Someone called me today, really stressed, asking me to do something for her. The situation, as far as I could tell, really wasn’t a crisis and I was able to and happy to help. The conversation cemented in my mind the importance of not getting one’s energy shaken by others and being able to keep down catastrophizing: irrationally believing something is far worse that it really is.
I’m not an anxious or easily stressed kind of person. I’m somewhat single-minded and maybe that focus helps with making decisions and not overly worrying about details. I strongly practice avoidance of drama to the point of being sometimes insensitive, and for better or worse I often lack an inner dialogue with myself. That dialogue is the source of both undermining self-doubt and important reflection. I can get paralysed by that ‘eat-first-or-bathe-first’ dilemma (no joke, I’ve spent a good three minutes on the spot in my bedroom trying to decide), so its not that I don’t understand sweating the small stuff. It’s just that I closely guard emotional steadfastness.
I really began to think about the importance of not getting swept by unnecessary anxiety after I had Zi. I was complaining about something to my colleague Tisha when she pointed out that my baby was healthy and happy, that this is what I asked for and that nothing else really mattered – and I was struck by how much she was right. I’ve been walking with that in the back of my heart ever since. I have roof, job, love, baby, friends, family – and so far we are all okay. It’s true, nothing else really matters.
My mom used to ask me questions about how I felt about stuff and I’d say ‘neither here nor there’. It was a standard reply, the kind when you don’t really want to get into whatever it is with your mother. One day she said, ‘what does neither here nor there mean?’ It means non-attachment. Most things that we make a big deal need to be shrugged off, let go, let past, dealt with and then moved on from. There are things that matter, not just family, but also the earth, justice, kindness, inclusion….but the rest, the small stuff, the things we can’t do anything about or which are already gone or which we can fix and then release…those things give you cancer, brain aneurisms and dysfunction. Me, I have to save for a mortgage and can’t afford to get ill. I don’t believe in regrets, don’t have any, don’t want any.
Neither is life perfect nor is all right with the world, but right now, I want to live in the present and to the fullest so that Zi can too. Ziya reminds me that happiness is fragile and fleeting, and yet the most deeply important thing there is. Just thinking of anything happening to her is like teetering on the edge of a vast dark chasm, and then hardly anything else seems worth the barest attention. I think its only this way that I can be the best mom, squeeze every drop from every moment, and also stay sane, functional, emotionally-healthy and able to work at my 95% best, the standard I try to live up to in everything I do.
I have aspirations and ambitions, I have love and I am practising balance.