My office is awash in slogans. Little rectangles of paper taped on the front of my laptop stand or tucked under the glass top of my desk. Some are practical. One thing at a time. Horizontal surfaces are not for storage. Others offer stark admonishment: Do something restorative. Every day. Like I’m yelling at myself. As if I need to be reminded that I need to stop and take a breath.
I do, actually.
If I don’t stop moving through my days like the Energizer bunny, I will surely march right off the end of the earth. Most of the time, I barely remember to eat because I am too busy sprinting from the office to the laundry room, from sweeping the kitchen floor to backing up my computer, from picking up the kids from school to the grocery store and the dry cleaner, and back again, in endless, life-draining circle. This would all be fine if I would remember to nourish myself, to rest, if I didn’t fall asleep, night after night, with my book on my chest, my glasses on my nose and my bedside light ablaze, leaving me to wake up the next morning at five o’clock sharp, my body’s light sensitive internal clock convinced that dawn has come when in fact the sky is still dark under cover of night.
But I digress. That’s what is happens when you live in a state of permanent exhaustion. You stop making sense.
In the winter months, my slogans grew increasingly dark: We don’t have to be superheroes every day (courtesy of my friend Carolyn). Where you stumble, there lies your treasure (as if to find some shred of meaning to my increasingly grey and difficult days). If you are going through hell, keep going. Is there a choice?
When the slogans lose their impact, when I become numb to their wisdom, I peel them from their stations and paste them onto a sheet of paper. I file the sheet in a file folder in the back of my desk that I’ll pull out once in a while when in need of reminding. A few stand guard permanently, including my personal favourite: no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible. That one just never loses its shine.
Others make the circuit at regular intervals, like this classic from Rumi: Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field: I’ll meet you there. And its corollary, from the lovely Laura Munson: Sometimes taking care of yourself means allowing yourself to be misunderstood.
It sounds so easy, so effortless. The answer to everything from spats with spouses and to world peace. Except for this one small detail: it is damn hard to do. Like everything else in life that is worthwhile.
And that, my friends, is a post for another day.