Ready … Set …

by Tom Swift

A writing teacher of mine used to say that if you take three days off you are starting over.

It is the great paradox of life that we do not get to start again, not really, and yet in every moment lies an opportunity for renewal.

I am happiest when I have a beginner’s mind.

I have started this blog many times. I suspect I will begin it many more.

I feel like every day is a microcosm of my life. That is, it starts with death. I am unconscious; I am asleep. There is comfort here. My first quasi-conscious thought of the day today was to go back to death, to go back to sleep.

It was way early.

I let my little buddy out.

I meditated.

I did not go back to sleep.

Like our birth in the world, the birth of every day, for me, begins with a scream. Whether or not that scream is audible.

That is, I do not feel alive until I feel my body.

And I do not feel my body until I feel some pain.

Having decided that today is a rare day in which I will not go to the gym — the burn of lifting weights is my preferred scream inducer — I sat on my yoga mat on the otherwise hard floor and rolled out six spots on my body — the back of my calves, my butt (the “sits bones,” for the yoga-inclined), and my back (specifically, my scapulas, which are always good for some silent shrieks). I dig in pretty good. I have a roller but I seldom use it; I use instead a lacrosse ball. Digs deeper, hurts more. The metaphor fits — the deeper you go, the greater the pain, the greater the relief. I always imagine while I am rolling out in this way that I am releasing pressure valves. You can almost see the steam.

I like coffee in the morning and I have a small cup beside me right now. But I am not one to go straight to the drug. I usually start with copious amounts of water. Maybe a little bit of apple cider vinegar in there. I like the feeling of flushing. Of feeling hydrated.

We come into the world in fluid. We are made of fluid. We need fluid to survive.

When we begin this life we know nothing and are constantly learning. We find our way. We figure out who we are and what like and who loves us and who we love and we try to make sense of the immeasurable forces that shape us and influence us.

Often this leads us to anchor ourselves — to people and things, to places and activities, to the necessities and the trivialities.

I had some barriers to finding my way in this world. Many people do.

I don’t like that it seems everything is automatically compared. I don’t like that in our society we seek the bottomline so quickly.

We rush to judgment. I know I do.

We want to put everyone in a box: she is good, he is bad.

What? What are you talking about?

We have it all inside us: the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Don’t stop at that! Dig deeper, get to the pain underneath. It’s how you release the steam.

I will try to begin again here to dig deeper.

Well, at least every three days.

(That last line is a clever is closing of the circle on this essay and I could stop right here. Stopping here speaks to my desire to look like I know what I am doing, to keep things tidy, but there was a thought there back a few short paragraphs ago that I wanted to articulate. Except I am thinking now that I can’t. Not here in this post anyway. If I can articulate the thought at all it will show up over time. Has something to do with vulnerability — of acknowledging I don’t know what I am doing — and it is decidedly not tidy. Anyway, it’s time for the little buddy to get into his body, time to take a walk.)