“Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence? No. The grass is greener where you water it.”
“I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.”
“You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand new ending.”
–James R. Sherman, PhD, Rejection
(Language warning. Don’t read if you don’t like the word ‘shit.’)
“I happened to mention this to a hypnotist I saw many years ago, and he looked at me very nicely. At first I thought he was feeling around on the floor for the silent alarm button, but then he gave me the following exercise, which I still use to this day. Close your eyes and get quiet for a minute, until the chatter starts up. Then isolate one of the voices and imagine the person speaking as a mouse. Pick it up by the tail and drop it into a mason jar. Then isolate another voice, pick it up by the tail, drop it in the jar. And so on. Drop in any high-maintenance parental units, drop in any contractors, lawyers, colleagues, children, anyone who is whining in your head. Then put the lid on, and watch all these mouse people clawing at the glass, jabbering away, trying to make you feel like shit because you won’t do what they want—won’t give them more money, won’t be more successful, won’t see them more often. Then imagine that there is a volume-control button on the bottle. Turn it all the way up for a minute, and listen to the stream of angry, neglected, guilt-mongering voices. Then turn it all the way down and watch the frantic mice lunge at the glass, trying to get to you. Leave it down, and get back to your shitty first draft.”
I feel we’re all struggling to find hope as the world slowly turns. I love Stuart’s story and advice, and think we also need to keep our hand on the plow.
I watched the morning news but turned away when feelings of hopelessness washed over me as they reported infection rates and death tolls. Isolation is helping end this nightmare, they say, but for any one individual it can sometimes seem an exercise in futility. When a reporter stressed the importance of continuing our social distancing practices, an old memory crossed my mind:
“No.” Ms. Wade shook her head. “Here’s what you’re going to do.” She put her arm around my shoulder. “Keep your hand on the plow and hold on.”
I knew what she meant.
Having grown up around farming and plows I understood the metaphor, but until then I’d never heard anyone describe so succinctly a situation pertaining to myself. Don’t dismay, was her message. Simply continue doing what I’d been doing.
It was early 1980s and I was a twenty-year-old kid working a part-time retail job. Ms. Wade…
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The Coronavirus has spread to our area.
You may be feeling alarmed right now, or alone. We’re overreacting. We’re underreacting. It’s ‘this person’s’ fault’ or ‘this idea.’
None of that matters.
What matters is community. That’s a funny sentiment In the midst of encouraged isolation, but it’s true.
In the frenzied buying at Costco, four of my neighboring shoppers helped a baby-holding mother (me) with her cart.
A woman I don’t know posted in our community page that she’s willing to share food or resources with those who don’t have enough.
Another person started a thread to help those needing childcare because they still need to work.
And so many healthcare workers are heading out to their jobs, demonstrating the ultimate proof of their duty and devotion.
So, let’s help our fellow humans. Stay home if you can; definitely do so if you are sick. It’s not panic. It’s to spread out the impact on health facilities that only have so many respirators, beds, medicines, and -above all- people.
We have amazing informational resources these days. Use them for entertainment and learning. And, like me, use them to encourage and uplift. We’re all in this together, even apart in our own homes.
©2020 Chelsea Owens
(Also posted on my personal Twofacebook page.)
“I would encourage all who read this not to give up trying. You may take two steps forward then fall three steps back. The important thing is that you don’t stay back there. Pick yourself up and try and try again.”
-Rethinking Scripture, “Personal Progress Report“
“To be a successful writer and enjoy the perks of paid writing, one must first understand what business they are in – and that is the entertainment business. One does not have to resort to silly antics to entertain, because you can do the same thing with horror or heartbreak, maybe even clever word play or just plain good writing – but in the end, it is primarily entertainment and we as writers are primarily entertainers.”