Spinning Backwards


It’s not just happiness is it? Happiness happens every once in a while, or actually quite frequently, if you let it. No. It’s not just happiness, it’s a sense of well being. A sense of peace and health. The best we can do is chase after it , tap it on the shoulder, ask it to wait. “Please wait.”  Maybe it’ll turn around and let you look at it for a minute or two.  

People will tell you how to get it. Hardcover for $24.95 plus shipping and you never have to leave your house. Meditate 5 minutes every day. Breathe through your nose. Serve others. Write down everything you eat and stay within your points range. Vegetables are zero points. Walk briskly for 40 minutes 5 times a week. Engage in weight bearing exercise. Take Folic Acid. Don’t forget B-Complex vitamins. Floss daily. Pray. Sit in silence. Get out in nature. Give blood. Be grateful. Use “I feel” statements. Ask yourself, “What’s my part in this?” Color mandalas, beat a drum, get a massage. Acupuncture. Read The Tao Te Jing, The Torah, A Course In Miracles, The Qur’an, The Bible, The Vedas. Vote. Visualize. Donate. Detox. Fast. Slow down. Write to your congressperson. Exfoliate. Relax. Focus. Dance. Sing. Pet a cat. Rescue a dog. Contribute the maximum allowed to your 401(k). Be. Be still. Be here now. Follow the 12 steps. Keep coming back. Sign the petition. Pay your parking tickets. Wear a seat belt. Recycle. Create. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Trim your cuticles. Call your mother. Feed the homeless. Receive. Tell the truth. 

So what do I do with my anger? How do I uncover it, and how do I move through it? Do I really need to remember where it comes from? I hear there’s a newly discovered planet orbiting backwards. WASP-17. White Anglo Saxon Protestant like me.  The scientists say it must have experienced a collision during its early history “which flung it into an unusual spin.” If  even the planets change course from early conflict, how in the heavens can we mere humans expect to correct our own paths?

Maybe it’s not some long forgotten childhood injury (an early history collision) that has me adjusting the stacks of paper on my desk repeatedly each and every day after day, straightening the pages so all the lines are parallel. Maybe it’s the casual lies people insist on telling for no apparent reason. Perhaps something that small is big enough. Because it’s not as if the two wars the U.S. is engaged in are on the forefront of my day. I can’t claim that I’m regularly conscious of the dozens of regions of Africa or Detroit where children are forced to take up arms. There are thousands-no millions-of injustices and damages and disappointments unfolding by the hour. Name a problem. Pick one. There is suffering all the time. Enough to make us spin backwards and stutter and lie. And hurt.

My shrink says, “It’s important that we talk about this.” Apparently, my “life vest has become a straight jacket”. How can I be brave enough to take mine off, when everyone around me seems to be wearing theirs? And with the state of things, who’s to say it’s safe to take the vest off now, anyway?

But I keep seeing it pass by: Well Being making its elusive orbit. Inhale. Allow your rib cage to open, lungs expand. “Wait. Please wait.”

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