the following is a super-long quote from Anne Lamott, which Mished put me onto this time last year. I need ALL of this on a t-shirt. can we do that?
‘I used to hear in early sobriety that if you had an idea after 10:00 pm, it was probably a bad idea.
I think the same is true about any ideas you may have in the next few days.
Everyone is very crazy. Some of us are better at covering this up than others. Some people will say how cheerful they feel and how much they love the holidays; but these are very angry people. Try not to be alone with them for any length of time.
Three people I love have called this weekend with these intensely expressed decisions that they felt had to be made as soon as possible, at least by Monday. They are without exception highly intelligent and self-aware, really on to themselves, yet without exception, their ideas would have caused damage to their careers, marriages, children, serenity, and in one case, their dog.
I listened, and said the great chemo-therapeutic words, “Me too.”
Then I made a subtle kind of hmmm sound, vaguely amused at how we comical we become under stress; delusional, and mad.
The people all grew quiet under the strain of this sound.
I told them about my own experience the day before, when I had woken up early with a number of Excellent Ideas, which had me convinced, before coffee, that I needed to break off contact with a couple of people, correct the misperceptions of another, buy a new car, and either do the Paleo diet, or go on a horrific bender at IHOP.
And–the tiny tiny tip-off that I was cuckoo in the cabeza–that they were things that all needed to be as soon as possible. Today, in fact.
But an amazing thing happened. On the way to the kitchen for coffee, I was stopped. It didn’t feel like I stopped myself. God only knows, my default response this side of eternity is going to be to try and mood-alter my way out of feeling uncomfortable and wired.
It’s as if I have a combo patient-controlled anaesthesia pump/espresso machine around my mental wrist, to jazz up, or chill.
CHARGE! Full speed ahead! Invite or try to impress too many people, do too many things. Starve or over-eat. And worry. My friend Marshall, who was very Jewish, said his family prayed a Native American war chant at breakfast every morning: WORRY worry worry worry worry WORRY worry worry. It was survival.
But yesterday this thing inside stopped me. Stopping is where all creation begins for me as an artist. So I stopped. I went back to bed. It was 6:45 a.m. I sat up, hugging my knees to my chest. Then I wrote down all my Good Ideas, of how to correct or impress or punish people, and I gave them all to God. I said, “Here. Knock Yourself out.” And She did. Next, I said three formal prayers I happen to love, including the St. Francis Prayer. I googled the famous Thomas Merton prayer and read it out loud, and emailed it to a few people. I meditated, like a meth-head squirrel, to one of the free guided meditations at audiodharma.com. And I got so happy, because i was back. The princess was BACK, hilarious nutty sweet old me. I had found me in the maelstrom. I knew that all day I was going to do loving things, and that would help me have loving feelings.out. I remembered an older friend who kept backing up into things, who posted a note on his dashboard that said, Slowly, and Majestically; i wrote s.a.m on my wrist. I pulled on some baggy pants, in case I accidentally ate a few more cookies than might be ideal. THEN, and only then, I got up, and went to the kitchen, where I put the coffee on, and did the sacrament of putter while it brewed.
I told all three friends, and thought I would tell you all, too.’
S.A.M. here I go! Prim. xx