I woke up angry and anxious. Angry and anxious because the kids’ school canceled for snow, and I was already feeling the anticipatory rage of them possibly staying here all day, ruining my day of peacefully and quietly going about my plans without noise, mess, and interruption. (They didn’t stay. Their mom picked them up at 9 a.m.) Angry and anxious because I didn’t sleep well and should have gotten up at 7 a.m. to start tackling the day’s commitments and chores instead of trying to coax my frenetic brain back to sleep for hour. Angry and anxious because I always let tiredness keep me from my goals. Angry and anxious because I’ve been eating too much leftover Valentine’s Day chocolate, which is surely compromising my sleep and clogging my voice. Angry and anxious because reviewing the day’s to-do list in bed made the day seem impossible before it even began. Angry at the anxiety itself, which pushes pushes pushes. Angry and anxious because I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing, trying to be committed to goals when life throws its wrenches. Am I being naïve and childish to think I can make my life more focused? “Go with the flow,” some would say. “You just love to suffer,” my husband would say (which would also make me angry).
And so…it seems my decision to focus on yoga, music, and writing has stirred up an anger maelstrom toward everything that gets in my way. Things like stepkids, for example, or the fact that I stupidly insisted, back when I quit my full-time job, that all of the house and dog care should be my responsibility since I’m at home.
This anger and anxiety are nothing new. Every time I decide to commit to something, life throws everything it can (including that pop-spirituality, go-with-the-flow self-righteousness) in my way to convince me I can’t do it.
I had lofty hopes of approaching my new commitment-driven life with an attitude of peace and calm—that I could somehow both do the work and feel relaxed about it—and I feel, on day 3, like I’ve failed.
But maybe none of that matters. I’m here, after all, writing. I chose to write this morning; a week ago, I might have been side-tracked into cleaning (might as well clean now while you’re inspired/nervous about how dirty the house is—you can write later, and you’ll be able to focus better in a clean house). I know by now that cleaning is never done. I know that the satisfaction I feel from cleaning isn’t as powerful as the satisfaction I feel after yoga or writing. So many cliches apply: feed your spirit, just show up, just do it. Now’s the time to test these and see what happens. What happens if I show up, every day, for these things I’ve decided are important to me?
I don’t know what will happen the rest of the day: we’re getting dumped on by snow and ice; yoga class might be canceled; my husband might work from home this afternoon, making it hard for me to sing or vacuum (self-consciousness, noise, interruption of his work); I’ll probably have to add “shovel driveway” to my to-do list.
I don’t know when I’ll ever have time to read the books I want to read: the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras, the new memoir by Jeanette Winterson, the stack of poetry books I requested for Christmas.
But somehow, as it usually does, writing has calmed me. The day feels hopeful again.