Sometimes, when my mind is busy and spinning and sparking a notch too fiery, I tell it to be quiet. When that doesn’t work (that never works), I try to ignore it and find myself reading (but not quite retaining) self-help or reminders on post-its with advice for myself from myself.
If my mind is still reeling, unable to settle, I will write a list of the pulls fragmenting my attention. What books I want to read or research that needs to be done. There are scenes to be fleshed out. A page of displaced sentences impatiently awaiting adoption. Phone calls to suffer, people to connect with and appointments to schedule (the dentist – you must!). Not to mention the numerous life changes necessary for perfection.
The list expands into a fury of unrelated obligations and reminders about posture, forgiveness and potential dog behaviorists. I write a list of things to list on separate lists, and now I’ve really (totally) lost it, for underneath lies the compulsion to achieve it all instantaneously. It is the habitual inner crusade that drives all thoughts together into an impossible tangle of immediate demands. Now I am caught (again).
What I long for then, is to reset the mess and get clean. I seek out my haiku book. The white one with the fresh, spring green pear on the cover and open to any page. I carefully read one three-line set and float into simplicity and calm, thankful for respite and peace.
The time it takes –
For snowflakes to whiten
The distant pines
by Lorraine Ellis Harr