Beanies and Baggage
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
I lived the Torah of Robert Fulghum this morning.
For the past few weeks, my life's pace has simply been simply overwhelming, and despite the many sources of support and inspiration I encounter on a regular basis, it was getting hard to breathe. No amount of self-care language I read (or wrote!!!) helped, and all the expectable things started happening: sleeping less, gym-ing less, eating less carefully, testiness. And then, while resting my head for a moment beside my daughter this morning, I felt a strange feeling. Something unexpected.
She put a sticker on my nose.
And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I wasn't any of the roles I'd been recently trying to fulfill. Suddenly I couldn't see myself as anything other than silly. Ridiculous.
It felt wonderful. I haven't taken it off for hours. Don't plan on removing it any time soon.
Fulghum offers a lesson worth living in his delightful book Uh Oh about his experience one day after feeling down for a while:
"Tossing my briefcase in the closet, I headed for the door without any baggage. Meant to walk to my office downtown. At a snail's pace. As I went out the door, I noticed my grand-daughter's red-and-white beanie with a propeller on top. It didn't fit, but it didn't fall off, either. It looked like one of the coolest yarmulkes you've ever seen. I put it on my head to see if I could walk fast enough to make the propeller work. I could. ...Under these same conditions in times past I would take a day off. [But now I don't.] ...No radical moves make sense - just some course adjustments are required. Beginning with breakfast and going to work. Anything I can do to lighten up. The winning move was the walk in the hat. It's very hard to stay depressed when you are walking along wearing a too-small beanie with a propeller on top. ...A little whoopee in the daily minimum requirement. (94-97)"
Find a little whoopee. Put a sticker on your nose.
Look up at the sky, and fill your lungs with some air.