles
have you approached the sea?
have you crossed the currents?
or have you been waiting
for rip-tide to rip you open?

Heading to the beach for a run now. Everything is uncertain right now, and that always helps.