I’m feeling sad,
wanting this moment to be different.
I want more space, more freedom.
I want financial autonomy.
I want to offer something that will help others.
I want to step into my power,
express my essence,
create something beautiful, inspiring.
But the depression returns
and covers me in a dark, heavy blanket
of lethargy, fear, anxiety, doubt, inertia.
How to break free?
I know there is more out there,
I know I am capable of more.
How do I move forward?
I start to feel like I’m slipping.
Is it because I’m so tired?
Have I done too much today?
am I not here
to help others?
I should be doing more.
But I’m not feeling so great.
I don’t want to do anything
Stop being selfish.
But I need to put on
my oxygen mask
Stop being so self-absorbed.
I’m feeling lonely.
I don’t want to do this.
Stop whining. Buck up.
Get back to work.
But I’m tired.
So many voices in my head.
Which one is telling
Breathing in the exhaustion
of every other caregiver
who is experiencing this very same fatigue
I’m feeling right now,
breathing out peace, rest, relaxation,
Breathing in the guilt and shame
of every other person
who was losing their temper
at the very same time I lost mine,
breathing out peace, calm, patience,
Breathing in the regret
of every human being
who wants so much to be good
but often falls short
just like I–
breathing out self-love,
forgiveness, hope, acceptance
the willingness to keep trying.
Breathing in this desire to awaken
felt by every person on this path,
breathing out trust, perseverance,
humor, enthusiasm, support.
We will all one day arrive
at the same destination,
one breath, one step at a time.
I had a really tough day today. Both of my kids are sick and they were very needy and often whiny, demanding, and unkind to me. They woke me up two nights in a row wanting comfort because they aren’t well–and I certainly did what I could for them–but now I’m feeling sleep deprived, at the very end of my tether. After a day of trying to meet their needs and not getting my own met, I finally lost my temper right at bedtime. They weren’t cooperating and just going to bed so that I could just go to bed. The guilt and shame erupted within me after my angry outbursts. I finally meditated, barely staying awake because I am so tired, and I was in bed before 8pm. I decided to do a poem about Tonglen in case there is anyone else out there who was in the same boat as me today, whether they were caring for children, elderly, clients, patients, students, animals, colleagues–when you are called to give of yourself and you’re tired, it takes superhuman strength to maintain a positive outlook. I just want to reassure you that if you lost it today, you’re in good company. There were many people feeling exactly the same thing as you in the moment of your difficulty. You are never alone.
I sewed through the night
to finish my son’s Halloween costume,
went to bed this morning at 5:30 and
Awoke at 7, needing to get the kids going for school.
I couldn’t wait to see my little guy
in the costume I made him.
After a little coaxing we convinced him to try it on.
Oh dear, it’s a bit long on him..
I might have to hem it so that he does’t
trip over the fabric.
But still, the costume looks great.
And then he decided he didn’t want to wear it.
After staying up half the night to finish the thing
so that he could have it for Halloween,
the dude didn’t want to wear that wizard costume.
This is how I know meditation
Before I might have become upset
about working so hard for nothing,
working to the point of exhaustion..
But now I smile and get on with the rest of my life,
with space in my mind to savor what it is that I already I have.
Patience just flew out the window,
heart is beating more quickly.
Reactivity reigns supreme.
Body is tired.
Mind is tired.
But tongue is hot and spitting venom.
No thought, no filters,
just increasing volume,
eye flashing, fast talking,
later regretting what was said.
When the anger supersedes the love,
this is when I need to be put to bed.
It is nighttime,
and the music of crickets
melds with the obscenities flowing out of my neighbor’s mouth.
Summer in Baltimore.
My body is tired,
and the whirr of my essential oil diffuser lulls me.
A cloud of frankincense and myrrh codistillate,
of lemon, neroli, and Eucalyptus globulus
perfumes my tiny room with the scent of heaven.
Fulfilled by the simple things,
grateful for this moment,
I remember that this is the only moment.
My mind wants to create so much,
to write, to express, to be meaningful.
My body reminds me how I’m not getting enough rest.
Caught between the heaviness of fatigue
and the fire of transformation,
what’s a yogini to do,
but sniff the essential oils and try to stay awake?