What I’m Grateful For: Making it Worse
There’s a children’s book I read to my kids years ago called (I think!) “It Could Always Be Worse.” Basically, there’s this guy complaining about his small house, his loud kids and his demanding wife. His rabbi tells him, over the course of several weeks, to bring the chickens, then the rabbits, then the goats, the milk cow, and finally the bull to live with them in his small house. On the final visit, the poor guy is at his wits’ end, and the rabbi tells him to put all the animals back outside. The next week, the man returns utterly delighted with his lovely, peaceful house, his darling children, and his beautiful wife.
The last two weeks, due to some need to run power to the end of my property, I’ve had huge trenches dug across my beautiful lawn, have not been able to drive up my driveway, have lost power, and can’t plant my garden because there’s an enormous ditch running through it. And I know that come Friday afternoon, the trenches will be filled, the grass will (….eventually….) reappear, and I can finally plant my garden. I’m delighted now in advance – because I know what a joy it will be once the mess is over.
It’s not a bad way to consider things. The tire could have gone flat, the toast could have gotten burnt, your annoying neighbor could have stopped by – but none of these and a million other terrible things happened, so you bask in the joy of your simple, ordinary and absolutely wonderful day.
What I’m Reading: 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson! Rule #10: Be Precise in Your Speech
This is an interesting chapter. While it starts off discussing the ways in which language can be more and less precise and clear, it ultimately is about how NOT facing and identifying our fears head-on and with clarity leads us to a chaotic, nervous and anxiety-ridden mess of an existence. I have seen this many times in my life – you have an ailment, you look it up online, it looks according to WebMD that it could be cancer, lupus or possibly HIV. You are terrified and retreat to your room for weeks, not eating, barely sleeping, a wreck. Or conversely – you call your doctor, you get some tests, you find out that actually you are just deficient in Vitamin D (because you spend so much time nervously Googling your symptoms) and you get outside, take your vitamins, and rearrange your life.
This chapter is about bringing all the dark and terrible things that lurk under the beds of our subconscious fears out in the specific, clear and revealing light. Name them, see them and then work to deal with them. Reduce the complexity, define the topic, and deal with it specifically and directly.
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What I’m Pondering: The wound is the place where the light enters you. -Rumi