In Jim Harrison’s amazing poem “Spring”, the line “a break from the struggle of being” caught my eye. I thought to myself, Wow, I’d really like a break from my struggle to be.” At the time, anxiety had my stomach tight and achy. I couldn’t wrangle my thoughts. In fact, my thoughts felt like wild, ornery things intent on a chase through the brambles of self harassment: The garden needs to be weeded, dishes need to be done, what are we having for dinner? What about that newsletter? Songs need to be finished, scenes beg to be written. Workshops… deadlines…. the list goes on.
As the tumult of all this thought raced through my head, my dog, Lucy, kept her eyes on me with one thing on her mind: The Park. Let’s go run around, she said, come on. Lucy never needs a break from her struggle to be. The only thing she struggles with
is convincing me that dinner time is an hour earlier than usual. That two cookies are better than one.
She helped me re-realize something: I can take a break from struggle whenever I want to. All I need to do is attend to one task at a time, not the ten or so that wait in the wings. In fact, deep in the spiral of things, the breath is always there. Nothing dramatic. Just the simple, easy in and out of everyday breath.
And when my breath is hard to find, the willow across the street is there with limbs that wave in the breeze like thick hair. Same with the bamboo out back…the shhh, shhh, shhh… bamboo song. When I shift my focus to some single thing of nature, even just for a moment, I feel free from struggle. I remember who I am.
My prompt for you is this: How do you struggle to be? How do you find your ease?
As for me? Lucy’s right. Time for the park. I hear an eagle has taken up residence. Could be my lucky day.
My best… Julianna