Thought Cookie: Edition 8
233 Words of This and That
Heads up, my love. You’ve got the hand brake on. I know, I know, you didn’t realize it. Maybe you didn’t even know you were driving stick, right? Me neither. (I actually could never learn to drive stick properly, but that’s another story.) That’s how we’ve all been operating during this pandemic: with the COVID brakes engaged (more about this on my website blog). That meant holding off on a lot of things: living, connecting, sharing experiences, opening up, dreaming and doing. I realized this myself the other day during meditation, which I had missed doing for many days. As I reconnected and sat, and listened, my deep, inner self said to me, “Dream again.” The moment I heard those words, I realized I had stopped dreaming about a year ago. I had stopped imagining success. I had stopped seeing a bright future. And as those dreams quietly left me, I instead focused on getting through this crushing moment, then the next. And as other brutalities of the world and assaults pressed down upon me, I not only was not dreaming -- I was admonishing myself not to dream. For safety, for comfort. Turns out, these many months later, not dreaming was a simple and effective form of self-protection I’d gotten good at it. I’ll be honest, I’m scared to dream again. But I’ve forced myself to look to it, to tend to it a bit. Tentatively at first is fine.
Reminder from the soul of truth: This past year has called for you to play with a different set of rules. Trouble is, you may not have realized what those rules were for you. Now that you’ve gotten into a routine, it might be time to examine them.
Takeaway: What can you imagine for yourself in a post-pandemic future, that is now coming soon? Will you give yourself permission to dream again?
I had not met him until a couple of weeks ago, but I am so fortunate to have crossed paths with the brilliant and inspiring Ocean Vuong. (I have not met Ocean personally, just heard him on On Being recently.) Ocean is an accomplished poet and novelist and his non-traditional, non-white perspective on life is sublime. Here’s a comforting, eloquent gem I captured from that conversation:
“We’ve built shame into vulnerability. And we’ve sealed it off in our culture. Don’t say this here. Don’t say this there. We police access to ourselves. And the great loss is that we can move through our whole lives picking up our phone and talking to our most beloveds and still not know who they are. Our “how are you?” has failed us.”
From my bookshelves
I just finished reading this masterful memoir. Miss Mary Karr is a genius at working with words and honing them to surprising, delightful communicators of the human experience. This quote doesn’t draw from Lit, but was captured off of one of the many podcast interviews of hers I’ve devoured.