Friday, August 17, 2012

Pat The Bunny

Some years ago, when I was feeling pretty anxious about stuff I can't even remember now,  I wrote this little piece about something that kind of worked for me.  I was rooting through some files today, and up popped the essay about the bunny.  I'd forgotten him.  He'd forgotten me.  No wonder I get scared sometimes....  

Here's the bunny.  May you know comfort. 

Human beings, especially so-called enlightened human beings -- and especially, especially  so-called smart human beings -- often find it quite difficult to deal with the emotional thrill ride of life.  One might assume that this problem has grown worse under the pressures and uncertainties of the so-called modern world.  I’m not so sure.  I bet it was tense in the caves from time to time. 

We’d like to think we can handle our emotions.  But wise people tell us that emotions operate pretty much on their own timetable. They come.  They go.  They come back.  And they keep doing this all your life, no matter how smart, how transformed, how determined you are. 

One of the most persistent and paralyzing emotions is fear in all its most unnerving disguises: terror/panic/anxiety/ uneasiness/nameless dread. Very hard it is when fear comes to visit. We think – being the sort of beings who put a lot of stock in our minds – that we should be able to reason ourselves out of our fears. Often we are dismayed that in spite of the application of extreme rationality, we’re still pretty scared.

I believe our emotions are part of our animal nature.  Not bad.  Not good. Just something that comes along. And something that’s not particularly reassured by intellectual pep talking. 

I think of my fear as a small rabbit that lives inside my chest. When I’m scared, it sits frozen, quivering.  Its eyes are very wide, darting wildly about, scanning for danger. Its whiskers vibrate. Its body is clenched very small because it longs to be invisible, hidden and safe.  It’s afraid to hop away.  Terrified to stay put.  It doesn’t need a cheerful talking to.  It needs to be petted and soothed.  Like a bunny. 

So, when you are afraid, the most important thing is not to brush the fear away or hide it -- even from yourself.  For then the bunny is terribly alone and hopeless. Find the frightened bunny trembling inside you, accept its fear and sorrow, and imagine that you could hold it in your hands and cradle it warm and soft against your chest.  Smooth its silky fur with great tenderness, and say, “There, there, little bunny.  There, there.” 

Just until it feels strong enough and safe enough to hop along. However long that takes. And be sure to love the bunny. Because it always does the very best it can. 

 And because it is your heart.     

“There, there, little bunny.  There, there.” 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Post That Got Hijacked By Whitesnake

Or Something.

The hijacked post is actually this post you're reading right here, originally entitled "I'm In The Mood For Whine." And which began:  "... simply because I broke down and purchased the 2012 Guide To Literary Agents."

There followed a major moan and whimper about the kind of morning I'm having because I've found myself back at what almost feels like Square One with The Novel.  And what's worse, immediately after that disheartening moment of confrontation with my un-agented state, I stumbled into the "promoting yourself online," maze and the "what is your *^%$^ platform?" arena. Wherein I became not merely way sorry for myself but also seriously overwhelmed. And more sorry for myself.

I experience this whiny, overwhelmed, self-pitying state as the sensation of having about a pound of that cold, kind of slimy clay from kindergarten lodged in my chest where my heart is supposed to be. And also (I find this sort of interesting) in a numb tingly feeling in the general area of my elbows. A paralyses of the typing muscles, I presume.

I had it bad.  And that ain't even supposed to be good.

Right after that I realized I was hearing The Tune.  

NOTE:  Tell me I'm not the only one who gets annoying repetitions of pop, rock, and very occasionally, classical hits in my head.  Right?  Hah! You do. I know you do. For example, you know that song, "Beautiful Sunday?"  Like, "Hey, hey, hey beautiful Sunday. This is my, my, my beautiful day?"  Forget it quick.  It will rule your brain for weeks.  Fortunately that was not the tune I was hearing this morning.

It was "Here I Go Again."  Not a tune I'm particularly familiar with.  I didn't, for example, connect it to the band Whitesnake. Nor am I actually a big fan of Whitesnake.  (I had to look them up to make sure Whitesnake wasn't, for example, one guy.  A Mr. Snake....  Face it folks, 1987 was not my musical year.  I was busy.)

So here I was having this Whitesnake thing mainlined into my head from ... somewhere.  Just the hookie part.  "Here I go again on my own. Goin' down the only road I've ever known." Appropriate, though.  Pretty sad and whiny, right?  A good description of my dead end state of mind. So I went onto Rhapsody (where all the music lives, all the time) and played it to enhance the crankiness of my crappy mood.

Pathos can be so consoling.

Guess what?  I found out something you Whitesnake mavens -- and possibly a part of my brain that I do not have direct access to -- already knew.  This is a kick-ass song about ... kicking ass.

For example: "But I've made up my mind.  I ain't wasting no more time."

Yeah, it's about the "lonely street of dreams" but it's also about being the Comandress In Chief of your own @%&#$ lonely street of dreams.  It reminded me of the one thing I need to forward my writing right now:

A new playlist.

Not necessarily for my ears, but for my soul.  My fainting clay heart.  My numbed writing muscles.  Access to the stash of courage that lies around in a subbasement of my being until I remember where I put it.

I remember where I put it now.

Here what's at the top of my new list:    

"Here I Go Again."  Whitesnake

But listen.  Here's what I wonder.  Here's what moves the tingly feeling from my elbows up to the back of my neck:  Where did it come from, that little tune?  How did it get into my head?  And what part of myself gave me a chance to hear it, really hear it, for the first time, today of all days? 

That's the part of myself I want to come straight here and stand right by me, with its spooky l'il hand on my shoulder, when I lose my focus and my nerve.

And to go with me.  Down the only road I've ever known.