Good morning, everyone ~
I hope everyone is doing well as we go through our brief period of Winter. The constant changes in temps/barometric pressure can be painful/difficult to deal with; and, the “false Spring” that usually lures us to the Garden Center almost always tricks me into spending too much money. Then, mourn the loss of all those lovely flowering plants when Winter’s last blast rolls through. I am definitely improving, but not enough yet to repeat my yearly blunder of gambling against the weather.
Old Mr. McMurphy O’Leary may be the only member of the household who has enjoyed my lengthy bed-rest. He is a nearly constant companion. Even as I type today’s mass
email, he is dozing next to the computer, his head pillowed on my arm and a corner of the blanket covering him. Elderly and riddled with arthritis, he too suffers through the ever-changing weather conditions. Somehow, we comfort each other just by being silently present with one another.
Somehow this experience of silent, mutual comfort pops open a childhood brain-file of cherished content. It may be one of the oldest brain-files I have, for the contents contain details of when my older siblings were still at home. The old farm house had no insulation, no central heating or air conditioning. Winters could be mighty cold there in the foothills of North Carolina. I slept with my older sister Pearl, snuggled close for warmth.
Each morning, I woke to find her already gone on her way to school (and later, to work). Each night I would tell myself to wake up early enough the following morning to give her a good-bye hug. Every morning, I would feel disappointed to have slept through her quiet departure.
Then, one night as I drifted into sleep, I thought: If I hold onto her thumb, I’ll wake up when she pulls free of my grip. Every night I tested my theory. Every morning I felt disappointed. Yet, I continued holding Pearl’s thumb each night as I fell asleep. It became a comforting thing despite the morning’s outcome. Just as (or so I imagine) it is a comforting thing for Old Mr. Murphy to rest his head on my arm, despite the slight jostling while I type this week’s mass email.
Whenever I am distressed, worried, or overly concerned about global matters that I have no control over, I reach for my own thumb. It remains a way to self-comfort and reminds me that, even though I am alone a great deal of the time, I am not void of companionship. I myself am the longest relationship I will ever have. Being the longest, it ought to be the best; and who else but myself can make it the best it can be? When I grasp my left thumb with my right hand, my left hand hugs my right hand, reminding me that I’m still here/still in charge of my “best relationship”. It doesn’t create world peace or resolve global issues. It is nevertheless a bit of peaceful coexistence with myself.
That’s a rather remarkable bit of valued state-of-being, eh? Pretty remarkable what a thumb can do, really. Not only does a thumb help us grasp things more easily, mine helps me grasp hold of the importance of little things I’ve experienced throughout my life (like, popping open a long-ago childhood brain-file).
Without a thumb, my hands would struggle in trying to pick up small things … like, the corner of my blanket to cover Mr. Murphy … or, the long-term benefits of learning one small trick to increase a sense of comfort within while the world out there seems to be falling apart.
A thumb increases one’s ability to adapt to environmental changes, which increases our chance of survival. We must survive before we can thrive, eh? It was my sister’s thumb that comforted me all those many years ago while Winter blanketed our environment with its frigid presence. It was my own thumb that helped me survive the experience of self-disappointment and it remains my own thumb that reminds me in times of sorrow, pain, disappointment, worry or woe that I am able to survive those harsh feelings, I am capable of comforting myself. I am surviving and learning day-by-day how to thrive.
False Spring unfolds every year as the calendar turns from January to February. There are other types of false-spring events in our lives, for we all are human — disappointing ourselves and others in countless ways, repeating our own hurt-filled history until we learn how to be better/do better for REAL.
This year, circumstances have ‘tied my hands’ against the false-Spring urge to fill my yard with tender plants and their bright blossoms. I’ll not be driving to the Garden Center. I’ll not be grasping tools or trying to force Mother Nature to adapt her established ways to fit my desires. I’ll also not be mourning over the loss of revenue/time/tender plants (again) when Winter’s final freeze-event unfolds.
This year, I’ll be tucked up in bed, with a corner of the blanket covering Mr. Murphy’s arthritic old body. I’ll sometimes be typing, sometimes reading, sometimes napping while this body does its best to mend and the seasons of Winter and Spring have their annual struggle for dominance. Survival requires us to adapt to environmental changes. We can more easily survive, thanks to our very useful opposable thumbs. We can more often feel the comfort of thriving when we learn to grasp hold of our treasure-trove of happy brain-files, pop them open, and ‘thumb through’ those pages of our personal Past for evidence of the “best relationship” we will ever have!
Life will always contain disappointments. (We can survive disappointments.) There will always be moments of worry, woe, sorrow, grief, loss. (Look at your own brain-file evidence of having survived those too.) Likewise, Life can be something more than “just surviving”. Tucked inside your life-span experiences, there are brain-files of Joy, Love, sense of self as a thriving, vital part of the cosmic Whole. Put your thumbs to work for your own personal benefit and grasp hold of those worthy things. You just might be surprised at how many small things you discover about your own ability to adapt, survive, and thrive!
Let’s surprise ourselves more frequently!
Gentle hugs/much love,