My regular readers know that I would never say this – the cure for it all. However, I LOVE this poem by Julie Fehrenbacher, found on the Gratefulness.org site, and you will soon see why.
The Cure For It All –by Julie Fehrenbacher
Go gently today, don’t hurry
or think about the next thing. Walk
with the quiet trees, can you believe
how brave they are—how kind? Model your life
after theirs. Blow kisses
at yourself in the mirror
you think you’ve messed up. Forgive
yourself for not meeting your unreasonable
expectations. You are human, not
God—don’t be so arrogant.
Praise fresh air
clean water, good dogs. Spin
something from joy. Open
a window, even if
it’s cold outside. Sit. Close
your eyes. Breathe. Allow
of it all to pulse
fingertips, bare toes. Breathe in
breathe out. Breathe until
your bigness, until the sun
rises in your veins. Breathe
until you stop needing
to be different.
What do I love?
There is so much about this poem to love but the last line explains the title: Breathe until you stop needing anything to be different. It also reminds me of a favourite excerpt from Professor Art Frank who wrote At the Will of the Body. It goes like this: The ill and impaired may, in the sense of fulfilling life, be far more free than healthy people. The healthy require health as an affirmation that their will is still effective and they must continually prove this effectiveness. The ill accept their vulnerability as an affirmation that the world is perfect without any exercise of their will, and this acceptance is their freedom…we are free only when we no longer require health, however much we may prefer it.”
My friend (we don’t know each other but I feel like Oliver Burkeman and I could be fast friends) recently wrote a blog post called It’s Worse Than You Think. This title sounds the opposite of what we are talking about here but it’s not. He makes several points and this is one: (I invite you to click on that title and read the whole article)
…maybe your issue is feeling anxious about what the future holds, in your life or the world at large. You feel as though you need to engage in constant planning, or reassurance-seeking from others, or some other form of psychological self-defence, in order to cushion yourself from the worst of the uncertainty. But it’s worse than you think! In fact, anything could happen at any moment. The future is always entirely uncertain. And while planning has its uses, it will never do the slightest thing to alter what the spiritual author Robert Saltzman calls your “total vulnerability to events… you get the picture…
…and you probably get the point, too – which is that when you grasp the sense in which your situation is completely hopeless, instead of just very challenging, you can unclench. You get to exhale. You no longer have to go through life adopting the brace position, because you see that the plane has already crashed. You’re already stranded on the desert island, making what you can of life with your fellow survivors, and with nothing but airplane food to subsist on. And you come to appreciate how much of your distress arose not from the situation itself, but from your efforts to hold yourself back from it, to keep alive the hope that it might not be as it really was.
This might sound like doom and gloom to you, but for me, it has the opposite effect. It is a sigh of relief. Burkeman concludes his essay with these words…In short: we can’t ever get free from the limited and vulnerable and uncertain situation in which we find ourselves. But when you grasp that you’ll never get free from it, that’s when you’re finally free in it – free to focus on the hard things, instead of the impossible ones, and to give this somewhat preposterous business of being a human everything you’ve got.
And this is why these contrarian views appeal to me. They free us up both psychologically and physically to fully live our lives and not delude ourselves that one day conditions will be just right to do those things we wanted to do but didn’t begin. And this, dear reader, is how The Cure For It All is a twin of It’s worse Than You Think. (at least for me)
1:) A short video of a butterfly on Gabriola Island. Thank-you Gottfried for capturing a summer day. It is only a minute and 20 seconds.
2:) I suggest you take a few minutes and read Oliver Burkeman’s article, It’s Worse Than You Think, you will get an even better picture of the point he is making and it is certainly not mediocrity or hopelessness, but the exact opposite.
3:) I have been answering the three questions from last week’s post and discovering surprising results. I even said YES to an invitation that I would ordinarily have turned down, and to my surprise thoroughly enjoyed myself.
4:) The beautiful photos today are thanks to Gottfried and Rob. (Son Rob contributed the orange poppies.)
5:) May you enjoy your 1st weekend in July and within reason, I recommend saying YES to summertime invitations. Thank you as always for stopping by. All my best wishes, Trudy